I am not one so much for New Year Resolutions. However, I have this sense that the start of the year sets the tone for the coming year. I always try to make sure I am doing something which reflects how I see or hope the coming year will be.
How ironic then that last year I decided on a health focus for 2009. J was working in the jungle, and I had been working in northern Sri Lanka over Christmas. With a heavy year behind me, and a big milestone birthday coming in the summer, I felt a prompt to enter the new phase with a healthier outlook and self. So my New Year was spent quietly, tippling on green tea!
This year we’ll be sitting in Bangkok on the countdown to the next chemo 2 days later, rather than the countdown to the bells. However, I have something I do want to do for the New Year. I have been humbled and overwhelmed by support, prayers (of every faith), messages and gifts – you cannot imagine how much this has boosted and helped us, especially in the lower days. There is something small I can offer in response. Whether you are thinking of a New Year Resolution or not I have something to share. And surprise, surprise, it’s breast cancer related!
Since my diagnosis, it’s not a surprise that many of my conversations these days relate to the BC experience. One thing that really struck me is that although most women (friends, family, colleagues…) know very well the importance of self examination as one form of screening, many say that they are not fully sure when and exactly how to do a breast examination. On my journey with Google, I have discovered a couple of really good articles setting out how this should be done, as well as other important diagnostic and screening measures and things to look out for. I have to stress that screening varies from country to country along with health services and policies. There is also currently a considerable and lively debate about mammograms for women between 40 and 50 years old. My aim is to share what I feel is useful and helpful information on what we can all do ourselves, as well as raising awareness. The debates are for another day or another place.
So whether you are interested in making a New Year Resolution that is easy to keep, or to share with the women in your life (as appropriate of course), this is for you. Firstly, a helpful How to Check your Breasts which appeared in the press here, by my Dr W. He outlines in clear and helpful way, how and when to carry out a self examination. The second piece is Time for a Breast Examination from the hospital. Both are intended as a prompt and enabler.
And it means that I will be able to start my own New Year in the way which sets the tone for the coming year – proactive, drawing something positive from this breast cancer encounter and looking towards a year of recovery, creativity and productivity
And don’t forget……………
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain!”