Hey guys, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Here’s an article I contributed to JAE Magazine about my mini-cancer scare that wasn’t. I was inspired to write the article after going to the ‘MAHIMA …Music For Life’ charity concert which was in honor of Monique ‘Mahima’ Geourzoung (who died of breast cancer at age 36) and in benefit of the Jamaica Cancer Society’s Hope Institute. Artists such as Jah Cure, Tarrus Riley, Blue Grass in the Sky, Cherine Anderson, Chino and more came out to support the vibes. Read the excerpt of my article below:
WHEN A DOCTOR’S WORDS DO NOT REASSURE: How Mahima’s death inspired my journey to know more about breast cancer.
At 28 Monique ‘Mahima’ Geourzoung was in her prime. This was the age at which the carnival-loving, yoga buff was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died at age 36.
Although it was an ad for a charity concert in her memory that caught my eye; her youthful vibe and bright smile were what held my attention.
She died at 36? I’m 32.
Starring at her image, I felt a familiar tingle in my right breast. Honestly, it could have been mind over matter; some suppressed fear suddenly triggered by the image of someone my age succumbing to this disease. I looked at it. The lump that I was told was “nothing to worry about” had definitely grown. That was no mirage. Could this be a warning? A wakeup call of some sort? Am I overreacting?
I figured one more trip to the doctor would allay my fears and thus ventured off to UWI health center to be screened and referred to the hospital for further tests. I explained my situation: I found a lump on my areola, thought it was a mosquito bite, expected it to disappear, it didn’t, doctor said don’t worry, I could leave it or cut it off and have a scar, fast forward to today, I think it’s growing, I want someone to look INSIDE my boob this time, not at it. Pretty straight forward right?
I pull the girl out for the doc and guess what? The reaction is the same as the last.
“It’s just a cyst-nothing to be concerned about.”
I should be happy right? Yaay no cancer! Arriba! Arriba! But I’m not. I still have a lump on my ‘teta’, I have no idea how it got there to begin with, and I don’t know what its plans are for me (yes I have personified the lump, I will soon give it a sex and christen it with a name), I mean is it planning world domination starting with location ‘x’???
“So there’s nothing I can do to check this further to make sure, no x-ray nothing?” I inquired. “What about a mammogram?”
“Oh you’re too young for that dear.” Was the gentle reply; which kinda made it worse, lol. It’s like getting a first class trip to hell.
“Mammograms are for women 40 and older.”
Helleerr, hear what nuh, Mihima was 28 when she found out she had cancer. She did not even live to see 40. Steups (AKA kiss me teeth if you’re Jamaican).
I left the clinic, and now added to the throbbing in my breast, my mind was going a mile a minute, replying the incredulous situation and bursting with questions that I just HAD to have answered: So I can’t get a mammogram, what are my options, then? Why didn’t the doctor offer them to me? Is this a common occurrence when women go to the doctor here? Where can someone find cancer information in Jamaica? How much should any woman rely on the opinion/observation of one doctor? Can a doctor just look at a breast and just know there’s nothing wrong?
Mahima’s concert is a can’t-miss event now boy. I need to know how she handled her journey. Someone there should be able to give me some insight.
go to JAE Magazine website to read the rest.
Check out the MAHIMA concert photo gallery on SKKANME’s Facebook page.