Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Anger Management



Looks sort of pretty, kind of interesting. This is a breast cancer cell. Thinking about it makes me so angry I want to break things. This is my nemesis.

Our family moved back to the Chicago area almost six years ago. About three months after we got here, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn't worried too much at first. I was educated. I knew my mom had been religious about her mammograms, so they got it in time, right? Wrong.

What many people do not know is that the hormone replacement therapy that doctors like to prescribe to menopausal women make mammograms cloudy and nearly impossible to read. Additionally, they make the breast tissue dense, so that even physical exams are not reliable. After my mom suggested that her doctor take her off the hormones, the next mammogram was clear and finally revealed the tumor. 10 centimeters. How the f%#@ do you miss that? I still am amazed.

She had a masectomy, which revealed that almost all of her lymph nodes contained cancer. This is bad. This means it has already started traveling around your body. Three rounds of chemo, metastasis to her bones, and metastasis to her liver were the things we all lived with and that my mom so bravely fought through for four years. She never complained, not once. She said, "The doctors tell me I've got a 30% chance of living. Well, I'm 100% alive." She is easily the strongest person I know.

All of this to say, there is more research to be done. There is more education to be done. There are people with no insurance who need treatment and early detection. I am angry because the system failed my mother and the research couldn't happen fast enough. I know a lot of people complain about the commercial "pinkness" of breast cancer awareness. Personally, I think the ribbons should be black, but I am on board to let people know that there is so much more that needs to be done. As I write this a good friend is battling for her life. There are lots of issues that need attention. This one has mine.

6 comments:

Beth said...

sueFan-damn-tastic post, Tenacious S. Mind if I link to it when I do my breast cancer post? My dad died of liver cancer last year, so I'm still taking all cancers personally.

Echo said...

Wow.... what a post... I'm taken aback...

Bubs said...

Wow. Thank you for writing about that.

And for my bride, and my two daughters, thank you for doing what you can.

lulu said...

Your mom was an amazing cool person; I am proud to have known her.

I have been reading a lot of stuff on the whole "pinking" of breast cancer. if it were not about cancer, it would be a fasinating study of marketing.

I don't know how I feel, on the one hand, it does get the message out there, on the other hand, when companies make millions of dollars by putting a pink ribbon on a product and then donate pennies, it is hard to want to be a part of the whole commercialisation of it.

One of the most moving things I have ever seen was the ocean of pink survivor shirts at the 3-Day last year. It's hard to argue with the power of an image like that.

Beth said...

I submitted my covered and uncovered photos tonight. Anything I can do to help ...

Tenacious S said...

Beth, you rock! You can link to my post anytime you want.

Lu, thanks for the kind words. She was a smart, selfless, and loving person.

I had to write. If I don't let it out and do something with it, it eats me alive.