Breast Cancer - The Real Story
When we think about breast cancer, we often conjure up images of women over the age of 50 with bald heads. We also think about 5k walks, pink ribbons, charity fund raisers, and t-shirts with funny printed sayings. What we sometimes fail to think about are all the other people affected by this disease.
My late wife was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in March of 2010. She was 36 at the time. Our daughter was just 13 months old. After a mastectomy and several rounds of intense chemotherapy and radiation, the doctorʼs proclaimed her in remission. However, over this year long battle, I watched my wife lose her hair, lose her femininity (which she associated with her breasts), and lose time spent with our baby girl.
In December of 2012, she started feeling extreme back pain. A rush to the ER, x- rays, and an MRI later revealed the worse; the cancer had returned. This time the disease had spread throughout her skeletal structure, lungs, liver and brain. She was hospitalized for 2 months. This meant that my daughter spent her 4th Christmas on the floor of a hospital room. While other couples danced the night away on New Yearʼs Ever, I spent the night watching over my wife. Eventually she was stable enough to come home, but the doctors only gave her 6 months to live. She was now confined to a wheelchair, and could barely care for herself. Her mother stayed with her during the day, and I cared for her at night. Our young daughter had to watch he Mommy slowly get sicker and sicker. While she was in pain every day, and fought like crazy. It still took a terrible toll on our daughter, our family, and friends. Watching someone you care for slowly slip away is a tragedy that no one should have to face. She fought the disease for 3 years, and finally succumbed in January of 2015. Leaving behind a 6-year-old daughter and 42-year-old husband. So, when you think about October, and you see the NFL players accented in pink, have events at work, and buy pink ribbon swag...please remember all the victims of this disease.
I ask that if you want to make a difference, reach out to a family who has someone battling cancer. Offer to take them a meal, clean their house, bring them blankets, or even just sit and keep them company. Take it from someone who has been through the worst, it is the little things that have the biggest impact!
Please help support our initiative to raise money for the cause by donating to American Cancer Society - Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. Our President and Founder is a 2017 Real Man for Detroit and wearing pink every day in October. Please pledge your support at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/SteveSchwartz.