Monday, October 1, 2012

October Breast Cancer Awareness-Get Your Check Ups!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I have breast cancer.  I am a private person, but I share my story to raise awareness and to remind about exams and follow ups.

Whew.  It is still hard to type out that I have breast cancer.  I was first diagnosed when I was 28 years old, I put up a strong fight and won, or I thought I did.  In late 2010 I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, meaning that breast cancer spread to my liver and bones. I began Chemo right away and after about 15 months of treatments every two weeks, my doctor stopped the sessions to give me a recovery break, that was February 2012.  You can read a post here where I share about my situation.  I also mention my battle on the About Me page at the top of my blog.

Luci is giving me love when I was resting after having chemo last year.

I am still on break from chemo treatments but Doc says it is likely I will have to start again in the next few months, my tests indicate that the cancer may be growing again.  I am hoping it can wait til January, but Doc wants to be careful and take a look at my upcoming scans and go from there.  The medication I take to keep the cancer from growing is usually effective for breast cancer patients for six months and then the cancer grows again.  I have been on the medication for about eight months.  Pretty good.
Right now I am in sort of a holding pattern.  I have been warned to take care of my back, the cancer in two vertebrae make them very fragile. I take a lot of medication, get regular check ups and try my best to make the most of every day.
I do not want to go on chemo again, but I love my children and husband and want to spend as much time with them as possible, even if I become more sick.  A small price as far as I'm concerned.  And who knows, a cure or more effective treatment could be right around the corner.  I have asked my Doctor about new treatments and she says she thinks some may be on the way next year.

I look better now, here I am with my Dad about a month ago.  My break has been great, I've gained 15 pounds and had a wonderful visit from my family that lives far away.  It was like a giant injection of love and good will from them.  I now feel like I can handle any old ugly chemo they throw at me.
Enough about me.  Let's go over a few facts and ways that you can manage your breast cancer risk.

Breast cancer can be diagnosed and treated early with regular self exams and doctor visits. 

 Please read the article from the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer:  Early Detection.  The article goes over the details for managing risk for different groups.

I found my initial lump in the shower and went to the doctor to have it checked.  Self exams are so important for women in their 20s and 30s.

Let's go over the American Cancer Society ages for the check ups you should have if you are generally healthy.
  • Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE by a health professional every year
  • Breast self-examination (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
I would rather craft than talk or type about cancer, but I know how important it is to share so other women are reminded to take the best care of themselves.

Please do your exams each year to minimize your risk for breast cancer.
Please also remind the women in your life to get their check ups too.

Have a lovely first day of October.  


  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It must have been difficult, but it is great you are sharing your story to help with awareness. It sounds like you have an amazing family to see you through. I have nothing but happy thoughts and energy for you :)

  2. We love you Tanya! You are such a beautiful person. Stay strong....

  3. What an inspiring post. I am sending well wishes your way that you make it through the holidays without having to have chemo!

    PS those beaded spiders are very cute.

  4. Ok thanks for making me cry, lady. I wish I could give you a huge huggity hug. Actually, I wish you could give me a huggity hug.:) I'm also going to do a Breast Cancer awareness post this month on my blog. You beat me to it.


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