Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tribute Tuesday

Tribute Tuesday is debuting here today. I had originally started this on my Yummy! Yummy! Yummy! blog but decided that, since charities are generally involved with a health issue, it would be best suited here. Enjoy!

Tribute Tuesday: Charity Begins With You -

It's about AWARENESS

Tribute Tuesday is to honor charities, charitable groups and those who go above and beyond for their charities.

The Empty Cup Runneth Over - Cindy Papale

After being diagnosed in July, 2000 with a stage I, left, multi-focal, invasive breast cancer, rather than have a pity party I would turn something so negative and life threatening as breast cancer into a positive. October is breast cancer month, which is the month not only everyone is made aware about the disease, but for some survivors, including my self it can be overwhelming. The possibility of whether my breast cancer could return is enough to frighten anyone. Even though I worked for a breast surgeon at the University of Miami for 11 years, I still went on to web sites to look up the type of cancer I had once diagnosed. I wondered whether I was doing the right thing because sometimes information on web sites either can be incorrect or obsolete. When I began to look up my type of cancer, I realized I was reading more than I wanted to know.

It was very difficult for me to say the words breast cancer to anyone. The word cancer alone was even more frightening. Unless one hears those words from a physician that “your biopsy is positive for breast cancer,” it is difficult for anyone to understand how they would react.

Approximately one year later I was invited as a guest speaker in Psychology classes at the University of Miami where I shared with many students my breast cancer experiences. There have been many times when I lectured that I had to hold back my tears. Just remembering all I had gone through was very emotional for me. However, I knew that I needed to be strong because I wanted very much to help educate other young women and men about breast cancer.

As I began to speak, I noticed the interest in their faces and I realized they truly were interested in learning about breast cancer. I explained to them that self breast examination, awareness and early detection of breast cancer was critical for early diagnosis and cure. I encouraged them to be proactive, and if they felt something was wrong with their body to tell someone.

Soon after I spoke in psychology classes at the University of Miami, my husband at the time asked if I would speak in his psychology high school class (11th and 12th graders). I thought about it for sometime before I agreed. Most teenagers seem to think that nothing bad can happen to them, as I did at that age. I was not sure they would really be interested because I thought they would find it difficult to relate to the experience.

On the day of my talk I was extremely nervous. I wondered whether they would like me or even care about the subject of breast cancer. As I began speaking to the students I was thrilled how they opened up to me, which inspired me to continue speaking for the entire hour. I shared everything with them from how it felt to have a mammogram, to having a biopsy procedure, and the removal of my breast.

After my lecture I remember one young girl approached me and asked all kinds of questions, which she was embarrassed to ask in front of the other students. She also mentioned she could not even speak with her own mother about breast cancer. I was not surprised because I remember myself as a teenager never talking to my own mother. I was embarrassed and would rather speak with my friends never realizing they, too, knew just as much as I did about breast cancer, which was nothing.

When I finished speaking I realized how little these students knew about breast cancer, I decided to make the commitment to developing and communicating understandable and accurate information in a book (which I did titled The Empty Cup Runneth Over, published by Dorrance Publishing Company) to better help educate high school and college women and men about breast cancer.

After more than six years of lecturing, I have found that students had many questions about what it feels like to have a mammogram, how are biopsies performed and does it hurt, how it feels when one is first diagnosed, what it feels like to have no breasts, how did I finally make the decision to have breast reconstruction, and most importantly, how to examine their own breasts.

In many of the chapters in The Empty Cup Runneth Over, I navigate my story and share the interviews with several University of Miami cancer specialists who have contributed chapters in my book. There are other survivor stories and a nutrition chapter with delicious, healthy recipes that I personally have tried.

The Empty Cup Runneth Over (www.theemptycuprunnethover.com) is written in a dialogue that is easy and even humorous in many chapters. We feel it is important to begin educating high school and college students before they have to deal with breast cancer or other heath issues, either with a family member, or a friend. We know you will find it informative, but more so, hope it will inspire you to get to know and take care of your body. For a personal signed copy of The Empty Cup Runneth Over the University of Miami college campus book store in Coral Gables, Florida would be happy to contact me. The number to call is (305) 284-4101 and ask for Randi, and my book also is on AMAZON.

A portion of the proceeds from The Empty Cup Runneth Over will go towards The Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation. Kristy was diagnosed with breast cancer at 22 and lost her battle at age 26. Her dream was to create a foundation for women under 30 to help with medical-related expenses. Before Kristy passed away she began writing a journal. Her parents, Tom and Lynn Lasch found her journal and permitted me to share her story in my book The Empty Cup Runneth Over. I am also honored to be Board Member to the Foundation. For more information about Kristy please go to www.kristylasch.org

Cindy can be found:
Website: www.theemptycuprunnethover.com
Twitter: @CindyPapale
Facebook: Cindy Papale


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