In Nov last year I had a routine mammogram (I’m over 50). I got called back in for further testing – re mammogram and ultrasound…. for my right breast. I remember being confused that it was my right breast and not my left…I must of instinctively and subconsciously known about the cancer in my left breast (I really can’t explain that). Anyway after their examination and re-testing I was cleared and went back on my merry way. About 6 weeks later I found a small hard lump in my left breast. I’ve always been a self checker, I kind of grew up with that message and am so bloody grateful that I did. I dutifully went back to my GP and was sent off for an ultrasound that progressed to a core biopsy. After a couple of short weeks I was told that I had Stage 1 breast cancer. Within a few days I had a lumpectomy and then off to the Oncologist for a treatment plan. I was told that this is ‘curable’ and if I decided not to have any treatment there was about a 85% chance of never seeing this again. If I do the treatments the chances improve to 98-99% Of course, I elected the treatment pathway. An interesting side note is that for me to access Herceptin (the breast cancer wonder drug) the government will only fund it if I go through chemotherapy first (the difference in % improvement is 1%). I remember well the day I discussed this with the Oncologist because I elected to privately fund the Herceptin and forego chemo…. the response was “OK that’s about $15k” …. “15k a shot” …. “you’re having 17 shots”… So, I booked in for 4 rounds of chemo, lost my hair, cut down my work, wore the turbans, and just hung in there. Chemo was followed by Radiation which I found to be a walk in the park. I still have a few months to go on Herceptin and I’m on Tamoxifen for the next decade.
I chose to continue to be as active as I could this year. Most mornings I’d be on the yoga mat just to feel my body moving (some mornings I just laid my head down on the mat 🙂 I ran most weeks and if that was too much just went for a walk. After radiation I went back to the gym for weights training which felt great.
It has taken most of the year to get my act together regarding questioning why NSW breastscreen missed it and why their marketing is so heavily about mammograms and light on self detection and the inadequacy of mammograms for women, like me, that have dense breasts. My meeting yesterday went really well and there is certainly a strong opinion that self detection is one of the tools that we should be using.
I’m so grateful that you have this business idea….it’s fantastic and it spreads the word.