Sunday, October 25, 2009
Pink Ribbon Day 2009
Well it's a very significant day for me. This time six years ago, things were pretty ugly. Diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 34 years old, with a baby to care for. I think I cried to myself every day of 2003 after diagnosis on 27 February, I called it my shower therapy.
I am so very very happy to report that I am not just surviving, I'm thriving. As is my then baby, now 7 year old son. But I'm still in treatment and there are far too many doctors in my life (although I am grateful to them all). Breast cancer and its treatment is not a short journey.
I don't want this post to be sad though, I want to tell you about good things that have arisen from my breast cancer diagnosis. I found friends I never knew I had, and they will be my friends for life. There are many people who touched my life and I don't want to leave anyone out but today, one person in particular comes to mind. She shares my first name, I am KimT, she is KimM. She is also a breast cancer patient, diagnosed at a young age, with two daughters to raise. We met at a breast cancer support group in a treating hospital and have remained close ever since. I made the card above for her, I think I've used almost every piece of the Pretties Kit and it took me 2 hours of fussing to complete but I wanted it to be amongst my best work.
Diagnosis with a life threatening illness can be isolating. As much as family and friends want to help, they often can't relate to your turmoil. But KimM, she knows something of what it is like to be me. And her life, it continues to be a difficult path to tread too, hence the quote on the card:
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
But you know what else we share, we do craft together! She has taught me how to cross-stitch and I help her to learn paper-craft. I was so impressed when she won the third challenge from the Get Ready for Christmas Craft Day which was to use a non-Christmas stamp set to create a Christmas card. Here is her card:
This is a folding card which gives the images depth. It is called a stair-step-fold and you can learn how it is done here.
And I must not let the day pass without wishing my fellow patients, good health for the future. I am thinking of Louise Ryan in WA today, and her friend, Makeesha Byl who has done so much to raise awareness of and funds for the breast cancer cause. Thank you also to Beth Stewart and Jayne Mercer who held local Girls Night In functions to raise funds for breast cancer charities. And I know there are many more Stampin' Up! demonstrators who hosted "Pink" events. The parents at my son's school, Arden, held a morning tea fundraiser today as well. I really appreciate your efforts.
Before I sign off, can I please urge all women to self-examine their breasts on a regular basis? And if you find something of concern, make sure you get it checked out by mammogram AND ultrasound. Don't think you're overreacting and never let a doctor dismiss your concerns. I wish I had a dollar for every young woman who told me she found a lump but she didn't think it would be cancer or who told me their doctor didn't act straight-away. I'd have a sizeable collection of coins and there'd be more breast cancer survivors around today too. Plus your worst fears are unlikely to be realised. The survival rates from breast cancer are much improved according to new data reported in The Australian newspaper today (if you're interested to read, I was interviewed and photographed with my family for this article).
I also want to quickly pay tribute to Denise, Val and Kathy, all of whom live on in my memory but who lost their lives to this disease. I am thinking of your families today too, especially your children.
To all who support Pink Ribbon Day in whatever form,
*** THANK YOU***
Love from Crafty Kim