Because of my mother’s battle with cancer, I shout from the roof tops to encourage others and help them to live healthier lives.
When my mother was 37, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was the first woman in our family to be diagnosed. After chemo, radiation, and a mastectomy, her cancer went into remission. She was a survivor … for a mere 5 years before she lost her battle at the young age of 42. I was 20. Though a part of me thought it was just a fluke since no other women in the family had been diagnosed, I was markedly aware that I had suddenly became at risk. So I learned what I could do to control the controllable risk factors. I was a college student at the time, studying Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, so health and fitness was already an interest, but it became so much more. It became a necessity. It became survival. In addition to controlling my weight through nutrition and exercise, I have been getting mammograms every year since my mother passed…except two…when I was 37 and when I was 42. I suppose some of that was fear, but make no mistake, it was also mixed with a large dose of fearlessness, stubbornness, and super-woman-ness. My way of standing up and shouting, “NO! Not today, cancer!” (To spare you of any expletives I was really thinking).
These days when I go to get my mammogram, and I report my family history, there is a distinct look on the face of the tech every time. It is a look of shock, sprinkled with sympathy. Since my mother’s passing, both of my grandmothers, three of my mother’s sisters, and one of my father’s sisters have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was not a fluke after all. Cancer is a cancer in our family. But I refuse to sit idly by and let breast cancer come slithering for me. With each diagnosis, I carry on in all of my badassness, doing what I can to control the controllable risk factors. I’ll soon be 50 years old, and my metabolism isn’t what it used to be, so it gets more challenging to control my weight. I keep keeping on with Beachbody fitness and nutrition programs, Shakeology, and keeping up with all of our German Shepherds. March 25, 2017 was my mother’s 26th birthday in heaven. The following is my post from my Facebook page:
Happy 29th Birthday and 26th birthday in heaven! I was talking about you yesterday and a letter you wrote that was with your things. I have no idea who you were writing to, but you expressed concern about what would happen to your son and daughter after you were gone. As you watch over us, I hope it brings you great joy to see the beautiful grandchildren Ronnie gave you, and that you are resting easy knowing that I am not waiting for breast cancer to come crashing in to start fighting it…because I am a Proactive Breast Cancer Battling Badass! I’m shouting from the roof tops (that’s something called social media these days) to encourage others and help them to live healthier lives; to not wait for a diagnosis to begin the fight; to not have to worry about what will happen to their children when they’re gone too soon. This is my purpose and my passion…your legacy.
Love and miss you every day,
Tammy, Tammy, Tammy’s in love
(I can still hear you singing that to me)