Saturday, January 28, 2012

Be vigilant! Know your body. Check yourself.

I have less than one percent breast tissue remaining since my bilateral mastectomy when my breast cancer journey began. However, that tiny percent of tissue is still at risk so I do monthly breast self exams every month. Truth be told, I do it a lot more frequently than that because the type of breast cancer I had (triple negative breast cancer), is very aggressive (grade 3) and grows incredibly fast.  

Whether you've had breast cancer or not, if you value your life on earth in any way, I hope and pray you're being vigilant and getting to know your body well enough to know when you feel something that is new or suddenly different when conducting a self exam.

As a survivor, I don't take chances with anything unusual that I feel. Thankfully, all of the unusual lumps I've found thus far in my post-treatment phase have turned out benign but we've removed a few to have them tested to be sure. It happened in October and I had a lumpectomy. I found another lump shortly after Christmas and have had a ultrasound and a MRI to take a closer look and it appears to be the same type of benign mass that they removed in October but since the only way to be certain is to remove it, it will be taken out when I have a revision reconstructive surgery mid-March. The doctor is not concerned about waiting until then since that's just 6 weeks away and the MRI results indicate a benign finding - praise the Lord!

Each time I feel something like that I go through a battery of visits and tests to figure out what it is and while that is annoyingly inconvenient and expensive, it is a necessity to ensure I continue to dance with NED (no evidence of disease). It's a small price to pay for longevity and I'm willing to pay it. 

Friends, please be vigilant with your health. Don't ignore signs of trouble. Don't delay, forget about or willingly choose not to perform critical self exams.  You are loved and you have a purpose here on earth so please don't contribute to cutting your own time on earth short.  If you haven't done a self exam in a while - do it now. Please.  

Here are some links that provide instructions on performing a thorough breast self exam --

May God light your path wherever you go, bringing you peace, joy and love. May He heal your body, heart and mind of all that ails you, restoring you to who you are meant to be. Be kind to yourself.