As most of you know October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have been so deeply touched this year to see all the wonderful promotions going on in support for breast cancer. Being that breast cancer has become so widespread, we know the importance of early detection and encourage everyone to talk to your healthcare provider to discuss screening options such as mammograms and clinical breast exams, which would be right for you. We also know how the stories of those who are going through breast cancer or who have survived it are inspiring women around the world. That is why we would like to share the story of own co-blogger Rachael's sweet grandmother Lorraine, who is a breast cancer survivor. This story has truly touched my heart and I hope it will touch yours as well.
"Nearly two years ago I went in for my first mammogram. My husband and I wanted to serve as missionaries and this was just one of the many medical tests that were required.
When the mammogram was finished, I lounged in a cozy room sporting a most fashionable robe of blue cotton. Some of the other ladies there had striped robes but those weren't enough of an improvement to make me jealous as I waited for the 'all-clear' from the radiologist. Soon a nurse motioned me to another room where I was told the mammogram showed a suspicious mass and they wanted to do an immediate biopsy. They hustled me to a different wing, where my poor tortured breast was first drawn on with colored marker, then anaesthetized and finally poked with a fat needle that pulled up a sample of the offending tissue. By the long faces of the nurses and the speed with which they sent out the sample for analysis, I suspected that the 'all-clear' was all gone.
On the way home, the fact that I likely had breast cancer overwhelmed my whole thoughts. My doctor, who was my daughter's good friend, had asked to be informed of the results right away. By the time I walked in my front door, the hospital had called her, she had called my daughter who then phoned my husband and told him what they suspected. Life seemed to both speed up and drag on forever. Within a couple of days, surgery was scheduled. However, due to it being over the Christmas holidays, the wait time was almost a month. We decided to keep to our vacation plans and leave for Southern Alberta to spend Christmas with many of our children and grandchildren.
Word of my condition spread quickly among our friends and I was given much excellent advice. The best came from a man who managed a company producing nutritional supplements. He told me about a new product they carried called 'Salvestrols' which had a proven track record in other parts of the world in shrinking tumors. I bought some and started a regime of healing foods and supplements suggested by their nutritional expert.
While in Alberta, I met a woman who had helped her husband recover from a very serious lymphatic cancer. She gave me great advice about what toxins to avoid and how to strengthen my immune system. When our car broke down on the highway, my husband was rescued by a man who had experience in helping others heal from cancer. This sweet man gave my husband some of the vitamins and mineral he used, as well as a list of suggested foods and drinks. Another of my friends came over and did energy work, which helped me greatly in maintaining a positive attitude.
Many prayers were said on my behalf, and by the time I went back for surgery, I was feeling better than I had in many years. When they did another ultrasound before surgery, the technician measured the tumor again - it was just over half the size it had been a month earlier. I was jubilant.
After I recovered from the lumpectomy, we decided to spend a few months in Alberta, where two of our daughters were building houses. We commuted to the cancer clinic five days a week for radiation therapy. I was feeling so well with my regime of exercise, whole foods and supplements that I didn't think I needed radiation. But the doctor wouldn't sign my medical form for our mission if I didn't have it done, so I reluctantly complied.
Everyone at the cancer clinic was delightful. Although many of the patients were facing horrendous challenges, the atmosphere was upbeat and positive. I had no complications except my own thoughts of what all that radiation was doing to my body. Most the volunteers at the clinic were breast cancer survivors, which gave me great hope.
At the end of the summer, treatment was complete and we returned home to make preparations to spend 1-2 years serving somewhere in the world. Followup mammograms showed no signs of cancer and FINALLY the coveted 'all-clear' was given.
Before my own experience, every woman I knew who had breast cancer, died from it. Now I know that this is a disease that can be beaten. I'm so thrilled to be a 'Breast Cancer Survivor'. And yes, we are now serving as missionaries. The reality is even better than the dream.
So to all you out there who are fighting, or know someone who is fighting this disease, DON'T GIVE UP. There is still hope, and I wish you strength and blessings possible on your journey, you can make it!!"