Guest Post by Ms. Latina from Latina on a Mission
My aunt, Titi Tere, died of breast cancer.
As a young woman, she enjoyed going to the beach and tanning. Summer was her time! It didn’t matter what was going on in her life, she always found the time to tan. I don’t think she was aware of the dangers. If she was, she didn’t care. To her, a sunburn was a sign of youthfulness, beauty, and vitality. It gave her a glow and made her feel attractive, that is until she went to the doctor. He discovered an unusually shaped birthmark. It was skin cancer.
He removed it before it spread or at least that’s what we thought. I can’t recall how, I was too young, but I do know everyone thought she was out of danger.
Sadly, she wasn’t.
During my early twenties, she developed breast cancer. It was devastating. She did radiation, had a breast removed, and tried other home remedies. It was too late. The cancer had advanced and entered other organs.
I recall those days as if they were yesterday. I wish I didn’t. She suffered. A LOT.
The radiation treatment was hard on her body. She lost her hair, couldn’t eat and got progressively worse. She was extremely bloated. Her head grew rounder and larger, while her body shrunk smaller and smaller. My Titi, my wonderfully funny, vivacious, caring Titi, was dying before my eyes. Yet her eyes, her beautiful eyes, never lost their brilliance or their humor.
She was a warrior. Going headlong into battle, keeping all the fears that were threatening to engulf the family at bay. She cut them down with laughter and her amazing wit. She became our shield, protecting us when we should have been protecting her.
During that time, I discovered I was pregnant. I was also unwed. Titi Tere was the first one to know about my teen. She was my champion. The one who stood by me, holding me up, as my family deserted me for conceiving my precious child out of wedlock. I still recall her lying in that hospital bed, using the little bit of energy she had to persuade the others to see reason, to tell them they could not force me to abort my child. She knew the value of life. She was fighting for her own.
She failed in her persuasions, just as her body failed her. Her body was racked with pain and suffering but her mind, her spirit, fought to the end. She was not only a survivor, she was a fighter. Her fight was an inspiration, her battle a curse…one that so many women face today.
October is breast cancer awareness month. I go pink for Titi Tere. I go pink for all the Sisters, Mothers, Aunts, and Friends that are affected by this disease.
I may have lost Titi Tere to breast cancer but her legacy continues in what she taught me during her last days. She taught me that we cannot accept the status quo. We must fight even when it looks bleak.
We must fight for what is right regardless of what battles we, ourselves, may be facing.
Fighting Breast Cancer is right.
What You Can Do!
If you can bake a cupcake you can help save a life. Bake cupcakes…decorate them pink and sell for a dollar. Then donate the money to the Susan G. Komen foundation through my NanaHood Friends and Family Team.
Help us fight breast cancer!