In my teens, I lost an aunt to breast cancer. I watched my cousin, only a year older than me, lose her mom and that experience changed me forever.
During my business career, I worked in public health and was thrilled to manage a breast and cervical cancer program, assisting women who had no insurance obtain screenings and treatment. At the time, I was surprised to find many women who needed the screenings but refused to go, even though the program paid for all of the testing and treatments. I couldn’t understand their thinking and repeatedly belted out statistics and hard facts, sure that my logical approach would convince them they needed to have an exam.
Meantime, I walked at Susan G Komen events, wore my pink ribbon pins with pride, and passed out breast self-examination cards everywhere I went.
My own scare with breast cancer came right after my twins turned four years old. It had been a rough summer. My father-in-law passed away after a five-year bout with a rare type of blood cancer. One of my sons starting having separation anxiety, afraid to let me out of his sight for fear I’d die too. There were issues in the family that were wearing on me. My writing career had stagnated and I had a growing stack of rejections from agents staring me in the face.
And then I found a lump in my right breast one morning in the shower.
All the other problems disappeared. At first, I didn’t believe there was really a lump. I kept checking the area, thinking it was just breast tissue. I tried to reason with the nagging voice in my head that kept telling me to see my doctor. I tried rationalizing it away. I’ll give it another day, I told myself. I’ll have hubby check it and see if I’m crazy.
He did and I wasn’t.
Still, I was terrified to go to the doctor. For some reason, not having the lump confirmed by my doctor seemed less frightening.
I confided in a couple of close friends and one of them went with me the doctor’s office. Once he told me it was indeed a lump, another friend went with me to my first-ever mammogram. In the end, the lump turned out to be benign and my friends celebrated with me. I was lucky, and I finally understood why those women in the health program had sometimes refused our free service. It wasn’t about the money or insurance or lying on that cold, sterile exam table. It was about knowing your life was about to change forever.
Last summer, one of my childhood friends underwent a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation. She’s doing okay now, and I pray for her every day. Another friend and fellow author is a ten-year survivor. Yet another author I know is fighting a very tough battle against this disease even as I write this. All of these women inspire me. They make me wish I could write breast cancer out of our world.
I encourage all of you to do self-exams and have regular mammograms. If you do find a lump, remember it’s normal to be scared. Normal to wish it away and want to ignore it. I’ve been there. I understand. Please, though, for me, stomp on that fear and see your doctor anyway. Take a friend. Take me in spirit. We’re stronger together than we are individually.
Which brings me to Entangled, A Paranormal Anthology. This book is a prime example of what women can do to help other women. The anthology features stories from eleven different authors, including two of the women I mentioned above and myself. All the stories have a Halloween theme, and ALL of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For $2.99, you can support BCRF and thousands of women struggling with breast cancer. Because BCRF gives 90% of its donations to research, you might in fact, help find a cure. You might save future women the scare of finding a lump.
Thank you to Donna for having me here today. I appreciate you letting me share my story and I’m giving away a free ecopy of Entangled to one lucky commenter. Has cancer touched your family or friends? Even if it hasn’t, join me anyway in spreading the word about breast cancer, self-exams, and research. We’re all in this fight together.
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Misty Evans writes romantic suspense, light fantasy and dark paranormals. Her story in Entangled, SWEET DEMON, is the prequel to her new Kali Sweet urban fantasy series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband of twenty-two years and their twin sons. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at www.readmistyevans.com. Like her author page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
And don't forget my current release, HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART, my latest Romance set in Larch Valley and featuring Meg Briggs, a breast cancer survivor heroine. It's on shelves now.