Every Woman's Story; Fighting Breast Cancer
Erin was a lovely young woman, and she could have been anyone's patient, but she wasn't. She was mine. We started out on the wrong foot the morning of her surgery, with her physician yelling at me, fussing about finding the correct paperwork, appropriate analgesics, etc. He wasn't angry with us, he was displacing feelings of frustration. Everyone felt his angst and pain.
Erin's case was a tough gig from the moment we met. Sweet, gentle, totally unprepared for a diagnosis of Stage IV Breast cancer. She was 29 years old, a new mother who never had time to BE a Mom. Her physicians had assured her the annoying lump she found was a milk duct cyst...but of course it wasn't, and by the time she was officially diagnosed the cancer had invaded her pleura, lymph nodes, and the right lung. Erin wasn't surprised. She had known something wasn't right. Her gentle spirit led one to believe she was soft and fluid, passive, but underneath, she was solid steel, and she knew what lay ahead. She faced her disease with a dignity I have never forgotten. The world would have been a better place if Erin could have reached the age of 30 and beyond. She was a warrior, and I was so, so proud to have met her and participated in her care. I will never, ever forget her.
Erin's story could have been any woman's story, yours, mine or any of the 231,840 women who will still be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2015. The statistics remain staggering and intimidating, yet Erin would encourage us to be strong. She would urge all of us to continue to fight the good fight and battle on against breast cancer. Caught early, breast cancer is a disease that can and will be conquered.
Schedule your testing, and encourage your loved ones to do the same, but please, don't stop there.
Follow your instincts. Statistics alone will not keep you well. If your body tells you something feels "off", check it out. Get a second, or even a third opinion.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please...let's do Erin proud!