Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guest Blogger today!

Here is what Michelle, a very talented digital scrapbook designer and owner of Cottage Arts has to say about her mom.

October 2007: In all other years, this month meant I would remember those in my family who have fought breast cancer (with some losing the battle) great grandma, great aunts, paternal grandma, and paternal aunt. But this year, on May 24th, my life was touched even more personally by this ominous disease. Mom, 62 years young, who had annual mammograms and took great care of her health, was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Stage 3 lobular, estrogen receptive breast cancer...the type that can hide in your lobes, undetected for a long time and many mammograms. Her doctor didn't even feel the lump the week before in her annual exam. Therefore, during her lumpectomy surgery, the surgeon was not expecting to find her lymph nodes cancerous. However, he did...19 of 24 were malignant. This meant a change in expected treatment plans. The toughest regimen of chemo and radiation and a whole gamut of emotions were now going to be Mom's battle for the year.

March 2008: CK Media's Digital Scrapbooking Magazine has just published five layouts I made for my Mom, sharing a bit about her breast cancer journey last year. This page is to share how she is doing since I wrote the article in October.

Mom finished her four-month chemo in October and subsequent 36 daily radiation treatments in mid-December. The radiation gave her quite a few burns, but they are healing nicely now that treatment is complete.

In May or June, she will have her first PET scan since treatment ceased, so we are all hopeful for great results and an 'all is clear' from the oncologist. Her hair is coming in beautifully...this time a pepper gray instead of the brown she last saw in July...I love it...I think she would rather have had her brown back. :)

Get knowledgeable, be diligent about self breast exams, ask questions, and talk to your doctor about preventative measures if you are high risk. If under 40, ask about how accurate a mammogram is on dense tissue, common in young women. You only have one life...take care and be aware!

As a scrapbooker, you can help in another way. Photograph and journal about your loved one's journey, as they may not feel up to it. I've brought my little point-and-shoot to every doctor's visit and treatment, capturing the visitors, the treatment facilities, the nurses, the laughs, and the love. This battle is worth documenting...the process is healing and empowering.

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