My friend Susan from Toddler Planet and founder of Mothers With Cancer, writes in defense of mammograms: "Earlier today, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new recommendations on regular mammograms for women in their 40’s. In short, they’re against them." Read the rest of the post here.
As I read Susan's twitter feed on Tuesday morning, she was counting down the minutes until TV crew arrived at her house to interview her on the subject; I was headed to my yearly OB/GYN appointment, my main objective being to leave with an order for a mammogram and breast MRI. I am 36, but an MRI is recommended for women younger than 40 with risk factors - my risk factors? Chemotherapy and radiation to the chest 8 years ago when I battled Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Other risk factors can include, for instance, having a sister or mother who had breast cancer. I was fairly sure I would leave with the order - cancer in your health history can do that for you!
I left the office with my order, but immediately thought of a fellow Farnham Elementary School mom, Heide, whose girls my girls adore. We both have girls named Ava and those two girls have played together at the park close to our school. "Hi Ava, want to come play in the sand, Ava?" "Ok, Ava." They are SO cute! My little Ava loves her little Ava. And Lily loves to play with Ava's older sister, Genevieve. Genevieve is in 1st grade, but had Lily's kindergarten teacher last year. They run around in the grass together, giggling about I don't know what.
Heide always seems to have a smile on her face and she is always fashionably dressed - you know, one of those moms you are always thinking "she really has it together!" She is the kind of person you can see enjoying a mani and pedi with and just laughing about what your girls get up to together. And then having a deep conversation about the meaning of life right after that. I don't know Heide well, but I feel like I do.
Heide has been battling cancer for 18 months. It started out as breast cancer, she went into remission, then it returned...and now is in all of her major organs, including her brain and bones. She has come to the end of all FDA approved treatments and has been given little hope. Her grace and strength through all of this has impressed everyone around her. It breaks my heart thinking of little Ava and Genevieve growing up without their wonderful mother. Heide also has a twin sister, like I do. It is so hard to imagine life without your twin...
Heide's many friends from our school are coming together to hold a benefit run, the "For Heide Family Fun Run" on Saturday, December 12th from 10am - 1pm. The purpose is to raise money for the Medina Family Fund. It is just $25 for an entire family to run (or walk) and easy course at Houge Park (our neighborhood park) in San Jose, CA that day. There will be a bake sale, face painting, a silent auction and a gift card drive.
Really, this could be me. This could be you. This could be ANY ONE OF US. Please help me support and rally around Heide, her husband Ric, and their lovely girls Ava and Genevieve. Come join me at the run. Save the date and RSVP via the evite here: http://www.evite.com/pages/invite/viewInvite.jsp?inviteId=QEIBXEZDEHDJVRADKKAK.
If you can't be there in person, you can donate to the Medina Family Fund on Heide's website.
Hope to see you on December 12th!