Saturday, June 1, 2013

Don't Let Fear Destroy Your Life and Your Health

Since my Breast Cancer diagnosis just about a month ago,  I've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of women about their own issues and self-detection. As I previously wrote about my own detection, I just knew something was wrong in my gut, but there was something else that happened in February that I forgot to include in the "announcement" blog. 

My husband and I took the kids to the Boston Museum of Science and they had a phenomenal section on Breast Cancer. They actually had a "Touch and Feel" section of 2 different breasts that were sort of rubbery. One had a Cancerous tumor and the other had just a benign cyst. I remember feeling the one that was Cancerous and having that "Ah-HA!" moment. It felt just like mine did and that moment stayed with me until I finally brought myself to the doctor 2 months later.  Again, I think I was in a bit of denial and fear, ha...just a bit. Keep in mind, my mammogram from December was just fine and I was told to come back in one year. I had that information in my head, trying to rationalize that I didn't need to go to the doctor because the mammogram wouldn't lie, would it? 


It can make or break you. In my case, I faced it and took care of it. I didn't prolong it any further. However, many women are so paralyzed by fear and denial, they never go for mammograms, Pap smears, or physicals. They may take very good care of their roots, their nails, their makeup and their body hair. But the insides of their bodies are totally neglected.  

And at this moment I am going to quote a very wise BFF, nurse, and overall superb human being:

"We do not live in a third world country and there is no excuse for ANYONE to NOT have a mammogram." (Just Google "Free Mammogram" if you don't believe me.)

She is absolutely, 100% correct. She and I have heard stories of women bragging about not having a mammogram for 5 years, and being "just fine". Well, you know what Missy? You are just lucky, that's all. 

Having a cavalier attitude about your own health can destroy your life. And if you neglect it for so long and then expect your body to bounce back, you are sadly mistaken. Do not take your body for granted. Please! 

One out of eight women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Look within your circle of friends right now. Do you know someone in that circle who has Breast Cancer? I looked inside my own circle a few month ago and realized I did not have a friend with Breast Cancer. Well, what do you know? I have just fulfilled the quota within my circle.

I'm not trying to invoke more fear. That will just paralyze you. I am trying to get you to take the action you need. I want you to talk about your checkups with your girlfriends, aunts and mothers. I want you to be the one to start that conversation about health and wellness. I want you to pick up that phone and schedule those exams, like you schedule your weekly nail appointments and your Girls' Nights. 

I am the girl who never smoked, drank, or used drugs. I cook mostly everything I eat, I stay within a healthy weight range, have yearly physicals, mammograms, etc. I am not perfect. I eat too much sugar. I don't sleep enough and probably could exercise more. I didn't think I would get Breast Cancer but I did, even after leading a healthy life. I don't dwell on why or how I got it, that is not very productive at this stage of the game. I see people all around me destroying their bodies and they don't have Cancer, but I do. I am not bitter or angry. What makes me angry though is people who think they are invincible to disease and don't take charge of their bodies and full advantage of the superb health care we have in this country.

"We do not live in a Third World country".

Remember that. Please. 


mindy said...

great post. i hear you, Becky! sadly, many are shut out from affordable health care. mammograms might be free, but treatment is not available for everyone.
you are amazing. thank you for having the courage to face this challenge. love


You are a great role model, Becky. I hope that everyone who reads this takes a positive action, whether it be making those appointments or taking better care of themselves.