Grateful To Be Living My Healthiest Life

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Hello Keepers,


Last year, I revealed to the world that I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on February 14, 2020. I was fortunate for the following reasons:

  1. My Cancer was diagnosed in an early stage
  2. I was already in progress with tests and surgery before the Pandemic so that my course of treatment was not delayed
  3. I also had medical insurance coverage which allowed me to move along with my surgery, treatment, and follow up exams to maintain a continuity of care without any disruption


I am still taking medication to suppress Estrogen so that no new tumors develop in my body (My breast cancer was Estrogen Positive)  and I visit my medical oncologist once every three months and my breast surgeon once every six months. Both are females who are quite wonderful. 


I received good news last week that all of my six month tests for blood work, mammograms, and ultrasounds are normal. I go back for more follow up exams in six months.


I feel blessed, grateful, and wonderful. Last year was a journey and going through cancer treatment and following precautions for Covid 19 was something I had to stay focused on. I exercise daily and eat as healthy as possible. I will also share that this year I became  vaccinated for Covid 19, Shingles, and the Flu. 

Interesting enough, I have three friends who were also diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year and their treatment protocols were much more aggressive than mine. Fortunately, all of them are survivors like me. 

Breast Cancer is not a rare disease unfortunately. In 2021, there will be an estimated 281,550  new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women; 2,650  cases diagnosed in men and an additional 49,290 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ DCIS diagnosis in women. There are better detection methods these days  so many more women can be diagnosed earlier than later. And that is just it…women need to continue fighting for mammogram screening to be covered by insurance at any age and not just at age 50 and above. If guidelines are officially changed to screening at age 50 and above…many younger women will not be diagnosed in a timely fashion and we could see mortality rates increase.  

Every thirteen minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer! 

Despite a similar incidence, mortality from breast cancer among black women is 40% higher compared with white women. The gap in breast cancer incidence and outcome among Black women is complex and multifactorial. Social, economic, and behavioral factors may partially account for disparities. Black women are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and are less likely to breastfeed after childbirth—all of which are risk factors for breast cancer. They are also more likely than white women to have inadequate health insurance or access to health care facilities, which may affect screening, follow-up care, and completion of therapy.

The health disparities that affect Black women are not new news…and I am such an advocate for information sharing. I can proudly share that there are several women friends if mine who were encouraged to get a mammogram after hearing me share my experience. I also spent time speaking on panels last year and in particular, the Black Health Series introduced by Keeping it 💯. I plan to continue participating in the coming year for the Keeping it 💯 Health Series.

In conclusion, I want to just remind everyone that health care is something everyone needs to make a priority. We need to be talking about healthcare all the time. I can also add that for Cancer in particular, when a member of the family has cancer it actually affects all the members because that cancer patient will likely need physical caregiving and emotional caregiving. I am grateful for the continued support I received from boyfriend, friends, and family.

Ladies…go get your mammogram annually…

Gentleman, please remind the women you love (mothers, aunts, cousins, wives, friends, and grandmothers) that it’s important that they get a mammogram…

Anyone can be diagnosed with cancer whether there is a family history or not…

Let’s keep supporting one another…

Just Keeping it 💯,

Stephanie


Picture Courtesy of Stephanie Farmer

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