It could never happen to me.

Everybody thinks that it will never happen to them.

Cancer is a shady bitch like that. Imagine you’re just jogging (or walking) along your usual proverbial path… it’s such a routine that you could probably do it blindfolded. Except this time you slam into an elephant. “Wait, how the HELL did I not see that elephant?! Elephants aren’t even native to this country, why the fuck is it here?! Hello did somebody lose their …um… pet elephant?” You had your head down and you were flying down the path like a loose puppy with your ears flapping in the wind. You never expected to run into an elephant because, seriously, that only happens on an African safari or something right?

That’s exactly how cancer is. You didn’t see it coming, you weren’t looking for it, and you NEVER thought it could happen to you. It happens to other people maybe, but not you. You’re heathy and you’re heading down your path full speed into life’s bliss. Just heed my warning betches and don’t be naïve and dumb like I was.

Over two years ago I started following a girl on Instagram who was 24 and had breast cancer. I remember once I found her I was paralyzed on the couch, stalking her pictures for about an hour saying “what the fucccckkkkk” about a hundred times under my breath. As I scanned over images of her bald head and scarred body I remember exactly how I felt; terrified, horrified, amazed, despondent. How could somebody so young have breast cancer? In my lifetime, the few people that I knew who had cancer were older; in their 50’s and beyond. I couldn’t imagine being a young girl and having to put your life on hold to FIGHT for your life. I was even terrified to have my blood drawn (I used to pass out) so I couldn’t comprehend going through chemo and multiple surgeries. I was completely heartbroken going through her pictures. But as I continued to follow her story I realized that she was not sad or miserable, she was optimistic, happy, grateful. Amazing! How could somebody who has been dealt a shitty hand of cards in life be so content and cheerful?
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I know that God was looking out for me back then. Somehow in the divine tapestry of the universe I found her Instagram account and was given a foreshadowing into my own future. Of course, I had no idea back then, but now I am certain of this. When I was diagnosed, I remembered her and it helped me to know that I wasn’t alone, and that I needed to be optimistic and unafraid. At the same time I discovered her Instagram, I had the small lump in my right boob. Even after seeing the 24 year old girl with breast cancer, I was still disavowed with the notion that I might have cancer also. I used any excuse available. “Well my doctor said it looks like a fibroid, and so I trust the expert’s opinion.” I didn’t trust the gut feeling that was nagging at me. Also at that time, my mind was clouded as I was divorcing my ex-husband so I didn’t even have a spare brain cell left to consider the possibility of cancer. I was just certain that those things don’t happen. Nobody gets dealt a hand that includes an unfaithful, narcissistic husband AND breast cancer at 28. That shit DOES NOT happen… right?

Well, whatever boo-hoo it happened. I tripped over the elephant because I didn’t believe that elephants existed. I ignored the signs. I didn’t listen to my body or my intuition. My point is: don’t let that happen to you, safeguard your life. You can still run full speed ahead, like I am doing, just keep your head up and pay attention to the signs along the way. If you have family members who have cancer, you especially can’t think that it couldn’t happen to you. My father’s side of the family carries the ATM genetic mutation, which we only recently found out in light of my cancer diagnosis. I’ve encouraged them all to get tested for this mutation. If you carried a cancer gene wouldn’t you want to know so you could prepare and defend yourself from this horrible disease? I wish I had known before it was too late, because now I’ve lost my boobs and my hair. So please don’t be naïve and think it can’t happen to you, cancer can happen to anybody. Please visit your doctor regularly and speak up about any pains and issue, no matter how small. And please for the love of God get a mammogram if you’re over 40 and a biopsy on any breast lumps no matter how old you are. Either way, when you get those results you’ll either be relieved that you’re in the clear or relieved that you’ve caught the cancer before it can do any damage.

Also, the Instagram profile was @NalieAgustin if you’d like to follow her!

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One comment

  1. Awww Susan.. Wow. Thanks for the shout out. I’m so happy that my IG account could be there for you when you needed it most. Loving the site! Super useful. 🙂 So proud of you! Keep it up xo

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