Friday, October 23, 2009

Make Room For Girls and Boys

There is a local campaign that has offended some, though its intent is to inform and motivate women to take charge of their health care and make regular breast exams. The campaign slogan is "Make time for the girls".  As a breast cancer survivor for 17 years, I think I can speak for those who have survived and those that have not - know your body

I spent 2 years in treatment, from biopsy, four surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. I was 39 years old when I was diagnosed two weeks before Christmas. I had a mastectomy on December 27, 1999. From the moment I found the lump, my life was forever altered. I had 3 young children, my son was only 2 years old. I went through the two years with fellow travelers -  my dear friend lost her fight to breast cancer, shortly after I finished my chemotherapy. All total, there were 5 of us who were in some stage of treatment together. I am the only survivor.

Barbara Welsh discovered she had breast cancer. She had a different partner. Her husband was diagnosed with breast cancer during her course of treatment. The news was at once devastating and yet created an immeasurable bond between them. 

"We've got one another," says Barbara. "We will be together doing whatever in sickness and in health." Barbara and Mike have been married 41 years. Barbara's cancer was less than stage 1 but Mike is in stage 4. Both have had a mastectomy and Mike will begin his chemo treatment shortly after Barbara finishes hers. 

Only about 1% of men are diagnosed with breast cancer and most are in their 60's and 70's. Finding the markers for breast cancer in women is similar for men and the research shows that about 20% of the cases are hereditary. A very good reason why we should make room for the girls and the boys. That's what a wise, survivor and warrior grandma would do!

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Excellent post!! Thanks for sharing.