I always like to do a "boob blog" in October (past blogs are here and here) since it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this is such an important topic for women. I put out the call on Facebook Monday and in a couple hours I had my guest blogger lined up. Ya gotta love Facebook! So without further ado, here's Deborah Stephenson.
I was playing with my new oversized Doberman puppy and he kept pawing at my breast. I just laughed, since he was a male dog and thought he was just nuzzling me. He continued and then without warning, he swung his head terribly hard into my right breast. I grabbed my breast in extreme pain and to my shock, a huge lump became obvious. This lump had not been there before but now protruded enough to be quite apparent, even visually.
I made an appointment with my primary care physician to check it out. It was a very large tumor that had been totally hidden until the dog hit me, and it had begun to hemorrhage. The doctor was fairly certain that it was malignant and sent me to a cancer specialist for a biopsy.
Lesson #1 Do not assume that you will be able to detect a lump by self exams only.
Lesson #2 Sonograms are better at identifying suspicious lumps than mammograms.
Lesson #3 If in question, see a qualified specialist right away and order a biopsy.
Lesson #4 Some dogs can smell cancer. Notice if they act strangely towards any part of your body.
Lesson #5 Research! Find the very best surgeon and cancer specialist. Never rely on your current doctor just because you like him. Find someone with a very high percentage of successes and one that specializes in breast cancer only. They read sonograms with 10 times the magnification and their radiologist read only breast x-rays. Select the most extreme treatment since you have only one first chance to beat a cancer diagnosis. I have lost many friends that chose saving a breast instead of the priority to save their life.
Marilyn and I attended school together and she may even share our 7th grade picture together at Clara Harris School in Concord. It is a blessing to be sharing this story with you, at her request.
I battled cancer again in 2007. The picture above was taken during my chemo treatments. I actually had no hair, no eye lashes or eye brows, but still have a song in my heart. The most important personal lessons that I learned: Never let your circumstances change your joy of living. Live each moment as though it were your last!! Live in the now, always.
Schedule your check up today. Early detection can be a life saver.
And here's that 7th grade photo she talked about. Folks who can correctly identify both of us will be put into a drawing for a book.