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"Amity Lake Sunset" by Charley Cannon

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Dispatch from the front line

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A very brave Allegany County woman shares her story and pleads: Get Your Mammogram!

From a local lady we care very much about, 9/29/21

It was a cool, sunny day in April- full of the promise of Spring and the beginning of hope from the fear and isolation because I had gotten my Covid vaccines. I was making the rounds of appointments that had been delayed for a few months during quarantine when I got the call from the office where I had my mammogram the previous day. They wanted me to return to take more pictures. Something was showing up. The soothing voice on the phone reassured me that it was probably nothing to worry about. Only…it was.     

So began my journey down the rabbit hole of breast cancer. The next few months have been a blur of trips to Roswell Park (a fabulous, caring place. So lucky to have it nearby) surgery to remove a small lump that I never would have found on my own. Great news that there was no involvement with my lymph nodes…not so great news that I would need to undergo chemotherapy. (Goodbye, hair. Oh well..they say it will grow back.)

The whole idea terrified me, but as I am now in the middle of my treatments I’m finding it not nearly as bad as I expected. Definitely tolerable. This is the part where I have heard women say that this is the reason they choose not to get a mammogram. They say they could never endure the treatments. Please let me tell you that you can endure this and that it is worth it. The most terrible part of this was making the phone calls to my adult children – even though I was able to soften the hard news with the statistics and facts that I would likely be fine and survive a good long time.

What if I had to tell them that there was no good news because I had put off or avoided completely that mammogram because I was fearful of the outcome?     Everyone’s condition and treatment and outcome is different, of course. I am so blessed and lucky to be looking at a positive outcome. And my heart aches for those who are fighting battles so much more difficult than mine.     

My message is simply this: In this amazing age that we live in we all have choices. Why not choose hope and science over fear and possibly death? Please…get your mammogram. Especially this October…Breast Cancer Awareness Month.      

Encourage your friends, your spouse, your mom. It is worth that difficult discussion.

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