The stories of survival are all important. Piece by piece we learn how to fight, how to find life, how to construct hope. Inevitably there are aspects of each story that stand out.
The first thing that stands out in the story of Jazz Perazic is that she admits she took gambles with her health. Gambles that many of us take from time to time – gambles that could have cost Jazz her life. The common thought, “it won’t happen to me,” leads to a faulty interpretation of our own priorities. Nonetheless, it is with that thought in mind, we as women, postpone annual physicals, delay getting mammograms, and avoid the very tests that could save our lives.
Jazz recalls having her first mammogram on schedule, but then skipping a few years, maybe 10 or 12 years. In 2016 she decided to go again. Thank goodness.
When her doctor recommended a post-mammogram follow-up, Jazz put it off—for months. Maybe it was denial. Can a problem without a name really be a problem?
When she finally brought herself to have the follow-up, the problem was given a name – cancer.
In the time that had passed since her mammogram, her tumor had grown substantially (now a 6-centimeter tumor), but thankfully had not spread beyond the breast. She was fortunate, a more aggressive form of cancer would have taken her life given as much time.
The other part of Jazz’s story that pushes us forward is that she readily admits that sharing her story is not easy – and yet, she shares.
She reflects on the women who, like Coach Yow, have been willing to live their battle with cancer on center stage of a public arena. These women inspire Jazz. Now Jazz inspires others.
All of their stories are important. Coach Yow’s story, Jazz’s story, the untold stories of millions of women. Our collective ability to come along side each other in the midst of some of the toughest events in life come through the stories of survival.
By profession, Jazz is a basketball coach. In reality, she coaches more than basketball. She is a life coach for 18-22 year old women – women who, like Jazz, most likely have no expectation of ever coming face to face with cancer. Women who have a 1 in 3 chance of getting some form of cancer during the course of their lifetimes. Women who need to hear stories like that of Jazz Perazic.
It was hard for Jazz to tell her story. Yet, it is her story that will save other lives. When someone tells you they took a gamble with their own life, you listen. You listen because you are shocked, you listen because you know chances are, you would do the same.
To donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.