By Jeannie Blaylock
First Coast News
Hello, Buddy Check folks!
It's a perfect month for Buddy Check 12! You've probably seen extra pink this October because it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Make sure you're staying alive for your family.
I found a lump recently and decided it didn't feel quite right. I made an appointment with my gyn and he suggested a diagnostic mammogram.
I went last week to the mammogram center and wound up getting an ultrasound, too. Fortunately, even with my untrained eye I could see the lumps were not red flags for cancer. (Turns out there were about 6-8 cysts.) They looked dark on the ultrasound, a good sign they're fluid-filled and benign.
Dr. Chris Granfield at Baptist aspirated the cysts for me. (She drained them right then and there.) It stung just for a few seconds and I went away knowing I had checked and not stuck my head in the sand. It was a good feeling to take control myself and not just worry.
So let me encourage you to feel for lumps. Most are not cancerous but always call a doctor if you're concerned they might be something you haven't felt before.
Now to our Buddy Check success story this month!
"I'm a Checker!"-Local Woman Feels Egg-Sized Cancer
Dorie Barnes says she is pretty proud of the poem she's written.
The poem says, "I have the blessing of cancer. Now that's one you don't hear."
But how can a woman who has a cancer the size of an egg inside her breast consider herself "blessed?" Dorie, who lives in Baymeadows, says for the first time in her life she's noticing "little miracles" she was missing. And, Dorie says, she never realized how important she was to other folks.
Dorie loves to call herself a "checker." She's been faithful to Buddy Check 12. During the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays last year she found a hard lump.
It was the size of a small fireball, those hot little jawbreakers.
She did call the doctor. She gets an A for that move.
But then she told them she didn't need to come in right away. Probably not an A move.
Dorie went through chemotherapy to reduce the size of her cancer. But, she says, between treatments five and six the lump grew to egg-size.
Now she's telling other women to watch out during the holidays this year. Don't get too busy, she warns, to call a doctor and get yourself in for the appointment.
Dorie says, "Take time out for you because this is serious stuff."
Always optimistic, Dorie says she'll recover from her mastectomy. She says she stands by the words from the Bible in Isaiah 41: 17-20. "Basically," she explains, it says God provides everything even if you're "in the desert."
Dorie is the first person on her mother's side of the family to get breast cancer. She's learned most breast cancers don't run through families. They just seem to pop up. (Doctors say only about 10% of breast cancers have a genetic link.)
The key is to do your self exams every month, get your mammograms, and have your doctor do an exam in his office.
We can make it easy for you. Just call Baptist Health at 202-CARE and ask for a free Buddy Check 12 kit with reminder stickers for your calendar and shower cards showing how to check. It's all free.
Buddy Check 12 has now saved more than 270 local women.
So don't forget to check. And for a little inspiration we can go back to Dorie's poem and her favorite few lines:
"A battle of cancer is one way to look at it.
A journey of life is another way to see it.
Tough luck, bad break or poor pitiful me,
But no matter what, cancer is a blessing to me."
Her message is one we find from many women fighting breast cancer. Stay positive and you'll find the top of the mountain with rainbows you've never discovered before.
Think that sounds sappy? It doesn't to people determined to conquer cancer.
Just remember you'll have a much easier time with breast cancer if you catch it early.
Be a checker!
First Coast News