In June of 1998, much to my surprise, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. You could have knocked me over with a feather because I have always considered myself pretty healthy, eating right, exercising, even participating in a triathlon that same year.
I had 3 surgeries, one on my lymph nodes proving them to be free of the disease. The only reason I had this good fortune is because I am familiar with my body structure and knew that the foreign body I felt was inappropriate, immediately. I completed 7 weeks of daily radiation treatments and as of today I am 100% confident that it is a thing of the past. They (the men in white) tell me I can consider myself a breast cancer "survivor" and I can plan on living a long and healthy life.
While I was on this little "adventure" I learned some things that I want to pass on to you. The statistics for women who will be diagnosed with this disease is staggering. One out of eight women will wake up one day and receive the same kind of surprise that I received. I am amazed at the number of women that I have spoken with that rely on their mammograms. My mammogram showed no tumor and if I hadn't followed my intuition after finding a lump I might be writing you a letter of a different sort. Another lesson is the fact that no one has to die from this disease at all! If it is detected early enough it can be cured through the same type of treatment I received.
The "why me" answer has been very clear to me. I now believe that I am intended to be a messenger to all of you, your family and friends. Ladies, check your breasts!! Men, you are not absolved of this disease even though it is more prevalent in women. Check your own and then check the lady in your life. Could be fun!! :-)
My mission is to help women understand how to circumvent this disease rather than how to treat it once you get it. I am honored to help anyone who contacts me by e-mail or phone to provide hope and encouragement to you, your family or friends. I will also come into your office if you are local and have a "brown bag" lunch forum with your employees or co-workers to share what I have learned. Lets work at prevention together!!