A family member has cancer. We are close. She is handling it with grace and thoughtfulness and is an inspiration to me, as always. Her cancer is skull based and it is a tumor that is pressing against parts of her brain. She started a blog that talks about it and her journey, it’s www.braintumor.ninja It really messed me up when I heard about the cancer because, within a very short space of time, another family member revealed that she had had a mastectomy the day before for breast cancer. She had kept it from us because she didn’t want us to worry but, in light of the other person, she felt it was time to reveal it. This is why I almost failed my last class. I was scared and worried and stunned.
Please make sure that your affairs are in good order. Make a will, get the finances in order. Get insurance if you don’t have it. Just in case. If something were to happen to you, you don’t want to have to try and deal with all of that in addition to your other troubles. And you don’t want to leave your loved ones to have to try and straighten it out for you, either.
And, on a side note for the ladies (and anyone with ladies in their lives), when you get your mammograms, be sure to ask what kind of breast tissue you have. There is fatty tissue for which mammograms are fine, and there is dense breast tissue for which mammograms are pretty much useless. They can’t see though it. My family member had dense tissue and that’s why her mammogram didn’t pick up on the cancer. She found something not right on her own and it took further testing to see what was going on and determine that it was cancer. The mammogram couldn’t pick it up. Make sure you know what kind of breast tissue you have and whether mammograms are what you need. My understanding is that there are alternative tests that are of more use if you have dense tissue. I didn’t know about this until she told us, so I wanted to pass it along in case you all didn’t know either.
Self exams are important. Know your body so that you know when something isn’t right. Women need to do self breast exams and men need to do self testicular exams, in addition to the exams your doctors do. My family members are the ones who knew something wasn’t right and got it investigated. Regular exams didn’t catch them. This is not to say that regular exams aren’t essential, they do catch cancers, but you need to be aware of what’s going on with your body so that you can catch things between visits to the doctor or when the doctor’s exams don’t find things. Please be aware of your body and know what’s right and when something is wrong.
OK, that’s me off my soap box now. This stuff has been on my mind for a while now and I needed to share it with you so that you would know, too. Especially as a future nurse, I know how important this stuff is. The earlier you catch things like cancer, the easier it is and the more likely it is that it can be treated, or at least slowed down. This is the only body you get in this life, be aware of it and take care of it.