Friday, October 2, 2009

October is a special month!

A visit to Kindra’s blog reminded me that our two favorite months of the Fall – September and October—also signify health awareness for two very important causes – ovarian cancer (September) and, of course breast cancer, in October.
The fight against breast cancer is very close to me because being a BC survivor, I know the fear we all live with (first-hand, unfortunately). When I found my own lump shortly in 2002, I knew that I was lucky – found early, diagnosed early, treated early. I did not need chemo, but I did need 7 weeks of daily radiation -- blog buds, my poor boob was fried!!! Ewww, it was so sore and so raw after daily treatments. At the end of 7 weeks, I was exhausted, pale, and sore. In that short time of 7 years, radiation has improved and most women have a much easier time of it. But ever since that time, I have spent every October trying to remind women, regardless of age, to be sure to get their yearly mammograms, do routine self-exams, and don’t ignore anything that feels “different.” Get to know your own breasts, what feels right, what doesn’t. And, don’t be afraid to call your doctor if anything feels ‘funny’ – early detection saves lives. Fear delays treatment! For info on how to do self breast exams, go here. It’s easy and it saves lives!

But, that being said, I want to mention a very dear friend who is fighting Stage 4 ovarian cancer, September’s awareness. This lovely woman Joanie, lives in New Orleans, is now in year 5 of difficult chemo. She has been through every treatment there is. On top of that, she was displaced by Katrina right in the middle of treatment in 2005, moved to Houston for a few months where she was treated without access to her medical records, moved back to New Orleans where portions of her house were covered with mold, no a/c,no phone, no electricity... and… a BULL walking around her backyard. Through all of these nightmares, she has maintained a strong Catholic faith, works every day, and worries about everyone else. Ovarian is one horrible disease, and as women, we need to do everything we can to at least help researchers find a way to early diagnosis. She is a daily inspiration and if your are inclined to say a prayer, say one for Joanie, who is, in anyone’s definition, touched by something bigger than any of us.
I often think of one of my former students, whose mom (also a nurse) was diagnosed too late with ovarian and died before she could see her daughter graduate college and law school. She is often in my thoughts.
If you read through our little blog land these past few weeks, many are dealing with something difficult in our lives. Sick and aging parents, sickness, kids without work, -- I think sometimes our prim addiction helps us carve out a warm and comfortable place to just ‘be.’ You are in my thoughts and prayers. At this very important month for women, wear your pink ribbon proudly and be empowered!


  1. Terry~This is a very nice and thought provoking post!
    My prayers are with all of these women.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Oh Terry, you have touched the tip of the iceberg. I think we all can relate with stories of freinds, family members, co-workers etc. who have faced one of these dreaded diseases. As a former ChemoAngel, I know literally hundreds of stories and when I was still running the preschool, we lost one of our mom's to BC. She left behind 3 kiddo's. 1, 3 and 5 at the time. She was an RN and the breadwinner. Need I say more?

    I am so glad YOU are a survivor!! Thanks for such a thoughtful post!

  3. My thoughts and prayers are w/ many,especially this month.So glad you are a survivor! Praise "GOD"!!

  4. Terry i to am a breast cancer survivor of 15 years. Mine was not a lump. I went for a breast exam and the lady doctor at that time told me that i had fibrocyctic breasts but she wanted to be sure and had me get a mammogram. So i did and my breast cancer was microcalifications. Tiny white specks. I had a lump extomy but then my surgen changed his mind and said he thought i should get a mastectomy to be 100 percent sure. So that's what i did and they also checked the lypm nodes under my arms but they all came back clean. So no kemo or radiation for me. I had to take tamoxifin for 5 years. I get a mammogram every year. I just scheduled mine for the 26th of this month. Thanks so much for getting the word out. It is a very scarey thing to go through.


  5. Terry - Congrats on being cancer free!! I too am a big supporter of breast cancer month. I lost a dear friend to breast cancer after she found her lump too late and it spread like a wild fire. I encourage so many people to do self breast exams and to stay on top of things. It is important and it can indeed save lives!!

    Have a wonderful weekend my prim friend.



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