The latest from Kim...
I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months before my 45th birthday. I was not only stunned since there was no history of breast cancer in my family, but I was afraid.
Cancer is not a journey that you take by yourself, so I was afraid of what my cancer would do to my family and loved ones. I was also afraid of what the cancer and the treatment would do with both my quality and length of life.
There is a song-“Live Like You Were Dying”–one of the verses in this song is “I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” That is what my cancer gave me–we are all dying, but some of us are lucky enough to realize this fact.
We realize that each day we have is a gift that God has given, and we treat it in that way.
As for my two personal fears:
- Length of life–August 31, 2010, was my 5-year anniversary of being cancer free.
- Quality of life–In the last two years, I have successfully completed three triathalons.
With God’s help, I will continue “fighting like a girl” and not just surviving, but thriving.
Previously from Kim...
I will admit that one of the best reasons for having my annual mammogram in the past was the possibility of my name being drawn for one of those great prize packages offered by Gundersen’s “In the Pink” program for female employees and employee spouses. I never won any of those great prizes, but what I did receive from my 2005 mammogram was a greater gift than all the “prize packages” combined. I received the gift of early diagnosis and treatment of my grade 1 invasive ductal carcinoma of the right breast.
My cancer was only 0.8 cm in size; you can generally feel a lump at 1 cm. It might have been a couple of months before I would have felt my cancer, which would have increased the risk of spreading. As it was, my nodes were all negative and since the completion of my radiation treatments, I have a 98 percent chance of being alive in 10 years and an 85 percent chance of being cancer-free in 10 years.
The gifts I received from my annual mammogram were not only increased time with my family and friends, but also an increased appreciation for life and modern technology (like the mammogram) that can give us the extra time. This is especially significant when this modern technology is in the hands of the accomplished and caring professionals here at Gundersen.
August 13, 2009, was my four-year anniversary of being cancer free and this year I was able to successfully complete two triathlons!
Programs like “In The Pink” and “Steppin’ Out in Pink” have not only made Gundersen Lutheran a leader in fighting breast cancer, but allow other survivors and myself to say…“I am not just surviving…I am thriving.”