In honor of this being the last day of October, the month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness, I’d like to take a moment and share a sentiment that’s near and dear to my heart.
At age 54, my grandmother went in to have a routine check-up with her OB/GYN. During the visit they, of course, checked her breasts for any lumps or bumps. This time, unlike the other 200 times she’d had her breasts checked, they found one.
Because my grandmother (God rest her soul) was a feisty, truth-seeking woman, she sought out a second opinion. Thank goodness she did because they did find a lump…in her other breast. The original lump her physician found was rejected as suspicious upon further review. If it weren’t for her determination to be her own (health) advocate and research the best possible options for her situation, then they wouldn’t have found the malignancy in her other breast.
As Grandma liked to say, “Back in my day, they just didn’t do the things that modern medicine does today.” Without many (or any, for that matter) options she had a radical mastectomy. She never received any other chemical therapies or medication. Her doctor just told her to check back every six months and try to stay as “healthy as possible”.
Thankfully for her and our family she never experienced a re-occurrence again. BUT, because there’s always a “but” with cancer, since her diagnosis she urged my mother, aunt, cousins, and other extended family to always do self-exams and have a regular mammogram. And what do you know, her 3 nieces, my mother’s 3 first cousin’s, all were diagnosed with breast cancer.
The moral of the story is, cancer is all around us. The only way to start the fight is to be your own health advocate and go get tested. In honor of my beautiful grandmother “Clarie” and Breast Cancer Awareness month, please remember to do your breast self-exams and ask your physicians to check you annually.