In 1999, my first mammogram of the year came back with radial scarring. Usually this is a pre-cursor for breast cancer, but in my case it proved to be the real thing – I had breast cancer.
Having worked in the health profession for over 30 years, my physician referred me to a great oncologist who had treated his wife, also a breast cancer survivor. I was very lucky to find that my oncologist – a Sloan Kettering alumnus – was supportive, helpful and knowledgeable. It takes a team to survive and I was blessed with a GREAT team on my side.
I had two surgeries, lymphedema, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I like to joke that I lost my hair; I glow in the dark; and I have a definite lopsided quality about me that only another breast cancer survivor could understand. But the real blessing is that I am around to joke about it.
After my Tamoxifen five-year stint, I wanted nothing more to do with the memory of breast cancer. It was behind me and I didn’t want to think about it, nor did I want to remember. But then, the mammograms began. And they carried on…every six months. More mammos and more reminders of what I so desperately wanted to forget.
I lost my job, and the economy hasn’t exactly helped. But I continued to need the sanity of regular mammos. When I confided in my radiologist that I could no longer afford the high cost of mammograms, especially with unemployment barely covering my mortgage, she told me about A Silver Lining Foundation.
This incredible organization pays for mammograms for those who cannot afford to pay. Dr. Sandy, who I had been watching on TV for years, founded this organization as a breast cancer survivor who wanted to share the very real gift of life (and relief) with other breast cancer patients.
As it turns out, shortly after this conversation I found a job and was fortunate enough to never require assistance from A Silver Lining Foundation. I was able to continue paying for my regular mammos, but this issue touched me in a very real way and there are many women who may not be as fortunate as I was. There are still lives to save – and mammograms DO save lives.
Thank you California Giant Berry Farms, for helping spread the message about PINK. I am still here to recommend this organization to women who do not have health insurance and find themselves in difficult situations similar to mine. They deserve to survive, too!