Thursday, January 12, 2012

The first time I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer...

was about 12 years ago.

It was a false alarm but I didn't know that for another 7 very long anxiety filled weeks after dealing with rejecting insurances, blizzards, what have you until I was told by UM that the lump wasn't worth biopsying.. I received this diagnosis from a radiologist in a small imaging center that everyone speaks highly of (except for me!) during the holiday season. All that was left that night was me and the radiologist. I remember she approved of me because after looking at my shoes, she said it was obvious that I care more about comfort than style or maybe this was a back-handed compliment like my former frenemy Cupcake gushing that I had the most perfect shade of dish water blonde hair. She also told me that I was LUCKY because my tumor was small, it was probably very early and thus treatable. I had a hard time wrapping my head around that..lucky would be NO cancer.

While I waited between numerous scans and the confirming ultrasound, I looked at a poster on the wall plotting women's deaths from heart disease versus breast cancer as a function of age. Excepting for the very young, heart disease looked like a bigger killer. How many women under 70 did I know that have been killed by a heart attack? None. How many from breast cancer? Plenty. I am not sure why that poster was even there.

She told me that I shouldn't have been too surprised by this diagnosis as from my history, she could see that my mother had had breast cancer.

But she was 64!

Well women are getting it these days ten years earlier than their mothers.

I then was miffed that she thought I was so old.

Age difference between my mother and I when I got 'real' cancer. Nine years. (and that suspicious lesion was removed in my 2nd surgery and was benign).

So the radiologist was wrong about my cancer, thankfully, but she wasn't wrong about the creeping downward age of diagnosis.  Even daughters of  women with the BRAC1 deletions are getting it ten years younger than their moms..this really points to something in the environment changing in the interim. It breaks my heart to find women on the internet in their twenties and thirties battling this dreadful disease. And it seems to be much more fatal in their cases in part because there is some disbelief that their lump could possibly be cancer due to their tender age. And what does this downward creeping trend mean for my daughters and granddaughters?

Last night was the Cooking for Survival class. We are trying to be good, us cancer battlers, trying to incorporate more green things, less fat, more whole grains, etc into our diet. Our salad was made from whole wheat bulghur, arugula, parsley and tomatoes. We had this multi-vegetable stirfry thing that was very tasty but involved lots of slicing and dicing. Our dessert was a pear upside down ginger  cake (fat was substituted with applesauce.) I am collecting all the recipes; all I need to do is get on the stick and make them more often and stop whining.

I try not to be too political  in my public postings but yesterday I got something from some obvious Tea Party fan. Her point was that she keeps herself healthy by eating right etc so she really is steamed about having to pay for health insurance when she doesn't need it and even worse for people who do need it because they didn't keep themselves healthy. I know it is wrong to wish cancer on someone but it would really pop her bubble if she got it despite being 'so good'. I didn't even try to respond.

I ran in the dark drizzle and fog this morning. It might be the last 'warm' day for a while. Spring in winter was too good to last.

1 comment:

AnneMarie said...

It's a GOOD think I didn't see the Tea Party thing. I already went on a big rant on my blog over listening to someone pass judgement in a brutal and disgusting fashion. Was yesterday some sort of day for every member of the "Eat Healthy And You Won't Get Cancer" club to hit the streets????


Blog Archive