The impact of suddenly confronting a life threatening illness like breast cancer can overwhelm the most disciplined brain. The mind enters fight or flight mode, where every decision is about survival with little thought for details.
Breast cancer survivors who have undergone surgery as part of their treatment often describe the entire period between diagnosis and surgery as "a big blur." With their minds still stunned by the diagnosis, they attempt to discuss surgery with their doctor, only to find themselves unable to follow information or articulate questions effectively.
To help get all the facts down, many patient counselors suggest bringing along a spouse or friend who can help ask questions and retain answers. Others suggest writing down all the questions you can think to ask before your scheduled appointment, then writing down or tape recording the answers.
You may also find other professionals in the physician's or surgeon's office that can help answer many of these questions as well.
You should also take along some blank paper to jot down last minute questions or instructions as they occur. Remember, it’s normal to have a hard time staying focused when your health is threatened. Making question lists like this one, and writing down the answers is a healthy way to keep your facts straight while you concentrate on the battle ahead.
The National Breast Cancer Coalition’s goal is the eradication of breast cancer. Each year they determine their legislative priorities. As an organizational member of NBCC, the Cedar Valley Breast Cancer Task Force supports these national priorities:
This last year has passed quickly and again it is time for the Cedar Valley Breast Cancer Task Force team to be rested and ready for the 2006 Relay for Life. The Relay will be held on Friday June 9 through Saturday, June 10, 2006 at Hawkeye Community College.
I was 67 with 13 1/2 years of "clean" mammograms and I was feeling as if I’d beat the breast cancer rap well, until I’d go for a mammogram each year and I’d get that funny feeling and my blood pressure would go up. But after all those years, it finally happened. I got a call from the doctor’s office saying that I’d need to go for more tests. What a whammy.
Luckily, (using the term loosely) I had a mass, not yet a lump, which meant that I would have a stereotactic procedure done the next week. After an hour long needle biopsy the tests came back that something would need to be done soon. By now I was NOT a happy camper. The prognosis was that I could have other masses lurking since my body produces positive estrogen cancer cells. I felt the best decision to make was to take the breast.
On the day of surgery, I went in early and had a procedure where they put dye into my breasts. X-rays were taken periodically throughout the next four hours to see the flow of dye towards the sentinel node. When and if it reached that node would determine how many lymph nodes needed to come out to be tested.
I try to attend as many cancer support meetings that I can. I may be a school counselor, but I need help too. Every time I dress for the day, I say a prayer of thanks, even as a tear falls because of my body’s appearance which is drastically different from most women. It hurts me to see young women victims. It hurts not to have found a cause or cure for breast cancer. It hurts to hear promotions declaring "if you do this or do that you may prevent cancer". Beans! Not true!
I want to speak out and let others know that life goes on. To any or all of you who have had to deal with a double mastectomy, please feel free to call me or come to the support group. Please don’t sit at home as we all need your support and you may need ours.
I want to thank my husband, family members and friends who helped me to doctor appointments, sent well wishes and got me through it all. I know that I must live each day to its fullest and be the best I can be.
The Touch of Courage Breast Cancer Support Group continues to meet on the first Monday of every month (unless it’s a holiday). Meetings are held at the Kimball Ridge Center on 2101 Kimball Avenue. The meetings are held at 1:30 and 5:30 pm.
In May, Dr. Davis will speak at the 5:30 meeting on "Cancer Screening". In June, Epidemiologist Sue Joslyn will speak at the 5:30 meeting and in August, Tina Vier will speak to both groups. Tina’s topic is "Look Good, Feel Better". Pharmacist Phil Colbert will speak to both groups in October and in December the Task Force will give a presentation to the group.
The Support Group invites any woman or man who is dealing with breast cancer to attend the support group meetings. Spouses and significant others are also welcome.
The Cedar Valley Breast Cancer Task Force welcomes donations to enable us to bring services and support to those living with breast cancer. You may not be aware that you can direct your United Way contribution to any 501(c)3 organization, not just United Way organizations. The Cedar Valley Breast Cancer Task Force has 501(c)3 status making your donation tax deductible.
Another way to keep donations local, is to direct memorials for departed friends or family to the Cedar Valley Breast Cancer Task Force. We are a volunteer organization, so 100% of our funds go to providing services in our community.
A new service is under development by the Cedar Valley Task Force. It is our program to help low-income women with medical expenses related to their breast cancer that are not covered by any other program. We know there is a great need, and it will take a significant amount of money to meet these needs. Any assistance with this program would be appreciated. You may use the donation coupon on the back page of the newsletter, or contact Barb Daniels, Treasurer, at 232-3219 with questions.
Who Are We?
Iowa Breast Cancer Edu-Action includes breast cancer survivors and their supporters. We are members of the Cedar Valley Cancer Committee. Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for the prevention and cure of breast cancer.
What We've Done
Need more information?
Call Christine Carpenter