This week I joined the Miss Brainerd Lakes Scholarship pageant (MAO) contestants and their guests for a workshop on breast cancer. I have a strong family tie to the ugly disease and always am interested in the latest information. A young woman, Rachel, started out the workshop by telling her story. She had a double mastectomy in her 20's, so was a great motivator for these young women to start checking their breast health early on in life and to continue being proactive. Our other speakers found cancer in their 40's and both of them finally ended up with having both breasts removed.
Our queen candidates had various reactions to all the information- some asking lots of questions and some just looking completely terrified.
The last speaker did emphasize that everyone does not end up with even having one breast removed, but may have a lumpectomy and radiation and that in most cases lumps found will turn out to be non-cancerous.
These cancer survivors rejoiced in their lives and counted every day as a blessing. They had been through the trenches and came out perhaps changed in many ways beyond their physical appearance. Their up beat attitude and openess about their lives was an inspiration to these young women and to the rest of us.
Have you checked your breasts this month for changes?
Do you get a yearly mammogram and follow up information?
The key is to be in charge of your own health- it is your life- it is your body. What are you going to do with it?