Sharing is Caring

pinkribbonsflying

A good friend and co-worker of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  So, being the old pro that I am at kicking cancer’s butt, I’ve been sharing my experiences and knowledge with her so she can kick some cancer-butt too.  While I was looking online for some additional resources for my friend, I came across some awesome sites that I wanted to make sure everybody knew about.  These sites have wonderful information on everything from financial assistance to eyebrow tattoos.  Check them out and pass them along!

http://www.happychemo.com/about-us/

https://www.healincomfort.com/free-stuff-breast-cancer-patients/

http://www.1uponcancer.com/freebies-and-discounts-for-cancer-patients/

Peace, love and good health to us all!

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happy and alive

Mammograms may be best, but you still need to check your own chest

love life hope

 Johns Hopkins Medical center states,

“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”

I was one of those women who felt a lump in my own breast (followed by a chilling lump in my throat).  I didn’t say anything until the next morning, because I went to bed hoping that I would wake up and the lump would magically be gone.  It wasn’t.  I saw my doctor that afternoon, and he assured me that it was “very unlikely” that I had breast cancer.  Boy, was he wrong.  An ultrasound, mammogram and eventual biopsy confirmed my worst fear.  Mammograms are important, but knowing your own body and keeping an eye out for any changes is equally important – I’m living proof.  So, I’m including  information on both self-exams and mammograms in this post.  Please educate yourself and your friends and family – it can literally save your life.

SELF EXAMS

Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month.

While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.

How should a breast self-exam be performed?

1) In the Shower 

Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.

2) In Front of a Mirror 

Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.

Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.

3) Lying Down

When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.

Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.

MAMMOGRAMS:

Breast Cancer Screening Reminder

The American Cancer Society encourages women to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and reducing alcohol, if a woman drinks. These choices can help reduce their breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society also encourages regular breast exams and mammograms to find breast cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable. A screening reminder, to remind you to get your breast exam and mammogram, is a free, easy way to help busy women remember to take care of themselves.

Why Get Screened?

Numerous studies have clearly shown that getting a mammogram and a breast exam reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer. Breast cancers found during a mammogram are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. Finding breast cancer early (called early detection) can improve the chances that breast cancer can be treated successfully and with more treatment options, less extensive surgery, and ultimately, better treatment outcomes.

Who Should Get Screened?

The American Cancer Society’s current Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines recommend:

  • Yearly mammograms at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
  • Breast exam about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
  • All women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and should report ANY breast change promptly to their doctor or nurse. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.

How Does Our Breast Cancer Screening Reminder Work?

You fill out a brief form. We will email you a reminder on the first day of your birth month with the breast cancer screening tests we recommend based on our latest guidelines. Breast cancer screening may include breast exams by your doctor, mammograms, and other tests based on your age and other factors.

HOPE AND HEALING

hope

Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all…
~Emily Dickinson
Hope – it can be stronger than sickness and more powerful than pills.  Hope always looks forward and believes wholeheartedly in happy endings.  Outrageous miracles are fully expected by Hope, and pain is lessened by it’s presence.  It’s not something that can be given by injection or in a pill, but it can make you feel better – with no nasty side effects.  Hope is a wondrous healer and is essential to healing – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  If we lose Hope, we lose our ability to see ourselves and our lives getting better, and we lose that spark that lights the way for those outrageous miracles to find their way to us.  Hope is a choice – and it’s a choice I make everyday, to help me get through the day. I hope you make the same choice too.

Bold, bald and battling breast cancer

shaved head 2011

That was me in 2011, the day that I shaved my head after my first chemo and my hair had started falling out.  I was actually at a restaurant, having a bite to eat on the outside patio.  Initially, I was wearing a hat  – the wig I had bought in preparation for this day was way too hot to wear in South Florida in July – and I was feeling extremely self-conscious with my newly naked noggin.  But, the South Florida heat got to me, and I sheepishly took off my hat, thinking everyone would turn my way at once with a collective gasp of horror. Guess what?  No one did. Not one person.  It actually felt good – I felt a little breeze and I also felt a little empowered – like, screw you cancer – I’m not letting you embarrass me.  So, I ditched the wig for good and either wore hats throughout my treatment, or went “commando”.  I felt a little like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane – a warrior battling for her life against a vicious enemy. That attitude, of fighting for my life, helped save my life.  So, to all my lovely ladies who are losing their locks or have already, know that you are beautiful and brave.  Wear a wig if it makes you feel good or don’t.  Wear a beautiful scarf or a funky hat.  Or, just go commando.  Whatever you choose, do it to make yourself feel good, and don’t worry so much about how others are seeing you.  In my experience, when people saw my bald head, they actually were drawn to me and offered words of encouragement and support, and that felt good.   You will get through this, and your hair will grow back.  Mine did :

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