Write In Between

Monday, April 24, 2006

To all my bosomed buddies...

An AP article today gave me a jolt: one-third of breast-cancer survivors do not get follow-up mammograms.

Read the full article here.

As a breast cancer survivor, I found this statistic shocking, but I understand it.

First, let me say that I understand it because I face the fear of returning to the hospital for my check-ups ever since I was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. But still I go. I believe that early detection saved my life, not to mention monthly breast self-exam.

Second, mammography’s technology has improved ovcr the last ten years. Yup, that means “they” are finding lumps before we even do… but that’s the point, right? Remember this statistic: 80% of breast lumps are benign. That’s important to realize. For me, the fear on not finding what they are supposed to find outweighs the fears of making the appointment.

So, to all you women out there, and for the men and children who love them—make your annual mammography appoint and GO. Do what you must to mentally get it together: take a day off from work, bring a friend, reward yourself with a trip to the store, bring home take-out, go to lunch, go to Mass first, whatever, but GO.

If you are a breast cancer survivor, remember, you’ve been through a kind of war. And nobody wants to return to the battlefield. I often recall our honored Purple Heart war veterans who walk or wheel proudly behind our nation’s flag on Memorial Day or Veterans Day. They, too, have suffered much, but they go on. We can too. Except our Day comes in a different form: Call it Mammorial Day. Each year you stand up and face that exam, recall that you, too, have suffered much, but you can go on. And if you need a parade to celebrate the event, join the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. It’s one heck of a parade with lots of pink ribbons and balloons. Not to mention people who stand along the entire route clapping and cheering for you as you pass by!

Finally, I keep my mammography and breast exams appointments so I can keep all the other appointments that are important in my life… and they are the things that matter most.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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