Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer AwarenessSeven years ago, in October, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was more than just a shock. No one in my family had ever had it. I’ve done my genealogy back many generations and have lots of ’cause of death’ information. There was a death by Indians in colonial Massachusetts, a death by dysentery at Andersonville Prison, and many deaths due to old, old age – but never breast cancer.

I took advantage of the Mammovan that visited the school where I was teaching. Because it was convenient, I made an appointment. I had always been told that my chances of getting breast cancer were slim because of lifestyle and family background. When I got a call to come for a re-check, I was more annoyed than concerned because the required hospital was about 35 miles away. It was my first biopsy. Hurt like hell but I still wasn’t concerned.

Then I got the call that everyone dreads. Stage 0. Lumpectomy and radiation. Why me? But as it turned out, it was a minor inconvenience and if you’re going to get cancer, Stage 0 is very good news. After that I got mammograms every six months for the next 2 years.

Many women avoid mammograms because they aren’t pleasant. Neither are a lot of things we go through but they serve an important purpose. For me, it was finding cancer so early that it was only Stage 0.

So I went for my exams faithfully just waiting for the 2 year period to be over. That was October, five years ago. It was my last exam I was excited to finally be able to return to “back to normal”. But I got the call to come back for another biopsy. A recurrence. This time it was only Stage 1.

Five years ago I made the decision a lot of women are now making. Surgery. Cancer was not going to beat me.

October is an important month for me. I was diagnosed twice in October. This October marks that I am FIVE YEARS clean. I am truly “back to normal”.

This is not a sob, woe-is-me story. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ladies, please get checked. Do it for you and do it for your family. A simple mammogram saved my life.

living in Panama

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2 thoughts on “Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  1. It certainly is a must do! I have great friend going through a year of H— having been diagnosed with Stage 3 this past January. She is doing great all things expected. Women just need to go and get this done. And I am so glad you are healthy and happy in Panama 🙂

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