Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month...

I know God promises not to give me more than I can handle. I wish He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa

For me it started with a routine mammogram. It was October 1999. I can still remember that I was reading the latest Princess Diana tell all. I was totally oblivious to the multiple retakes. When the technician told me the mammogram revealed calcifications in the left breast, I wasn’t concerned. They were 99% sure it was nothing, but I was advised to get it checked. The sequence of events that followed was dizzying. The next procedure found DCIS, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ, the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. Good news, right? Not exactly. During a lumpectomy to remove the DCIS a cyst was found and removed but they also found more DCIS. The DCIS was considered multifocal. I was told to schedule a partial mastectomy. I was beside myself. It was incomprehensible to me that in the matter of a month, I had gone from 99% of nothing to losing my breast. I had the surgery with reconstruction and went home on Christmas Eve. I was angry. I wish I could tell you I had an epiphany, but I didn’t. I still haven’t 8 years later. But I can tell you what I have learned. There are things we can and cannot control. Family history falls under “cannot control”. I had a great aunt on my father’s side who died from breast cancer. What I should have tried to control was my stress level. I think that what stress does to your body can contribute to all disease. Probably not cause it, but definitely it can make it worse. So breathe. Let things go. Be kind to yourself, keep informed, and by all means get a mammogram.

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