Editor’s note: Women are often good at caring for others, however, they’re not always as good about caring for themselves. The same is also true of men. Below, Brenda Skavroneck of Jamestown, shares the personal and powerful story of her husband’s life and cancer diagnosis and why prevention is important to her. Skavroneck is participating in No Excuses, the program in which Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Central Valley Health and Women’s Way remove the barriers to receiving this important care. Those barriers include, but are not limited to, finances, childcare and transportation. No Excuses is set for Nov. 2-3, 2017, however this care is important year round. Schedule your 3D Mammogram direct: (701) 952-4852.

Brenda and David Skavroneck were married for 15 years before he died of cancer in 2010. Today, Brenda is an advocate, encouraging others to obtain their screenings.

As diagnosis of family members have been weighing heavy on my heart this week, it has placed heavy thoughts in my mind of my own dealings when my husband and I were awaiting his diagnosis, and fate.

As many of you know, my husband passed away seven years ago from Lymphoma.

That Lymphoma also spread to breast cancer and in the end, his brain. It was a rapid spread that could not be stopped. But it could have been prevented.

You see, while my husband was one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met in my life, when it came to his health, he was the dumbest. No, I’m not degrading my husband, he knows how I feel, as I was able to speak my mind to him on such matter. My husband came from a line of men in his family that carry the melanoma gene. Meaning there is a high chance the men will develop melanoma, and sadly had at an early age. He developed a melanoma mole on his forearm five years prior to his diagnosis.

We all knew immediately what it was, as it looked just like his father’s, and from what we were told, his grandfathers too. But, my husband didn’t seek medical care. Nor was intention ever to unless he was bent over in sheer pain, which only happened once, when his gallbladder almost ruptured. His thoughts were “if I don’t know it mentally, it won’t hurt me.”

Well, he was wrong.

Because he suffered tremendously in his last seven weeks of life. But the pain didn’t stop there.

Brenda Skavroneck and her four sons, Joseph, Michael, Matthew and Daniel lost their husband and father, David, to cancer in 2010. Because of this, Brenda is sure to schedule her yearly screenings, including one this year through No Excuses.

You see, not only does cancer hurt the one who has it, but also the ones who love the person hurting. So when he was diagnosed, so were we. We were diagnosed to live the rest of our lives aching to have him back. Wishing we could turn back time. Trying to figuring out life without him. Cancer doesn’t just hurt the one sick, it hurts all those around them too. We pray for miracles and healing. But what most don’t see, is that God gave us scientists and doctors. He gave them the gifts to create the procedure and capability to heal, or the intellect to create the medicines to cure.

But if we don’t seek to get the treatments or care we need, how can these miracles happen? Yes, God can heal us instantly, if it’s His Will, but He also gives us the free will to decide our fate at times. Not everyone has the opportunity or allotted time to get the treatments or care they need to prevent such a fate. Sometimes no matter what is done in preventative measures or such, the end is fatal, for reasons we probably will never know. But for others, like my husband, who really knows what the end result would have been, if he had actually gone to the doctor to have that mole removed five years prior?

I can only dream that it would have been us growing old together as we had always imagined.

My message is this: take care of yourself. We have brilliant scientists and doctors for a reason. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from living a full life. Because what you don’t know, can indeed hurt you….and all those that love you.