Check One, Check One, Two

If you have a friend or family member with breast cancer, try not to look at her with ‘sad eyes.’ Treat her like you always did; just show a little extra love

— Hoda Kotb

This month, as thankfully a large proportion of people know, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  What a large proportion of people don't perhaps know is that I am a breast cancer survivor. 

I am one of the lucky ones.

Breast cancer has tried very hard to beat me. It is a crappy, crappy disease which, like all cancers, becomes not just a part of the sufferer's life, but impacts on everyone around them. It is insidious and it is scary as hell. People who love you have to watch as you get sick from chemo, get sick from radiotherapy, get sick full stop. And there is usually very little that they can do to help, which can end up in alienation through frustration and sometimes, a lack of ability to cope with the heartache.

So many amazing women go through breast cancer. Most of them do it quietly and without any fuss - because, well, that's what you do. You suck it up. You get on with things. Because if you let it get the upper hand - and I am talking mentally, not physically - then game over.

I was incredibly lucky. I got through with some serious yuck times, but I got through - and I was able to keep working, keep things together, and not go into the doona zone too often. Mainly due to having amazing people who supported me with empathy, and their own strength, and sometimes just making me chicken soup. Not everyone is as fortunate as me, and sometimes that produces 'survivor guilt' - and the reason why I am making my own fight public.

I don't necessarily agree with everything that goes along with '#Pinktober' - do I want to buy KFC because the bucket is pink? Not particularly (I'll buy it because it's bad for me mind you). What I do agree with is raising awareness. And that's why I am writing this post, which is not easy; in fact it has taken me a long time to get these words on the screen. Who knew that saying 'I have had breast cancer' publicly would be so hard? Maybe it's because my fight isn't over yet; maybe it's because although I am open about a lot of things, this is something I fought very privately.

All I ask of you this month, and every month for that matter, is this.

Check your breasts. Yes, men too. Breast cancer isn't picky. It attacks young women; it attacks blokes. It attacks anyone it feels like to a certain extent.

If you feel something that's not quite right, go to your doctor. Do NOT leave it thinking 'oh, I will get it seen to eventually'. This attitude has provokes some of the saddest lessons - which, unfortunately stay with the people who loved, not the one who was loved. They're gone.

And if you want to support those who haven't been so lucky, give to reputable organisations who will use the funds for research, and nurses in the community, and practical support.

By the way, I hate pink. I would love for #Pinktober to be #Blacktober. Because that's a way cooler colour.

I bet Angelina Jolie would agree.