Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Check Yourself, Know Your Normal

Most people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and even though we are now rapidly approaching Thanksgiving, it doesn't mean we can forget. Please check yourself, every month, and every year if you're off "that age" to get mammograms - this includes you men as well! Get to know your "normal". And always trust your instincts.

Last year around this time I learned a dear friend had an agressive form of breast cancer and due to a lab mistake it had been overlooked. When she was diagnosed it was late Stage 3 HER breast cancer. At one point her odds were down to 30% survival, after completing part of her planned double mastectomy her odds went up to 90% survival. Everyone who loves her was ecstatic and extremely grateful.

I'm a dense girl, so more difficult to test, much like my mom. However, my mom and I have an advantage: her mother. My grandmother had a double mastectomy and was a guinea pig for much of our protocols in use today. She handled it all with style, grace, and fight. My mom also handled hers well, and was fought for what was right for her. As a result, I've done a lot of research and had made all my decisions on treatments plans years ago. I never want to have to make these decisions while in the throes of the diagnosis.

My dear friend didn't have that advantage, but she has had tons of love and support, many fund raisers, an amazing employer, and a very strong family. She didn't feel that things were right, so she kept going back to her GP, who also didn't feel that things were right and got her in front of a specialist who immediately spotted the cancer. So trust your gut, you know your normal, if something is off be ready to fight your doctor, insurance or whomever to get a second opinion and have someone listen to you.

My only request is this: Check yourself.  Now, and each month. If you don't know how, there are tons of resources online. Start with the Susan G. Komen site at a minimum.

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