One in Eight

The statistics report that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and the other seven will have something else.  A short while ago I learned that I was the one in some group of eight.  I had always thought I would have the “something else.”  No family history of breast cancer.  A clear mammogram just four months ago.  Then, the discovery of a lump.

 I had just started reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande for book club.  All of a sudden this book takes on new meaning. The book begins with words from the warrior Karna in the Mahabharata.: “I see it now—this world is swiftly passing.”

And don’t we already know it after almost a year of battling the Covid and trying to understand how more than 450,000 Americans could have passed so quickly.

This is a time to treasure life, one day at a time.  I mostly feel so lucky to have the care and encouragement of a wonderful surgeon and oncology team at the University of Kansas Cancer Care Center.  My cancer appears to be in the early stage and the latest treatments are available to address it.  I feel so grateful for the support of breast cancer survivors and family and friends.  I thought I would share some of my journey with you in my columns.  I am inspired by so many of you who have walked the path of mental and physical illness and have kept living your lives, one day at a time.  I plan to do that and drink a lot of green tea to discourage those rogue cells we call “cancer.”

So, not to be bossy, but a few strong suggestions:  In addition to mammograms, do a monthly breast self-examination.  Men, too, can have breast cancer, so no one is exempt.  Wear a mask.  Be careful about maintaining social distancing.  Keep current in reminding your friends and family how much you treasure them and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Look a challenge in the eye and keep moving forward.  I think of last year’s playoff game with Houston when the Chiefs were down 24-0 and Patrick Mahomes was running up and down the sideline saying, “One play at a time, one play at time.”  And remember how that all turned out!  “The secret’s in the sauce.”