October 19, 2011
My husband and I first met a little over 30 years ago, and in that time, we have watched our nieces and nephews grow from children to adults who have wed and started families of their own. My story today is about one of those nieces.
When I first starting dating my husband, she was an ornery, pain in your backside 5 year old that you couldn’t help but love. From the start, she took to me. Anytime she could, she would follow me around wanting to "be like me" someday. There is a photograph floating around somewhere that I haven’t seen in years, but it is etched in my mind as if I had just seen it yesterday. I am sitting in front of a make-up mirror getting ready to go out, and to my left, all of about 8 or 9 years old, there she stands watching in awe and total fascination just dreaming of the day it will be her getting ready for that special date. I remember taking her on her first horseback ride and the fear that she had but didn’t want to show. Because after all, I rode horses, so it had to be something good. As she grew to become a teen, I can remember taking her school clothes shopping because I was the "cool aunt" and how much fun we had doing it. I can honestly say, it felt like she lived with us for a lot of those teen years because she was always around. Let’s skip ahead to the beautiful young woman she grew up to be who has girls of her own.
A few years ago, while still in her early 30s, she was doing a monthly breast exam and found a sizeable lump that was not there the previous month. Though I know she must have been terrified, she kept it to herself not wanting to worry the rest of the family. After going to the doctor, things started to move pretty fast and the family had to be told. There were multiple surgeries and rounds of chemo. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her and all her beautiful long hair was gone. Inside as I cried to myself for her loss, she jokingly laughed and said "isn’t it a good thing I have such a pretty round head?" She has taken the whole disease and everything that has happened to her in an upbeat and positive way that would make anyone proud of her. I am now the one standing on the left side watching on with awe and utter fascination at the strong and courageous person she has been. She is a real inspiration and my hero for the strength she has shown. She is now beating the disease due to early detection and should be an inspiration to us all for how one monthly exam can make such a difference and help to save your life. Since she was diagnosed, she has been given two beautiful grandchildren, and once again due to the early detection, she will be here to see them grow.
If you or anyone you know is fighting this disease, the library has a wide variety of books, from alternative treatments, diets, questions and answers, to real life stories. Simply go to the online catalog and do a subject search. Or stop by any of our 30 branches, and we will be glad to help you find the material that best fits your individual needs.