Saturday, October 12, 2013

October breast cancer awareness & my family

I thought I would share the impact that breast cancer has had on my family since October is the month of awareness.

My Mother was diagnosed about 7 or 8 years ago.   She was the first woman in our family to be diagnosed so we were really shocked.   Thank God,  hers was self contained in one area.   She had a mastectomy one week after diagnosis.   Mom did not want to wait.   The good news is,  she didn't have to have chemo or radiation and has done great ever since.

My younger sister survived breast cancer after a year long battle last year.   Her story was much different.   She had a lump that she ignored.   She hadn't had a mammogram in many,  many years.   She noticed the lump getting bigger and finally,  after much urging,  she finally went to the doctor and got a mammogram.   Because there was movement of the lump and it wasn't stationary,  the doctor didn't think we had cause for concern but a biopsy was done.

To our shock it was an aggressive form and my little sister had a mastectomy and chemo and radiation.   It was a tough year but she came up fighting and as I like to say,  waving her fists in the air Rocky style!   Yesterday,  she found out the results of her BRCA genetic test.   It was negative which was wonderful news.   I'll admit I've thought about my odds with my Mom and sisters diagnosis and definitely feel a sense of relief at this good news.

Ladies,  check yourself regularly.   Don't ignore symptoms.   Don't believe that because your symptoms are not the usual suspect,  that you have nothing to worry about. 

Lastly,  if you are concerned you may have a lump and are uninsured and that is preventing you from pursuing getting checked out,  there are often options.   Check with your local public health department to see if you qualify for any type of Medicaid waiver.   Check with local hospitals and local breast cancer awareness groups and find out if you can get a free mammogram.   Our local group,  Steel Magnolias gave us a ton of helpful information and even delivered my sister a tote bag full of goodies including handmade items and things to help her on this journey.  
Thanks for letting me share our story with you and God bless!

My sister Judi in the
background, 6 months before her diagnosis.