Who doesn’t love a good story! Especially one with adventure, a hero and heroine and all that stuff. Well growing up in my big Italian family we would often sit around the dinner table after church and talk the afternoon away. We heard all the adventures of our family’s life. My aunts, uncles and family friends would share funny and often amazing tales of their life. As kids, we would hang on their every word, even if the story seemed to get embellished as the years went on.
Now that I am a physical therapist I hear peoples stories everyday. And just for the record, they always amaze me. This window into a person’s life shows me so many things. I see their character, and drive to live life fully. The most amazing stories I am told often happen when my patients are under great adversity. Like when one of my patients was on vacation here from Guatemala and she had some pain in her chest and went to Urgent Care. It wasn’t what she thought they would find, but it was a tumor 5 cms in size. She had gone to the doctor in her hometown numerous times about this pain, but they told her it was nothing to worry about. She is so thankful she came to the states for a visit.
Or another one of my patients who was at the courthouse taking care of some business when a woman she didn’t even know, who had recently had breast cancer said to her “How long it had been since you have had a mammogram? You should have one right away, don’t wait.” And sure enough this woman went and had a mammo and she had early stage breast cancer. I mean who would think that a woman you don’t even know could save your life.
So here I am asking you the same thing. This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is the time to tell all these stories so that we can help save people’s lives. Do not become too busy for your health. A few weeks ago I met a woman who has family who has a history of breast cancer and she got so busy in her life she hadn’t had a mammo in three years. When she finally got around to it, they found a tumor the size of a walnut deep in her chest wall. She had never even noticed it.
The National Cancer Society recommends the following when it comes to Breast Cancer Awareness:
1) Know your risks – is there a family history?
2) Get screenings – mammograms and breast exams, talk with your doctor about any abnormalities.
3) Know your body – you will notice tissue changes or lumps in your breast.
4) Make healthy lifestyle choices – what you eat, drink and how much sleep and exercise you get everyday makes a difference.
A story in past generations was how we learned valuable lessons. A story today could help save other women’s lives. Please keep telling your stories. We would like to be able to eradicate breast cancer and you are part of that story.
Sheree DiBiase, PT, can be reached at Lake City Physical Therapy
, (208) 667-1988. She and her staff are breast cancer specialists and having been caring for cancer patients in Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane Valley for more than 15 years.