Do you have a loved one who experienced a loss because of breast cancer? Before I relate my story, let me first share some facts with you about the #1 source of cancer in women.
These facts are assembled by the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which is a powerful voice, speaking for women and men across the country, demanding victory in the war against breast cancer. In 2003 it was named one of the twenty most influential groups in health policy based on a survey of congressional staff – the only grassroots group and the only breast cancer organization to make that list.
Its mission is to eradicate breast cancer, the most common form of cancer among women in theUnited States, by focusing the administration, U.S. Congress, research institutions and consumer advocates on breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, below are some of the myths and truths about breast cancer.
- Monthly breast self-exams save lives
- Mammograms can only help and not harm you
- MRIis better than mammography because if finds more cancer
- Mammograms prevent breast cancer
- Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease
- Men don’t get breast cancer
- Everyone’s breast cancer is the same
- Removing the entire breast is better than just cutting the cancer out and getting radiation
- There are drugs that can prevent breast cancer
- Once diagnosed with breast cancer, it is very important to make treatment decisions immediately
- Second opinions are only for treatment options
- With new treatments we can now cure breast cancer
- All breast cancer research is good because it moves us toward prevention and a cure
- When breast cancer shows up on a mammogram, it many have been in your body for 6-10 years
- Breast cancer mortality rates are declining
- We don’t know how to prevent breast cancer
- Risk of breast cancer increases with age; 50% of breast cancer occurs among women aged 62 and older
- Most people think they have a higher risk of breast cancer than they actually do
- Hormone replacement therapy increases your risk of breast cancer
- You should question your doctors
My wife and I have had first hand experience with breast cancer. Because of this my wife, Gretchen, passed away abruptly at the age of 63 after we had been married for 40 years. At the time of her death we had two sons, who were 31 and 29 years old then.
The impact of Gretchen’s passing was an immediate emersion into the grief process. I can tell you that this was a very painful time in my life. I could have given in to the grief I was experiencing and let it control my life for a long…….long time. But my personal makeup led me to attack the grief process and to find support and counseling so I could address my pain in as short a time as possible so I could return to a fulfilling and joyful life.
I plan to give you a picture of my life together with Gretchen and our two sons, some high and low points in our lives, the onslaught of the grief process and how I was able to regain a happy and meaningful life.
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.
I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
— Groucho Marx