Today I’m going to share with you a personal story. I’m not looking for sympathy or some sort of accolade (this story has a happy ending). I want to tell this story because I’m in this industry to help people, and your health and wellbeing is my number 1 priority! I often bang on about nutrition and exercise and how beneficial it is for our health and wellbeing and this has not changed! The other part of the health and well being puzzle is health screening. Once we hit 40, or even before in some cases, it’s important to get regular health checks and screens to confirm our well-being. Don’t get me wrong here, a healthy diet and exercise do reduce our risk of disease and you’re all doing the best for yourselves and your families.
About a month ago I had my first mammogram. I had no symptoms, no lumps, no need to be worried. I was just ticking the breast-screen box! But, to my horror, I was called back to the clinic when some calcification showed up in my left breast. “This can be present in the early stages of breast cancer or it could be nothing”, they said. WTF!! Me, this can’t be happening to me! I’m fit, I’m healthy, I eat well and avoid toxins! Therefore I feel invincible! But according to the breast care nurses at the breast screen clinic, I am, in fact, not invincible! You see, breast cancer does not discriminate! It doesn’t care, how old you are, how fit you are or your family history!!
Over the last month I’ve had 4 mammogram images taken, 2 ultrasounds, a biopsy and I was booked in for surgery to have part of my breast removed. Because the calcification in my breast was so small all of these tests proved to be inclusive at the time. This did not help my mental state! In, fact I was wreck, on the inside. Without the support of special friends, Paul and my mum, I may have ended up in a much worse state. I did soldier on however, and got on with life while I awaited my results.
The important thing for me was that this was early detection, and early detection is key for a positive “worst case scenario”. This was one thing in the back of my mind while I awaited my results…..my worst case scenario was not a bad scenario. A positive result for cancer would have probably meant no chemo and no mastectomy because it was picked up so early.
That’s why I’m telling this story. If I can encourage you guys to have regular health checks and screening, then maybe, just maybe, I can help prevent just one person from having a worse case scenario play out. Early detection is not just important for breast cancer* but so many other diseases. Bowel scan. prostate check ( yes, you too boys), pap smear, having your blood work done to test cholesterol, blood sugar and many other ailments. Visit your GP and ask for the works to ensure you have all your boxes ticked!
So to finish off on a positive note, last Friday I had a phone call from the doctor at Breast Screen to say that a very small calcification had shown up on my pathology to prove that, in my case, it was, in fact, benign. My words…”well thank fuck for that!” Not everyone is so lucky and I do appreciate the enormous stress and emotional turmoil that they and their families must endure while they battle with the treatment and the emotional energy required to fight on. And I’m sure that they would agree with me that early detection is certainly part of a positive outcome for all.
Talk to your family about this, your mother, your sister, your brother and your friends, you just never know who life you may save with one simple conversation!
*Breast Screen is bulk billed to anyone over the age of 40 and highly recommended every two years for those over 50. Call the Ballarat Breast Screen clinic on 53203527 for a mammogram appointment today……don’t be left wondering!