Another anniversary has come and gone, I can’t believe it was 5 years ago. July 2, 2012, I checked into Cooper University Hospital to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. The surgery was an easy decision for me, multiple prior biopsies which grew more suspicious over the years and a mother who died of Breast cancer. Five years later, I have NEVER second guessed my decision. I have spoken freely with anyone who is interested. For a long time everyone I knew was fully aware of my story.
Since my surgery 2 friends have been diagnosed with beast cancer, one in remission and the other still deep in the fight. A third friend is just at the beginning of “something strange in the imagining” stage, prayers that it is nothing. What frustrates me are the friends who just do not find it important to get their yearly mammograms. All three of the women I just mention were made aware of their situations via routine screenings. I am not here to preach, maybe I should, what I would do is encourage everyone to be screened regularly.
This years anniversary has me a bit more on edge. I now have a daughter who is a few short weeks from 13 years old and puberty is among us. As she fills out, a fear in me grows. Aside from my own risk factors, my daughters have a higher risk than I did having 2 grandmothers with breast cancer, women who sadly my girls never had the opportunity to meet. I wish I could do something to change those factors for my girls but there are some things Mom can not fix. What I can do is support my children as we face the future head on.
October, the world a wash in pink everywhere you look, corporations cashing in on the cancer struggle of millions of women. I had no intention of posting anything this month, I don’t post much these days. My mind was changed after receiving the news that another friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her journey begins, so many lives affected.
The questions from my own daughters are now deeper. Four years is a long time in the life of a child, they remember my surgery but did they really understand? Last night my little one, now 9, asked if I could ever get “that cancer” since I had the BPM. For me, the much more important question is how high of a risk my beautiful daughters have and how do we handle those risks as they grow. The only answer I can find right now, control what you can. When was your last mammogram? If you don’t remember pick up the phone and call for an appointment today! Talk to every women in your life and remind them to do the same. If you like pink that’s great but keep in mind that if millions were not being made by every company making or wearing all of that pink, it would not be happening. Instead use the pink as a reminder, get your screening!
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”- Benjamin Franklin
There of course is no cure for cancer but the studies are very clear, the earlier breast cancer is found the better the chance treatment will be successful. Call for your mammogram today!
You’re going to go through tough times-that’s life. Nothing happens to you, it happens for you. See the positive in negative events. Joel Osteen
In July of 2012 I had a life changing experience. Body altering surgery, pain both physical and mental and at times feelings of pure helplessness. Over time, those feelings became ones of freedom. Receiving the news that my post BPM biopsy was positive for lobular carcinoma in situ at first set me into a pure panic. I remember the doctors call, feeling as if the room around me was closing in and the tears rolling down my cheeks. Then the realization, I made the right decision. Years of biopsies and worries of cancer were over.
From then on I have really seen things differently. I refuse to allow the negative things in life to control my day. Sure, I have moments but as a rule I am trying to live more of a “glass is half full” kind of life. For years I often found myself in the middle of others drama or tried to mediate others dilemmas. Recently, I have had to remind myself of what I realized almost 3 years ago, life is too short to be surrounded in negativity.
Not only is it too short but life moves way too fast! It seems like just yesterday that my girls were born and today I watched Madison perform on stage at her first talent show. Megan attended her first dance the other night and both are growing into such beautiful girls. Allowing myself to live in anyone else’s negativity removes my focus on what is important in life. I will no longer feel guilty for allowing myself to focus on the positive things, I will not apologize for looking for the sun instead of the rain and I will not ask permission to smile. I WILL surround myself and my family with others who feel the same!