I was in nursing school and about to go into my first surgery ever. I was very nervous, I had never been in a real operating room as an observer. I had my own personal experiences of being the person on the table but this time I would be one of the people standing around the table.
My very first case was a mastectomy. I was very young, too young to think about how that woman had to feel emotionally and what it did to her life.
Years later I still think about that day and now I wish I had followed her through her stay, and listened to what she had to say. She had no options then. A modified radical mastectomy was all they did at that time. That was then and this is now. Now we have choices and options. As a matter of fact I was “allowed” 30 days to make my decision when I was diagnosed.
By that time I was very educated in different procedures, different therapies, and different outcomes.
Now 15 years later we have even better procedures, therapies and outcomes but what we don’t have is a cause, a prevention or a cure.
I believe we are close, very close, but until then one more time I am asking everyone to get your mammogram every year on time. Be proactive and make sure your friends and family members are getting their mammograms and one last piece of advice. If you have something funky going on in a breast and your physician says “Let’s wait six months and look at this again.’ You run, don’t walk, to a physician who will figure this out now. Do not ever wait 6 months. My breast cancer doctor here in Florida told me the longest amount of time she is comfortable with waiting is three months.
I remember oh so well one night when I was watching Designing Women and the episode was Old Spouses Never Die. Charlene had been to a physician who had advised her to take the wait an see attitude over a lump. I have never forgotten that episode because at the end of that episode anyone watching was told to never wait, it seems that someone they all knew had waited, and it was the wrong thing to do. The show was dedicated to her passing.
That episode has stayed with me just like that first surgical patient back in nursing school.
Got it? Now get it-your annual mammogram.
Till next time,