Friday, May 13, 2011

A public service announcement, a few thoughts, and "I had a dream too"

Before I get into it, Happy 30th birthday Stup! (my baby brother)
Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled blog.
I have gotten several questions and have been happy to answer them, but for those who haven't asked yet, I think there is some really important information that I need to share with all of you. Please please please learn from me! These are that facts as I know them about my breast cancer.
  1. I have very little genetic history to link me to getting this. My mom's first cousin had it. that's it. One model showed me as being only 5% risk... Why can't I win with those kinds of odds playing the lottery?
  2. I am under the magic age of 40. Mammograms are not routine for people like me... People who are "less likely" to get it... again, maybe I need to play mega millions.
  3. My mom had a history of finding benign things. I assumed that is what I had. But I thank God that I went to the doc's anyway. Don't assume anything and DO NOT self-diagnose!
  4. I found it myself. I was not super diligent about monthly self-exams, but would do them once in a while. I went to the docs pretty quickly. I'm so glad I did. If you find something, you are not being paranoid by having it checked out. You are being smart. If I waited until my annual to bring it up, it would be 6 months from now, and my prognosis would be much worse! Thank God for once I didn't procrastinate. (those who went to college with me know how unusual this is! nun-tac-toe anyone?? J, I'm looking at you!)
  5. Early detection is SO critical to saving lives. I didn't realize how important....I am praying and hoping that I am early enough to have caught mine in time. So far, it's seeming positive, but I don't know for sure just yet. The next week or two should let me know for sure. In the meantime, pray for me.
  6. Sometimes, breast cancer can be hormonally driven, and pregnancy can contribute to that. If you are a new mom, you are not exempt from breast cancer risk!! I had Steven 2 and a half years ago. My type of tumors are the hormonally driven ones... and guess what's raging in your body after you have a child? bingo! I was practically feeding the things with fish food!
And here are just a few extra thoughts. People have told me they feel awkward laughing reading the blog... Don't feel awkward. Laugh! I am. That's very much the point of some of what I write. Cancer is serious enough on its own. It doesn't need me to add to its seriousness. Keeping my sense of humor during this madness is a critical coping technique for me.

Also, people have been asking about the level of privacy. At this point, privacy is right out the window. More people have seen my body parts in the last two weeks than in my entire adulthood. While I will not share any crazy details or photos, one does lose a certain sense of privacy during this whole thing. I'd rather people are educated, inspired, and maybe a little entertained by me in the process. If I can inspire someone to check themselves out and maybe aid in someone else's early detection, then that will make me so proud!

Please educate yourself people. There are many great resources on how to do self exams. There are even amazing products like the Liv that can help. I can share info with you on this if you are interested.

As for the dream, while it pales in comparison to Dr. MLK's dream, I took it as positive. Last night, I dreamt that I was looking out the window. I noticed what looked like a horrible storm cloud rolling in across the sky. It was very dark and ominous looking. Then I looked closer. The storm cloud was actually just a grey awning being rolled out over the window... So perhaps things aren't as scary as they first seem... That's how I am taking it.


  1. Just to add to Nicole's comments...when I was sitting in my surgeon's office, after already getting my "good news" diagnosis, I picked up a book on breast cancer and found out that "I did nothing wrong". Guilt is a terrible thing and when the doctor tells you it is cancer you start to think what could I have done to prevent it. Well, for breast cancer the answer is "NOTHING"! 1 out of every 8 women will get it sometime in their lives and there is no prevention yet! My hope is that the fundraising they are doing for breast cancer research will help them to find something to prevent it.

    By the way, Nicole, I may be your only "link" in the family, but our cancers are different types. Mine was not hormonal; it was "triple negative" and the genetic testing I had said I didn't have the gene.

    Ladies, do what Nicole said and stay aware!

  2. I am so glad you're sharing this with us.

    Interpreting your dream as the awning = a protective barrier to shield you from negativity; it looks frightening to keep those negatives away from you!

  3. Nicole,

    Thanks for sharing with all of us. You are one truely amazing woman..worrying about others while you are going thru this. XOXO.

    laughter is the best I have been told!!