Emerging from what seems like a fog of sorts, months of treatment, and life put on hold, it is now time to catch up on things like doctor appointments. The details of every day life have been neglected while I’ve been fighting cancer. Last week it was time to renew my military i.d. card at Quantico Marine Base. I had an appointment so that I wouldn’t have to wait in long lines. After just a few minutes of sitting in the waiting area, Maria called my name and I stood up and followed her to her desk. She asked a few questions, asked me to fill out some forms, then she said, “Okay now, sit back and I am going to take your picture”. Sitting there with my wig on, trying hard to smile naturally, I wondered if she could “tell”. I wonder all the time if anybody can tell, and of course, they can’t, but I am still very self conscious about not having my natural hair.
Soon she said to me, “I love the highlights in your hair – it’s really pretty!” “Okay Koryn! Now’s your chance!”, I thought to myself. So I leaned forward and said to her, “It’s not really my hair – it’s a wig.” Maria said, “What?” I said, “This is a wig. I just finished chemo therapy for breast cancer.” She couldn’t believe it – first, that I could get cancer so young, and secondly, that a wig could look so natural! Whew! That made me feel better.
I could tell she was over 40 years old, so I seized the opportunity once again to tell another woman my story and how she could help prevent herself from suffering my same fate. I told her not to skip even just one year’s annual mammogram. Time is NOT on your side – one year could make the difference between being diagnosed early enough to be treated with simple surgery, to allowing the cancer to take over your entire breast and enter your blood stream, threatening your life. And then I told her to be sure to get the written transcribed mammogram report.
I have made this a mission of mine now, because it could have made the difference for me. At the top of this web site you will now see a link “Don’t Let It Happen To You”. I have had some business size cards made with this message on them to hand to any woman whom I come in contact with, and where the subject comes up.
If this prevents even just one woman from going through what I have, then sharing my story is all worth it. I will not sit in silence any more. Maria thanked me that day for reminding her to get her over due mammogram and said that meeting me that day was her wake up call.
My trip to get a new ID card that day led to something positive. A new mission, empowering women, bringing awareness.