But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31







Tuesday, October 4, 2011

MAMMOGRAMS AND RECONSTRUCTION

Ok, can I be serious again today?  Can we talk about mammograms?  I have been hearing "talk" of getting mammograms every 2 years, and quite frankly, it makes me cringe.  First a friend has told me the doctor she works for is now recommending mammograms every two years.  Then a friend told me she is only getting mammograms every two years.  She seemed fine with that and said she knows I don't agree with it, but she doesn't have any family history!

Now, it's not for ME to decide what a person does or doesn't do about mammograms.  But, I want a woman to make informed decisions and am trying to educate women thru my own journey.  If I can help even one person get that mammogram that may save her life.... I praise God!  I can only share what I know from my own experience to tell why I would not wait two years to get a mammogram! 

I'll be honest.....before breast cancer hit our family, I knew very little about it!  And I suspect other women know as little as I did.  I had that "false security" of having "no family history" and will admit that I even missed my mammograms here and there and told myself...."I don't have a family history....I'll get it next year".   So, I understand that way of thinking, because I thought the same thing myself!  That's why I feel it's so important to be educated about it!  MOST women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history!  Most breast cancer is not genetic!  I even tested negative for the genetic mutation.  Please don't get too comfortable if you don't have any breast cancer in your family...I know I did!  Then my mom was diagnosed Dec. 2009 and my sister was diagnosed the following month, Jan. 2010.  I went from low risk to high risk immediately and in February 2010, my own mammogram showed 4 spots that had to be biopsied.  And then a year later, I was diagnosed myself.  But, keep in mind that although we have a "family history" NOW, we did not have one prior to Dec. 2009.  It can hit anyone at any time!  It's just so strange that it hit 3 of us so close together!

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer
in their lifetime
Breast Cancer is the MOST COMMON CANCER diagnosed among American women....did you know that?  Those are pretty high odds.  I know I hear of someone being newly diagnosed almost daily.  We need to do everything we can to give ourselves the best possible chance at survival!  We need to be pro-active!
The older we get, the higher our risk!
Did you know that?  I sure didn't!  I remember thinking when my mom was diagnosed at the age of 81...."Wow, she's escaped breast cancer all these years and now gets it when she's 81".  That shows how ignorant I was about it.  I have since learned that as we age, our chances of getting it increase.  Since making this post, I have learnd that 4 out of 5 women being diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50!  I knew we were at higher risk as we age, but I didn't realize how much more we were at risk! 

Mine grew to almost 3 cm in six months!
I had a mammogram in August 2010, and because they were watching me closely after the 4 biopsies, I was scheduled for another one in Feb....six months later.....then I would go back to annual mammograms.  Well, I actually missed my February appointment and called and they got me re-scheduled in March.  I'm thankful I didn't put it off, even though I told myself I'd just had one six months earlier and really didn't think they'd find anything growing that fast.  Well, I was wrong and glad I went and didn't put it off.  I had a very agressive, fast growing cancer that indeed did grow that fast!  Now just the thought of it growing for two years scares me!  The thing is....if you develop breast cancer any time after your mammogram, it's not going away...it's just going to grow.  YOU will have to decide for yourself, but my fear would be that it could be a fast-growing, agressive cancer and be in your lymph nodes or travel elsewhere within two years.  My sister, Sheila, had her annual mammograms faithfully, but still developed breast cancer by her next one and it had already travelled to her lymph nodes....just imagine how much more it would have spread in another year!  It just seems to be too big of a chance to take....everyone must decide for themselves....I just want to help educate women so they can make an informed decision.  My cancer was considered "early breast cancer" even though it was agressive and grew so fast....but because I caught it early, my prognosis is good and I had to have less chemo than others and no radiation at all. 

Now you know why the thought of a mammogram every two years makes me cringe.  I hate to see some doctors beginning to recommend that....but, thankfully, not all of them are. 
Mammograms don't prevent breast cancer....they help detect breast cancer early to give us the best chance of survival!

Self exams are important too!
I know people who have caught their breast cancer by feeling a lump, so don't overlook those self exams!  If something doesn't "feel right", have it checked!  Don't let fear stop you....it could be nothing to worry about.....but if it IS cancer, it's not going to go away!  On the flip side, don't get a "false security" if you don't feel any lumps.  I, nor two doctors, felt any lumps in me.  My breast cancer was totally found by the mammogram.  Same with my sister.  Her breast cancer was so deep that no lumps were felt and it was found by her mammogram. Even the biopsy came back "benign", but she was fortunate to have doctors/technicians who were not comfortable with that and felt they didn't get deep enough with the biopsy and thankfully, they continued to pursue it.  Same with my mom....she had her annual mammogram and because it was so small and not invasive (it was still in the duct), nothing was felt.  So, while self exams are important, don't rely solely on them.

I hope you haven't minded me discussing mammograms and their importance today.  It's just been really heavy on my heart after learning more doctors are recommending waiting two years.  I wouldn't want to take that chance.  A little discomfort once a year could save your life!  The breast center I go to even recommends a baseline mammogram at 35....I'm very happy that my 38 year old daughter began her's this year and am sure my 33 year old daughter will do so in a couple of years.  Now, on the other hand...I never have to have another one again...LOL!  Hey, I've "earned" it! 

RECONSTRUCTION!  I'M GROWING!!!
I went for another "fill" today.....only two more to go!  I'm growing and starting to "take shape"!  :=)  I had Sheila to snap some pics today before I went to the doctor to show you how I'm coming along!  I promise...no nude shots!  LOL! 
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Sheila said she can tell it in my clothes now.  This is my "small side"!  :-)  Just like my "real boobs", I have a smaller side....go figure!

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See...I wasn't kidding!  This is my "bigger side".  Funny thing is....my real boobs were the same....left larger than the right!  LOL!  He said he'd even them up!  :=)

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Larger side....still need to lose some belly!

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My smaller side.... :=)

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Ok, this is the last layer we're getting down to.  LOL!  Sheila's scared to death I'm gonna show you a nudie..LOL!  Nope, not gonna happen....they still don't look very pretty.  Now, when I get the silicone implants.....lol!

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Remember, this was before my "fill" today, so tonight I'm even bigger.  I mentioned to him today that I had two more "fills" to go and he said, "I can even make you bigger if you want"....maybe suggesting more "fills".  I said, "No thank you, I don't want to be bigger...by the time I get 2 more fills I think that will be big enough".  He laughed and said, "I understand...been there; done that, right?"  LOL...yep!

Ok, that's the end of my "kinky pics"!  I just want to show my progress in the most "tasteful way" possible.  If there is anyone out there who is facing the decision of reconstruction, I hope I have helped you with my photo updates.  I'll be honest with you...it was my hardest decision and after I began it and was so uncomfortable, I wasn't sure I made the right one.  But once that passed, I am so glad I did it and think it will be worth it in the end. 

Until next time.....Never hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or just need encouragement. 
Cindy

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!
    Thanks,
    David

    ReplyDelete