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May 15, 2008

Walking the Walk

As you can imagine, I’m all about reminding women to do a monthly self-exam these days. Every time I tell my story to someone new, I always end with an entreaty to be vigilant about doing self-exams.

I confess, however, that I am not doing them.

I hope that by admitting that here I will be forced to walk the walk, rather than just talk the talk. It can mean the difference between life and death, so why is it so hard for us to do it? For me, I think that it is fear as much as anything else. I don’t want to find another lump, because if I do there is a high probability that it will be more breast cancer. I think that subconsciously I hope that if I don’t know about it I won’t have to deal with it. It’s the ostrich approach, and it’s the wrong one.

I wasn’t so great about doing self-exams before I had breast cancer, for the same reason. I didn’t ever always think about it when it was convenient, and when I did remember to do it I always felt a little foolish. After all, how in the world was I supposed to know what to look for? And if I did find something, would I know what to do next? But mostly,I was afraid to find something.

But everything you read about breast cancer says that the early detection is the key, and I am living proof of that. I found the lump in my breast myself. Not because I did a breast self-exam (at the time that I found it, I hadn’t done one for 8 or 9 months), but because I was in the right position at the right moment and because my pajama top was bothering me. What if I had decided not to read that night? What if I hadn’t tried to adjust my top? Who knows when or if I would have discovered the lump. And maybe the next time I remembered to do a self-exam or to schedule a mammogram, my cancer—a very aggressive form of breast cancer—would have spread to another part of my body.

This thought scares me….does it scare you, too? I hope so. I hope it scares you enough to remember to do a self-exam tonight!

And for the record, when I did find something I suddenly knew what I was looking for and I knew what to do.

In order to help you and me remember to do this, I am going to steal a reminder from Mary at Almost Somewhat Positive. She has designated the 15th of each month as Frisk the 15th in order to remind women to do their self-exams. I will do my best to remind you to feel your boobies each month on the 15th by posting a reminder. Will you please remind me if I forget?

th_friskthe5copy4XSMALLa.jpg

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer, either. If you notice any abnormal changes in your breasts, call your doctor. And make sure that you also schedule an annual mammogram.

If you need a little help remembering, why not order a free waterproof breast self-exam card for your shower from Susan G. Komen for the Cure (one per household)? You can also print the information out on paper here.

May 14, 2008

Anniversay

Today marks my first anniversary, although it’s not one that I ever planned on celebrating.

Today I have been cancer-free for one year.

May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

More on our wet, cold, rainy Y-Me Mother's Day run later. For now, I want to share the best piece of original poetry ever. Composed by Matthew for me.

Your Life
Your gonna be a lawyer mom
Your gonna be the big bomb
You've got the techniques
You'll beat all the geeks
You will fight and you will win mom.
          -Matthew Klein

May 07, 2008

The Home Stretch

Another semester is over and I am busy preparing for finals now. It feels much different than the end of last semester. When I was reviewing my notes in preparation for finals last semester, I didn’t even remember covering certain subjects. I’m sure it was a combination of the chemo and of having so much going on during the semester. This time it feels like the end of the semester normally does…I remember most of what we talked about, it’s just a matter of synthesizing it all into an outline that makes sense. I hope that the exams themselves will be easier for me than they were last semester, as well.

The beginning of this month marked six months since my last chemo treatment. For a long time, I found myself telling people, when it came up in conversation, that I had finished chemo on November 1st. Now, when it comes up, I tell people that my last treatment was six months ago. It is a subtle but interesting mental shift…kind of like when you move from telling people your child’s age in months to her age in years. In just a few days, I will be able be able to tell people that I have been cancer-free for one year. (I am counting from the day I had the lumpectomy since that is the day that it was actually removed.) In some ways it feels as if it has been years and years since I had cancer, and at the same time it seems all too recent.

I will be celebrating Mother’s Day this year by running in this race with my family and some friends of ours. I hope to make it our new family Mother’s Day tradition.

What's On Your Playlist? (Part 2)

I got such great reactions when I posted a list of my workout songs a couple of months ago that I thought I would post a continuation of the list today. You guys gave me some great suggestions for additions to the list….I’d love to hear more if you have them!

Playlist 2
4 Minutes—JT and Madonna
The Devil in Me—Kate Voegele
The Middle—Jimmy Eat World
Cupid Shuffle—Cupid
Mercy—Duffy
Me Enorama—Juanes
Dance and Shout—Shaggy & Pee Wee (Thanks CGF!)
Hips Don’t Lie—Shakira
Girlfriend—Avril Lavigne
Spice Up Your Life—Spice Girls
Do It Well—Jennifer Lopez
Flathead—The Fratellis
See You Again—Miley Cyrus
I Want You To Want Me—Cheap Trick
The Call—Backstreet Boys
Lovestoned—JT