I can’t even tell you how important “self exam” is. Well, yes I can. That’s how I discovered my breast cancer. I found the lump when I self exam’ed in the shower. When the doctor called a few weeks later after all the appropriate tests were done, I had mostly resolved myself to knowing that I had cancer. She confirmed the diagnosis.
My schedule was a whirlwind after that. We had found the cancer early (stage II) but it was a fast- growing type. I was scheduled for surgery in two short weeks, followed up with chemo and radiation. I almost didn’t have time to think about it. I was scared, I was dazed and confused and not sure what to do next. I gathered my tribe (those gfs that are there for you no matter what). They volunteered to help with household chores, make meals, run me back and forth for treatments, etc., etc., etc. And I prayed. A lot!
To some extent I believe that cancer is a battle of the mind. It’s important to be aware of your body and know what belongs there and what is not right. Do your self exams (there are a lot of resources on the internet to show you how) and mammograms. Find a doctor you can wholeheartedly trust and talk to about anything and everything. Ask what lies ahead with the treatment and enlist your friends and family to help. Rest, rest, rest and eat right.
Did my life change? Oh yeah! I gained a new perspective, got more adventurous, deepened some relationships and got rid of the toxic ones in my life. I am active, involved in church, spend time traveling, cherish my friends, stay positive and remind myself to enjoy life. Many factors play a part in the survival rate of breast cancer patients. Detected and treated quickly, there is a higher rate of survival. I am four years out from my surgery and looking forward to celebrating big on that magical 5-year milestone!