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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lora and Pam's Cancer Brawl

My friend Lora was just diagnosed with breast cancer.

She found the lump during her monthly breast-self exam.

That was four days before her regularly scheduled mammography.

She writes:
I went in & told them about the lump. Because of my recent experience though, I did NOT wait for the result;  instead went directly into see a specialist who quickly diagnosed my cancer. On the same day that my breast surgeon ...provided the diagnosis, I received a call from the regularly scheduled mammo people giving me all-clear. Per the report, my mammo “shows no evidence of breast cancer”; I should “continue with periodic examinations.” I’m really glad that I did not wait; went immediately into the doctor.
The "recent experience" of which she speaks is that, about a year ago, her partner, Pam, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Yes. You read that right.

She's almost through the last of the "slash, burn and poison" method of treatment.

She's had a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery (slash), radiation (burn) and is just finishing up her last round of chemo (poison). Actually, she'll get her last dose of non-chemo IV treatment in early September.

Because Lora has a history of breast cancer in her family, she's having a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction surgery at the end of the month. Depending on the genetic studies, she may also have a hysterectomy.

Then, depending on the path reports after surgery, she may have radiation and chemo.

Oh, I didn't tell you?

They have twins. A boy and a girl. Six years old.

I was there hours after their premature birth. Did "emergency baptisms" in their incubators, and was later privileged to formally baptize them in church .

They are both truly amazing kids.

Then again, what would we expect? Their parents are truly amazing women.

They have chosen "Rosie the Riveter" as the logo for their FaceBook Page where they will keep family and friends up to date on the progress of their "Cancer Brawl."

I can't think of a better image.

Rosie the Riveter is an iconic figure who represents the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and war supplies.

These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military.

In 1942, there was a hit song entitled "Rosie the Riveter". The lyrics include the words:
All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She’s part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter
Well, okay, I don't like the war image or the image of the assembly line. I like the image of a strong, independent woman making a contribution to the world. No wonder "Rosie" remains an icon of the feminist movement.

I like that Lora and Pam use the word, "brawl." It's street. It's down and dirty. It's doin' what you need to do to fight cancer.

Oh, and there's something else. I'll let Lora tell it in her own words:
So for all of you out there as freaked as I am by this story, (1) make sure your mammo is digital (vs analog). With digital, they can get a much closer look at any areas that are questionable; (2) keep with the self exams monthly & (3) if you find a lump, regardless of mammo, see a specialist. You might not get the answer you like, but it might help to save your life.
So, g'wan. Do a breast self-exam.

Do it right now.

And, if you haven't had a mammo lately, please pick up the phone and call your doctor and make an appointment.

Yeah, you guys too. What? You think guys don't get breast cancer? Think again.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, about 1,990 new cases of breast cancer in men will be diagnosed, and that breast cancer will cause approximately 480 deaths in men (in comparison, over 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year).

Don't know how to do a BSE (Breast Self Exam)?

You can learn all about it from the American Cancer Society.

You can get step-by-step illustrated instructions here.

And, please, of your mercy and kindness, remember Lora and Pam in your prayers. And, their two kids who are amazingly brave. They are also kind and thoughtful, generous and smart. They also actually ask for fruits and vegetables. Every day.

That's because they have two incredible parents.

Who need our prayers as they brawl cancer. Again.

Thank you.


Ana said...

Fierce prayers goin' up.

suzanne said...

As a breast cancer survivor of 35 years, I sincerely thank you for this post. I urge all women to do BSE monthly. Get to know your body! It will save your life.
I wish Lora and Pam well.

AutumnJoy said...

Joining my prayers to others for both of these women and their
children - please keep us posted and let them know they have another prayer warrior on their side.

it's margaret said...

they will both be in my prayers, as will the kids.

when I was diagnosed, my two older sisters went in for exams --one was positive and one was clear.... the one who was positive --we decided to write our own soap opera "The Bald and the Breastless" --perhaps these two fine mothers can contribute another chapter.

Kay & Sarah said...

Prayers for Lora, Pam and their children.

Riley said...

Prayers for Lora and Pam and the kids.

Okay, off I go to do my self exam.
Right now.

joven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Prayers ascending!

Paul Davison said...

My prayers for your friends... and you.