Thursday, October 14, 2010

What is the right decision?

When a woman gets the news "you have Breast Cancer", inevitably they are faced with huge decisions. For me it felt as if the decisions were being made for me, for the most part.

You have breast cancer. you need to have a biopsy. Ok now you need to have a lumpectomy and then you will have radiation and depending on whether it has spread possibly chemotherapy. Sorry, the lumpectomy wasn't enough, you will have a mastectomy. You can choose to have reconstruction or not. You will have chemo. You can pick which poison you'd like and how long you would like to be poisoned with it.

It all felt pretty black and white. But I have been asked by other people when they receive the diagnosis, "what should I do? Should I have a mastectomy? Should I have a lumpectomy? Can't I just have radiation?" I would never begin to tell them what to do, I can only say what I would do.

I have never regretted the choices I made.

There is a women who is making those choices every minute. One I read online was asking what to do. Her diagnosis is stage II invasive interductal carcinoma (the same as mine but mine was IIB if you want to be technical). Her surgeon is leaning toward lumpectomy and the woman is leaning toward Mastectomy. I told her to listen to her gutt. She knows inside what is necessary, it is important to filter out the fear, filter out the noise and just feel the right answer. That isn't easy to do... but it is what I think she is already doing in asking the question.

I know what it feels like to lose a breast. It is pretty overwhelming for awhile. But I also know what the fear of Cancer coming back feels like and it can be like waiting for the sniper to hit his mark. It is unsettling and disruptive and a constant fear.

I have seen a lot of people battle Cancer. Some with grace and tenacity. Some with little or no resistance. Too often those who let the fear win, find the cancer wins too. I remember one mother when our kids were at school , opting to do nothing when she got the diagnosis of Breast Cancer, except homeopathic holistic options. She died within 6 months. I cannot say what drove that decision and perhaps for her personally that was the right decision, but I bet her children don't feel it was.

This week we received a video from a warrior. Kathi is battling stage 4 Breast Cancer. It is obvious it has taken a physical toll, but emotionally and spiritually it hasn't gotten close to winning. We were humbled by her thanks for walking in the 3 day, and I prayed when I heard her say she would like to walk with us, that one day, she will. GREAT strides have been made in Breast Cancer. Today 25% of the Stage 4 patients live beyond 5 years. That is enormous. That is why I will keep on walking in 2011, because it isn't time to stand still. If you donated this year someone wants to say something to you.


I want to walk until there is no more Breast Cancer. I want to walk so the toughest choice a woman has when it comes to her breasts is how much cleavage should I show. Yup... it isn't time to stop now. It's time to ramp it up a notch and find an end to this disease.

DONATE if you can to 2011.