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I won’t address you “dear cancer” there’s nothing dear about you, so I’ll address you this way, cancer.

Cancer,

 

I was introduced to you at the tender age of ten years old.  You tried to kill my mom’s sister with breast cancer. My aunt was only 29 or 30 years of age when you presented your ugly self to our family. I remember my mom, and her siblings being very upset. I’d never heard that word before the experience with my aunt. I specifically remember her coming home from surgery, I was at her house with my mom, it was so strange seeing a woman with one large breast and where the other breast should be, it was gauze.  A few days later I watched my mom change her bandage. I was curious as to what that looked like under there.  To my surprise I wasn’t asked to leave the room.  Complete devastation, all I can say is at ten years old where her breast was, now looked like a horizontal zipper.  What I didn’t know was in my future, many breast removals.

Fast forward twenty seven years later, I’m thirty seven years old, after showering one evening a lump was felt on the right side of my breast. Frighten of course, I was in my gynecologist office the very next morning. I was almost relieved because the doctor couldn’t find it, that relief was short lived because my doctor said, hold on this is a mass, at that point my world turned upside down.  I heard her say something like biopsy, it sound like death to me. Two weeks had gone by and I hadn’t heard anything, I tried to convince myself since I hadn’t heard from my doctor, that your negative entry was not entering my space. Shortly after I got the phone call that your rotten self had in fact entered into my body.  Just like my aunt you made your way into one of my breast! If detected early you can be destroyed instead of you being the destroyer. You were destroyed that time thanks to the high potency poison that it takes to kick your ass. The poison is an ass kicker too, however it is one of the most powerful ways to defeat you. In addition to the poison many have to incorporate another form of treatment to help get rid of you, the skin on your body has to be burned, cooked in efforts to get well. You have many times been able to return after years of being gone. You have in many cases comeback stronger than your first point of entry. You have taken the lives of many and are determined to continue to claim more each year. But while you’re running rampant there’s something coming that’s going to one day get rid of you for good.

It’s been seventeen years since you tried to take my life.  I’ll admit you scared me beyond comprehension, but I made it.  I know that in those years I’d become more comfortable in your absence.  The thought of you lurking around always looking for just a cell to start the point of return never left me completely but as time went by I wasn’t living in fear of you.  I thank my God for faith and the many prayers that went forth on my behalf. This is not to say the many lives you’ve claimed did not have faith, I strongly repeat, the lives that were claimed by cancer does not mean they didn’t have faith.  I believe sometimes it’s where in the body a person is attacked by this disease, probably how long it has been since the point of entry, how the body responded to the poison or radiation, or did not respond.   In thousands of cases it was so aggressive that it spread quicker than the treatment could work.  Some people have had miraculous results but unfortunately many have not.

 

In the many wonderful people who have been seeking to eradicate your existence they’ve made tremendous progress in their efforts. You still exist, you’re still causing havoc but you are running out of time as these researchers are getting closer to your complete demise.  One of the findings in the particular cancers that’s plagued my family which is breast and ovarian cancer, the researchers have concluded if you’re stricken with breast, ovarian, pancreas and some others I’m unfamiliar with at an age probably forty years or younger more than likely your cancer findings is not environmental, it’s not diet, but in fact is your DNA!  This research is going to save lives against your despicable claims on what I believe is the number one cancer that claims the lives of women each year.  It has already been proven in my immediate family, and I mean strong!!! The name is BRCA 1 or 2. I thank God my Primary Care Physician Dr. Bonnie Ronish had the physician’s instinct to suggest that I join UCLA’s breast cancer program, she further explained it was a very good program and with my family’s history of breast and ovarian cancer that I should be tested for the BRCA gene. Many know this as the Angelina Jolie thing because she is a celebrity that brought awareness to BRCA.

I completed the very simple pain free test.  Within a couple of weeks my results were positive.  I received extensive counseling regarding my results, I was made aware that my chances for breast or ovarian cancer came in at 80%. That’s only a 20% chance that you would find one of your nasty cells to start your invasion of my body once again. You shook me up because now my four children need to be tested especially my three daughters.  Each daughter was tested starting weeks after I received the results.  My three daughters all came back with the same results (positive) and their likely hood of getting breast or ovarian was 87%.

The safest way for the four of us to reduce that number down to 5-7% was to get hysterectomies to remove the reproductive organs and have bilateral (double) mastectomies.  This was a no brainer for the four of us to lessen your chances of sneaking in and killing us which is always your goal. You tried to kill two of my daughters with your nasty cells, boy did you sneak in. After two of them had their breast removed, we found out that you had in fact made your way in.  Both of them had full blown cancerous tumors, yes, what they were trying to prevent from a very high risk percentage, you made it in anyway.  You were so sneaky you even slipped pass both of their recent and on time mammograms, that’s how determined you are to find away to kill your victims.  This one facet of accomplished research will help keep you from claiming some lives.  In a further attempt to slow down your ability to take lives, I’m pleading with people if possible to learn your family history! Oh but you didn’t get the chance to kill my two daughters, because of early detection your invasion was treatable.  They both were administered the chemo treatment to eradicate the cells you drop for death.  I am pleased to make you aware that your sneaky tactic was discovered in time!

 You are so vicious, you have zero boundaries as to whom you target!!! You couldn’t care less about age. You have destroyed families by killing their babies, toddlers, teens and young adult children.  We’re all aware of other family members and friends whose lives you’ve claimed, oh but your day is coming, researchers are working overtime to find the permanent cure for you! Your days are so numbered that in the very near future I believe you will be caught before you ever get started!

For the many who have lost loved ones to this disease as I myself have, so very sorry for your lost, please be diligent in your health checkups, your family history, as well as if you feel something’s not right in your body, by all means don’t diagnose yourself and don’t become paralyzed with fear! Your unwillingness to not go to a doctor for fear of the diagnosis will not change the outcome of the diagnosis, what it will probably do is guarantee the end of your life,  WE HAVE ALL LOST OUR PRECIOUS LOVED ONES BECAUSE OF REFUSING TO GO TO THE DOCTOR BEFORE IT WAS TO LATE!!!!

Priscilla Smith

Diagnosis: Breast Cancer at age 37