If you know me, you know that stubborn describes me.
You can be nice and call it:
- head strong
Or you could be a little less complimentary and say:
Or get fancy and/or archaic and call me:
If it gets me through this, call me whatever you’d like.
It seems that, thus far, taking the ‘this disease will not win’ attitude has had some value.
I just can’t accept sitting and wondering if side effects or symptoms are going to show up, irritate me or devastate me. I have to keep trying to live my ‘normal’ life (whatever the heck that is now) and do the things that I want and need to do.
With this more long-term version of the ‘c’ disease, I’ve learned that I may have to alter the way that I do things, but I suppose getting the intended result it what is most important.
It’s funny that this trait is a very positive attribute when called some things, but negative when called others. It’s all in the way you look at it, I suppose. Just like cancer and all its related treatments, symptoms and side effects. The way you respond depends on how you look at it.
I’ve seen the way it looks to give up, give into it, curling up in a ball and throwing a big pity party. That isn’t me. That isn’t the stubborn, determined, pig-headed, froward me. And considering how ‘well’ I’m responding to and tolerating treatment, you can say that is getting me through it.
But how did stubbornness get me into it?
When you’re young (I mean in my 40s – young is all relative…) I got clear mammograms and thought to myself ‘why should I go through that on a regular basis if there is no problem?’
Right. Maintain that attitude and it will get you exactly where I am or worse.
Mammograms aren’t a one and done thing. Duh. You have to go back – keep checking and keep checking and keep checking. A few bad cells could show up in the 2 weeks after your last mammogram. And the older you get, the more often you go back.
I ignored the reminders for mammograms. I threw every one of them away. And I was throwing away my potential for catching my early instances of cancer.
I also thought there was ‘nothing to check’ because my self exams didn’t uncover anything. And of course, there was no way I was missing anything or breast cancer could manifest without a tumor.
Now I laugh at the foolishness. But don’t. Take care of your girls.
If you want to you can justify it by saying that lobular invasive cancer is rarely caught in very early stages because it isn’t a tumor that you see easily. So early mammograms would uncover nothing. And dense breast tissue masks the lobular type as well. But I can just about guarantee that – if I hadn’t made excuses for myself and justified my stubbornness in having regular mammograms, my breast cancer would not have been detected as late – in its advanced stage. Don’t play breast cancer roulette.
That’s how stubbornness got me into it.
Now I have lots of scars, an implant on 1 side, inflexibility in my treatment shoulder and an arm that requires special care to combat lymphedema.
I would stand topless on a corner if it would make everyone realize that monitoring their girls is critical.
I little squeezing (or even a lot of squeezing) now and then is worth it if it means you can mitigate your potential for taking the breast cancer journey.