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Breast Cancer...more than one month

Monday, June 04, 2012

No, it's not October. It's not the official Breast Cancer month. You might have a different month where you are, but here in the States we pretty much PINK-OUT the month of October. You can race for a cure. You can make strides. You can do any number of things to be honest. But for some of us, men and women alike, breast cancer doesn't only happen in October. That's not the only time we urge our friends, our family, hell...strangers on the street to PLEASE get mammograms, please do self-exams, please find breast cancer before breast cancer finds you.

I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in December of 2009. My oncologist is probably a very nice man, but he isn't the Saint we often hear depicted when we hear stories about cancer docs. I had a series of Oncology Nurses, but again, none of them are being nominated for Patron Angel of the year. They were efficient, they were helpful, they were kind & in some instances, they were informative. More often than not, they were over-worked & stressed & doing a job that pays their bills & gets them from 8 in the morning til 5 or 6 or 7 at night.

Diagnosis hit me like it does most people...a shock! But for me, the shock wore off to a type of realization. And then self doubt & blame. All of the statistics point to obesity being directly related to many types of cancer "including breast cancer". So did I do the most horrible of all things...did I bring this upon myself? I don't know the answer to that question 2&1/2 years post diagnosis & I probably never will. Some people will say yes, unequivally I did. Others will say no, let's not blame the victim. Most, like me...will wrestle with what happened & never really know.

I belong to a support group. In my group, I am the only person who has a significant weight issue. Many of the other women might claim they "need to lose weight". For some of them it is true. For others, it is our weight-obsessed society whispering lies in their ears which make them think they need to lose weight. I tell myself that based on the folks I personally know that if weight was truly THE leading factor for getting cancer that the health professionals & the media would lead us to believe, that every fat person I know would have cancer. Please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that fat is healthy. But I am also not going to sign a blanket statement indicating that every thin person is healthy. It's simply not true. If you are on a quest to improve your health & reduce your cancer risk by eating better, exercising more & thus reducing your weight, then I applaud your efforts & I am right there with you. If you are obsessed simply with lowering the numbers on the scale by ANY means possible & you believe this will make you more healthy, I have to strongly disagree.

That's the intro...more to some point...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hey Monique, thank you for sharing. And congratulations on making changes in your life. That's all you can do.

    My husband died from cancer last summer and I got into the "what was my fault, what was his fault, what could we have done differently" routine but a bereavement counselor made me realize that what's done is done and I can't change the past and simply acknowledge it and get on with living.

    Much of our lives are factors in cancer and heart disease and diabetes. It doesn't mean we caused it or deserve it.

    I try to be grateful for the life I still have to live and as my husband would say, "make it count."

    Best wishes to you.
    2489 days ago
    Wow! Thank you for an honest and energised blog. Perhaps each of us looks for the reason why we got breast cancer. And there are so many factors that contribute. But I think the main thing is that blame doesn't help us. It doesn't let us rewrite what has happened, or make the horrible diagnosis and treatment and better.

    For me, I was within the right weight range, didn't smoke or drink, went to the gym every day, breast fed my children - and was only 41 when it hit me. I blamed the stress in my life (as this is also an indicating factor). Then I blamed myself for bringing this horrible disease into my children's and my sister's lives... and then I got even more depressed. But what got to me the most was that my disabled daughter heard me blaming stress, and then blamed herself for making me stressed and therefore she started blaming herself for my breast cancer. She still does. She lives with that grief every day, despite all my reassurances.

    What I'm getting to is that I think we need to just say "it happened", do our best to overcome it and to be a good role model for those around us, love ourselves and look after ourselves, try to do what is good for ourselves, and keep moving forward with our lives, our goals and our dreams.

    You are a beautiful person, who deserves a wonderful life. Give yourself permission to live.

    Hugs and love to you!
    from Lyn
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2509 days ago
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