Oct 15, 2013

Posted by in Medical Imaging | 0 Comments

My Lump was the Size of a Pea

peasLast week, on Tuesday to be specific, I was driving home from work at 8:30 pm. Normally driving home from work at this time would annoy me. I’ve missed eating supper with my family. I’ve missed homework time. (OK, that’s not really sad; but more of a blessing). I’ve missed bedtime rituals. I’ve missed those little things in my day that I love and look forward to with my family.

But I wasn’t annoyed at all. I felt great about what I’d been doing late at work. As I mentioned in a recent post, Pella Regional has teamed up with Marion County’s radio station KNIA/KRLS for a Radiothon to encourage women to schedule their yearly mammogram. It was an amazing evening and one I’m proud to help put together. I was sad at times, laughing at times, reflective at times and very impressed with all who were involved.

We had radiologists, general surgeons, imaging techs and other clinicians sharing their knowledge. But most importantly, we had patients sharing their stories of struggle and survival. One of those women was Kathy Martin. Her story was sad and funny and she was quite refreshing. She read a lot of her story, as she hadn’t wanted to miss anything when she was sharing live on the radio. As she was leaving I asked her permission to share that story on our blog as I knew others would be inspired:

Hi, I’m Kathy Martin. December 8, 2008 was one of the darkest days of my life. I was in the living room watching the Today Show when the phone rang. It was my doctor and he shattered my peaceful world with these words: “I’m afraid to tell you, but you have breast cancer.”
Shocked, I ran to the bedroom and shouted to my husband, “I have breast cancer!” He talked to the doctor.
I had a lumpectomy the next week. My lump was the size of a pea. (I knew then why I had never liked peas!) And my lymph nodes were cancer free.
Because of a mammography and early detection I am alive.
I went through chemo and my husband was with me during that horrible time. The first time I had chemo I shook like an earthquake. But later on my friend and I would laugh and play games during my sessions. I thought of chemo as being Pac-man killing all those horrible cancer cells.
My son shaved my head with my grandkids around. They knew Gram was sick, but with their love and God’s grace I would conquer breast cancer!
Radiation followed chemo with daily road trips to Des Moines. Some days were so tiring and taxing on me emotionally and physically.
(If you need help with insurance, call Carla Boat at Marion County Public Health. If you need someone to listen… ask Carla, she has my number.)
I wore lots of hats. My only wig was a pink one. One day I texted a friend, “I have my windows down and my 3 hairs are blowing in the wind.”
Early detection and mammograms saved me. I will be a 5-year survivor in December. A few minutes and a smashed breast are less painful than breast cancer.
I know now why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the same month as Halloween, because it’s scary. And if you don’t get your mammogram you will be haunted by that mistake.
Breast cancer is not a treat so don’t trick yourself into thinking that you won’t get cancer.
Get that mammogram!
I’m a blessed Gram – I am – I am!
Treat yourself and get that mammo!

I’m sure you can see why I asked her if I could use her story here. She is inspiring, funny and a great spokeswoman for mammograms. I hope she’s inspired you!

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