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Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett

Starting Over ~ Breast Cancer and Me

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m able to start over because cancer didn’t win. This enemy attacked not once, but twice. Yet I’m still here. So now it’s time to pick myself up and reclaim my normal activities–living, loving, writing, playing canasta and mah-jong and whatever else comes along. If I hide under the bed, I will have lost the battle despite being cancer free, and that is not acceptable.

It’s not that I’m stronger than anyone else. Really, I’m not. I’ve had wonderful support from family, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. This breast cancer sisterhood is not isolated. It draws in brothers, sisters, husbands, co-workers, neighbors, everyone who knows you, everyone who cares about you and everyone who loves you. These are the allies. They were my allies. They shared their strength and offered help as well as hope.

In the end, however, women are the ones who sit in cotton gowns waiting for the mammogram report. It is a routine exam, but our hearts race as the technician walks over. When she smiles and says, “You’re free to go,” we know we’ve received another reprieve. Safe ’til next year.

Or not. In 2001, I found my first tumor myself six months after having had a mammogram. So my battle cry for you is: Vigilance. Self-exams. Mammograms. You’ve heard it before: early detection is the key to survival. The word’s out on television, news articles and in magazines. And yet…and yet…we too often hide.

Have you heard the joke about Cleopatra being Queen of “de-nial?” Well, too many of us qualify for that crown. Including me. I waited weeks before I could admit I was actually feeling something in my breast. Maybe it would go away tomorrow…or the next day…  Maybe I’d walked into a wall and bruised myself…and the bruise swelled a bit… Yeah, yeah, the imagination is sometimes NOT a wonderful thing. (But don’t say that to writers of fiction 🙂

During my last bout with the disease – detected through a mammogram – I can across a website called No Surrender. How’s that for a catchy, uplifting name? Turns out, I not only liked the supportive tone, but I appreciated the layman’s presentation of their Breast Cancer 101 section. They covered the gamut from interpreting a diagnosis to what to expect for all possible treatments. I would recommend this website as a starting point for anyone with questions about breast cancer.

Now, I have a question for you:  have you scheduled your mammogram for this year?  If you have any questions for me, please comment below and enter to win a copy of Family Interrupted.  Drawing at the end of the month. 

Wishing you all the best of health. Hope to see you next time for another edition of Starting Over!




5 thoughts on “Starting Over ~ Breast Cancer and Me

  1. Congrats on becoming a cancer survivor, Linda. I had my yearly mammo. and all is well. March was my 15th year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. I’m 49 and will be 50 in Aug. I’m pleased with how far they’ve come in terms of biopsies and such. It would have been nice to have a needle biopsy instead of having this huge chunk removed from my breast. But I’m thrilled to be alive! However women are under the impression that 40 is when they should get a mammo. Not so! I believe women should get them at an early age. It’s a very tough thing to go through but cancer can be detected and beaten. We did it! YAY!

    • Congratulations to both of us, Mel! A lot of progress has been made in cancer detection and treatment, but we, women, are really the first line of defense for ourselves. Doing self exams and getting mammos every year without fail are up to us. I also think 40 is too old to start. Thanks for commenting about this. And I’ll thank Barbara for linking us. Great to have friends.

      • Thanks, Linda. Talking to women about breast cancer is very important to me.
        It is nice to make new friends and I look forward to chatting with you. Have a great weekend!

    • Linda-So glad you have included me in your email. I really enjoyed reading your materials as I was sitting at my eye doctors office waiting to be called for a post op check. I wanted to comment on most of your blogs but was drawn to continue reading on. It wasn’t until I came to this blog that I had to stop and comment and tell you how proud I am of both of us for fighting this battle and for having such a positive attitude about life and living.We are both fighters and we need to continue to inspire others around us. I admire you and your spirit and enjoyed your stories. Thanks for entertaining me while I sit here and wait…Yaffa

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