My passion for volunteering with the American Cancer Society started in January 2010 when I discovered a lump in my breast. Of course, this happened on a Friday night, and I spent the next 48 hours panicked, scared and fearing the unknown. Besides having my husband by side, the only other comfort I had was: I had my first mammogram in November 2009. I was at my doctor’s office for my annual physical, and she mentioned my medical insurance allowed for 1 baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 39. I’ll admit. I’m a huge chicken when it comes to anything medical. Seriously, I can’t drive by a hospital without getting the heebie-jeebies. However, I took my doctor’s recommendation seriously and agreed to schedule a mammogram that very month. Call it fate, God or whatever higher power but that decision kept me sane over those long 48 hours. I had a mammogram less than 2 months ago and the results were negative. I held onto that knowledge like a child clings to a security blanket, thinking if I’m diagnosed I’ve caught it early.
Finally, Monday morning dawned, and I called my doctor. I was sent for another mammogram and then recommended to schedule a small needle biopsy. Remember, I mentioned I hate anything medical? Well, you guessed it. I put off the biopsy for several months. Denial is a wonderful thing. I allowed my life to tick-on until March and then I scheduled the biopsy. I was beyond lucky. I had a fluid filled cyst.
I’ll never forget the doctor pushing a greenish substance into a small glass vial. She held the vial for me and my husband to see and said, “You’re okay. You can go back to work.” Honestly, if she uttered anything else I don’t remember. My husband and I sat stone still. Puzzled expressions coated both of our faces. Several more minutes passed. I mustered the courage and asked her, “When do I need to come back for another mammogram?” She assured me I was okay; follow up mammograms weren’t needed but to remember to schedule my next one when I turned 40.
The very day we left her office we found out a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her situation was severe. She had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation and a long battle ahead of her. Then I had another friend diagnosed. She had a lumpectomy and radiation. From there the number of women I knew who were being diagnosed with breast cancer seemed to grow. So, my passion for supporting the American Cancer Society isn’t about me— it’s about the women I know and even those I don’t who have faced down the demon breast cancer and survived!
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, please contact the nearest American Cancer Society (ACS) for support. ACS is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering programs to serve the needs of cancer patients, their caregivers, family and friends and to funding research to find better treatments and a cure.
If you’d like to share your story about how cancer has touched your life I’d love to hear it.
For more information on my current fundraising efforts and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Tucson event click here FINISH THE FIGHT. If you’d like to join me in the battle against all cancers, click here CLIMB WITH US to learn more about the Climb to Conquer Cancer Walk at “A” Mountain.