Archive for October, 2014

What Does the World Series and Breast Cancer Have in Common?
October 27, 2014

It’s all about statistics and hope.

As the last week of breast cancer awareness month and the World Series end I thought I would mention some similarities. Shocking to many and even to me that I am using a sports analogy but here it goes!

Not everyone gets breast cancer but we can all support those who do.

Not every baseball player makes it to the World Series but they can become fans.

Breast cancer treatment protocols are based on the best statistical data for a positive outcome.

World Series teams use their statistical rankings to make line up and position placements for the best outcome.

The breast cancer patient can follow her doctor’s recommendations precisely and still get a reoccurrence.

The best team record doesn’t necessarily mean they will end up in the World Series.

It only takes one cell to go rogue to become cancer.

It only takes one swing of the bat to win the series or loose it.

The tumor markers look bad, the treatments are debilitating but the breast cancer patient still has hope that the next treatment, the next blood work will show improvement.

The baseball team is behind in the series and a star player or pitcher is hurt but still they hold hope the next game they will win.

A new clinical trail, a new drug, a new chemo cocktail is showing a statistical significance in life span for the breast cancer patient. She goes for it.

A player is suddenly hot at the bat or at the mound nullifying his season’s statistics. He is put into play.

We support our teams because they display hope on every swing of the bat and every pitch and caught ball. We support our sisters, mothers, and friends with every treatment and diagnosis for the same hope of another day to play!


Strange Encounters
October 20, 2014

The moon was full. That has to be a factor in all this. The day started with an errand to Costco.

At Costco I could not find everything I was looking for, unbelievable but true! So I only picked up the 1 item I needed. As I am waiting in line at the check out with my 1 item, 2 women about my age behind me start dissing me.

“Who goes to Costco and buys only 1 thing?”

“I never would come into Costco for just one item!”

“How can you only find 1 thing to buy at Costco?”

I turned around and said“ But aren’t you glad you are behind me?”

This does not shut them up. I think my delivery was off, or they were itching for a fight.

As I am walking to my car with my one item a car stops in front of me and the woman about my age turns down her window. I thought she was going to ask directions.

Woman, ”Do you like chips?”

Me. “Who doesn’t?”

Woman, “Do you like dip with your chips?”

Me, “But of course.”

Now here I am thinking she is going to pitch me from inside her car Pampered Chef or some multi level company. I mean why else are we 2 strangers discussing chips and dip in the Costco parking lot with her car idling? Truth be told, I love a good sales pitch and I never shy away from one, so I was already giving this woman kudos for her boldness in stopping and approaching me.

Woman, “Do you like taco seasoning?”

Me, “Yes, I do.”

Woman, “Do you use packaged taco seasoning?”

Me, “No I make my own”.

Here it is, I think the pitch is coming.

Woman, “I use one package of taco seasoning and 1 pint of sour cream. I mix it together and let it sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour and it is delicious.”

Me, “OK.”

Woman, “Only 1 pint of sour cream.”

Me, “OK. Thanks. Got it.”

Woman, “Bye.”

She drove off. I think she just wanted to share a recipe.

I can easily be on the phone with a friend for an hour. I will gab with my sister daily for 20 minutes without giving it a second thought. But what if you have retired or are an empty nester and you don’t have many people to have a good chat? Do you stir up conversation/controversy in the check out line or do you stop a stranger to share a good recipe?

The Sisterhood of Breast Cancer
October 15, 2014

There exists a sisterhood of women who have survived breast cancer. Those of us in this group know many members who have not survived. Recently I was giving a breast cancer awareness talk at a community college. One youngish woman asked in all sincerity, “But women don’t really die any longer from breast cancer so shouldn’t all this money and education be spent on more life threatening diseases?”

Luckily I was not the only person giving the presentation and my partner found her words faster to reply. This was a question in my 8 years of breast cancer outreach I never before had heard.

My speaking partner is a 32-year breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed at age 30 after giving birth to her second child. 32 years ago breast cancer treatments were just short of barbaric and she told her story and how research and treatments have come a long way from slash, cut, and poison but yet still some women die. Actually younger women have a higher mortality rate, however breast cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. Some women with metastasized breast cancer can live 5-15 years. But not all breast cancers are alike.

I told the story of a friend of mine who was diagnosed 5 years after my diagnosis. Her cancer stage was actually better than mine but it was a different kind of cancer. She did everything according to protocol set by her oncologists. After her 5-year mark it was discovered her cancer had metastasized and with-in 5 months she was dead.

In the last 5 years I have lost 3 friends to breast cancer. 2 more have been diagnosed with the disease, and 2 more have had a reoccurrence. It is a sisterhood that binds us together, one we never wanted to join. The fatality rate has been reduced through educational and social outreach, and medical advances resulting in early detection but it is still a life threatening disease with no cure!

Do you know some one in the sisterhood?

Breast Cancer Myths Debunked
October 6, 2014

I picked 10 myths about breast cancer. They always show up and make the news but they are just myths.

1. Bras cause breast cancer.

There actually was a recent study showing that this myth is really not sustainable. Really does anyone sincerely think that you get breast cancer from wearing a bra?

2. Breast Cancer is genetic.

Less than 10% of all breast cancers are genetic.

3. Deodorants and antiperspirants cause breast cancer.

Nope there really is not a link.

4. An injury to the chest causes breast cancer.

No one wants a chest injury but it won’t cause breast cancer.

5. Small-breasted women are less likely to get breast cancer.

If only it was true.

6. Large breasted women are more likely to get breast cancer.

Size really does not mater in breast cancer.

7. The radiation in a mammogram can cause breast cancer.

No, the radiation is just a tiny amount.

8. If your mammogram is clean you are 100% breast cancer free.

Know your body. Sometimes a mammogram will not pick up everything.

9. Having an abortion raises your risk for breast cancer.


10. Breast Cancer is preventable.

I wish that was true.

There are many crazy theories and myths about breast cancer. These 10 are ones I hear all the time. Breast cancer, because there is no cure, is scary and fear drives crazy myths.

Did I debunk any myths for you?