Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time.
Joey was 3 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer; now, he’s 11. I recently asked him some questions regarding his awareness about the disease. Here’s what he said:
Me: How old were you when I got breast cancer?
Me: How old was I when I got breast cancer?
Joey: Wait, let me think, 33 or 34.
Me: How did you feel when I got breast cancer?
Joey: Nothing really because I don’t remember it.
Me: What do you know about my breast cancer from what others have told you?
Joey: That it was stage I, that you lost your hair, that you had to have chemotherapy or something, that you had red and blue lines drawn all over your stomach or boobs — what was that for, anyway?
(I told Joey that the red and blue lines were from permanent markers; they were used to line up the machines at the very start of my radiation treatment.)
Me: When I say the words breast cancer, what do you immediately think?
Joey: Cancer in your breasts, in the tissue.
Me: What is breast cancer?
Joey: It is a disease that starts at stage I and goes to stage IV, and stage IV is the worst.
Me: Do you know anyone else who has had it?
Me: What do you think people should know about breast cancer?
Joey: That you can die from it.
Me: Do you know what happens when I go see doctors?
Joey: They check your boobs. Hey, do the doctors get to see you with your shirt off [Joey laughs]?
Me: What would you say to other kids whose moms have breast cancer?
Joey: I don’t know.
Me: Does breast cancer scare you?
Joey: Yes. Can men get it?
(I told Joey men can get breast cancer but that male breast cancer is not as common as female breast cancer.)
Me: Any final words you want to say about breast cancer?
Joey: I hope I don’t get it. Are you going to put this online?