There is no other way to say it: Breast cancer changes our lives. The last thing we hope to hear while sitting in the doctor’s office are the words, “Sorry…you have cancer.” At that moment, we each end up with our own story, our own path, our own cancer, and our own battle. It is fought alone, but yet with so many others. A year after I had a lumpectomy, I heard those words. Those short yet powerful words took me down the path to a bi-lateral mastectomy, removal of both my breasts. The first few doctor visits were a bit numbing and overwhelming with information overload. After several appointments with different physicians, I was determined not to let cancer “define” me, but it did end up molding me.
With my cousin Michelle, who also had breast cancer, and my 96-year-old Nana. The past 18 months have been very surreal and very educational. I have learned more about all types of breast cancer, more about love and friendship, and most importantly more about those women who are without support, finances and resources who are in this “club.” As I sat in one of my first medical appointments, I noticed the Art Bra display on the wall. I was so impressed and so amused, but I had no idea what it was all about. When I got home I Googled the event and read about their volunteer opportunities. I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of this event, everything I read about it was so inspirational! So there it happened…my path to BCRC was through a bra on a wall. I signed up to help with a couple of the pre and post activities, not knowing what I was really getting into. Sadly, I was out of town for the actual event but I will be there for 2016! But during those opportunities, I met some of the most remarkable women, both staff and volunteers. After several conversations with BCRC staff, it was the like the parting of the cancer sea. I went from the side of “sort of” informed and minimal resources to a wealth of information and an extensive list of resources, as much support as anyone would need! I also found the ladies at BCRC to be genuine and authentic, honest, informative, empathetic, inspirational, and TRUE game changers. Not only have they walked down the cancer road, they have also changed how each of us has to deal with our walk down this road. They seek out to share information and give women a lifeline of knowledge and support to help guide them down their road. The history of BCRC and how these women have developed it into what it is today is beyond amazing and inspiring.
One of my personal challenges with my surgeries was “laying low.” I do not lay low; I take my kids to school, I play tennis, I run, I go to the gym, I clean, I cook, I do laundry, and I go to my kids sporting activities. I go and I go! When I was told I couldn’t “go” that much, I had to find a new outlet. Well, hello Texas Mamma Jamma! It was perfect! Not only could I build up my exercise safely, I could also fundraise for some of the finest breast cancer organizations in Austin, and better yet I could ride on team BCRC! I felt like I have hit the breast cancer jackpot of challenge and fun! Every year at Culin Karate Center we host a “Kick-A-Thon” fundraiser for a local charity. Of course this year we choose the Texas Mamma Jamma, and our students did not disappoint! I have had such incredible support from family and friends in so many ways, and they have all come through to help this community. It has been a very humbling and touching year.
Because of my new path in life, on September 26th I will ride to support BCRC and all the other remarkable organizations that actually help change lives with their support, knowledge and long list of volunteers. I ride for all those women out there who need you and me to help them walk this road and battle this fight. None of us choose cancer, it chooses us. But together we can help fight it! If we can help save just one life by early detection, help one person get a ride to a medical appointment, help pay for chemo sessions, or buy one beautiful wig, I will sleep better at night. I am proud to get on my bike and say that I am riding for Team BCRC and that I am riding for you!
Be part of it…choose to be amazing!
~ I ride to save ~
Wine, Pray, Love