A FEW WORDS ABOUT BREAST CANCER. I have hesitated to write this post for quite some time; not every piece of a bloggers’ life has to open to scrutiny. But more understanding about health issues is usually a good thing and if just one woman reads this and is motivated to act I’ve done my job.
Everyone knows some one who has or has had or has died from this insidious disease. And, we’re all hoping that we’ll never be the one it happens to. I personally have not know anyone who has died from it. And that is a testament to the advances in treatment over the last ten to twenty years. March 27, I found a small lump in my breast; I was able to have an exam, mammogram and ultrasound the next day. The following week I had a biopsy; it proved positive for invasive ductal carcinoma. An MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis and I officially joined the club that no one wants to join. The good news here is that the tumor was very small, just around 9mm, the size of a small pea, and I found it. It did not show up on the mamogram but did with ultrasound.
Surgery took place May 7th. Because the tumor was very small I had a lumpectomy; the tumor was about .5cm in size, the surgeon got it all and there was no lymph node involvement. HOORAY! Because the lymph nodes were clear I do not need chemotherapy–DOUBLE HOORAY!! Last Thursday I began 6 weeks of radiation; an inconvenience since it is a daily occurence, but I am happy to do it. As my neighbor said, “It’s your new part-time job”. 27 days to go. After radiation is five years of an oral medication. With care and good fortune, my risk of redeveloping cancer will be quite small.
That said, I feel very lucky in spite of the diagnosis. I found the lump, I was seen right away and I have a very common form of breast cancer that is highly treatable, and we are fortunate to have the insurance to (hopefully) cover most associated costs. I have felt very positive throughout and am not worried about what lies ahead. I have a wonderful, loving, caring family and a great network of friends (and competent doctors). I feel great and resumed many of my usual activities within a few days. Life marches on.
For me the most important take-away is that as women we need to be diligent–I cannot stress enough the importance of regular self-examination–IT WORKS, regular check-ups and yes, mammograms. Be strong and take care of your health. Enough said.