I know one cannot live one's life in fear. It's a terrible way to live. Having said this, I have to admit that I am a fearful person.
When I was younger, I feared that I would never meet "the right" person to spend the rest of my life with. I was a serial dater and it was always with the wrong kind of men (ummm...make that "man-children"/boys).
When I got married, and we didn't get pregnant right off the bat, I worried that we would never have children. A couple months passed, and we got pregnant.
When we got pregnant, I worried that something bad would happen to our baby.
Something did happen. My cervix was dilated when I was just into my second trimester. Little One was born 3 months early and spent the first 70 days of her life in the NICU.
I feared that something would happen to her because she was born so early. It was the worst feeling in the world.
Though I was scared, I still had faith that everything would be okay. By some miracle, we now have a happy, healthy, busy, active 3 year old girl who shows no signs that she was a preemie. One wouldn't be able to tell that she was born at 28 weeks and 980 g at birth.
Today, my biggest fear is the possibility of having cancer. I don't know why I am so paranoid about this. Whenever I go to the doctor for a check-up, I get the nurse practitioner to do a breast check on me. I know how to do a self-examination. I do it quite regularly. Just the confirmation from someone else that there indeed is no lump found makes me feel huge relief. I dream about it and wake up having to check my breasts to make sure that there are no lumps. I've almost convinced myself that I will discover something there one morning. It's really irrational and it's driving me crazy.
Just recently, six (YES! SIX!) of my friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. That is not a small percentage at all. It's alarming and scary.
Friends of varying ages (between 30 and up) have been affected by breast cancer. I've been there through the chemo/radiation and some of them having to have a breast (or both) removed. The ups and downs, the trials and tribulations...all very real and very close to home. The worst part? Cancer does not discriminate. You can be the most active, healthy, wonderful person ever, and cancer can still strike.
Perhaps this is why breast cancer is on my brain so much these days.
Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources for women. Your doctor is a great person to start with. There's also this website that talks about breast cancer screening. Women's Health Matters is another fabulous site to check out.
Things I did not realize: "The tumour may be hard or soft and may sometimes be described as a thickening of the breast. Breast cancers are almost always painless.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
One woman in nine will develop breast cancer by age 85. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, after lung cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death among women aged 40 to 55.
The National Cancer Institute of Canada estimates that in 2007, an estimated 22,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,300 will die of it."
For more information on breast cancer, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, surgery, and living with breast cancer, visit Women's Health Matters.