To be more aware of this illness we highlight some stories and a call to action for those who have members in their families with breast cancer. The most common form of breast cancer is invasive ductal carcinoma and CJ Hodge, age 41 was diagnosed with it in July. “After a series of tests, I learned that the cancer was Stage 2 with lymph node involvement. The tumor tested positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors, and is also HER2 positive, which means that it is an aggressive cancer,” Hodge said. She didn’t think this could happen to her, so she put up some questions for herself like so many other women: Why is this happening to me? Why I feel so wronged? Why, if all my life I have been very careful with my health?
“I am nearing my last round of chemotherapy, which is what’s believed to be the worst part of treatment. I have good days and bad days. I try my best to make the most out of the good days. There have been so many advancements with treatment and ways to better manage side effects. So I am thankful for that.” Six rounds of chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation and 19 rounds of medication; this was her treatment.
Because she really is a fighter, Hodge wanted to help women who also have breast cancer, so CJ organized a photo shoot on the beach for breast cancer awareness. After this photo shoot, she used the photos to create a wake-up call on social media, advising people to do self-examinations.
“The campaign is more than just creating awareness. There are a lot of organizations that do an excellent job at that, and a lot of attention is given to breast cancer during the month of October. The campaign that I launched is a call to action,” Hodge explained. “It starts with the individual by encouraging monthly self-examines and yearly mammograms for women 40 and over. Then a call to action to pay it forward by getting family and friends to do the same. Then finally, to share the educational posts via social media, which gives us the ability to touch more people.”
All photos are taken by Lindsey Morgan Photography. Courtesy of CJ Hodge.