Exactly one year ago today, I finally broke down and went to my gynecologist more than two months before my scheduled yearly exam to see if I had a bump or a lump.
A year later, this is my advice to women:
1. Know your family history. Ask lots of questions and document everything.
2. If cancer runs in your family, consider genetic testing. More and more insurance companies are covering the expense and there are grants out there too.
3. DON’T ignore a bump or a lump on or near your breasts. You AREN’T too busy! You AREN’T too broke!
4. Get to know your body and know it well! When something changes, don’t make excuses. Talk to your doctor.
5. DON’T miss your annual exams. Your doctor needs to know your “normal”, so he/she will quickly recognize your abnormal.
6. Mammograms don’t see everything. I had two tumors. One stage 3 tumor. Neither were found on 21 mammogram pictures taken off of three different machines.
7. Ultrasounds don’t show everything. My second tumor wasn’t found until I had an MRI after I was already diagnosed with cancer.
8. Be careful with birth control pills. If you have the genetic genes, BRAC1 or BRAC2, birth control pills are the enemy.
9. Have faith in God and the goodness of mankind.
10. Know that if you do get breast cancer, it’s okay to share your story because there is a village waiting to wrap their arms around you and carry you through if needed.
God has a plan, and it is good!
Live BIG, life is short!