Breast Cancer Awareness month continues and today's entry is dedicated to my Aunt Brenda who lost her fight over nearly 20 years ago at the age of 44. I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog about her but I thought about the influence she had on me growing up and how much I enjoyed being around her.
My Aunt Brenda was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri and was the youngest of 6 kids. To me, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and she reminded me of Diana Ross. Yes, this blog entry will show my age today. . .So, for the youngsters, she was my Beyonce! She loved to go bowling, crack jokes and hang out with her girlfriends. She knew how to have fun! I was crazy about her because my aunt took me to my first Janet Jackson concert and fed into my Michael Jackson craziness by recording all of his videos and t.v. appearances. My dad would take me to her house on the weekends and I would watch hours of Michael Jackson dancing across the t.v. screen. LOL!
At the time, there wasn't a lot of information on breast cancer and my family was never really effected by it at the time. So when Aunt Brenda was diagnosed, we just figured she would be fine and it wasn't a big deal. BOY, were we wrong! At first, we would visit her in the hospital or at home and she appeared to be fine.
Well, after coming home from college from time to time, I noticed there were days where she was "Aunt Brenda" and other days she was not. She had lost her hair. My dad, uncles and cousins would have to visit her more frequently to make sure she was eating. It was hard to see her quiet, weak and frustrated. After a couple of year, she passed and my family was devastated. I was angry because I didn't understand this thing called "cancer".
She passed away right before our FAVORITE family holiday, Thanksgiving, so when I returned back to MIZZOU I decided to learn more about breast cancer. I would read anything I could get my hands on and even did a presentation on the disease. It was interesting to learn what was happening to her and I was glad that I educated myself. One thing that I learned immediately, I had to stay active and eat right.
*Did you know that breast cancer does not discriminate. White women are more likely to get breast cancer but there is a larger number of black women who will die from breast cancer. Ladies, make sure you are doing your self-breast examinations once a month!
Today, there are SO MANY tools, support groups, systems and specialized doctors that can definitely aid in fighting breast cancer. Women have more control, fight cancer head-on and live longer! Continue to educate yourself, even if you think you know everything there is to know. Ask your doctor about the latest news and information that can benefit you.
*MEN need to do a self-breast exam as well. The number of men getting breast cancer is nearly 2400 new cases per year with approximately 400 men dying from the disease.
To Aunt Brenda, I love and miss you. I am sure that wherever you are...you are having a blast!