Some blogs have themes. Some blogs are personal reflection. My blog is a story of healing and hope. The intent is to share my story. Upon reflection, it seems that it is the story of who I am today. However, my history comes through and the purpose is to share it with you in hopes that you find inspiration in the grace that I have been given.
A co-worker of mine believes that it is always best to start at the beginning, so I am going to try that. Over the next several weeks I will share my story of five years ago. Five years is a long time, so I will rely on a journal I kept, my memory and my current reflections of the past. I guess I could say that my story started in October 2007, but really it started before then. I just didn’t know it at the time.
When I was 35 I had a base-line mammogram. Everything seemed alright and I did not have another until the age of 40. At 40, and each following year, I dutifully fulfilled my obligation to have a mammogram. Each year I had a second mammogram followed by an ultrasound only to be told that I had a cyst and should cut down on the caffeine. Until the age of 43. At 43 I started with my annual physical only to have my doctor send me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound resulted in a visit to a surgeon who ordered a mammogram and biopsy. None of it was real. There was no history of breast cancer in my family. Even when the surgeon told me I had breast cancer I said, “No I don’t.”
After those initial appointments my life became a blur. We decided to get a second opinion in Boston. My initial surgeon was supportive and only asked that if I chose a different treatment team to please let her know so that she would not wonder what had happened to me. We decided to go with the Boston team.
There are some things that I have learned, both from the initial diagnosis and treatment, as well as subsequent reflection. It is important:
· To choose a treatment plan, team and location that is best for you. The last thing you need is additional stress. I have friends who chose their neighborhood hospital and clinic because of their personal relationship with their doctors, as well as the convenience due to family and other obligations. They received the best treatment possible, so you don’t have to travel hours to find the best.
· Have a Team of doctors. My doctors were all part of a network of hospitals and clinics. As a result, they talked with each other on the phone and they had access to my medical records through the hospital database. They also met together regularly to discuss my case.
· Remember that you are part of that Team. Ask questions. Give feedback. Make a phone call if something doesn’t seem right.
· Let others “do” for you. Your friends and family feel helpless. It is important to give them something to do.
· Embrace love and be open to God. I received blessing upon blessing and continue to see God’s grace in my life through this journey. I truly believe that friends are God’s way of saying “I love you.” (Even strangers provide God’s comfort).
Blessings & Grace to you. Be well.