October is National Cancer Awareness Month. This is a very important time for my family and possibly yours, or someone you know. My mom Connie, was diagnosed with breast cancer early of November of 2001. My mom shares her experience with us:
I had my yearly mammogram when the radiologist had the technician repeat the mammogram several times from different angles. The look on her face could not be disguised. She was nervous and I could see it. When she came in with the radiologist to talk to me about the need for a biopsy she could not hold back her tears. November 28 ,2001 was the day cancer was found during a biopsy. At my appointment with the radiologist, it was recommended that I have radiation. I live in a small community, so was referred to the closest large city that had the advanced facilities I needed. Prior to treatments I was tattooed in three different spots; one on my chest, one on my left side and one near my armpit. The purpose was to show the machine where to center the treatment itself. I was very fortunate not to need chemotherapy.
I drove 174 miles, Monday thru Friday for 37 days, traveling by myself, to receive treatments that lasted 28 seconds. The schedule was: arrive at the radiation center, change into a gown, have the treatment, get dressed and leave after no more than 20 minutes. I was so grateful for family members who were able to travel (from the opposite direction) to accompany me for my treatments.
The staff in a radiation center were prompt and SO UPBEAT that no one could walk out of there and not be smiling. An added benefit was that you meet the most interesting people that are going through the same thing that you are, so an immediate bond is formed, even if you only see them one time.
Now several years later I am cancer free, thanks to a wonderful and special radiologist that questioned one very tiny dot on my mammogram that he did not feel good about. Have you yearly mammograms ladies , they can save your life !! And remember that your attitude will get you through anything . So SMILE, LAUGH and BE HAPPY!
Mom’s sister Peg, met her for treatments when possible. When I could, I traveled to meet mom (which was a half way point from her home and mine) for her appointments. Since the radiation appointments were so brief in time frame, we had time to peruse bakeries, wander the mall and just spend time together, which was a good memory for me. The support from family and friends was so important for mom’s well being and positive outlook during that stressful time by giving her comfort and support.
This month, if you are due for a check-up, please schedule the time and find the resources to make sure all is well. I look forward to many years to have you as a friend and reader of A Mother’s Shadow.
I hope you will read the following guideline from the American Cancer Society’s website. Click HERE for tons of information on their site covering a wide range of topics from when to have checkups, to how to tell loved ones if you are diagnosed, to the myths of cancer.
Be healthy, be safe and please make an appointment with your doctor if it is time, or you just have the feeling it is needed.
For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call anytime, day or night 1-800-227-2345 or visit online at www.cancer.org.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today. Stay healthy to continue being a blessing!