Thursday, October 9, 2008


So I finally got around to watching the Christina Applegate episode of Oprah which aired right before my surgery. I feel really good about what she's doing to increase awareness of breast cancer, even when you can see it's still really scary and painful for her. It also made me feel really good about how open I've tried to be here. I know an amazing woman who fought her own battle against breast cancer years ago, but I only found out about it by telling her about my diagnosis. She never told anyone, and I respect her choice. Maybe it would be exactly the same if she had to make it today. But I hope that my peers and future generations will know that they can choose to be as open as they like about breast cancer. That there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what happens to their boobies. I know for me it's been essential to talk about what's happening to me, and I know I'd not be as healthy as I am today if I'd had to keep quieter.

So in that spirit, I'd like to share a little more. One of Ms. Applegate's comments that struck me the most was that she didn't really know at the beginning what a reconstructed breast looked like. I was exactly as ignorant when I started thinking about my choices and it really helped me to know what to expect. I'm most likely not going to be showing you my boobs, but take a look at some of my surgeon's beautiful work here. Gathering information can be so empowering, and I think a lot of women are afraid of breast cancer without really knowing what it could mean for them. I'm not saying breast cancer isn't scary. It is so important to do self-examinations at the same time each month, talk to your doctor and get the screening you feel you need, even if that means going around your doctor like I had to. Survive, first and foremost, but don't let fear of unknowns tax whatever health you have.

Also, please feel free to share my blog to your heart's content. The more women are aware of their bodies and thinking proactively about their health, the more will survive. I don't aspire to write a compendium of the newest in cancer care and prevention; it's still just going to be me here. But I survived because I was aware of the dangers I faced and how to catch them. Let's help spread that awareness so that more women can say the same.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Hugs. Jess - you are one strong woman... I'm constantly impressed.