My best friend was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She is only 27. I am writing this blog to encourage all of you to take an active role in your health, because if she did not have the knowledge and the courage to speak up and be her own greatest cheerleader, her breast cancer may have gone undetected for years.
Her story is all too familiar. She noticed a lump in her breast that over a short period of time began to increase in size. She went to the doctor and the doctor told her not to worry. Because of her age, the doctor dismissed breast cancer as a possibility. But, she was adamant. She knew that no one knew her body better than she did and she insisted that the doctor take a closer look. Upon further tests and evaluations her greatest fears were confirmed, she has breast cancer.
I think that as women and girls sometimes we are so concerned with being nice and not hurting feelings that we choose not to be assertive or when the situation calls for it, aggressive. We don’t speak up because we don’t want to be perceived as being rude or disrespectful. We treat the words assertive and aggressive like they are curse words. But, there are times when speaking up will save your life. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to be assertive. And above all else, don’t be afraid to Be Aggressive when it comes to taking control of your health.
Empowering women to take control of their health is the mission of Go Red for Women and although their message focuses on heart health, it applies to women’s health in general. This past year I volunteered at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and in speaking with survivors and women living with the disease there was a common message; The only way to beat breast cancer is to Be Aggressive. Aggressive in breast cancer prevention; Aggressive in treatment; Aggressive in healing; and Aggressive in supporting friends and family members battling with the disease.
At such a young age I never imagined that I would be watching a friend go through this. But, the cheerleader in me is ready to bust out as many back handsprings and back tucks as necessary to cheer her though the process.
Race for the Cure 2011- Washington D.C.
Miss International 2011