Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow (or today, if you are reading this on Friday) is the day I go for my first mammogram. Some people (um, ok, I should say "women" here because I haven't really discussed this with any men) look at me strange when I mention that I'm having a mammogram.

Then I remember - you aren't supposed to have mammograms when you're 31.

I don't know exactly when I first learned that my mom had been diagnosed with cancer, and more importantly, had beat it. I think I was 10 months old when she was diagnosed, and I was probably somewhere in elementary school before I had any comprehension of what this meant.

I do, however, vividly remember high school health class when we talked about breast cancer and testicular cancer. They passed around fake breasts and testicles and we were supposed to find the lumps in them.

[I can't believe I just typed that last sentence. Moving on...]

I suppose it was at that time that I was educated about preventative measures, including mammograms. I also suppose this is when I learned that since my mom was diagnosed at age 30/31, I needed to start having mammograms at a much earlier age than what is typically recommended.

So, to me, it's nothing unusual that tomorrow is my first one. But the reaction of other women is a reminder that my family is a little unusual.

As I was pondering this tonight, I realized how blessed I am.

From the moment I was old enough to know what cancer is, I was also clearly aware that it is something you can beat. My mom is living proof.

I never feared cancer. Even when my mom was diagnosed a second time, when I was in college, I don't think I ever really worried about the outcome. Ingrained in the core of my being was the belief that cancer is something to be survived.

Sure, I knew plenty of cases where that wasn't the outcome. But I still did not fear it.

Most of this I credit to my mom and dad's incredible faith. I never heard them speak of any fear that cancer might show up again. They have learned how to rest in Jesus, and it shows. They have learned how to rest in the peace that passes understanding, and because of this, I have an incredible inheritance of faith.

With the events of this past year, I can't say that I've never worried. Plenty of "what if" thoughts have clouded my mind, from time to time. But I am so blessed to be part of a community of faith, which starts with my family and extends to my church family, my friends, and my co-workers. I am so blessed.

I'm not necessarily looking forward to tomorrow. (Who would?) But I love that it has spurred these thoughts, and has become a reminder that I am blessed.

To the amazing women in my life - Mom, Monica, and Andrea - I am so privileged to be your daughter/sister. Thanks for being faithful examples to me for 31+ years. I love you!!


Anonymous said...

Sis, you're an incredible woman! Thanks for this post... we truly are blessed.


Smith Family Blog said...

I'll be praying for you! I have somewhat of an idea how scary it can be (although we don't have a history of it in our family). I had my first mammogram & sonogram at age 26, then had to go back every 6 months for 3 years until they finally "cleared" me. I remember being the youngest one in the waiting room by at least 20 years. It seemed so awkward and scary, but the peace of mind I received each time was worth it!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Erin, I'm a little late reading this - I know you went in today, and I pray all went well. You definitely come from an incredible family...what a blessing.

Rachel said...

Hi Erin,

I was just stopping by to say thanks for commenting on my blog. I happened to see this post... I'm also 31 and should probably have one done myself. My grandmother had BC when she was 18 years old. That was a long long time ago... It still blows my mind that she was able to survive it back then. She has since beat cancer again. Pretty incredible.

I love what you said about an inheritance of faith. Love it. I have no such inheritance, but I look forward to having a crazy lot to pass on to my daughter.

Thank you for sharing, and for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I'd love your opinion on my latest post...