October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 1, 2021
It has been a year and a half since I lost my best friend, Laura Caldwell, to Breast Cancer. With Covid-19 lurking just around the corner, we walked and talked, laughed and cried, through what would be Laura’s final days and nights until Laura lost her battle on March 1, 2020.
My work as a Medical Malpractice attorney served Laura well as we went through those final months and eventually days. I was able to identify the adverse effects in response to her chemotherapy before they got too far. I was able to recognize when she was septic and knew what protocols should be in place at the hospital. I was able to advocate on her behalf throughout the process, even when that meant obtaining hospice care.
In testament to Laura and her battle, I continue to advocate today for the women and men who still fight cancer. Every time we choose to ignore a symptom, skip a screening test, cancer triumphs just a little over us. In light of Covid, many have missed their wellness checks and preventive care, including breast examinations, mammograms, as well as other cancer screening tests such as colonoscopies, pap smears, dermatology exams. How long does it take for cancer to spread? The answer is we don’t know, but we do know that every time you make an appointment, every time you take a screening test, every time you investigate a sign or a symptom, you make the decision to stand up for your health for yourself and for those that love you.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to be reminded that our health can never be put on hold. With the same vigilance that you pursue your careers, your families and your social obligations, make breast cancer, this month and every month, a priority. It is estimated that anywhere from 20% and beyond is the percentage of cancer cases that have gone undetected due to Covid, and will be likely to surface at a more advanced stage at a later time due to delays. As I said last year “Covid will pass, but Breast Cancer will remain.”
And so I’ll remain vigilant, for myself, my mother, my sisters, my daughters, and for Laura. My young daughters and I will proudly wear a pink streak in our hair for Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October as we have since the day Laura was diagnosed. My mother, my sisters and I, as well as Laura’s mom and her sisters, will all go for our annual mammograms. We will take steps to assure that Breast Cancer remains in the forefront of our minds and pledge to the other women in our lives that we will be there for them should they be faced with the unthinkable. We will fight the good fight, valiantly and with courage and grace. This year, take advantage of our renewed freedom and plan your screening or plan for someone else. Check on the newly diagnosed or the one survivor struggling just to get up and show up every day. If nothing else, this past year and a half has taught us what we are capable of when we work together.
Elizabeth A. Kaveny, October 1, 2021