You know when I started this journey 4 months ago I wasn’t sure what to think, what to expect, what to feel. I was diagnosed on June 19th, had surgery on July 3rd and started radiation on August 16th. This summer has been a blur. It has been a struggle and it’s been a blessing. I have seen God’s hand over me the entire time. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have a life without troubles, but it does mean He will never leave you or forsake you and He didn’t.
I was overdue for a mammogram. I should have gone last year but I put it off. I didn’t have any family history of breast cancer, didn’t have any lumps and all my mammograms in the past had been just fine. I am probably the “textbook” case of why women don’t do regular mammograms. I feel like it has been hammered into our brains to check for lumps. To be honest, I didn’t really EVER think that a mammogram would find breast cancer without first having a lump. I remember the surgeon’s nurse telling me that “IF” I had done my mammogram last year it probably would have been clear. My “dot” was so small it wouldn’t have shown up last year. In retrospect if I “had” done the mammogram last year, I probably would have skipped it this year.
When I was first diagnosed I was stunned. I was doing my best to not acknowledge what was really happening to me. I wouldn’t say Breast Cancer, I would only say BC. I told my friends I was NOT going to do the pink ribbon thing, not doing “the walk”, not embracing this!! I did not want to be part of that club. It’s taken me getting to “this” side of it to understand that I AM part of that club. Just before I went into surgery I had a conversation with one of my surgical nurses who had recently finished her own breast cancer radiation treatment. She told me, “this doesn’t define you”. She was right. This did happen to me. This was real. This was hard. It’s something that happened to me but it isn’t ME.
This experience has been life changing. I am so very thankful for my “new” understanding and awareness of how important a mammogram is EVERY year. The American Cancer Society recommends a woman have a YEARLY mammogram starting at age 40. Early detection really is your best defense. Please don’t be afraid to get it done. Knowledge IS empowering and can be life saving.
I have believed from the very beginning that this experience was never ONLY about me. I believe that God allows some things in our lives to happen in order for us to touch others. I am in the middle of having conversations with some people at the hospital where I had my radiation treatments and we are planning a “Breast Cancer Awareness” event February 2, 2013. I will have more details as it comes together. My intention is truly to empower you (women) with the knowledge that I didn’t have. Sooooo mark your calendars (ok, so it’s a little early – make a note!).
To my friends and family, thank you for being there for me these last few months. Thank you for your prayers. Thanks for listening, thanks for letting my cry, thanks for going to appointments with me and thanks for letting me rant. Love you all!! Now . . . let’s move forward!