Multitasking and needles don’t mix
It’s been a busy week with kids, work, a 3-day fundraising dinner and the launch of the Southeast Michigan Outreach group of FORCE.
In the middle, I squeezed in a quick infusion of bone medication. I was busy talking on the phone while the nurse was taking my blood through my port. She asked if I was getting a treatment. Assuming she was talking about a chemo treatment, I said “No. I’m getting Zometa” Since she was new, she wasn’t familiar with this drug and apparently assumed it wasn’t an infusion. I realized this when she finished taking my blood and took the needle out. Only I still needed it in for my infusion. So a second poke later, I was ready for my infusion. Lesson learned: It’s ok to multitask and talk on the phone while you are making the bed, unloading the dishwasher, walking on the treadmill but don’t try this with a nurse holding a big needle standing in front of you.
I also managed to have my final planning meeting with Whitney and Teresa for our Wednesday night FORCE meeting while I was waiting to see the doctor. Wednesday night was an exciting night. At 7:00 the room started filling with women of all ages, religions, ethnicities. We were all very different with very different stories and one thing in common-a BRCA mutation. We spent a long time on introductions and sharing our stories. Some shed tears while others spoke matter-of-factly. One woman shared a poem about her BRCA status. We shared our goals for the group and asked for input from everyone in the room.
It became increasingly clear that our number one goal is to provide support and outreach to other women. When you are diagnosed with cancer, your path is pretty clear. When you find out you are BRCA positive, the choices are endless. Should you choose a prophylactic mastectomy or increased surveillance? When is the best time to have these surgeries? Can you opt for chemoprevention and skip the surgeries? How about your ovaries? When should these come out? So many questions and things to sort through with answers that are not always easy. As a cancer survivor and someone who has endured the wrath of chemo, I say get rid of it all before you have to walk down that path. But what if you haven’t had children yet-the whole story changes. And even if you have had children, surgery is frightening. So we are here to support people, to help them sort through decisions, to help them prepare for surgery if that’s their route. We’ll happily show them our reconstructed breasts. Aside from outreach, we will raise awareness about BRCA and FORCE in the community. We hope to speak at events, speak to the media and share our story. We will encourage concerned women to see Genetics Counselors to discuss their family history. We’ve got great ones in Southeast Michigan including Whitney Ducaine at the Beaumont Comprehensive Breast Care Center. We will fundraise and plan local events to spread our message. We have lots of goals and big plans and lots of women out there ready and eager to help. If you know of anyone struggling with these issues, please send them my way or share my blog. We want women to know they are not alone and we will do everything in our power to touch as many as we can.