It was a word that meant very little to me this time last year, when I was just a woman who had experienced the pain of losing loved ones to cancer, but didn’t know first hand what it was like. It was just a word I spoke about in October, while wearing pink and donating money to Susan G Komen. I rooted for the women fighting the disease. I sat with them and commiserated while they were feeling down. But I didn’t understand. Because you cannot understand unless you go through it yourself. You can’t even begin to imagine the level of sadness you’ll stoop to. You can’t fathom just how handicap, how woman-less this disease makes you feel. It’s something you would only understand if your breasts were taken from you, if your will to live was continuously tested as you went through these excruciating chemotherapy treatments.
Your life and the way you live it is something you take for granted, even when you think you don’t, until one day you wake up with so much pain radiating through your bones, that you can’t even get out of bed to look at, let alone dress your children. It’s something I hope none of you ever have to experience, because I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Today awareness has a different meaning to me.
Today it means early detection. It means possibly preventing you from going through everything I’ve been through. Today it means going to the doctor and getting checked so that you won’t be the one not able to do things for your children, and you won’t be the one feeling this helpless. Awareness is something I will preach about as long as I live because I was lucky to find a lump and take action as soon as I did. I didn’t cower, I didn’t hesitate, and I hope you don’t either. Your life depends on it. Your loved ones depend on it. So what I say to you, woman who was in my place this time last year, undetected and living life the way it was meant to be lived, is get checked regularly. And what I say to you, woman who is in the position I’m in this year, diagnosed and fighting not only cancer, but your inner demons, is: you’re stronger than you know. You’re braver than you think. Keep going, and when you feel like you are drowning in the darkness that this experience brings, know that this too shall pass.
We are fighters. We are warriors. We are survivors. We are women.
We don’t need breasts or hair to remind us of that, because we were all born without that, and still we evolved. And still, we stayed strong. And now, we lead.
Please get checked, ladies.
I love you all.
Sandy Roman Borreor says
Amen to all that Claire! I stand with you. ((Hugs))
Mandy McCauley says
I cannot imagine what you are going through. You are brave and you are wonderful.
You are such a brave and lovely woman. I met you in SF at the book signing and thought you were so sweet and so beautiful. You are beautiful! Your words are powerful and you inspire me as a woman.. As a mother.. As a wife.. As a daughter.. As a sister.. As a book lover. Early detection is truly key, we hear it and read about it but coming from someone who has overcome it, who is still overcoming it is incredibly powerful. Thank you for this, Claire. You are in my thoughts.
Claire, you are a friend of my daughter, through your writing. She has honestly come to love you whixh is not easy for her, she is normally too shy to reach out but you two have just clicked. I wanted to tell you that I admire your stength and will pray for a fast healing for you. You have children, a husband and many many people that youve reached through your writing that are praying and pulling hards for you. Keep the faith, we are with you.
Janne Swearengen says
Claire, I was diagnosed last October 8. During my routine physical earlier that week, my doc felt a mass in my left breast and asked me about it. I told her I knew it was there but figured it was dense tissue that was more palpable following a pretty significant weight loss. She did not hesitate to schedule a mammogram asap, followed by a guided needle biopsy which resulted in that Oct 8 diagnosis. So proactive awareness is now my mantra. I am now cancer free and determined to stay that way. Mine was caught early because of an alert doc. I follow you, support you, read you and think of you. We are sisters.
This is a very good thing you are doing right here Claire. You may not feel it at times but you are strong. This post right here alone shows just how strong you really are. It’s enlightening to see you share your story with the world. It takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing. You’re standing up to fight no matter how hard the battle. You’re putting yourself out there through all of this. You are showing all your sides, good and bad. Sharing your thoughts, feelings, struggles, and determination. It’s a hard journey you are taking and by you taking the time to share it and to help raise awareness while you’re going through it shows just how strong and determined you really are. You are strong…you will fight this!
Best of luck to you! I will keep you in my thoughts as I will continue to follow you through this. <3
Kelsie Leverich says
Claire,Your words moved me to tears and your strength humbles me. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You are such an inspiration!
Tina Raiche says
Thank you Clair for telling your story. I can only imagine. I am sending the last few lines that you wrote to a very good friend of mine who just started her chemo on Monday. She has had one breast removed and the Dr’s have told her that she will most likely loose all of her hair by the end of next week. I told her that she is beautiful with or without it, but that I can’t even begin to understand how she is feeling. I was having a hard time finding the words to encourage her…and I think you found them. So I hope you don’t mind that I am passing them along! Thank you again…Tina Raiche xo
I LOVE what you have written!! and you are right. i haven’t gone through what my friends did, but they were fighters!!! They were brave and they were strong!!!
You are a warrior! I lost my Grandma and my Aunt to this disease. Sending you strength as you battle <3
Claire,All I can do is to show my respect for your bravery of facing the condition and openly disclosing your experience;which only made you stronger.Many blessing to you and your family , honorable woman.
Stephanie Delgado says
You are amazing, Claire. But you were amazing before. And you’ll continue to be amazing. Thank you…
K. Bromberg says
You are so strong, so poignant, so beautiful.
Thank you for the heart felt words! Keep fighting and draw strength from all of us as we are here praying and rooting for you!
Beautifully written, very touching. Thank you and bless you!