Breast cancer awareness month and why I do what I do

15 Oct

October is breast cancer awareness month!

Last week I had the privilege of covering a story at our local high school where the student body had come up with several ways to show their support for a teacher recently diagnosed with breast cancer and to raise money for the breast cancer cause itself. It was an amazing show of support. The students had given their all, and it showed. The American Cancer Society will greatly benefit from their donations. I felt blessed to be there as a witness to it. (I have put the link here in case anyone wants to make their own charitable contribution to ACS.)

According to the principal, the teacher is a young woman with a young family.

My worst fear.

Every mother’s worst fear, right?

It was Meredith Israel’s worst fear as well. I don’t know Meredith but about ten days ago my brother sent me the link to her blog post, which the Huffington Post had just posted on their site as well. He doesn’t know Meredith but she’s the friend of a friend and he was so moved by her writing.

When he gave me the heads up as to what the content of her blog was, and that she had a five year old daughter, I couldn’t read it.

But eventually I did.

And I’ll never forget it.

I won’t give you the details because you’ll want to read it yourself.

Or maybe you won’t be able to either.

But as I read it, and as I thought about my own life and family, I thought to myself, “See, this is why I do what I do.”

So often I’m told, “I don’t know how you do it all,” but really it’s not the how, because most days I don’t know how either, but it’s the why.

Clearly I’m an overachiever, and I definitely can’t sit very still for very long. But I wasn’t always this way. It wasn’t until I became a mother and I began having those fears every mother has, the “What if something happens to me,” fears. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t worry about that, even deep down.

Those fears awakened in me the drive that keeps me going every day. It’s the drive and the desire to have no regrets. For as much as humanly possible, I want to have no regrets, looking back. That’s why I do the things I do, whatever that may be, why I give 110% to everything I do, especially if it involves my children.

Now I know that the chances of something happening to me are probably slim, and I also know I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, as they say. But I look at it kind of like life insurance. You pay it all along, hoping you never need it, but when and if you do, you’re so glad you did it all along.

Should something happen to me, looking forward I’d be sad for what I’ll miss in the future, but looking backward, I will have no regrets. I’ll know I did it all, as much as I could, to live each day with no regrets, to spend every moment possible with my children and my husband and my family; and to make the moments count.

Meredith Israel said it well in her recent post; a great piece of advice, definitely words to live by, in my opinion:

“Until then, live each day to the fullest, laugh at the stories from your past, laugh at something at least one time that day and hug those you love.”

5 Responses to “Breast cancer awareness month and why I do what I do”

  1. Sue Meyerson October 15, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Hey, no making me cry at 6:40 in the am!!! But seriously..this is a wonderful post, and I need to try to be more like you…I spend waaay too much time doing paperwork for work, errands and stuff around the house, rather than spending time with my family..will have to think about that….

  2. Debra Steppel October 15, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    I sometimes forget that people like you, Jennifer, who only met me after my treatment was complete don’t necessarily know that I’m also a breast cancer survivor. Four years ago this Halloween I did my “I turned 40 so I should have a baseline” mammogram and it came back abnormal. At the time, Madeleine was in half-day Kindergarten and Avi was in preschool 3 half-days/week. Many tests and rechecks later, I found I had an early-stage form of breast cancer. In February and March 2009 I had 2 lumpectomy surgeries and then 6 weeks of daily radiation from late April – early June 2009. Fast-forward a few years and I’m a survivor — I get checked a few times/year. Cancer-free for 3 1/2 years and counting! Get your mammogram — the best way to survive cancer is to find it early enough.

    • thewholebagofchips October 15, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      It’s people like you Debra, that inspire me. God bless you and I *will* get that baseline done. I turned 41 this summer and I’ve yet to get one done even though I have the paper work. I’ll make my appointment this week. xoxo

  3. calmyourbeans October 15, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Reblogged this on calmyourbeans.

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