In October 2019, my friend and co-worker Christina Zaleski facilitated a presentation by a Marshfield Clinic breast surgeon to speak about breast cancer and self breast exams at work. Before the talk, I had mixed feelings about getting a mammogram. I did not have a family history of breast cancer and I had heard about how unpleasant mammograms were. I mean, ouch, right? After listening to the presentation, I realized how important early detection could be and scheduled my first mammogram for December 2019 and have gone every year since. I have Christina to thank for helping me see the light.
So, on December 10 of 2021, when I got the following message from my dear friend Christina, I was taken aback: "My mammo went south... led to another mammo, breast ultrasound & then a biopsy...". Four days later: "...it was caught early & is entirely curable, and I'm lucky my mammo detected a lesion that was not palpable even after my breast specialist knew where to feel...I have breast cancer and I'm sorta doing everything I can to not fall apart."
But Christina did not fall apart. She persevered. Before the end of 2021, she had reconstructive surgery and later found out she did not need chemo because of the early detection and the genetics of her tumor. She is a survivor.
Other than offering my support, there was not much I could do for my friend during this time. Now I have an opportunity to DO something to support her and all other women (and men!) fighting with and surviving breast cancer. I can walk. It will be hard, but not as hard as breast cancer.