Shortly after returning from our British Isles vacation this year, I spent a week going around to all the various annual health check-ups I do at least once a year —general check-up, dental, ob/gyn, annual mammogram, vision. All the usual routine boring stuff . . . except for that spot on the mammogram. If you've been paying attention in October, you might already know that 80% of these spots turn out to be nothing. This year, I found myself in the 20% that are cancer. The big C. The club I never wanted to join. Stunned is the only way I can describe it.
No family history, no hormone therapy, I was sure I was exempt.
After surgery to remove the lump came some good news: it was very small, and it had not spread to the lymph nodes. I'm healing from the surgery and, every day this week, I am having follow-up internal radiation therapy twice a day at the hospital. I come home between treatments each day and do lite versions of my usual daily activities. By Friday, the device that delivers the radiation will be removed after my last treatment and I will be done with the hard stuff. The return rate on this type of breast cancer is very small.
My surgery was done on September 30, one day before the start of breast cancer awareness month. I know, it's a lot of pink ribbons and heavy merchandising all month, but if you take nothing else away from the campaign, ladies, please get those annual mammograms. My spot wasn't there last year. If I had waited two years between mammograms, I don't think my outcome would have been nearly as positive as it has been.
So that's my story. At the end of this week, when the last treatment is done and the device comes out, I'm tossing my apron in the car, picking up my friend Leslie in Valparaiso, and heading out to make marbled papers with Galen Berry at Hollanders, something I've wanted to do for years. More details to come!