This week I had the immense pleasure of meeting Joan Lunden after she spoke at Baylor Health Care System’s breast cancer luncheon, “Celebrating Women.”
Joan was diagnosed with the extremely aggressive form of breast cancer, triple negative, in 2014. She is now blessed to be in remission, following extensive treatment.
This woman’s speech moved me for two reasons:
- Joan educates. Having interviewed Dr. Susan Love five years prior to her diagnosis, Joan went in for her mammogram armed with the knowledge that having dense breast tissue indicated the need to add ultrasound to her annual diagnostic testing. Joan’s mammogram showed no sign of cancer. Her ultrasound, however, did.
- Joan cares. She is less than a year out from the time of diagnosis, and her travel/speaking schedule would tire the healthiest among us. She’s on a mission to inform, save lives and remind women that it’s okay to put themselves first to protect their physical and mental wellbeing.
Joan survived breast cancer. My friend, Jenesse, and my cousin, Judy, did not.
I’m heeding Ms. Lunden’s calls to action. I don’t have dense breast tissue, but I’m here to plead with my friends to find out, during their next mammogram, whether or not they do. Ask, and request an ultrasound as a supplemental diagnostic.
I’m also making the decision to put aside the next couple of months to get centered and create a solid practice of not burning my candle at both ends. This is where I need the help of my friends:
Be patient with me if I disappear for a while and you don’t hear from me.
Be forgiving if I turn down some of your invitations to social events.
Be welcoming when I resurface as a better version of moi.
I will be spending a lot of time with a few choice friends during my absence: the characters in my second novel. “Seasoned With Pepper” is begging for completion, and, sadly, the less time I’m able to spend on it, the more stressed I feel. It’s time to focus on focusing, so I’ll thank you in advance for your support and hug you on my return.
Joan Lunden’s ultrasound saved her life, and although I’d heard stories of survival in the past, this woman’s journey spoke to me in a new and impactful way. We’re all so incredibly blessed to have our health. Protect that and find your balance. We’re all worth it.