Wednesday, September 8, 2010

" Fashion is in my blood. Growing up, I was always clacking around the house in my mother's shoes. "

" Fashion is in my blood. Growing up, I was always clacking around the house in my mother's shoes." Sophia Bush

I inherited my mother's hazel eye color.
Her good taste for expensive fabrics, color, and fashion.
Her ability to listen with empathy during a conversation. 
Her excellent cooking, decorating and entertaining skills.
 This week I am waiting to see if I inherited her gene for Breast Cancer. 
My parents first Christmas in their new home 1952

My doctors have kept a watchful eye on me since I found the first lump in my breast at age 29.  Every year since then I have gone for annual mammograms. Some years they found a cyst that was easily aspirated with a needle using ultra sound technology.  I had a sense of joy and relief as I watched the cyst collapse when drained. 
For the past few years tiny white specks of calcium were pointed out to  me on my mammogram films. Often I got as far as the last office to the exit only to have to go back for another mammogram just to make sure it was all clear.   I am no stranger to wondering which way the door would open.  For years I wondered would I be spending the fall at Buffalo State College or would I go directly to Roswell Park Cancer Institute?  Believe me, it was with a sense of joy and appreciation when I made the calls to loved ones from the parking lot waiting to hear I got the all clear.
This summer has been a little different.  Since August 3, 2010 things have begun to change.  This time the doctor said, " Carol, I have a little concern about the growing cluster of calcium specks showing up. Let's get a needle biopsy today to be sure."   She said the was no lump but to be on the safe side I needed a Needle Biopsy to examine a little tissue.  Since I have been proactive about my health in general I was happy to work with the technicians to make everything go a quickly and smoothly as possible.
This image was taken in 1959 when my mom was 35 the year she found breast cancer.

                   Fred was 5, I was almost 3 and Mark was just under 1 year old.
My mother went on to live 35 more years after her breast cancer treatment and she did not die from cancer.  This information has been a message of hope and inspiration to many women in their battle against cancer.

Yesterdays my MRI showed a small lump, not fluid, this time in my left breast. 
Tomorrow morning I will have a MRI Needle Directed Biopsy will let me know if the cells in this lump are benign or not.  

Among all the other characteristics I inherited from my mother I possess her Courage as well as her ability to make lemonade when life throws me lemons.  During all of my hours of waiting for medical test I have been kind, caring and courteous to the other women who are anxiously waiting for what comes next.   No matter what my outcome is after tomorrow MRI guided Needle Biopsy, I am overwhelmed and thankful for the family and friends who have expressed care about me.  Three women have already offered to help me any time I need them. I am also thankful that I feel so strong and healthy right now. Each day I either walk three miles or ride my stationary bike 8 kilometers in addition to other daily household chores. 

Early detection is the best offense we have in any women's fight against breast cancer.

Most cases of breast cancer occur 'by chance'. However, breast cancer does occur more often than usual in some families because of their genetic make-up.

Barry, Kara, Me and Jim   September 1, 2010

I was trained through the American Cancer Society in Pittsburgh with Look Good Feel Better     This wonderful program provides free cosmetics, skin and beauty care treatments to anyone healing from cancer treatment.  

Inspired by the Look Good Feel Better concept Kara and I will be working on a series of  ricerafferty Breast Cancer Hope Statement Necklaces with a portion of the our sales going to cancer research.

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