Monday, October 10, 2011

staying in the pink

Speaking as a nurse to all my readers who are women...take care of your breasts...you only get one set.  There is a multitude of information out there.  If you haven't done a breast self exam or had a mammogram, take the minutes it would take out of your day to learn how to self exam.  Or to schedule that mammogram. 

I'll never forget the night I cared for someone with breast cancer.  The night I was assigned to her, I put my stethoscope to her chest to listen to her heart and lungs.  Part of the nightly assessment I performed on all my patients on first rounds.  I had been told in report that there was a lump in her breast.  Late stage cancer the doctors thought.  They hadn't biopsied because she was admitted for something else.  That would be done in a few days.  So she was unaware of what was going on with her breast.

I laid my stethoscope on her chest to listen to her lungs as she lay in bed.  And as I moved it across her chest I felt it.  She was emaciated, so there was no mistaking what it was.

I had two reactions that night.  The woman in me was horrified.  I was fearful of what I felt.  And I shuddered slightly as I bumped across that lump with the bell of my stethoscope.

The nurse in me was saying to myself "aha...so that is what it feels like."  And wondering how far advanced the disease was.  If it was treatable or if this poor woman was fated to die.  And remembering the breast biopsy I had watched in nursing school when I did my surgery rotation.

I hope never to have to see anyone I love have breast cancer.  And the best way I know to help prevent it, or to catch it in an early treatable stage are two simple things.

Self examination.

Mammogram.

Do it.  Now.  Your life might depend on it.

And please take the time to click the For Jen's Sake Pinktober badge at the bottom left of this page and click on the link in her site to donate to breast cancer prevention.  A click.  That is all it takes.



~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

11 comments:

  1. A truly relevant post, Cath. Thank you for reminding us all. As I had blogged about the other night, I had just seen the movie 50/50 and I've been thinking a lot about cancer since...particularly the way the patient experiences the diagnosis, the revelation and how you go on after that. I can only imagine what must've went through your mind that day as you were with that patient. I'm sure it was a mix of gratitude (that you are well) but I suspect a whisper of prayer of some sort also resided in you. You are courageous for doing what you do, taking care of ppl. Thanks again for reminding us of so many important things that we often take for granted.

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  2. @Savira Gupta Thank you, and your breasts do too.

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  3. @Thom Brown Wanted to add some visual prompts and did this last night...glad you like it Thom.

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  4. @Joy Page Manuel Thank you for your comments Joy. I've always offered up prayer for my patients, and especially for those with a debilitating or fatal illness. I get much more back from the souls I have been privileged to provide care for than I have ever given. I am thankful if I can help in some small way. We all tend to take health for granted, until we lose it. xo

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  5. Always a good reminder - whether it's Breast Cancer Awareness month or not! Had my first official over 40 yearly mammo last month. My baseline was done 5 years ago when my Dr discovered 2 lumps in my right breast. I was lucky - they were fibroid tumors.

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  6. @Beckey I am proud of you for taking such good care of yourself Beckey, and glad everything is ok. :D

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  7. Thank you for sharing a story that touched you. Also thank you so much for the mention of my blog. I am honored.
    Now that I have been cleared I can finally get back to focusing on spreading the awareness I set out to spread before my crazy week and a half. xoxo

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