Sunday, October 13, 2013

Boobs...overrated right?!?!

Well, I guess it's a matter of opinion, and frankly probably depends on whether you're male or female in most cases.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, many of you know that I lost my mom almost 13 years ago to the horrible disease.  I in no way intend for this to be a depressing blog post but I want to bring awareness, especially since my friends and myself included are at the age where breast cancer becomes real.  My mom was only 39 years old when she was first diagnosed, within 2 years she had undergone chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, remission, more surgery, more treatment and ultimately death, at only 41 years old. I am fast approaching these same ages, 39 is only 6 1/2 years away, 41 is only 8 1/2 years away.  Reality is settling in... I have to do something about it!! 
                Me with my mom 1999
I find the numbers to be startling when you look at how many people will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer this year in the US alone. The estimate is 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 64,640 new cases of situ breast cancer. Unfortunately it also shows an estimate of 39,620 breast cancer deaths. We absolutely have to be proactive and do our self checks as well as get mammograms.  Since 2005, the incidence of breast cancer has remained stable. While this is good news I would really love to see the word decline instead of stable.
So what am I going to do about it?  Well, my sister and I have had this conversation numerous times. I have decided to meet with a Genetics Counselor and get tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene. I have delayed doing so because I didn't want the results to impact my decision to have kids. Selfish, maybe? And FEAR!!!  I won't lie, I am terrified.  I guess the unknown has been kind of comforting in a way. I am going to conquer this fear, because every time I feel a twinge or pain I can't let my mind take over. What if it's BREAST CANCER?   It's the first step, once I have the results then I can make a more educated decision on what step 2 is. One thing I do know for sure,  I'm not ready to leave my babies and husband any time soon.  I will do what makes the most sense for our family.
What would you do if you tested positive for the BRCA gene? I want to share one story with you.  I grew up with Lindsey and her sisters in Bloomington, we went to the same church and attended youth group together.  I find her story to be so inspiring and in part more reason I have decided to meet with a Genetics Counselor. Lindsey did the genetics testing along with her sisters and after testing positive with the BRCA2 gene decided to have a prophylactic double mastectomy.  Lindsey is strong, courageous and brave!!!   Please go read her story and keep her in your prayers as she is in her recovery stage now. Lindsey, thank you for giving me the extra push I needed. Reading your story helped me realize I need to stop avoiding it and make the decision to get tested, we cannot let fear win!
I urge all the women in my life to do your self examinations and get mammograms regularly, I don't want to lose any one else in my life to this disease. My mom was enough!!!
Source: Susan G Komen

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