Friday, August 14, 2009

BREAST longer taboo.....

I have been fortunate to meet a fellow breast cancer survivor. I long to give her a hug and tell her we're survivors because we BELIEVED we would be. She, however, lives on the other side of the ocean in a little village in Northern England! But her spirit, her zest for life is evident every time we talk via FB's chat function. I'd like to introduce this soul sister to you so when you have a moment be sure to check her blog for some of her inspiring words Itch2stitch
Last evening we were discussing how Breast Cancer and being a 'victim' of it was once taboo as subject matter in 'polite' society. Keeping things 'hush-hush' has probably killed more women in the past than anything else. Being open about your battle with cancer is essential to letting women know it does not mean a death sentence and keeping quiet because of fear is no longer an option. I've seen too many women in my life who refused to go to the doctor after they found 'the lump' because they were afraid it might be cancer. In some cases it was but in the majority it turned out to be nothing more than a fluid filled cyst. In one tragic case it was advanced cancer and had she just gone when she told us about it she would not have suffered the trauma she did.
As for myself...I'm to blame for not taking charge of my own health. When the doctor told me in January of '04..."Oh, those are just your cystic breasts" I should have suspected something. I've NEVER had cystic breasts. But since the soft squish lumps didn't hurt I waited 6 months before returning for another look. At that point he took it seriously and got me in to the local Breast Center for an immediate mammogram and biopsy. The diagnosis...ADVANCED cancer of the ducts that was doubling every 100 days. I could have used all of those months to be seeking care but his off handed manner and my trust kept me from seeking a second opinion. If I had gone in January of that year I would still have a right breast but as it is, I still have my life and that, my friends, is more important than any ounce of flesh I may own.
So what's my point here? Take charge of your health and your breasts. Do monthly exams while taking your shower. Notice any and all changes in your breasts. If you suspect even the tiniest little thing has changed go immediately to your gynecologists office and if he says: "Let's keep an eye on that", tell him to remove it, put it in a bottle on his desk and keep an eye on it that way. If you're 40 and have never had a mammogram, get one. If anyone in your family has ever had breast cancer you should be seeking special attention from your doctor and possibly have a scheduled mammogram prior to age 40. The new mammograms that are available are not like slamming your breast in a car door. They're much more comfortable and the fear of pain should NEVER be a good reason not to go for one. We've all been too dependent on the men in our lives our male doctors included. So this is a call to take charge of your life and your health. Stand up for yourself, take responsibility and ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT NO MATTER WHAT...YOU WILL SURVIVE!!!