Lately, there has been an influx of cancer around me. 2 family members have been going through it-whether its the diagnosis process, or in the case of my aunt, surgery X2 and treatment. A couple friends have gone through surgery as well recently. I just got a call from an agency to help low income women who are going through breast cancer. It reminded me I wanted to write something.
I don't even know how to write this blog.
I could tell you-go get checked, male or female. Start early. Check often.
I could tell you my story.
I could tell you how art got me through my tests.
I could tell you how scared I am for myself, my mom and all the members of my family.
So I will.
I'll start with the common sense.
Go get yourself checked. Women-do your self exams monthly (I use http://www.checkyourboobies.org/ to remind me). Men, check your ladies, too. Ladies: Go make sure you get your yearly exams. No body image concern you have should get in the way of you taking care of yourself. Men, do your exams and follow up with your MD's as well. If something isn't quite right, get it checked out. Its not rocket science.
I lucked out, but I was damn lucky given my family history. My breast health issues were fine-but the long waits and the various exams I had to go through were torture. YOU HAVE TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF. They tell you that you have to wait for an appointment? No you don't-call every day, ask to be pushed up. They don't want to give you a second opinion? Too bad, They will. I went through three specialists and dozens of phone calls before I got what I wanted. They don't want to do a sonogram in addition to the mammogram? They can go to hell. Ask for what you need, and deserve. Know what tests you need for your breast tissue and your age!
Also, don't just sit there-do something. The sitting and waiting for the results will drive you nuts. I happened to go back to crafts-sketching, crotcheting and sewing. I had to keep myself busy. I also started writing again to get what was in my head out. That was just me though.
Lastly, the fear. I'm concerned that the next exam I have won't be flying colors. I'm concerned that after the next surgery and the treatments my Aunt won't get through. I'm concerned for all the people I know. But I am so glad they got in, got checked and got treatment. I remember being so ANGRY with my mother for not going in for exams. SHE was my best chance at knowing what I was in for. She was selfish for not going in and taking care of herself, as in turn, she was failing to take care of me.
So I told her
And she finally went in for testing.
Women, Men, friends, the like: Get up, take care of yourself, do what you can to be healthy. You're the only you people have, so do what you can to stick around.
Cheers-yours in health