By Contributing Mama Diane LeBleu
When you reach a certain age ….
* Close ups are no longer a good idea.
* You contemplate Botox and a tummy tuck instead of augmentation and liposuction.
* You no longer attend weddings and baby showers. Weekends are spent at your kid’s soccer tournaments and swim meets.
* Gossip with your girlfriends isn’t about who is on Prozac or whose child is the biter. It is about who has cancer and who is getting divorced.
* Mammograms are recommended annually. Starting at 40 or earlier, if you have a family history of breast cancer.
Celebrating my fortieth birthday this year was an amazing experience. I celebrated with my twin sister, Denise, six years after her battle with breast cancer and two months after mine. We had been planning this trip for the past two years, long before breast cancer invaded my life. So it became not just a birthday party but also a post-treatment celebration. We went to Cozumel, Mexico with our husbands after calling in some big favors to arrange the complicated web of childcare for mine (4) and hers (2).
Growing up, we were close and this experience has brought us closer still. We now have shared memories of friends and fights in high school, sharing an apartment in college, muddling through the first years of parenthood, and most recently, breast cancer.
What was initially a frightening, earth-shattering ordeal became another memory we can recount together – surgery, chemotherapy, and now, hot-flashes. We are both way too young to be dealing with night sweats but the fellowship in misery provides a shared laugh. And when she undergoes a bilateral mastectomy later this year to reduce the chances that the bastard we know as cancer won’t come crashing back into her life, we will have even more to talk about, like who’s got a better rack.
When you reach a certain age, your 11-year-old daughter can recognize more celebrities in People magazine than you. But at any age, every day should be a celebration – not just the milestones.
Early detection is key. Regular self-exams and annual mammograms save lives. Don’t get too busy to take care of yourself.