By Jeannie Blaylock
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Dianne Brown takes great care of herself. She pays attention to Buddy Check 12. So she's never forgotten a mammogram she had one May. It showed nothing wrong.
Then just five months later Dianne was in the shower shaving under her arm.
"I felt a little spot," she remembers. The next day it was still there. And the next. Dianne thought, "This isn't good."
She says the lump felt like a small peanut. It was under her arm, a spot many women don't check. Dianne says she had to sort of pinch her skin together to feel it.
In fact, her doctor couldn't even find it. He checked her from all angles and finally she grabbed her skin and said, "It's right here!"
Two weeks later Dianne was having breast cancer surgery at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville. The cancer had already spread into her lymph nodes. But so far it appears Dianne has beaten it.
Dianne is a success story because she paid attention to Buddy Check 12. She says, "It probably saved my life." She knew catching it early was crucial. "If it was growing that fast in 5 months who knows what it would be like in a year."
Dianne lives in Mandarin. Her husband, JSO Officer Richard Brown, stayed by her side faithfully during the chemotherapy. Dianne says he spoiled her. "He fluffed my pillow," she says.
They've been married 20 years. And, even as a tough police officer, Richard gets a bit choked up when he thinks about losing Dianne. "She means everything to me," he says.
Dianne says all of us women should think about the people we love and do Buddy Check 12. She says, "A few seconds is all it takes."
So remember to check from your collar bone, down to your bra line, AND UP UNDER YOUR ARM. That entire area includes breast tissue.
And never ignore Buddy Check because you don't have breast cancer in your family. Dianne doesn't know a single relative of hers with breast cancer. What's more Dianne had felt just fine. No pain. No fatigue. Not a solitary sign of any trouble except that little, hard lump under her arm.
That should make you promise yourself that for 2006 you'll check every month. There's too much at stake to let a cancer run amuck inside you.
The good news is we've made it easy for you. Just stick the stickers on every 12th of the month for 2006. Most of us have new calendars now and it's the perfect time to get in gear. Just call 904-202-CARE to our partner, Baptist Health, and we'll mail you the Buddy Check 12 kits with stickers for free.
Then on Buddy Check 12 day do your self exam and remind your buddy. Schedule your mammogram for 2006, as well.
I'm thrilled our First Coast is tackling breast cancer with Buddy Check 12. Since I started Buddy Check I've met at least 160 local women who say it's saved their lives. I know there are many more.
So check! It doesn't cost a penny. And, as Dianne says, "It makes a world of difference."
First Coast News