Thursday, October 12, 2006

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer over a decade ago at age 34. My children were two and four years old. I didn't want my children to feel as if their mother's Breast Cancer was something to be whispered about - or we were to be pitied or they should feel ashamed.

Back then there were no on-line cancer support groups to seek out; the computer as we know it didn't exist. Even the professionals that diagnosed me seemed to think of Breast Cancer as a disease for older women- not an active young mother of two toddlers.

I always manage to do things that it takes at least a decade for the mainstream (not to mention my mother and her friends) to embrace. Like getting married at age 29 for the first time when most my peers had been married a decade or were entering a second marriage. Just when having a daughter who was a career girl became a bragging point I was a stay- at- home Mom. Not that my mother cared for years she’d complained she was the only person in her high school graduating class who didn’t have a grandchild. The clock was ticking and I will never forget being the oldest pregnant woman in my Lamaze class at the ripe old age of 30.

Today I realize I was not the only woman to be a step ahead or behind the beat of time but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34 most my peers were dealing with issues pertaining to childbirth and looking forward to a future filled with optimism. Breast Cancer replaced my family’s optimistic future with a question mark of uncertainty and worry.

Needless to say I felt isolated and very alone but that experience is what led me to write Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy and establish the Nutcracker Publishing Company.

In so many ways my life resembles a T.V. sitcom. In hindsight I can laugh about a lot that’s happened but believe me when you’re living it it’s not near as funny.

Once a well meaning reviewer, who rejected my book idea, told me the Mommy in my story was too mean. Once again I was just a head of popular perception because in today's reality TV world my Cancer-tankerous Mommy would be considered just a desperate housewife with breast cancer.

I like to think Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy is about how a family with cancer really acts as opposed to how you think they should act.

For the past few months I've been at work on a power point presentation and a costumed Tickles Tabitha character. Finally! After all these years I’m in vogue with the times. Tickles Tabitha's mean ole Mommy is not being told to shush but is actually being encouraged to talk about CANCER.

This year for the first time I'll be offering a school presentation to promote literacy and character education which features Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy called "Crack Open a Book" to elementary classrooms. Not just to children with a family member diagnosed with cancer but to all children.

My own children are now teenagers but I'll never forget what we went through as a family. I'm grateful that times have changed since the days of my own diagnosis and like to think that families like mine are one of the reasons.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Hope you're tickled pink!


I just realized I sent a version of this out to an AOL Blog saying: Hope you’re ticked pink! Oopps!