Doesn’t it just go that way–something happens kind of out of the ordinary and then it seems like it is all you hear about. That happened to me 19 years ago when after my very first mammogram, they found a mass and I underwent surgery to remove what turned out to be a benign tumor. But the long weekend before the surgery and the subsequent good news, it seemed like everywhere I turned there was someone talking about cancer from one of my neighbors to Barbara Walters.
It happened again a few weeks ago. I went in for my annual mammogram on Tour of Homes weekend and got called about a recheck just before Thanksgiving. The Monday after I was told there was something there that shouldn’t be. There was a biopsy the next day and by Thursday I was told it was cancer – stage 1, small but cancer nonetheless.
In the days that followed Elizabeth Edwards died, Dorothy Hamill was talking about her cancerÂ still looking good skatingÂ inÂ one of those little skirts and I began to remember the almost 20 womenÂ I have interviewed about their “cancer stories” over the past 20 years.Â They have been all ages, some with a family history of cancer, most with none. Their cancers were found on mammograms, in self-exams andÂ in check-ups. They have had mastecomies, lumpectomies, chemotherapy, radiation and more chemotherapy and reconstruction. While nobody wants cancer,Â these women also said their lives had changed for the better because of it.Â Read KelliÂ Burrow’s blog or Â Kris Minor’s to see what eloquence the experience can inspire.
Me, I’m not feeling eloquent just yet. I’m still getting over the fact that the smallest thing ever to be found on my body is the thing they are taking out. It couldn’t be some 49 pound thing that would show? And at some later date I will describe my experience with the MRI machine where the technician suggested a dry run to be sure I would “fit” in the thing. I had a friend tell me that there is some speculation that our bras may be contributing to breast cancer and all I could think of was what that might mean now that we’re all wearing Spanx.
I am having surgery next week, a lumpectomy followed by radiation. I expect everything to go well and that I too will somehow be inspired by the experience. In the meantime, I am grateful for all the “advance knowledge” those 20 womenÂ have given me…and for that annual mammogram. Have you had yours this year?