I have a very good friend who has been in the fight of her life. Early this year, she found out that she had breast cancer. Like anyone confronted with this- the news was devastating. There were tears, prayers, numerous doctor appointments, and visits with specialists all over our metro area. She vowed to fight very hard- and she has. Many of her friends have worn a pink wristband to remind us to support her in her fight. I have used this tool to help get me to send a text of cheer or call her spontaneously. Little things like this can make a difference- for the giver and receiver.
The treatment plan was pretty much what is done for a majority of women afflicted with this dread disease: chemotherapy, mastectomies, radiation treatment and then reconstruction of the site where her breasts were removed. Throughout it all, my friend has remained very tough- fighting with every means she could to win the battle. She would go daily to the gym and work out, fighting to remain strong. I am amazed by her determination.
Chemotherapy is one of the toughest things Medicine can do to a person- My Mom underwent it a few years ago. It physically drains most people- while it kills the cancer inside them. Hair falls out. Some patients have “Chemo Brain,” where memory and cognition are made a bit “fuzzy” sometimes. My friend was fortunate- she did lose her hair, did not have some of the memory issues but did have limb control difficulty occasionally. Chemo was rough, especially for a gifted pianist and organist! Through it all, her positive outlook helped us all feel encouraged.
The physical disfigurement a woman goes through when her cancerous breasts must be removed is something I cannot even imagine facing. Society places a lot of emphasis on a person’s appearance. To have such a vital part of one’s body altered is unimaginable to me. Many of her friends and I have been amazed with how she even has been able to joke about it. In the midst of our great concern for her, she has helped us to feel good about everything.
After recovering from surgery, she faced yet another round of treatment in her battle- radiation. I was with my Mother on several occasions as she received radiation. She was put in a room, positioned under the machine, and it fired its programmed bursts of energy into her body at the remaining cancerous tissue. The same thing happened to my friend for several weeks, five or six days a week.
The good news- her surgeons and oncologists believe that her battle has been won! In another month or so- after she heals from the radiation, she will be having the reconstructive surgery. It’s sooner than her surgeon would like, but waiting until next year will mean her insurance will not cover it- thus the rush to complete everything this year.
Due to the nature of breast cancer, there will always be the concern about remission- for the rest of her life. I for one am hoping and praying that her ordeal is over for good. It is my prayer for anyone faced with cancer.
Fortunately, there are a number of promising new treatments for cancer just on the horizon. I am thankful for all of the scientists across the globe engaged in battles on the molecular level with the many forms of this disease. I truly believe that hope is just around the corner.
MediCounsel supports October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We have experts ready to assist in providing answers to cancer questions. We are ready to guide and support all our clients as they face their medical concerns. We are here for you.