The Club 17 and BSE Post I Will Always Link To If You Ask Me Something Covered Here. It might also be the Post I Will Link To Even If It Holds No Answers. Sorry.
Updated to Add: Huh. I posted this, then went back and read it and realized it starts off really boring. hang in there, good stuff awaits at the bottom. (that was so much less work than trying to fix it. hee hee.)
Q: What's a BSE?
A: BSE stands for Breast Self Exam.
Q: Why do I do these monthly reminder/nag sessions? I mean, why is it SUCH a big deal? Well. I'll tell you.
A: When Caden-2yr was a tiny little 3 month old, I found a lump. I never did self breast exams, and so i had no idea how long it had been there. That one thought nagged at me in the night for weeks afterwards. It was about pea sized, hard, and the edges of it were rough. None of those things were good. There are a lot of lumps and bumps and cysts and things that can be quite harmless - especially for a nursing mom. But rough edges were notably bad.
I had so many doctor's appts over the next weeks. It just dragged on and on. The surgeon I saw knew immediately it wasn't good. After a long conversation, we decided the next step would be an 'ultrasound guided biopsy.' There was already one ultrasound of it, but it had been lost somehow between doctor's offices.
I was a wreck. I remember trying to live minute to minute. Constant prayer over the next minute. And I was too scared to really ask God to just fix it. I couldn't even pray that. I focused on what would happen, and the things i should do in case i died and left my daughter and two sons without a mother. I had no peace whatsoever that everything would work out. None. I was numb.
Mike did pray, though. He prayed a lot. And one day he said something that really, really made me angry. He said that he'd prayed and God had answered him that 'it would be good.' GOOD? Excuse me? HOW? That really ticked me off, and anytime I worried and Mike tried to reassure me with that particular answered prayer, I got even more mad and worried.
Life was so hard those 6 or 8 weeks. Then we went in for that ultrasound guided biopsy.
And it was gone. Magically, completely, utterly... gone.
They had all said it wasn't the sort of lump that would disappear. Certainly not like it did.It hadn't changed at all in any way since it was first detected. And that wasn't good either.
But it did disappear. The doctors were in shock. My surgeon, when she heard about it, was in total disbelief and had her office call me so that she could look for it herself. After all, it just wasn't the sort that would go away. And she would know.
Mike and I cried in the waiting room, hugged, and walked out into the parking lot of the hospital, stunned. And then Mike, with tears streaming down his face, said "Kels, what did God say?"
"That it would be good?"
And I agreed. It was good. But I was missing something.
Mike laughed and said, "But what is today?"
"Friday." I wasn't getting whatever it was he wanted me to see.
"No. It's Good Friday."
And it was. The Friday before Easter, Good Friday, of 2004 was especially good.
(Thank You, God for that answer to Mike's prayer - I didn't understand or appreciate it at all then, but it's pretty special to me now.)
After that I resolved to do those monthly self breast exams. If I ever had to go through that again, i wanted to KNOW how long it had been there. That piece of information would have set my mind at ease. It would have been so much better to be able to think, 'huh. there's a lump. scary, but it's at least i know it is new. let's call a doctor.' i hope none of you ever find a lump. But more than that, i hope that if you do, you can say, 'at least I know it is very new. I caught this - whatever it is - as early as I possibly could.'
I know what some of you are thinking. It's the reason I haven't written this before now, to be honest. Compared to so many other stories that end tragically, or involve an actual drawn out fight with cancer, my story might not sound like much. And maybe it isn't. But my point is that it was pretty horrific anyway, and if I can be more proactive, and bug you to be - then i will.
Thanks for letting me. I know I can be obnoxious about it.
**********************Important Link Section*******************
Q: How do I do a self breast exam?
Q: Ok, but should I still do one if I'm under 30, wear green underwear, my doctor does them once a year, or any other reason or excuse I can fill in?
A: If you have breasts, examine them. Once a month. I think a little accountability for all of us will help keep us in the habit and that's why i do this thing.
Q: What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?
A: If you don't know about IBC please familiarize yourself with this website.
Q: What if I do them another time of the month? What time of the month is best for me?
A: EXCELLENT QUESTIONS. Click here to see the answers. I picked the 17th as an arbitrary, easy to remember (for me) date. If you don't have periods for any reason, just pick an arbitrary time such as the 17th.
If you would like a FREE EMAIL reminding you of what time is the best time for YOU to do your BSE, then sign up here. (no, it won't come from me. i think it comes from Canada. Good idea, eh?)
CLUB 17 SECTION:
If you want to join Club 17, this is the lowdown:
1. check in once a month on the 17th and report that you have done a BSE sometime since the last check in on the previous month's 17th. NOTE: your BSE does not have to be done ON the 17th. That's just when we check in. To find out when you should be doing yours, see above.
2. If you have done your BSE, leave a comment on the Club 17 post saying "I did it!" or something to that effect.
3. If you have a blog, and wish to display the following buttons, please do so. I would love for you to help advertise the importance of doing our monthly exams. Also, please remind other to do their BSE's whenever it is you do yours.
Julie at Desert Diva created them. Isn't she THE BEST?! I'm so thrilled with how they turned out!
The first one is a Club 17 button for your sidebar if you have participated at least one time. (you have done one BSE and checked in on the comments section at least one time.)
I want you all to end up with this next button, though. This is for those of you who have participated at least SIX times. By this point, you have formed a very healthy habit and of course you deserve a crown! Leave a comment stating that you are 'crowning yourself' and we will get very excited for you, and some will envy you - because hey. it IS a crown. Then it's yours for the taking. You earned it.
I'm VERY pleased that nonbloggers are participating. Seems to me that nonbloggers are far less likely to leave comments, so i'm particularly thrilled when they DO. And when it's on a Club 17th post, then big, BIG YEA! So, I think for the bloggers there will be the incentive of the Club 17 button, and as incentive for the nonbloggers, there should also be something, don't you think?
Perhaps a book, or a card or a something. Ok. I have no idea. Can you tell? But I will have something for each month for ALL the BSE-ers who check in. I'll do a drawing and that BSE-er will receive the possibly wonderful (possibly totally crappy) prize. No blog required of course.
I will NOT go back and check if so-and-so really did an BSE six times. Two words: Honor System.
Q: How do I put that on my blog? Make it link back here? Insert any other technical type question of any kind...?
A: I have no idea. (Did you see those crazy asterisks up there? THAT was the best I could do, and that has to be simpler that HTML.)
Updated to add: Desert Diva has fantastic instructions on how to place those buttons. Just check out this post!
YeA for DESERT DIVA!!!