Who Am I? Breast Cancer--- The Reason I Am a Mom
There is a hot pink line painted down the middle of Broad Street. Did you see it, right between the double yellow ones?
Last week Red Bank transformed itself into "Pink Bank". The houses and businesses decorated around town, the giant pink ribbons hanging from the lamp-posts and the Sunday morning fun-run commencing at Riverview Hospital all shouted, "Get your annual mammogram!" The week's events tried in earnest to raise awareness that early detection is a woman's best defense against breast cancer. We must make a conscientious choice to be pro-active.
Sartre tells us that we humans are a culmination of our choices. We paint our own portrait and therefore, we are, in essence, our decisions. I do not believe, though, any woman chooses to have breast cancer. I believe some things in life are beyond our control. I bet Sartre would agree and then clarify himself.
I can see him sitting there, all professor and intellectual like. His thick glasses balanced on the tip of his nose, the smell of Simon de Beauvoir on his jacket. He would pause, look out from the top of his glasses and in a Parisian accent state, "Brenda, within the face of adversity, one must then choose the course of action that best maintains and maximizes your humanity, as well as, the humanity of others." In other words, when given lemons make lemonade and share.
In February 2003, on her birthday, my friend sat in her doctor's office awaiting the results of her biopsy. A lump showed on her mammogram just a few weeks before. Instead of the doctor saying Happy Birthday and celebrating a healthy year, the doctor announced, "You have breast cancer." In the months that followed I supported her through almost daily phone calls. I lived in Maine with my husband, she in New Jersey. And within those months while she received treatment, I graduated with my Masters and moved to Boston to start a PhD.
In August, my friend, her husband and their daughter visited us. I saw my friend for the first since her diagnosis in February. I greeted a woman without hair, eyelashes or eyebrows. Her scalp shone in the light revealing stray hairs of different lengths and pointing in random directions. On the second day of her stay, she asked me to shave her head of these remaining squatters, those foolish hairs who had refused to leave. I agreed and on my apartment balcony in the light of the summer sun I used the clippers with which I buzz my husband's head and I made my friend bald.Continued on the next page