"What is beauty"

So many people were in support of Angelina Jolie for sharing the positive side of her double mastectomy as she was a BRCA gene carrier and lost both her mother and aunt to breast cancer. I understand the media, having a huge celebrity like Angelina Jolie step out on the arms of Brad Pitt with her new beautifully shaped breast and gorgeous attributes supporting breast cancer, but I was agitated by it. I will try to explain my thoughts and feelings to others and if you feel propelled too, please comment either negatively or positively because I am so interested in others thoughts.

Today is October 1, 2014. The first day of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”. I have not been cancer free for a year yet, and I am actually staying away from doctors, because in my mind I want to be cancer free for a year. I remember all the hype when Angelina Jolie stepped out for the first time after her voluntary double mastectomy, and of course she was nothing but gorgeous. Look at the artwork of real survivors. Look at the scars they bear emotionally and physically, the lopsided breasts, or those that opted for no breasts. The pain in their faces that only another survivor can see as you smile so brightly holding back the tears. It rattles your femininity, your being.

Breast cancer changes your whole life. It has taken me to a place of tranquility and powerlessness that has taught me to embrace the small things. Angelina Jolie did not have to worry if her reconstructive surgery would be paid by her insurance, she did not have to worry about job survival and taking time out of work, putting food on the table, trying to keep a roof over her head, chemo, radiation and the life long side effects of it all. Please don’t miss understand me; She watched her mom and her aunt die of the disease, so I am not that heartless, but why are people afraid to speak of the reality of breast cancer?

I was threatened with termination during my first round of breast cancer if I didn’t return to work in thirty days because I hadn’t been employed there for a year. I was terminated from my second job after my second battle with breast cancer, after months of bullying after my return from radiation, after working for the company throughout my chemotherapy. There was no employee assistance program offered to me to help me with life after treatment. I returned to work with third degree burns under my left arm, had to pick and choose what medications I would take while working to try to stay as focused as possible on my job. There was no empathy as I was up against corporate politics in a state that has an “at will” hiring and firing clause. After working for them for over a year and gave them all I could I was escorted out of the building, not able to retrieve all my personal belongings, by the CEO after just trying to say goodbye to all my residents whom I loved dearly, they were my family and strengthed me each day of my journey. Angelina Jolie did not go through that, but was embraced on the red carpet with nothing but applause.

I never want to sound bitter or weak. I am at a place in my life that I am surrounded by such good strong people, especially my rock Bobby, who had to pick me up, dust me off, and show me I can still stand on my own two feet. Without my mom or Bobby I have no idea where this journey would have left me. You meet new people, you lose some old friends, but it is a journey that brings you so much closer to your soul. I’ve said it before, coping with the possibility of dying is so much easier than the obstacles of living.  They say HE doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

Persevering the best I can,
and always with a smile………

Monique