What My Friends Said About Breast Cancer: A Survivor’s Journal Entry
Learning that my friend had also gone through breast cancer treatments was a surprise. I thought surely I would have known, but she seemed healthy so I never considered it. As a matter of fact, more than one friend or family member shared their stories and encouraged me, and we now walk the journey together to live healthier and take care of ourselves.
I was confused. Women talk about everything. We even go in groups to the restroom, to talk. So, why had none of these ladies talked about this before? It was one of my primary care physicians who started the conversation about self-breast exams and having mammograms at my appointment. But before then, I had hardly ever mentioned it to anyone…other than during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Any other time, it seemed that acknowledging it or talking about it in public or with friends was taboo.
Breaking the Silence
But, once emerged into the breast cancer arena, it was all I thought about and talked about because there was so much information about my health that came forward and there were important decisions to make. My friends sharing their stories encouraged me and my healthcare team was great to take time to answer all my questions and share their personal experiences and stories of women on the other side of breast cancer living out healthy lives….so inspirational and compassionate. I distinctly recall one of my doctors who fondly recalled an aunt who faced cancer and was courageous and strong, and a nurse using a metaphor of how we go to the dentist for procedures and check-ups routinely and women’s health should be the same. She said, “We need to take care of ourselves and visit our doctor on a routine basis, not just when we are sick or something doesn’t feel right, and just like when we find out we have a cavity, take care of whatever needs to be repaired and schedule your next visit.”
Making Strides Together
She was right, and since my experience overcoming breast cancer, I have been to my doctor for scheduled visits like timework to monitor and manage my “health style” (as described in my previous blog), and I wish I’d had started sooner because I now feel more knowledgeable and comfortable about my health and making decisions. During my routine physical and routine follow-ups, my doctor goes over my medications and my labs, and we talk about what’s working and the plans for me to continue to take care of myself. I know I have a whole team on my side who care and support me.
So, as a survivor and a friend, I say, “Take care of yourself.” Find out how to get started today with a LeBauer Primary Care doctor below.