Monday, October 25, 2010
Be A Warrior, Not a Wimp. Take Charge.
This is Victoria's Secret Wear Everywhere PINK Bra. I don't own one. If I did, I wouldn't be writing this post.
Before Breast Cancer Awareness months slips by, some words: I had a double mastectomy October 22, 2008. It's a date you don't forget. I was diagnosed stage two. I had two tiny spots in the right breast and one whopping big lump in the left. After the operation and going through all the Lets-make-sure-we-got-it-all treatments, I'm fine. I didn't get a reconstruction on the table as they like to do, because I was too thin--flattering words to my ears after all my careful eating, but a state of being that complicated the reconstruction process. Reconstruction would have required eight months of painful grafts, stuff and stretch procedures to build the girls back up. So flatter than Twiggy, (an unattractive, anorexic looking but very popular fashion model of the 60's), I chose to be. Now I choose to campaign for womens health.
LADIES GET A MAMMOGRAM if you're forty or over. You're squished by that machine some sadistic guy invented for just a split second. You can bear it; we're the stronger sex. It's a hundred times easier than any of the treatments they put you through if you get the disease and a breeze compared to the prep for a colonoscopy.
And if your breast tissue is dense, as mine was my whole life, or if your mom, grandmoms, aunts or any blood relatives had BC, or if you were adopted and don't have a clue of your medical background ( that's me again) ask for an ultrasound too--demand one if you have to. I'd been having mammograms since I was nineteen. I was familiar with the technology but knew zilch about ultrasounds. Then I learned the hard way that there's a ten percent chance the mammogram will fail to catch abnormalities. Mine did.
I had a false negative. I knew I had a lump, but it rolled around so it could just have been another cyst that do come and go when you have dense tissue. My x-ray was clean. Then a couple of months later the breast collapsed and I learned about ultrasounds, breast MRIs and biopsies.
Be a demanding bitch when it comes to taking care of your breasts. GET A MAMMOGRAM. Call you nearest hospital with a Cancer Center and make an appointment. I said hospital with cancer center. Skip the imaging clinics. They are not fully prepared to act immediately on your behalf. I went to one that was convenient to my house. Screw convenience. Drive the extra miles where they have all the diagnostic equipment to check you out thoroughly.
Out of the woods, I went back to my art seriously last January because my life had been threatened. I dusted off the talent that I flippantly left on the back burner for years. Now I'm pushing it as far as it will go for myself and my family. Breast cancer scared the shite out of me. When something like that bites you in the ass and you're vulnerability hits you in the gut, you never want to waste another minute. Everything becomes a joy to be celebrated even when the drawing turns out crappy and you wonder what were you thinking? I'm thinking, I'm lucky. So far so good. I'm a survivor of a year and a half and counting. You make sure you're a survivor too without going through the tsoris.
GET A MAMMOGRAM. GET AN ULTRASOUND IF HISTORY DICTATES. TAKE CHARGE. BE A WARRIOR, NOT A WIMP.