October makes me think of Halloween and I begin the season of decorating my house with funny, cute and scary things like witches welcoming my grandchildren in for a “spell”, warlocks peering out through the windows and spiders spinning their webs on my doorstep. But you know what is scarier than Halloween? Breast Cancer.
Like a Brown Recluse Spider, cancer hides out unbeknownst and bites you while you are busy living a life you chose, fought and worked for and love.
15 years ago I was diagnosed with ductal cell carcinoma of the breast. Because of my virulent family history of breast cancer, I wasn’t surprised but I was frightened out of my mind. I had watched my mother die from breast cancer so I knew how cruel and ugly it can be. I wasn’t sure I could be as strong as my mom. I was lucky – the tumor was small, the computer assisted mammogram was able to detect what I could not feel or the mammogram alone could show. With a good oncologist and surgeon a lumpectomy, radiation and some time to heal with consistent follow up; I am here today to play with my grandsons, shop or share in conversations with my daughter, work in the garden with my husband and decorate our home for the holidays.
While I felt my family history certified that I would follow in those hallowed steps of my grandmother, mother, cousins and aunt, did you know “that the majority of women with one or more affected first-degree relatives (parent, child or sibling) will never develop breast cancer and that most women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease?” (https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2017-2018.pdf).
This is why I am asking you to speak up about breast cancer. Ask your family, friends, colleagues, church members, and the friendly cashier at Publix whether they have had a mammogram this year. I know, I know – how awkward, right? Better awkward than knowing they could be having surgery, chemo or radiation therapy because you didn’t take the time to ask and inform. I have had three close friends who, while they knew me and my family’s’ breast cancer experience, had never had a mammogram because I didn’t directly ask them. They thought they were immune not having a family history of breast cancer. The guilt I feel to this day because I didn’t ask – well I won’t make that mistake again. I’m talking to everyone and shouting it up till the heavens hear me!
If you have routine mammograms (yearly) – good for you. If you don’t – GO GET ONE! And bring a friend. Then go out for lunch and celebrate your courage!
If the results are positive, know that we live in a time where breast cancer, if caught early, is often considered a “chronic disease” and curable. Can you imagine? I wish my grandmother, aunt and mom were living today for they would have had the chance to survive.
Today we have better testing, and a large arsenal of therapies to strike the Brown Recluse Spider we call Breast Cancer. While it is estimated that 270,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; the survival rate is at 90%. Choose to be a part of the 90% survival rate!
I want to do my part. As part of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I would like to offer my book Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts at the special price of $10.00. That’s right, not the regular price of $15.95 but only $10.00. Go to www.lorettaschoen.come/book/. Enter the coupon code: end breast cancer. Learn how to deal with the medical mayhem in your life and how to incorporate the three prescriptions you need to survive and even thrive. And if you have a friend dealing with a health issue, buy one for them. You’ll laugh, learn and grow in faith – together.
Let’s make a difference in our lives and those we love. This Halloween, trick the spider and give yourself a treat. Get a mammogram, and kill the spider before it kills you.