"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Invading My Circle of Friends

Today I got a phone call from a good friend I have known for 13 years.  She is having breast issues.  This is the second call I have gotten from a friend in the past 6 months regarding abnormal mammograms.   I feel like the threat of breast cancer is now invading my circle of friends.  I know that over a woman's lifetime, she has a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer, but I just don't want to watch friends go through this nightmare too.  I thought I was the 1 in 8 in my group.  This is so frustrating and scary. 

At this point neither friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but one friend is now at a 4 to 5 times greater risk of developing breast cancer with the pathology from her biopsy.  The other friend is on a six month follow up for her abnormal mammogram and has not had a biopsy yet. 

I have lots of friends that have or have had breast cancer, but these are women I have met through my own journey of dealing with breast cancer.   My path crossed with their paths because of our breast cancer.  I just didn't expect other dear friends that are healthy to have to deal with this. 

I am very grateful that at this point neither friend has been officially diagnosed, but I am scared for them both.  I am scared for my other friends, my sister, my nieces and my friend's daughters.  Breast cancer is a horrible disease that reeks havoc on normal, healthy women.  I want so badly for them to find a cure.

In addition to finding a cure, I want women to realize that this CAN happen to you.  I never thought it could happen to me, but it did.  Breast cancer does not discriminate.  If you are reading this, please do monthly self breast exams in addition to getting regular mammograms.  Don't have a false sense of security with a clear mammogram either as some tumors are not seen on mammograms for women that have dense breast tissue (that happened to me - a clear mammogram months before I found a 1 cm lump that had been there when I had the mammogram).   Do everything you can to detect anything abnormal early so you have choices.

At this point I have started to think of breast cancer as more of a chronic disease .  I will have to deal with it for the rest of my life even if I don't have active disease.  I just keep hoping that I can continue with oral medications and when my 5 years of that is finished there will be new options and research available to lead me to other ways to reduce my risk of recurrence. 

Tonight I will pray for my dear friends dealing with the fear of breast cancer and my other breast cancer sisters.  I will again be fundraising this fall to help find a cure.  There just has to be a cure out there somewhere.

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