I know that I have been MIA a lot this summer. My summer has been incredibly busy! I’ve definitely been living my life on fast forward.
It will soon be October and as we all know (or should) it will be Breast Cancer Awareness month. Some of you know that my stepsister Kathy passed away just over a year ago from breast cancer. Well, now I have another story to share with you.
We all know that we are supposed to check our breasts for lumps on a monthly basis, ideally in the shower, but how many of us actually do it? Many of us go through life, not unlike our children do, thinking that it can’t happen to us…”it’s not in my family history, so it isn’t something to worry about.” WRONG!!!
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer this past July and I want to share her story with you.
One day, while showering, my mother found a lump in her upper breast. Now for the women in my family, this is not such an unexpected occurrence. You see, my grandmother, mother and I have fibrocystic breasts. This means, for us, that we form cysts in our breast tissue. They are benign, but can become uncomfortable so we go off to the doctor and have the cysts drained. No big deal, not fun by any means, but not life threatening. Most women with this have a cessation of it in their 50’s, when menopause is complete.
My mother is 65 and hasn’t had a problem with them for a while. When she found this one, it felt different to her than what we usually have experienced. For starters, it was up high, right above what we think of as breast tissue. Secondly, it didn’t hurt. That can be a big warning signal, fibroids are usually uncomfortable at the very least.
Off she went to the doctor, who decided that it needed to be removed. The next week, he removed it and sent it to be tested. It came back positive for two different types of slow growing breast cancer. The doctor had my mom back in the next week to remove more tissue and also check her lymph nodes. Needless to say we were all on pins and needles waiting for the results to come back.
When the results did came back we were over-joyed to find out that everything looks clear. Her lymph nodes are clear and a bone scan showed no signs of cancer anywhere else. As a precaution, my mom is now getting radiation treatments. She is also taking a medication to reduce the estrogen she has in her system. Estrogen feeds cancer…it’s like candy to it. My mother is very proactive and has said on many occasion, she will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t come back and that she is around for many, many years. We were very lucky.
Because the mammogram my mother had back in October of last year didn’t show any signs of the lump, we are telling every woman we know…check up high!
I made a drawing for you based on where my mother’s lump was located…CHECK THERE!!! If we can help one woman find something that would have otherwise been missed, there will have been some purpose to this rollercoaster ride we have been on. Tell your mothers, sisters, daughters…everyone you know.
…no, I’m not giving up my day job…and no… it’s not a self portrait or a drawing of my mom…we should be so skinny!!! Ha-ha!