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Thoughts on October: Breast Cancer “All Too Aware” Month

By Dania Francis

Although most people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many do not realize what a tough month it is. For someone newly diagnosed, in active treatment, someone who has lost someone to this awful beast, and even survivors and thrivers, it is difficult. It is in our face every day, and there is so much pink everywhere.

October has always been my favorite month. It is the first month that starts to really feel like fall… the crisp air, sweatshirts, pumpkin spice coffees (man I miss being basic), wineries, football, and fun outings. October is also the month I brought my daughter into this world—a daughter we fought pretty hard to have—so yes, October holds a special place in my heart.

I started hating the month this past October because it was just too much to handle. All the stories and research and clinical trials flooding my feed… all the 5Ks and “Fun Runs” and all the pink... need I say more?

But I’ve also read some posts about “Reclaim October,” and I know that has more to do with stopping corporations and companies from “pink washing,” which is just cruel and ridiculous. Slapping pink ribbons and catchphrases on their sites to attract sales that may not even be going anywhere important for the breast cancer research we still need.

So, I decided after 2/8 rounds of chemotherapy done, and some October still left, I was also going to reclaim October—for myself, and for my daughter. I dressed up for the first time in a while and attended a beautiful wedding. To my surprise, I also felt beautiful. People told me I was glowing and looked so beautiful, in the pictures and at the wedding. And I decided, you know what? My husband’s 92-year-old nanny was right. When I was first diagnosed, she told me to get mad at it. The cancer. I didn’t understand at the time, because all I could do was cry. But this is how I will reclaim my October. The brighter I can shine and the more I can glow, that is me showing this cancer who’s boss.

Cancer, you may have taken my boobs and some other things from me… but I will not let you take my shine. I will not let you win. Every time someone tells me I’m glowing, I will be sure to let you know I am still winning.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, thanks for getting in everyone’s faces. Because if it’s not actually in your face every day, you may not pay attention as much. I know I didn’t pay as much attention until now… and I’m hoping all those I reach are more aware now, too.  

Dania with her husband, TJ, and children, Peter and Emilia

I am so lucky to have such amazing support from family and friends (that act like family) all around me, and all others I have known through the years that have supported me in so many ways. I cherish every single one of you and hold so much space for all of you. Sending you so much love and light always. Thank you for giving me hope and strength during this heavy time. And to my husband, who makes me feel beautiful and tells me I’m glowing every single day since being diagnosed, while taking care of me and our two children every day.

Here’s to many more Octobers to shine and sparkle, even in pink.

About the author: Dania is 41 and lives in NY with her husband and two small children. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner, Yoga teacher, and certified Reiki healer. She is a stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer Thriver.

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