Thursday, December 20, 2007

History repeats itself....

When my mother was seven months pregnant with me she awoke one morning and her entire breast had turned rock hard. She immediately went to the doctor but was reassured that it was only a clogged duct and not to worry. She knew though, that something was not right and went for a second opinion. Sadly, she was given the diagnosis of Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She was only 28 years old. She was flown to the next major center over to be induced and to immediately start treatments. This type of cancer does not grow in a typical lump. I would love it if you would read about the symptoms so that they are tucked away in your mind in case you ever need the info.
There wasn't much hope for women diagnosed with this form of cancer , especially back in the late 70s early 80s. She fought hard and sadly lost her life very shortly after her 30th birthday

I have always known that there is a strong genetic risk for me to develop breast cancer as well. With my mothers history and her mother dying of ovarian cancer the doctors have always made that clear. There were talks when I was young about doing a radical preventative mastectomy.... can you believe that! I go every six months for manual exams. I have been pressured to recieve mammograms and genetic testing, both which I have declined. I have already had breast ultrasounds, sheduled biopsies and met with a surgeon for suspicious lumps. I try not to live my life in fear of cancer. I do my best to live a clean and healthy life and remember sporadically (!) to live my life to the fullest and enjoy every moment.

This just comes to the forefront of my mind today... and has for months really. I have watched a woman that I care about deeply struggle with her own dance with cancer over the past years. I remember our emails back and forth the day she found her lump. Discussing our family histories and deepest fears. She was there for me, shortly after, when I had a breast crisis of my own. I have observed her journey through her treatments, the diagnosis and subsequent loss of her sister to breast cancer as well, her remission, the miraculous birth of her second son three months ago... and sadly the return of the cancer with a vengance , spreading to her brain, spine and eventually through her entire body over the last month.

Between Jess and her sister Amy I have learned so much in the past couple of years. I guess I could say it has been a spiritual journey. I havent talked about it much... I just dont even know what to say or how to process it. I recieved the update from her caring bridge site last night. She is in her last moments. I am awaiting the final update today.

I am lighting a candle for her this morning. Praying for a peaceful passing , and some sort of strength to her husband and two tiny children so they may get through this together and hold her memory and the power of her love with them always. I am also giving thanks to the universe for gifting me the chance to share this time with her and to give me the chance to gain some powerful insight, more compassion for the people surrounding me, and a chance to confront those things inside of me that I fear the most.
~ Blessed Be ~

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