Cancer: The Monster In Our Closet “It Continues…” (Awareness)

Some families are fortunate to never have to deal with cancer. Then there is our family…

As I’ve shared in posts these past years, the women in our family has faced various forms of cancer.  Most of us have stared it right in the eye and fought the battle and won.  A few of us fought like warriors but didn’t win the war.  
My Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 17th 2004.  One can’t forget the date of such devastating news.  We had lost my “Apa” (Father) just a month earlier and we were still reeling from his health battle in the previous year and a half.  There was no time to recover and we headed in to battle for another 2 years.
I am an only child.  My Son was 2 1/2 years old and my Daughter was only 6 months during the diagnosis.  Looking back I don’t know how I managed to keep running my consulting business, the logistics and transportation with my husband and the stay at home Mommy I worked very hard to be.  Every appointment, surgery and chemotherapy I made sure I was there to carry my Mother up and down the stairs to her 3 story house – and the hospital that didn’t make it easy for those too weak to make it through the physical need to go through the process of getting from the massive parking lot and hospital buildings.  It was miraculous where I found the strength and ability to do all of it.  
Thankfully my Mother was a success story.  The effects of post cancer and cancer surgery (mastectomy of the left breast and lymph node removal)  were just as devastating.  My Mother doesn’t drive and walked everywhere in the steep hills of East Los Angeles where we live.  She pushed her now limited strength and limits that at times cause nerve pain and muscle spasms that leave her screaming for my children and I to message.  This still doesn’t stop her from visiting the sick and feeding the poor in our area.  There are members in the community we empower and provide for with our experience, encouragement and help with food items during their own fight with cancer.  Yes, we’re pretty amazing women she and I.
Every year she is scheduled for mammograms on her right breast.  The talons of cancer are always present and we worry every year that it grabs a hold once more.
This week has been an amazing event in my life (“We All Grow Summit” *I will write more on that this week) but it was over shadowed by the letter I opened on Friday morning before I left for the conference again…
My Mother’s right breast mammogram that was taken in mid February has an “area of concern.”  I made her appointment for further testing and we are all holding our breath until her appointment in April.  That’s one thing I greatly detest is the endless waiting for the appointment.  
My Mother turned 70 years old this past December.  She is a strong woman – too traditional at times – but open enough to find common ground with this un-traditional Daughter of hers.  I look forward to her 71st birthday next December!
Since my cancer testing last year and my subsequent histerectomy on July 30th, I am now placed on a yearly mammogram due to my high risk of cancer.  I am 41 and want to give myself as much time to be on this Earth to be here for my children.  I have my regular OBGYN appointments every 6-12 months and do my self breast examination every month.  I encourage you to be as in tune to your own health and body.  (*My own cancer tests and Hysterectomy Post – CLICK HERE)
A great resource and support system can be found at:  www.checkyourboobies.org
They have a multitude of information and videos to help for your self breast examinations.
Source: www.cancer.net
“This year (2014), an estimated 232,670 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 62,570 women will be diagnosed with in situ breast cancer. An estimated 2,360 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is estimated that 40,430 people (40,000 women, 430 men) will die from breast cancer this year.
The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. If the cancer is located only in the breast, the five-year relative survival rate of people with breast cancer is 99%. If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 84%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the five-year survival rate is 24%. About 5% of women have metastatic cancer when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer. Even if the cancer is found at a more advanced stage, new treatments help many people with breast cancer maintain a good quality of life, at least for some period of time.”
–  Have you or anyone in your family faced cancer?
–  Do you perform self breast exams?

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