Written By: April Calkins, Ms. April
Since writing my bio for the 2023 Calendar so much has happened. My health has had its ups and downs such as surgeries and hospitalizations. When I started this journey as Ms. April 2023, I had three things in mind.
First, I wanted to bring awareness to breast cancer in young women, especially Metastatic Breast Cancer. I wanted to remind people of the statistics. I wanted to educate people on how to do that self-breast exam and remind them how very important it is.
Second, I wanted to inspire others with my story. If I could help just one young woman on her journey through breast cancer, then I've succeeded. I hoped my story would remind people of those monthly checks, that no one is too young,
and that it doesn't take family history to get diagnosed with cancer. At the same time, I wanted to spread awareness of the genetics that could be involved.
Lastly, I wanted to advocate for others as well as myself. Advocating for yourself in your healthcare is so very important. If you know something is wrong press the issue with your doctor. If they don't help get a second or even
a third opinion. No one will look out for you like yourself and you can't look after others until you've taken care of yourself. Advocating also means more to me in the sense that there are ways to advocate on more than just the doctor's office level. Legislature is a great way to advocate for cancer treatments, research, and more.
I also wanted to end the mental health stigma. Remind people that this journey is hard. It takes a toll on your mental health just like it does physically. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Remember that you're not being lazy your body needs time to recover. Be patient with yourself. It's a moment-by-moment process. It's okay not to be okay.
Give yourself Grace.