Monday, September 28, 2009

caught early

I have two or three posts in draft form.
Posts about mountains, and near-solitude.
About hiking in the snow.
About being prepared.
Or posts about jobs.

But this isn't any of those.

Tomorrow, my mother is having a precancerous lump removed from her remaining breast.

Twenty-two years ago, she had breast cancer. Had a radical mastectomy, including lymph node removal. In many ways, she's one of the very lucky ones -- they got it all, she didn't need chemo or radiation at the time. In other ways -- she still has lymphedema which restricts her movement and causes her discomfort.

But maybe that early breast cancer was a blessing in disguise.
The lump she's having removed tomorrow? Found on a routine mammogram, which she's religious about. Confirmed by ultrasound and needle biopsy; an MRI showed no other signs of anything ominous.

Caught early.
So early her oncologist doesn't think radiation is a good idea. A short recovery.

My mother's one of the lucky ones. A survivor. A benefit of good health care. Lucky to have insurance which covers it all well -- and covered the initial mammogram.

Life is short. Tomorrow, I'll be waiting for a phone call, and trying not to jump when the phone rings. And yet? I know we're all lucky, every one in my family. It could have been so different.

Please, get your checkups. Do your self exams. Luck is partly where we make it.