Most years when breast cancer awareness month rolls around, I tell you a story about my brush with the disease. I was 18, I found a lump, I was terrified. Attempting to be a big girl about it, I went off to the doctor alone and he made me an appointment at the Jasmine Centre at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and advised me to tell my mum. If I thought making the appointment at the doctor and telling him I had a lump in my breast (I can’t even say the word breast out loud, one of the many reasons I’ll never be writing erotica full-time) was difficult, that wasn’t a patch on how hard it was telling my mum. At the time, I was – I think understandably – only really thinking about myself. But fourteen years on, I can’t imagine how she must have felt, hearing her little girl tell her she had to go and get tests to find out whether or not she had cancer. I didn’t really think about how it could affect the people around me.
As it turned out, I was lucky. It was a cyst and it went away on its own but ever since, I’ve been so on point with regular self-checks and appointments with my doctor and touch wood, to date, I’m OK. Unfortunately, breast cancer has affected someone else in my life this year and for that person hasn’t been quite as lucky as I was. I’m not going to tell her story because it’s not mine to share but what I will say is that she has been incredible. As if cancer wasn’t enough, this woman is fighting a slew of other health problems and this really was the proverbial icing on a really, really shitty cake. And cake should never be shitty.
But as I’ve said, she’s incredible. She’s dealing with it, she’s doing everything she can do and she’s still making jokes at the hospital (where she is one of the very best dressed women in the waiting room. OK, I might be biased but she is), primarily at my expense. My only disappointment is that she keeps turning down the good painkillers because she says she doesn’t need them. Selfish. This time, the very stylish shoe was firmly on the other foot and it was horrible. One minute you’re devastated that this person you love is suffering and you can’t do anything. And then you’re panicking about how it’s going to affect you because you know, it’s all about me ALL OF THE TIME. And then you’re hating yourself for being so incredibly selfish because it’s not about you and before you know it, you’re back at the beginning. Not. Fun.
The thing I want you to take away from this post is to never forget how much sadness and pain breast cancer brings, not just to the women and men who are fighting it, but to all of the family members, friends and lovers who are impacted when this disease hits someone they love. I know it might feel like it’s always October and it might feel like it’s always breast cancer awareness month, that there are always pink ribbon products out there but it’s so important that we do everything we can to fight this cancer and beat it, as such, I’ll be pimping as many products that benefit the fight against breast cancer as I can. Feel free to send me a press release if you want your products included at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to put it up here.
The facts and stats are out there, you don’t need to hear them from me but every single one of us needs to use our voices to remind people this is real and it’s scary but if we keep trying and keep educating ourselves, we can beat it.