My acute awareness


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My friends were littering the new house with empty beer cans. They were creating a decorative pyramid of the past night’s frivolity and debauchery. As a newly unleashed sophomore in the world of renter hell, this moment might have been an excuse to unwind. But there were more pressing matters on my mind.

It was August 2007, and my mother had just recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, thus, this part of my life — and my mother’s life — resurfaces in an important and substantial fashion.

To this day, my mother’s bout with breast cancer still affects me.

At that time, as the youngest of four kids in my family, you would assume that such news would create a tremor in my mind. But after the ice broke and my fever lowered, my brain decided to slow down and contemplate the news. My mother had breast cancer. Staying positive for my mother was paramount.

The worry did not last long as the news in the coming weeks became increasingly positive . After the initial surgery and treatment, the prognosis was excellent. After six months, my mother was cancer-free.

That year’s Thanksgiving was a celebration. We poured the champagne and toasted to good health. I took a sip of the bubbly and, acknowledging the bitter taste, I downed the full glass in two seconds.
At least the beer-drinking contests at Iowa had prepared me for that small feat.

The vivid memory I have related to this story reminds me of how many times I have actually pondered this situation over the last two years. This led me to wonder how often my mother drifted toward this event in her history. I hope that her mind was as free from worry as mine. But my brain tells me otherwise. She is healthy now. And I am forever thankful for that.

As ever-changing people, we talk about important moments in our histories as bridges through our meaningful existence. They mark our time on this Earth as benchmarks for our continued growth and perseverance. My mother having breast cancer was mine. It was my first real foray into the harsh world of “reality.” Everything up until that point had been practice — a pre-season battle between life and death with the Grim Reaper on one side and God on the other.

Events like this highlight the resolve in people.

As of this moment, I am not sure what it says about me. I’ll probably get that at some odd moment in my life where the cosmos align and I need some much-needed clarity. What I did find out was the courage and bravery my mother showed during her battle with breast cancer.

I used to be a worrisome person. My mother has changed that forever. A sliver of her bravery and positivity has rubbed off on me.

The preceding story has developed over the course of many weeks, and dovetails quite symbolically with the upcoming month. My awareness is thus moved the forefront of my immediate consciousness.

However, awareness is not just for the present but for the future as well. Nearly 200,000 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the last year alone, according to the American Cancer Society.

Breast cancer can be beat, and hopefully, it soon will be. There are numerous local events where you can show your support for this worthy cause. If you cannot donate your time, donate a few dollars to a local charity that goes to helping cure those affected by this illness.

For months, our nation has been debating whether to have universal health care for all American citizens. For one month, instead of bickering and with amongst each other, let’s all focus on something we can agree on: fighting and defeating breast cancer.

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