A New Sense of Awareness

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Did you know that breast cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States? According to michigan.gov, approximately 287,850 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 43,250 will succumb to this malignancy in 2022.

In September, I had a health scare that truly made me aware of this insidious disease that affects so many women. I had my annual physical exam at McLaren Fenton, which involved a series of tests: bone scan, lung scan, blood work and a mammogram. I had my mammogram at the McLaren Fenton – Imaging Center, which uses the latest 3D technology. When I received the results, I was told that an abnormality was discovered and that I would require additional testing at the McLaren Imaging Center in Flint.

Another mammogram was performed there and after reviewing the results, the radiologist concluded that a biopsy of my right breast was required and that there was an appointment open for the test on the following day. I have always been a healthy person and previous mammograms have shown that I have dense breast tissue. So, I wasn’t too concerned, but a little bit worried about what the test would find.

My appointment was at 9:30am and on the way, I was stopped at the train tracks on Van Slyke Road heading to Ballenger Highway, as there was an accident at the Bristol Road expressway exit that I wanted to avoid. I sat there for 20 minutes and the train wasn’t moving – many drivers were turning around. I knew I was going to be quite late, so I called McLaren and they told me to just get there as soon as I could (darn it!)

I don’t like needles! The biopsy required two injections for numbing and then, the actual needle to take the tissue sample. I was a little scared; but the nurse and doctor put me at ease and the entire process was not as painful as I thought it would be.

It took five business days to receive the biopsy results. The McLaren nurse, Val, who was as compassionate as any nurse I have encountered, called me on the fifth day. “Get ready to celebrate!” she announced – the biopsy results were negative (a big sigh of relief from me). I feel very lucky, as I have some friends who were not so lucky and went through treatment (with very good results, thankfully). I now have a new sense of empathy for them.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are many activities in Greater Flint that help raise awareness and funds. The 14th Annual Pink Night Palooza takes place on October 20. This year, sponsors and attendees will be able to choose where their donations go – Hurley’s Breast Cancer Navigation Fund or General Cancer Services Fund to benefit research and treatment of ALL types of cancer.

The Flint Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk will take place on Saturday, October 22. Making Strides is an event that unites communities, companies and individuals with a collective goal to end breast cancer as we know it. The movement raises lifesaving funds that support breast cancer patients, survivors and caregivers through every step of their journey.

Check-in for the Flint Making Strides walk is at 8am and the walk begins at 9am at the Downtown DDA Flat Lot. Please come out and support this worthy cause! Your support helps fund the future of breast cancer research and programs for our loved ones today, and for the next generation. I hope to see you there!

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