Attending the #OrgullosaStrong Facebook chat was a reminder of what can be accomplished when we all come together. During the live chat, we educated so many people thanks to Adamari Lopez and oncologist from Liga Contra el Cancer, Dr. De La Rosa. The chat stream and the buzz on Twitter was proof that many people want to educate themselves on prevention and early detection of cancer and I’m grateful to have had the chance to participate.
Cancer runs so deep in my family. My mother is a survivor thanks to a mastectomy, and my father passed of colon cancer at the tender age of 51. Because of this, I want to gain as much info as I can. Knowledge is power, after all. This chat was a no brainer to attend for me because I have had my fair share of cancer scares myself.
Participating in this chat took me back to when my mother was diagnosed and faced with the decision of having a mastectomy. She didn’t take proper precaution and didn’t check herself like she should have. When she was diagnosed, she didn’t know much about cancer and was taken aback by all it entailed. In some ways, she blamed herself for not recognizing the signs but as many don’t know, sometimes there aren’t any! I remember my mom was scared and she cried thinking that she would die immediately. Had she been educated by a chat like this one, I am sure the way she approached it would have been in a more positive, hopeful manner.
I recall reminding my mother that we loved her with both breasts or without. We reminded her that she was our mom and that we would stick by her side no matter what. As I sent out those tweets the night of the chat and shared information on Facebook, I was haunted by the memories of her diagnosis. The fact that one U.S. Latina dies of breast cancer every 90 minutes is so disheartening to me because I’ve faced that possibility. What’s more, this can be prevented if we just took the proper measures to detect it earlier. We have to take charge of our own health and examine ourselves in the comfort of our own homes regularly. These measures that we can take can save our lives and they are just so simple and easy to do!
My mother, who is now a survivor of many years, prompted me to get my mammogram at a very early age. I have also had biopsies already both as a precaution and when something was detected. I go regularly and they even do a sonogram as well just to be extra cautious. I even went so far as to check to see if our health insurance covers genetic testing for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. You see this whole cancer thing literally freaks me out…I would be telling you a lie if I said it didn’t. I have my beautiful family and I want to be around to see my grandkids and, the bottom line is, I have so many more things I would love to accomplish in my lifetime. Cancer should NOT be my life sentence but it should be a reason for me to actively take control of my life and participate in my healthcare!
It’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves in the mix of our busy schedules, but the #OrgullosaStrong chat reminded me that, in the same way I can take time out to attend this chat and educate myself,I can take the time out to stay cancer free with a self-check! Just as we participated in this chat together, we can stand side by side and support one another. Let us remind one another that, in order to take care of our families, we have to take care of ourselves first!
Care to share: What did you learn during the #OrgullosaStrong Facebook Chat? Will you be taking charge of your life differently now because of the information you gained?