When I was 23 years old, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I still remember everything about it. She said she discovered a lump in her breast when she was bathing one night. She was so upset she went out on the patio with a cigarette and a bottle of bourbon and cried ‘why me’. Then she realized she was smoking a cigarette and drinking bourbon, both of which could kill her. I remember the day she had her surgery. I was 23 years old. In my mind, my mother was invincible, and this brought me to my knees. She handled it all like a trooper. My mom was always big on positive thinking, and motivational sayings. She was a sales manager for a real estate company so she had that type of personality that no matter what, you would not see her feeling sorry for herself. She dusted herself off and moved on.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I think everyone like me knows someone who has had breast cancer. I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and is thriving today. I have a friend who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was a young mother herself. Early detection is the key. I have a much higher chance of getting breast cancer since my mother had it. I had my first baseline mammogram when I was 29 years old. Since the age of 35, I have one every year, and knock on wood, no problems. I remember the year I went for my mammogram at the same age as my mother when she was first diagnosed, and how scared that was. On the advice of a doctor years ago, I started taking multiple supplements, which he said would help prevent cancer. I don’t know if he was right, but so far so good. I would urge each and every one of my female readers over the age of 40 to have a yearly mammogram. One thing I do know for sure is I don’t think I could ever be as brave as my mother was. I hope I never have to find out.