Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not Without a Fight . . . Part 2

In October 2009 I went for my first mammogram.  I had given birth in November 2007.  Stopped breast feeding in 2008, finally got around to seeing the OBGyn for a yearly check-up in November 2008.  My Dr. told me then she wanted me to go get a first scan.  With no more babies, no more breast feeding, she wanted a baseline reading. 

Well, I didn't do it.  Who has time with a baby to go sit in a waiting room, plus I was scared.  My grandmother had been stricken with breast cancer twice.  Once when my mother was a child and once when I was 23.  It was horrible for her; it was horrible for our family.  We worried for her, every cough meant something.  Not eating meant something.  The medicine made her sick.  She lost her hair; it truly did a number on her body.  So knowing family genetics play a part in the percentage of who gets it and who doesn't I thought I would wait until  . . .  who knows.  No date determined, would just wait. 

Ignorance is bliss???  Head in the sand???  Probably so!

I finally got around to doing it in October 2009.  I decided to do it for several reasons then. 

1 - After reconnecting with friends on Facebook, one decided to hold a get together.  I went. 

I saw friends I had not seen since high school graduation.  We hugged, caught up on lives and gossiped about who was doing what, married to whom and how one of our "friends" there was acting like a real slut! 

It was then that one of my best friends from high school told me she had removed both her breast.  When my friend Amy was younger her mother had gotten breast cancer and if I remember correctly Amy's mom's mom had had it also.  Amy wanted to take charge of her life.  She did not want to be a victim of breast cancer.  So she was tested.  Amy did the BRCA-1 test and it came back positive.  Amy had three children, was going back to school to get her PhD. and working at a fertility specialist.  Her mother had already passed away; Amy did not have time for cancer or the support network to take care of her.  Amy was everyone's support network.  Amy made a brave decision and had them removed.  When we caught up that night she was waiting to do reconstruction.   

2 - A friend I had known since elementary school had be stricken with breast cancer.  They discovered it while she was pregnant. 

I didn't learn of her cancer until much later.  I sent out a Christmas card after the baby was born, December 2007.  I didn't receive one from my friend, which was unusual.  She had sent them the previous 6 years, what must have happened?  Divorced?  Didn't get my address change?  Dropped me from her list? 

I suspected the latter. It happens. 

One day she popped up on Facebook.  Her long blond locks were gone, replaced by a short black cropped haircut.  She still had a beautiful face, but there was something different about this picture.  There was another child.  OH, that explains it - she was pregnant and didn't have time to do cards.  I get it - children can suck the life out of you at times.  In fairness, they give it back also!

In early October of 2009 she posted on Facebook about her being cancer free 1 year.  She praised God she was still here, thanks her Dr.s and expressed love for her husband and family.  Her husband, family and friends were going to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 3-day walk in her honor. Now that explained the missing Christmas card.

I believe she sent an email out to friends asking for financial support of her team.  We gave.  Finding a cure, supporting the women going through this battle, and praising the people who are out fundraising for it are worthy of our support.  I just wish I had more to give.

3 - The last reason was my family history.  I hated that I had a family history of breast cancer, but it is what it is.  I had to do something.  I had to get tested and either it would relieve any fears I had or confirm them.  If I had a fight on my hands I wanted to get it early and start as soon as possible.  I was not going to let this sneak up on me.  I wanted to take charge.  I wanted a chance.

So there I sat, making my appointment knowing:

3 Women my age - exactly my age

3 Friends - I knew these women - I know their story

3 Testing positive

All fighting for their lives any way they could!

continued tomorrow . . .

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