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Aug 27, 2009

Please...for me! This week, I am saying goodbye to my Aunt. A courageous woman who has fought a long, painful struggle with cancer. Twelve years ago, she went in for her annual mammogram and was told everything looked good. But, they made her another mammogram for six months. One of those, 'just in case' appointments. We'll refer to that as the 'something is there but frankly I have a waiting room full of women and a lunch date, so I'll just cover my butt.'

Six months later, she goes in to have her follow-up mammogram and low and behold, what's this? A lump. You say you mentioned it six months ago. Are you sure? Because, the tech had to have surely seen it and requested an ultra-sound. Hummm. Well, lets do an ultra-sound now. I'm sure there is nothing to worry about.

And the verdict is two, not one now, but two suspicious masses in the left breast. The soonest we'll be able to do that biopsy is.... three weeks. But, no need to worry, it's probably fibrous tumors. Many women your age have them. There wasn't a history of them but, she's in her early fifties so, its possible.

And the verdict is, of course, Cancer. Had it have been anything else, I wouldn't be pounding the keys. She went through everything. An aggressive war was mounted. Well, sure, what else can you do when, it had metastasized to the lung. It's called stop that puppy before it runs amok. Amok, amok, amok it went. from the lungs to the stomach, from the stomach to a black mark on the liver. And she fought. She lost part of her stomach, she lost a lung, they removed the damage to the liver, and she had a Radical Mastectomy before the age of Sixty.

Then, she got sick. (No kidding!) Yep. So after being on blood thinners for a long time, she starts having problems with her back. Osteoporosis? Sure, why not. So they take her off the blood thinners and, yes, she develops a blood clot that does a one way travel to her brain. Stroke! Not massive, bless her heart, just minor. But, now, after enduring all this, she decides that she's had enough. She refuses to eat.

I understand, her daughter understands, but lucky for her she has three sons don't, (you say, you're kidding? Uhm, wish I was!) So, they whine that she's just giving up. Throwing in the towel. "Please....for me!" (Its a good thing these jolly rogers live far away from me cause, I've got a boot that's just itching to kick some cousin's butts.)

So here is the moral of my story, and a reality check for the boys. She has put up with mammograms, ultrasounds, surgery, chemo and radiation for us. If she wants to join her mother, father, sister, brother... my hell, let her. Isn't it her turn? By the way, dudes, it doesn't feel like a smooth vacation when you deny your body nutrition. It's painful. Dying is painful. It is her decision.

I love you, Aunt Judy. I'll mourn your passing, but I'm proud of your heroism. You were my mother's sister, but to me, you were a real good friend. May you never suffer such cruelty again. Goodbye, our gentle warrior.

Ladies, you know your bodies. If you feel something abnormal, fight, kick and scream for that follow up ultrasound. And, biopsies shouldn't be scheduled three weeks out - Do it now! But, most importantly, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your health. Know how you are doing. Get your mammograms, check your cholesterol, test your blood pressure. And for sure, if you're sick, demand your down time. If you don't properly heal, you won't be doing anybody any good.

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