If you haven't pick up by now, this week is Breast Cancer Awareness week. Our family has had to learn more than we wished about this disease and the process of dealing with it.
The McGrath Foundation is doing an awesome job of helping to get Breast Care Nurse's out into regional areas.Breast care nurses are specially trained registered nurses who act as patient advocates, coordinating care for women with breast cancer, their families and their carers. They provide accurate information, support and referral to services.
It costs approximately $350,000 to employ each full-time McGrath Breast Care Nurse over a minimum three year period
- so I am requesting you to consider a donation.
by Pam Robbins
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and as a 6 year breast cancer survivor, I know the importance of an annual mammogram.
My cancer was detected through my annual mammogram with surgery and chemotherapy following. I continue with check ups with my Oncologist.
I was grateful and blessed to have had good health going into this process and recognize that many prayers were with me then and continue today.
As a grateful survivor I personally feel a responsibility to others as they deal with the trauma of the disease. I have had many family members and friends that have passed due to cancer and have developed my own personal survivor philosophy of caring, helping and sharing. I feel it is my duty since I was given the gift of continued life.
First it is important to be positive and share that with others. Yes, I had some interesting moments during my treatment but I made it and people need to know that it is possible-as one person said, when I see you I know there is hope.
In the world of cancer treatment it is known that a positive attitude makes a difference so I look at my experience as a survivor rather than a victim. I communicate a message that my Oncologist gave to us on our first visit. As I lamented about family members and friends that had gone through this, she emphasized that cancer is unique to each person.
My cancer was not like my Aunt Betty's or friends Jane, Cheryl or Leanna. Treatment that didn't work for them might work for me. So, when I talk to people or send them information, I remind them of that and discourage them from comparing their diagnosis, treatment and care with others. I tried then and continue to have a sense of humor about my experience.
For example, I didn't enjoy losing my hair, but when my doctor told me I was going to have a new hairstyle, I told her I was always looking for a new one. Quite frankly it was the easiest one I ever had and it came in any color I wanted!
Also, I am younger after having this experience, as I don't count the year that I was sick! I am not naive about the possibility of a reoccurrence and so I have become my own best friend recognizing that I must be aware of changes in my body.
My Oncologist and I have an agreement called the two week rule. It is basically if something changes and symptoms continue for 2 weeks she wants to know about it. And it is my responsibility to follow up-not my spouse or daughters.
I try to be proactive and stay up to date on cancer research. It is easy to do with access to various web sites plus printed publications. This is important not only to me, but to my daughters, niece, granddaughter and friends.
There have been great strides in cancer treatment due to the work of many organizations. My dream of finding a cure is selfish-I don't want my most precious loved ones to experience what I did. I donate when asked to cancer research whether it is my time, talent, or treasure. If my small donation can benefit one person then I will be there.
This is something that can be contagious, as I have had many people tell me that they raised money because of something I said or did-taught me that you never know what kind of an affect you might have on someone. The last 6 years have been such a gift. I have tried to become more faithful and prayerful in the Lord trying to walk closer in his footsteps. In a nutshell, I intend to live each day as if it was my last.
Finally, if you haven't scheduled your annual mammogram do it today-not just for you but for your family and friends as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pam Baker Robbins is an MDI subscriber and shared her story with us. Pam was raised on Tater Road between Punkin Center and Leipsic (Indiana) by loving strong parents who taught her to fight obstacles regardless of what they might be.
After graduating from Oklahoma State University she and her husband Paul returned to Indiana where she worked for 30 plus years for Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. Taking "early" retirement in 2003 she looked forward to new challenges and opportunities after starting an education and training company, PeopleWork Associates, with her colleague and friend.
However, the first challenge she faced was breast cancer diagnosed 5 months into retirement. Her philosophy of faith, family, friends and a wonderful medical team including traditional and non-traditional therapies carried Pam and her family through the "C Saga" which encompassed the next year of surgeries, chemotherapy and recuperation.
She celebrated her 6 year anniversary on October 3rd of this year.
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