Monday, January 16, 2012

One of My Biggest Fears


I know one cannot live one's life in fear.  It's a terrible way to live.  Having said this, I have to admit that I am a fearful person.

When I was younger, I feared that I would never meet "the right" person to spend the rest of my life with. I was a serial dater and it was always with the wrong kind of men (ummm...make that "man-children"/boys).

When I got married, and we didn't get pregnant right off the bat, I worried that we would never have children. A couple months passed, and we got pregnant. 

When we got pregnant, I worried that something bad would happen to our baby.

Something did happen.  My cervix was dilated when I was just into my second trimester.  Little One was born 3 months early and spent the first 70 days of her life in the NICU.

I feared that something would happen to her because she was born so early. It was the worst feeling in the world.

Though I was scared, I still had faith that everything would be okay. By some miracle, we now have a happy, healthy, busy, active 3 year old girl who shows no signs that she was a preemie. One wouldn't be able to tell that she was born at 28 weeks and 980 g at birth.

Today, my biggest fear is the possibility of having cancer.  I don't know why I am so paranoid about this.  Whenever I go to the doctor for a check-up, I get the nurse practitioner to do a breast check on me. I know how to do a self-examination. I do it quite regularly. Just the confirmation from someone else that there indeed is no lump found makes me feel huge relief. I dream about it and wake up having to check my breasts to make sure that there are no lumps. I've almost convinced myself that I will discover something there one morning. It's really irrational and it's driving me crazy.

Just recently, six (YES! SIX!) of my friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. That is not a small percentage at all. It's alarming and scary.

Friends of varying ages (between 30 and up) have been affected by breast cancer.  I've been there through the chemo/radiation and some of them having to have a breast (or both) removed.  The ups and downs, the trials and tribulations...all very real and very close to home. The worst part? Cancer does not discriminate. You can be the most active, healthy, wonderful person ever, and cancer can still strike.

Perhaps this is why breast cancer is on my brain so much these days.

Thankfully, there are a lot of great resources for women.  Your doctor is a great person to start with.  There's also this website that talks about breast cancer screening. Women's Health Matters is another fabulous site to check out.

Things I did not realize: "The tumour may be hard or soft and may sometimes be described as a thickening of the breast. Breast cancers are almost always painless.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
One woman in nine will develop breast cancer by age 85. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, after lung cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death among women aged 40 to 55.
The National Cancer Institute of Canada estimates that in 2007, an estimated 22,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,300 will die of it."
For more information on breast cancer, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, surgery, and living with breast cancer, visit Women's Health Matters.


Cindy Babcock said...

During this pregnancy I had a pap done at the beginning and I had abnormal cells come up. (ack!) They made me promise to come back 6 weeks post birth for another pap to ensure the cells didn't come back worse. They had said with a normal vaginal birth the bad cells should slough off though, which is one of the reasons I was against having a c-section!

I got called back on Friday, and my new pap came back bad cells! I was more worried than I had realized that it would come back that the cells were worse and that it would be cervical cancer.

Katrina Brady said...

This is a good tope! It is so important to do a breast exam on a regular basis because this is a common cancer for women! So sorry to here about your friends. Sometimes paranoia is not paranoia but an awareness that will keep you observant.

Tarasview said...

I am a naturally fearful person too... I so wish I wasn't! And cancer is just plain scary.

This is a good reminder to get checked though- thanks :)

Little Miss Kate said...

The "good thing" about breast cancer is that for the most part it is very treatable, and has an excellent survival rate. But that does not take away from the fact that no one ever wants to hear a cancer diagnosis. It is good to be aware of what life style changes you can make to help prevent cancer - getting exercise (and with a 3 yr old how could you not!) and eating good diet, as well as limiting exposure to toxins.

OrangeHeroMama said...

SUCH an important post!! I'm another who lives in fear that something bad is gonna happen! (and i had the whole preemie fear oldest daughter was born at 36 wks on the dot, much smaller than was expected-she was 3 lbs, and had a grade 3 brain hemm..scariest time of my life those first 2 yrs were!!!)

Multi-Testing Mommy said...

This really scares me too and as I get older my breasts are getting lumpier and harder to "self check" too (sorry about the tmi) - they are tender too. I am paranoid and worry about this too, but I realize this isn't a healthy way to live (always in the fear of something) so I've been trying lately to put it in the back of my mind. It's hard though. Great post. Hugs and I'm so so sorry to hear about your friends!

C said...

Cindy, I was actually thinking about you the other day! Thank goodness your pap came back perfect! Which reminds me, I should get mine done again soon. Let's catch up soon, friend! I hope the next time I see you won't be at the next chocolate party...because that's in December!! Hugs!

C said...

Multi-Testing Mommy: I hear ya. I keep "thinking" I feel something, but it never is anything. *sigh*

C said...

That is soooooooo true! Thanks for the reminder! Yes, we keep busy/active, eat healthy (we live on a can we not? LOL!), and try to limit exposure to toxins. Glad you mentioned it is for the most part very treatable! That is so true!

P.S. I was cleaning up the house the other day and came across the black bag you let me use from SCCTO! Thanks for that! You are so incredibly sweet! Seeing the bag totally made me think of you! Hugs! XOXOX

C said...

Thanks, Katrina! You are so right. Sometimes it is an awareness that will keep us observant.

BTW, I met up with Serena (BewilderedBug) last weekend. We were talking about how much fun you are and what a great time we had at SCCTO with you.

C said...

Glad you said you feel the same way. I was beginning to think I worry too much! ;) BTW, I read your latest book review! Sounds like a great book! I'll have to check it out/buy a copy!

C said...

Eeeek! I remember those early NICU days! Little One had a grade 2 brain hemm, but it went away quickly. Still scary. She also had to have a Lumbar Puncture/Spinal Tap because they were worried about infection when her temp rose one night. SCARY. I have to keep reminding myself on days when she drives me nuts that we prayed for her and wanted her to be healthy and to just be ALIVE! Sometimes she can be quite challenging though!!!

~ The Country Mouse ~ said...

Your message is so very important. I think all ladies young or old should be reading this and keeping it in mind. While I understand that living in fear isn't ideal, we must never forget about the possibility of cancer. Sending best wishes to all your friends affected by the disease.

Kelly @ City Mom said...

Oh Gosh...those are alarming numbers...6 of your friends? I hope that they will all be okay!

You're not alone C in your fear of getting Cancer. I think the majority of the world is in that same fear!

Great post and good info!

Whispered Inspirations said...

That is scary. I need to check my boobies. I admit I rarely give myself an exam and heck, I'm not getting any younger. It's okay to have fears and you know what, it's okay to take preventative measures. But, enjoy life because we only have one to live. :)

Ms. Key said...

I am a huge worrier, I have generalized anxiety disorder... cancer is one of my number one fears, as well! I make sure to schedule my physical annually, and I self-check my breasts very often. I'm still young and not considered at risk, but you have to always be diligent because anything can happen any time. I do try to tell myself that I'm living a healthy, active lifestyle and I'm keeping my regular health check-ups, so hopefully I'll stay good and healthy for years to come -- or be detected early enough to get treatment and get healthy again!

They do say that survival rates are rising due to diligence and early detection, we just have to be aware of our bodies and when something doesn't feel "right", get checked by a medical professional. The worst is letting something fester out of fear -- just go in and check it out just in case! :-)

Positively Pampered Patty said...

Cancer is a fear for me as my mom passed away from Ovarian, she was diagnosed at 47. So my mammograms started at 37 due to the family history. I can't say I am not afraid but I don't let it rule my life. I live each day to the fullest and try hard not to think about it.

Sober Julie said...

Not much frightens me but cancer does...scares the heck outta me

C said...

Thank you. It really is important for all women (young and old) to get checked. Early detection is key. Well, prevention is too :) Thanks for your best wishes. I'm still in shock that so many close to me have been affected. It makes me realize that it can strike anytime and anyone can be affected.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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