Komen Ozark is proud to feature one of our BigWigs and Breast Cancer Survivor, Ginger Brooks! Come cheer on Ginger and watch the other 9 BigWigs walk the runway at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon on Friday, October 2 from 11:30-1pm at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale. Tickets are still available at http://www.komenozark.org.
A Mammogram saved my life!
You never know how you will react when you hear the words “You have cancer”. I had thought about this before, and thought that I would not be able to handle it. But on August 27th, 2007 (my son’s 11th birthday), I heard those words, and after shock and tears, we (my family and friends) put on our boxing gloves and went on to fight!
I had had mammograms before, and with dense breasts, I always got called back. In 2007, I was late getting my mammogram appointment scheduled and my husband, Chris kept urging me to get it. Well, they called me back for a second mammogram, and then back again for an ultra-sound, because the radiologist “didn’t like what he saw”. Well, that turned out to be a Stage 1 diagnosis, caught early.
I had an MRI to ensure there was only 1 tumor and I was a great candidate for a lumpectomy. Unfortunately, we didn’t get clear margins and went for a second lumpectomy 2 weeks later. The pathology report showed that not only did I not have clear margins again, but a second tumor was found. After much prayer and research, we decided that a double mastectomy was right for us. We also research post treatment options, chemo, tamoxifen and determined, along with my doctors that 5 years of tamoxifen was right for me. In 2014, I opted for a full hysterectomy to fully protect myself and starve the cancer out!
I have been cancer free 8 years now and feel very fortunate that we had great doctors, an observant radiologist, and very good medical coverage. It is important to be a participant in your care, understand your diagnosis, and enlist your friends to help! It takes an army of friends to help you and your family through the process. I was fortunate to have family, friends and co-workers at my side through the entire time!
I am very passionate about everyone being screened, but not everyone has access to the care that I did and Komen helps fill that gap. I am also passionate about finding a cure. I have a close friend who was diagnosed 2 weeks before me, she battled for over 5 years, but she lost that fight. I also, have a younger sister and 9 year old niece, both will be watched carefully. I pray that my niece will NEVER have to worry about battling this terrible disease. So when I was asked to be an inaugural BigWig, I jumped at the chance! I took my BigWig to Facebook and email, and literally around the world! What a better way to spread the word, that we can save lives and find a cure!!!
Things to know:
- Get your mammogram and encourage your family and friends to do the same
- Be a participant in your care, know your diagnosis and understand your options
- Don’t go it alone. Your family and friends want to help, let them!
- Be gentle with yourself, recovery takes time
- Support Komen as they research for a cure!