Saturday, October 15, 2011

There is pink everywhere

It is hard to go anywhere this month without noticing the pink.  I don't know when pink started to symbolize breast cancer or when breast cancer started having its very own month, but I notice now.  Although pink is not my absolute favorite color, never has been, I truly appreciate the recognition the color brings to a disease that affects 1 in 8 women.

Early detection directly correlates with survival, so in honor of breast cancer awareness month, I ask that everyone do a self breast exam.

Although self breast exams are controversial because research does not show an increase in survival by women who routinely do breast self-exams, I stand here to say, the cancer I had would have been discovered at a much later stage had I not done a self breast exam.  Staging does affect survival, and although I realize there are no guarantees, I feel very fortunate that I found this lump at a fairly early stage and followed up on it. Otherwise, it likely would not have been discovered until I started doing routine mammograms at age 40.  Even then, it may not have shown up on mammogram.  

As I've mentioned before, mammograms are not always effective for young women.  Young women tend to have dense breast tissue that shows up as white on a mammogram.  Cancer also shows up as white.  My entire mammogram was white because of my dense breast tissue so any cancer that was there could not be seen.  The density of my breast tissue may or may not have changed in the next 5 years and this is one of the reasons that mammograms are not recommended routinely until age 40 (or 50 depending on the source).  Regardless, in 5-years time my cancer would have most likely been more progressed.

Okay, I digressed, but hopefully emphasized my point, just do a self breast exam........

and on a lighter note, my hair is growing in really thick.  I have always had incredibly think hair; too thick in my opinion, and it looks like post-chemo that has not changed.  So far it is a bit darker than it was before, but perhaps that is because it hasn't had a chance to get bleached by the sun.  I'm not one to take lots of photos of myself, but when they include Dizzy I'm game.  We took these this morning.

Dizzy on the deck looking for treats in my hand
Dizzy in the backyard looking for treats in my hand
Dizzy being cute hoping to get more treats
Dizzy showing that he is done taking photos
As you can see in the photos, it is a beautiful October day in Utah.  We're off to ride mountain bikes.  I hope everyone is enjoying the great weekend.  After a self breast exam.


  1. Look at all of that hair! Pink is everywhere, I am not sure when it started... I guess you are a bit more aware after having a more personal experience with breast cancer.

  2. Wow Jen!! You are looking GREAT. Love seeing all your hair - Dizzy is looking really good too!

    My Integrative Health class starts next week, will be send you any helpful info I learn - finished chemo #3 last Tuesday. No side effects yet, following your lead!

  3. I am so glad to see you doing well. I wanted to second your call for self exams. I found my tumor at 34. I can't imagine what would have happened if I had to wait for a mammogram at 40!