In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month today I would like to share with you a very touching story from our DT member Kathy Carr. Please read what she has written and take a look at her really sweet lo then take the steps she has shown us today. You are all so important to your families and to us here at IIG!
Sending out a huge (((((hug))))) for all ladies who check in here. We care!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. And next month, marks the 6th anniversary of my best friend’s passing from this horrid disease. My loving friend, Ruth Ann Bergstrom. This is weighing very heavily on my mind. I’m always a little melancholy around this time of year but this year – is particularly difficult. She was my age, 48, when she was diagnosed and had her mastectomy.
I can’t believe it’s been 6 years. I still miss her like crazy. She fought so hard for two years until she finally succumbed at the age of 50. I can’t even begin to tell you just how awful it was to watch a kind, vibrant, beautiful woman break down bit by bit, as the disease ravaged her body. She was my best friend for 10 years and I sincerely thought she would beat it. She went into remission after 18 months and two series of chemo (or cocktails as she called them). Then she developed a cough and neck pain. The cancer was back and spread to her spine and lungs. I still believed she would beat it. Ruth was a strong woman, full of love and kindness. There was no way this disease would get the best of her. On November 10th, she called me to see if I could drive her home from work as her neck was especially bothering her. I did and tucked her into bed along with her two cats. She hugged me and told me she loved me and thanked me for being such a good friend. I thought she was just tired. She was admitted to the hospital the next day as she was having difficulty breathing. My daughter and I had planned to drive to Indianapolis for the weekend for a scrapbook retreat and she told me she wanted me to still go . . . she would be just fine and I could come see her on Sunday. On my way home that Sunday, I called her room to tell her I would be there in an hour and her daughter Emily told me she wasn’t up to having company. I told her I’d call the next day. However two hours later I got the call that she had passed away. I fell to my knees screaming NO NO NO NO NO. I’ll never ever forget that moment. I didn’t see it coming. And six years later, I still don’t understand why this happened.
At her funeral, I cried harder than I thought possible. I can’t imagine how her husband Dan and two teenage daughters Kim and Emily could survive the pain they must have felt. And the week before Christmas, her husband gave me a letter from Ruth that told me to stop crying as she was heaven singing Christmas Carols with the angels and so glad she could enjoy the snow knowing she wouldn’t have to shovel it. And I cried even harder, realizing that she knew that she was dying when she wrote the letter. I love you Ruth! And I’ll always miss you!!
Ruth was WAY TOO YOUNG TO DIE!!!! I know there are very few people out there who have not been touched in some way by this very dreadful disease. I heard on the news the other day that of all women’s deaths in a given year 25% are attributable to breast cancer. That is horrible!! Ruth had found the lump THREE years before she went to the doctor. I will always what if . . . .
So in Ruth’s honor, please help me reach out to women to encourage them to be more aware of and diligent in their own breast health. The Susan G. Komen foundation is a great resource for information on how and what to do – to promote breast well being and fight against this disease. Early detection and prevention are the key to fighting breast cancer. Here is a link to their site:
1. Do a breast self-exam. Right now! Take 5 minutes and follow these instructions:
Breast self exam instructions
2. Promise me that you will make an appointment to have a mammogram this month, if you haven’t had one in the last year.
3. Remind 3 friends, this week, to check themselves and make their mammogram appointments.
4. And hug all those you love today!