Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Hello Cancer!

Posted on Oct 1, 2012 in Breast Cancer, Cancer | 2 comments

Today marks the first day of October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year I will experience Breast Cancer Awareness month in a new light. For years I’ve been “aware” of breast cancer. I mean, how can you not be aware?! Every October it’s a sea of “pinkwashing” with all the fundraising and brands putting pink ribbons everywhere. But the sad reality is that “awareness” is where it stopped for me.

breast cancer pink ribbon

I had never had anyone super close to me who had breast cancer so I’ve never walked the journey with someone with breast cancer and no one in my family (bloodline) ever had cancer of any kind. Up until recently, I had only known three people who had breast cancer, but I knew nothing else of their situation other than I heard they were treated for breast cancer. My “awareness” of breast cancer was simply that, I was aware of it. I got my annual mammograms, which always came back fine and I went on with life. I’m embarrassed to say that I was one of those people who thought it would never happen to me. Well, it did.

Hello Breast Cancer! In January of this year I was diagnosed with Stage 1b breast cancer. Invasive lobular carcinoma to be exact, which I learned is not the most common type. Ductal is the most common type, which includes invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). My diagnosis turned my world upside down and knocked me on my ass!

It all started the day after Thanksgiving 2011 when I found a small lump on my chest. It was just on the upper inner edge of my breast. It was so high up that I wasn’t even sure if it was related to my breast so I wasn’t really thinking it was breast cancer. But I was concerned so I immediately got in to see my doctor on that Monday following Thanksgiving.

In December of 2011, I had a needle biopsy that came back as pre-cancerous (atypical lobular hyperplasia, bordering on lobular carcinoma in situ). The beginning of January of this year, I had surgery to remove what I thought was pre-cancerous tissue. The pathology on it came back as cancer because needle biopsies only take a small sample so once all the tissue was examined some of it was cancer. When my breast surgeon walked in and said those three frightening words you never want to hear, “you have cancer,” I went numb. I didn’t hear a thing she said after that. To this day, it’s still a blur. (TIP: Always bring someone with you to your appointments to take notes so you don’t miss any information and/or record it.)

However, the days and weeks that followed are crystal clear. January 2012 was the worst month of my life. It was filled with fear, lack of sleep, weight loss (from the fear, stress and no appetite), MRI, CT scans, more surgery, etc. Almost every week of this year I have had doctor’s appointments, scans, blood draws, physical therapy (for lymphedema in my breast), etc. Let’s just say it’s been an exhausting year and the worst year of my life. But just like all of my life’s challenges there are always silver linings.

The silver lining for me has been that cancer has shifted my being in positive ways. I see the world differently. I appreciate and enjoy every day and no longer take any day for granted. It has also put me on this new journey to live more green and eat as clean as I can because everything you put in and on your body affects every cell in your body.

My new journey is the reason I’m starting this blog. We live in a corrupt and polluted environment and to live and eat clean is not an easy task, but I’m determined to do whatever it takes to help my body heal and to make my body an inhospitable place for cancer. I’m a wellness warrior on a mission to kick cancer’s ass and to live the best life possible in the process — a life filled with strength, hope, love and lots of green smoothies and green juices!

Whether you have cancer, or had cancer and are working to prevent a recurrence or new cancer, or you have never had cancer and want to keep it that way, it’s my hope that what I share on this blog might help you in your own wellness journey. Reading other people’s blogs and books has certainly helped me on my journey. Their stories have helped me to stop fearing cancer and have taught me to learn to live a more abundant and purposeful life.

It’s my intention to keep my blog posts on a positive and educational note, but that’s not to say every once in awhile I may blog about some of the things that irk me, like pinkwashing or doctors who don’t believe in integrative methods. I think the next step in Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be to educate people on the reality of where most of the millions of dollars raised really go and that “standard of care” is not the only option. I’d like to see the conversation move from building awareness of getting an annual mammogram and doing monthly self-exams (which is still important) to letting people know that if diagnosed there are choices that go beyond cut (surgery), burn (radiation) and poison (chemo).

 

2 Comments

  1. I just found you on Twitter. Carrots and Kale — I love the Web site name! I hope you are healthy now, or on your way to being cancer-free. Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future. Best, Mel.

    • Thanks Mel! My first post and my first comment. Yay! Didn’t realize I had a comment, so apologies for the delayed reply. I’m doing my best to be diligent with my treatments (currently taking Iscador) and with my nutritional intake (too many to list) to become and remain cancer-free. Thanks again!

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