(The following is a guest post by Adela Rodriguez. Adela is a advocate for cancer awareness. I found her post on Facebook, and asked her to help me close out Breast Cancer Awareness Month by allowing me to share her powerful message with you.)
There is nothing more painful, at least not that I'm aware of, than watching someone at the end of their life because of cancer. If you've never had the honor, the privilege, then this post is for you.
For you see, these people, whether they are family members, dear, long time friends, are the bravest people in this world. We hear the word hero overused these days, but a person that endures, daily, hourly, every second of their day, the pain, the struggle of fighting cancer, well, they are the true heroes. At least mine.
For, remarkably, despite their personal suffering, they still struggle to please us. They try to look good, strong, all the while battling internally the effects of the chemo and radiation. They try to show us their strength, smiling, laughing, despite their obvious physically changes, despite their personal shock at their own changing appearance.
No. For those of you who have not had the honor, the privilege. Well, be thankful. For those of you who proudly wear the pink ribbon in October, just because you see a banner, a commercial, a posting that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, learn more about that ribbon. Don't wear it just because everyone else is wearing it; just because it's trendy. And for those of you who could really, honestly give a damn, simply because cancer─in any form─has not touched you, yet? Please, just be respectful. I overheard a person, a woman no less, comment, "It's life! It happens! Deal with it!"
Yes, that's true. It's life, but it's not your life. It's ours. And we will deal with it, in a way you'll never know. So to you, I say, continue to pray. Continue to wish. Plead with whom ever you call your God, that you never have to know the pain we know.
Take it from me, take it from everyone who has taken the hand of an afflicted loved one. Once you look into the eyes of that person you shared so much with. Once you see them bravely not only fight the unwinnable fight, but lead the battle against this unrelenting enemy we call cancer. Once you do that, then you will know what true bravery is. Then you will know what a true hero is. And, you'll know what this post is all about.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but cancer could give a damn what month it is. And, I've always heard, if you're going to beat an enemy, you have to think like your enemy. Don't take off your pink ribbon on October 31st. For on November 1st, another woman, another family member, another friend, someone's loved one, somewhere will be diagnosed.
Let's make fighting cancer a year long, life long endeavor. Let's not stop fighting it until it's beaten. Eradicated.
Finally, don't just read this post and nod your head. Share it. Share it with everyone you know. For someone in your Circle, your Friends list, someone needs to hear this message. If for no other reason than to know, they are not alone.
(Adela Rodriguez lives in San Antonio, Texas and is a graduate of San Antonio College. She has been advocating for cancer awareness for years and has no plans to stop. For more information on this topic visit: U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics)