Last year, I thought barbells for boobs was just another fundraising event that would give the boys a good chuckle. I didn’t really pay attention to the cause; breast cancer blah blah blah.
This year, the event has my full attention. This year I will participate as a survivor.
I was diagnosed with stage IIa invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 37 on March 23, 2011. I found the lump during a shower. Not using any fancy self exams, just knowing my own landscape and knowing something was abnormal.
With the encouragement of my friends, I went to my primary care doc to get it checked out. Because of my age, she could have easily dismissed the lump and assumed it was just a cyst. You see, the average age at diagnosis is 63. In addition, the new guidelines suggest mammograms are not needed until you are 40. I was lucky to have a primary care doc who is smart and attentive and who immediately scheduled me for a mammogram.
Others are not so lucky. Others think mammograms are for older women. Others don’t pay attention to boob lumps. Others have their concerns dismissed because they do not fit the typical profile of a breast cancer patient. Others are turned away because they have no insurance and cannot afford to get a mammogram on their own (my mammogram cost a few thousand dollars after it was all said and done).
This is so sad to me because my mammogram saved my life.
Because of this mammogram, I went on to have a biopsy that confirmed that my lump was indeed abnormal. Because of this mammogram, I found out I carried a genetic mutation predisposing me to more breast cancer and ovarian cancer too. Because of this mammogram, I went on to have a double mastectomy. Because of this mammogram, I went through chemotherapy. Because of this mammogram, I am now cancer free. Because of this mammogram, I will participate in Amazing Grace 2011, with my wonderfully supportive CrossfitDurham family, as a survivor.
Barbells for Boobs is fun to say and I’m sure the boys do get a good chuckle. But this year, all i ask is that you pay attention to the cause. Learn about what the founders are doing with the money raised (cliffs notes version – they are saving lives). Maybe donate what you can. Participate in the event. Or just show up and cheer me on!
Save your TaTas! Know your own landscape!