Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Save your Ta-Tas!

October is breast cancer awareness month, so I just wanted to remind you to squeeze your boobies. Doesn't matter where (well okay, maybe it does matter where), just do it. Once a month I(try to remember to) self-exam in the shower, but interestingly, when I found my own tumor, I was laying flat on my back dealing with insomnia due to my nervousness about my doctoral program admission interview the next day. So, go figure, I'm a big proponet of self-exams.

October is also my end-of-treatment anniversary month. I found my lump in April, had it removed in June, had chemo June, July, & August, and radiation in September and part of October. I was on Tamoxifen for a few years after that, but I recognize October as the "it's over" anniversay. This year, I celebrate "nine years out." That's how we say it, in breast cancer survivor lingo.

If you're a guy, or know a guy, tell him to self-exam, too. Although less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men, they have a lower survival rate.

There are obviously many drawbacks to breast cancer (death potentially being the big one, of course), but there were a lot of benefits for me. I'd like to share them, as my own little way of counting my blessings.

1. It brought Rhett and me together. We were in the throes of infertility treatment when I was diagnosed, and if you know anything about that, it can just kill the intimacy in a marriage. And sometimes the marriage. It causes tension in some marriages, as it did in ours. Incredible, unbearable tension. We were teetering on the edge. The diagnosis gave us something to rally together against, unlike how we dealt with infertility. I will always be greatful for breast cancer. It saved my marriage.

2. It made me realize how utterly unimportant hair is. If it were socially acceptable, I would totally shave my head and be bald. Okay, I'd have to weigh 30 fewer pounds, too, but still, I'd do it.

3. Chemo makes your skin absolutely glow. For months after, even. This was taken about a month after I finished my last chemo treatment.

 See what I mean about the shaved head? Here, my hair had already started to grow back in, but I loved it like this! And then when it got curly, most excellent! Eventually it straightened out, though, and became my regular, boring, unappealing hair, only melanin-less (read: grey).

By the way, I cropped Rhett out because he'd want it that way. He hates having any kind of "presence" on the Internet (hence the pseudonyms).

And finally,
4. It made me value the truly important. My husband. My (and his) family. And all the blessings of the gospel. Truth be told, when I was diagnosed, I was pretty certain I was going to die (and the doctors seemed to think so), but I was okay with it. In fact, I was confident all would be well. I'd be joining those who went before (my mom, most importantly) and be in a most wonderful, excellent place. I was ready. That's a special kind of emotional/mental place to be. Now, I wouldn't be. I've got BonnieBlue now, and that alone would make me sad to die.

This is probably repetitious from some other blog entry, so I'll end there with the reminder to self-exam so that you, too, can


  1. We've been in the infertility trenches too. YUCK! I'm currently enjoying a shorter hairstyle. I love being able to wash it, brush it and go. And thanks for the reminder. I'm current with my checkups. Years ago I started getting my annual exam in my birthday month. It's easier for me to remember.

  2. Good one. I loved your hair when you had it shaved and so short. And like I said, you are my idol for how you got through it. You are amazing. My cousin just got diagnosed. I figure it's just a matter of time for me. My mom, her sister, her sister's daughter (my cousin), and I found out today my great aunt (all same side of the family). So, I regularly check.


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