PSA: Your breast health is important
I know that I'm not telling you anything that you haven't heard before or haven't thought about. Breast cancer stories and fund raisers and information and pink ribbons... are everywhere. I know this. You know this. However, today I'm going to remind you to check your breasts.
You should be giving yourself breast self-exams (BSE's) monthly. There isn't a "rule" per se, but it is a very damned good idea. Very.
As a breast cancer survivor who found her cancer by feeling a lump during a BSE, I cannot stress enough to you just how important it is to know your body, touch your breasts and see your doctor if something is wrong.
No one knows your body better than you.
Life is hard and complicated sometimes. We are always dodging one problem or another, in between the laughter and giggles and smiles that life gives us. But don't avoid knowing for sure what's happening with your body.
About five years ago, one year after I was diagnosed and into my treatment, a friend wrote a wonderful guest post for this blog sharing her thoughts about how my story helped her find the courage to take care of herself. Div wrote:
I didn't realize why I was so scared and quiet through Nicole's experience. But the only way that I know how to say this is to just say it. When faced with someone else's mortality you are often faced with your own. And I just wasn't ready. I don't know if some of us are moreso then others - I don't know if it's because of guilt or fear of the unknown. It reminds me of people who say that they wouldn't want one of those virtual body scans because they really wouldn't want to know if something was "wrong". If someone could tell you when "the end" was going to be for you - would you really want to know? Well I didn't and I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to think of leaving my son alone with no family (outside of my husband who is not his father) or just not being. I wasn't prepared to face that. And I don't think I'm strong; Nicole often said that she didn't think she was or that maybe that phrase was annoying in some way, but I have to disagree. Strong is the spirit within you that makes you stand up and face the world and everything that it brings you. Nicole has been and is strong enough to not only face these issues, but to share them with us?! Do you know the gift that she's given you?
So I had my mammogram. It was uncomfortable. It was not painful. And it was not cancer. It was a cyst - fluid filled and taken care of right there by the radiologist.
And I wanted to share this and to thank you, Nicole, because I don't know if I would have taken it seriously or gone to the doctor or had a mammogram or checking myself each month if it wasn't for you and what you've shared.
You can read the entire post here (and you should because she's a great writer and it is a wonderful post): "My ode to Nicole" by Div
I'm sharing this with you today because re-reading this post reminded me why I do this; why I keep writing about breast cancer, telling all my thoughts and fears, sharing what I learn... It is important. Simple as that.
Check your breasts this month. And next month. And the month after that.