Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last Thoughts

      If you are just stopping in, this is the thirtieth post in my 31 Day Series:  I Wear Pink.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 18, 2009.   This series is about my journey with breast cancer.  You can find the previous posts here.
Day 30:  

     Cancer is a word, not a sentence.  ~John Diamond

     On February 18, 2013, it will be four years since I heard the words, "You have invasive ductile carcinoma... surgery, chemo, radiation."  Four years since my life was forever changed.  I no longer have cancer.  I am a cancer survivor.  Our lives have moved on.  We are busy with usual family things. 
      Unless I happen to be wearing a breast cancer bracelet, pin, hat, or other clothing article that shows that I am a member of the cancer club - a casual acquaintance wouldn't know.  In fact, Cynthia, the colleague and parent of a child at my school that I had met in the waiting room of the women's center on the day of the mammogram that saved my life, had no idea.  We happened to meet at the nurse's office at my school.  She was there to pick up her son.  Cynthia shared with me how embarrassed she  had been that she had was wearing the exam doily when I arrived in the waiting room.  I assured her that I was similarly humiliatingly attired just moments later.  Cynthia went on to say how frightened she was each time she went in for her yearly mammogram.  She was always afraid that they would find cancer.  It never occurred to her that they had found it in me.
     The road has not always been smooth.  Two years after my diagnosis, I had an odd full feeling in my beleaguered breast.  Another biopsy was called for.  In the week between the ordering of the biopsy and the actual biopsy, I began to put things in my life on hold.  I didn't want to commit to anything for fear that I would be back in the dance with cancer again. Fortunately, the area of concern was a small fluid filled cyst.  It has since gone away.
     I have noticed people complaining about the pink washing of the month of October.  My feeling is any money raised for breast cancer awareness and research is money raised.  Every dollar counts.  I do buy pens and other small items with a pink ribbon on them.  I feel a sense of connection when I see others who have a pink ribbon.  I love to see survivors.  They signify hope for me and many others.
     I have seen posts of concern that mammograms cause cancer or over diagnosis.  Mammograms save lives.  A mammogram saved mine.   I am here today because a mammogram found a cancer that no one could have felt in conventional exams before it spread.  Even the doctors who knew it was there, could not find it.  My lifetime chance of having cancer was considered low.  I did not have any risk factors.  I am appreciative that the radiologist made "a good call."  He knew cancer when he saw it.  I am also appreciative of the tech who made sure that she got as much of an image as she could on the mammogram.  My tumor was tucked in against my chest wall.  It could so easily have been missed in imaging.
     Cancer is no respecter of persons.  It strikes the old and the young.  The average age of diagnosis is 61.  I frequently heard that I was young, 50 at that time, but I met women who were much younger than I.  There were girls in their twenties and thirties who had breast cancer.  They should have been planning education, jobs, weddings, and children, instead of chemo and radiation appointments.  You are never too young for cancer.  If you feel a lump, get it checked.
     I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  ~Psalm 27:13
     I met my Savior at the age of twenty.  He has carried me through many situations, good and bad over the years.  In cancer, I saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Through it all I felt the prayers offered in my name.  I felt the touch of my Father.  He walked with me through the fire of cancer and He will walk with me the rest of my days.
    My husband is an amazing man.  I love him.  He has been a source of comfort and strength.  I appreciate him.
     Tomorrow, is the last post in the 31 Day Series.  It is a letter to breast cancer.  It may be the final post in the series, but it will not be the last time I post about cancer.

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