Friends….Please pray for me and my family as this week I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (breast cancer). Muffin and I will be meeting with doctors next week to determine a treatment plan. The good news is, the tumor is pea-sized. We are hoping the cancer has been caught before spreading to the lymph nodes etc…
My routine annual mammo turned into “OMG, now I have breast cancer!” but hear me friends….
GET YOUR DUMB MAMMOS!
If you are a woman, and you have breasts….your breasts need to be photographed once a year! Period. And don’t buy the blah blah blah story from whomever is now saying you can get a mammo every other year….that’s a bunch of bunk. Get your dumb mammo once a year.
I’m not exactly sure what the future holds, but I know this….breast cancer is most treatable and survivable with early detection. Early detection means if you’re over 40, you put your rack on a slab annually and hold your breath to see what’s going on in there. In addition, you do breast self-exam monthly.
I had a friend tell me she never gets mammos because she doesn’t want to know. I stared at her for a moment, and with genuine Christian love I said, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” I went on to say that her thinking, while valid, is flawed. She said her parents suffered with Alzheimer’s and she watched them go through hell, so she doesn’t like doctors.
Here’s the truth….
Breast cancer isn’t a death sentence anymore. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Breast cancer is staged from 0 to 4. (I got the following information from www.cancer.org)
If a woman is diagnosed in stages 0 to 1, her 5-year survivability rate is 100%. Nice!
If diagnosed at stage 2, survivability rate is 93%. Still nice!
Stage 3, 72%. Not as nice, but okay.
Stage 4, drops to a dismal 22%. Oh crap, I should have had annual mammograms.
Hiding your boobs in the sand won’t change the fact that if you have cancer, you have cancer. And in my friend’s case, her loved ones suffered with a completely different disease. It wasn’t breast cancer. Not getting mammos because your parents had Alzheimer’s is like saying “I’m not going to eat meat because my parents ate ice cream and threw up.” It makes no sense.
But, I get it. The fear thing….
I’ve walked the cancer road with my mom. She died of bone cancer when she was only 51. It was horrible. The whole thing was a nightmare. Chemo, radiation, nausea, hair loss, pain, hospital, in-patient, out-patient, blood tests, markers, bone marrow extractions, emergency room, hospice, and death. But, I wasn’t diagnosed with bone cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And, when my mom was diagnosed, she was in stage 4 of her bone cancer. Again, very different. Plus, that was in 1989. There have been 27 years of advancements in detection, care, and treatment of many cancers. I understand fear. But education is power.
Here’s what I know for sure…
If I didn’t have a mammogram last Tuesday, I wouldn’t know I have cancer because my tumor is so small it can’t be felt. The only way to see it is with mammography. (Thank you God for medical technology.)
Mammo is the ammo for fighting breast cancer. (I’m getting the t-shirts made!)
And, yes, after being diagnosed, I cried for three days and googled the crap out of words like lumpectomy, mastectomy, and cancer wigs with human hair. But, refer back to the survivability rates. Now I am taking it a day at a time. Yes, I might lose my hair. Yes, I might lose my breast(s). And, I might melt into a puddle of tears throughout the whole thing. But, I won’t lose my life to breast cancer. Praise the Lord!!
So do your breasts and your life a favor and GET YOUR DUMB MAMMO!
Do me a favor and share this super long post with your friends. You never know who needs a kick in the you know what to make that call and schedule their mammogram.
Love you! Please pray for me and let me know you’re going to get a mammo. It will encourage me to know good is coming out of this journey.
Here’s some more truth….
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Update: My cancer was diagnosed at stage 1 and my treatment plan included a lumpectomy followed by radiation and ongoing medication.