Tag Archives: gynecologic cancer

Birthday Traditions

Today, June 11, would have been my aunt’s 60th birthday.  It might explain the pouring rain today.  She must have been camping somewhere in heaven.  I’d like to imagine that at 60 she would have been just as active as she had been 10 years ago.  Camping with Girl Scouts, traveling, and just doing what she loved doing.

I thought about her a lot today to be honest with you.  I thought about how we would always celebrate the June birthdays (my Aunt, my Mom, and I all had our birthdays in that order too) on a Sunday in June at my Aunt’s and Nana’s house.  I thought about how much the Daughter would have had fun at one of those little family gatherings.  I thought about how they were just nice days together, laughing, talking, genuinely enjoying each other.

The tradition has morphed a little since she passed.  We do a little more than just go to my Mom’s house and have lunch and cake.  We go and do something: bowling, 5 Wits at Patriot’s Place, Dave & Busters, and other fun times. It’s nice because it keeps me and the three brothers, and my sister-in-laws (The Husband’s sister often comes with her Boyfriend which is nice) close.  We have fun.  We laugh.  We still keep that sense of family – something that is so very important to me.

Mom's Birthday Fun 2012

Mom’s Birthday Fun 2012

In addition to that tradition, I have my own personal tradition that I have started since the passing of my aunt.  She lost her battle to cervical cancer on January 12, 2010.  Now, twice a year, on that date in January and on her birthday, I like to remind people to take care of themselves.

If you haven’t made your annual doctor appointments, call and make them.  If you need to have your annual pap test, schedule it.  If you need to have your annual physical, schedule it.  Get your blood work looked at. Get screened for skin cancer.  Get your prostate checked.  Don’t lose the best defense you have – EARLY DETECTION!

gynecologic cancer

My aunt discovered her cancer too late, as often is the case with gynecological cancers.  Trust me – after my own freakish cyst managed to grow to the size of a grapefruit, unbeknownst to me, in less than six months – think about what it could have been if it had been undetected!  Gynecologic cancers are tricky because so many women write them off as cramping or as bloating from something they ate.  In my case, I thought it was just because I was overweight and it was just one more reminder to focus on Weight Watchers.  Scarily enough, no…it wasn’t.  Men often do the same thing.

GYN_symptoms_matrix

Know your body.  Know what’s normal for you.  When something is not up to your normal standard, talk to your doctor.  Ask questions.  Doctors are not scary mean people.  They are there to keep you healthy.  They like patients to take an active role in their healthcare.  Before my surgery, I went in with a list of written questions just because there were so many unknown factors.  The doctor thought that was wise and she took the time to answer every single one and then some!

So, dear readers, in honor of my Aunt, take the time to take care of yourself.  Your loved ones don’t want to say good bye too soon.  They want to celebrate your 60th birthday with you.  They want you to be around to laugh with them, talk with them, and maybe play laser tag at the next family birthday get together!

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Filed under Cancer Awareness, Family Activities, NaBloPoMo

Remember

It’s been three years.  Three years ago, on January 12,  my aunt died from cervical cancer.

My Aunt meeting the Daughter for the first time.  Her smile just shows how much she loved my little girl!

My Aunt meeting the Daughter for the first time. Her smile just shows how much she loved my little girl!

I know I have written about her before but I feel like it’s my duty to remind people of her battle because if one person gets a pap test because they read her story, then she will have been able to help one more person.

My aunt was a kind and caring woman in the truest sense of the word.  She never married and had no children of her own but she gave so much to so many.  Not only did she love me, my brothers, and my cousins as if we were her own kids, but also she was always giving of herself to her Girl Scouts troop.  She was always there for us: for advice on life, for concerts, for graduations, for birthdays, for everything really.  She was proud of all of us.

She taught me so many things from how quilt to how to hike safely up a mountain.  She also taught me the value of kindness by showing me how doing kind works was more important than just throwing money at a problem.  By doing small acts of kindness, you can change big problems, just look at all the girls she helped when she was so active in the Rhode Island Girl Scouts.

In Memory ♥

In Memory ♥

I miss her.  I miss how she loved playing with the Daughter in the few months she got to play with her.  I miss how she would have been able to talk to me about careers, travel, music, life.  So many things, little things, are missed and on certain days, I feel them more than others.  This past week, I have been feeling all kinds of things that if the Long Island Medium were to encounter me, I don’t doubt that she would have a reading for me.

Her illness seemed to come on pretty quickly.  One day she was ok and doing all the things she normally did.  Then what seemed to be overnight, she was feeling not good, though she didn’t talk about it much with anyone.  I saw the weight loss though.  I saw her in pain from her hip.  I knew that she was not well. It was hard for anyone to not notice it.  It just all happened so fast.  Cervical and Ovarian Cancer does that though.  They both start out without any symptoms – a very scary thought.

I know that this post may seem a bit heavy, but my point is this.  Schedule you annual Pap Test.  If you’re one of my gentleman readers, please encourage the women in your lives to schedule their annual exams and then promptly please schedule your own appropriate cancer screenings.  These exams and that simple test are enough to catch cancer in its earliest stages.  Often, with Cervical and Ovarian cancer, once you start to feel the symptoms it’s often too late to do much in terms of treatment because the symptoms are brought on, most times, when the cancer has spread.  This is why early detection is life saving.

GYN_symptoms_matrix

It’s ten minutes (at most for the entire exam and test) of discomfort versus a long, drawn-out, painful battle.  If you have never been for a GYN exam, ask a friend who has gone to go with you.  They don’t have to go into the room, but they can if you want or need them to.  They can even just talk to you about it and tell you their own experiences.  I know it sounds funny, but I know a lot of women who aren’t fond of going and avoid it if they can.  The problem is they CANNOT avoid it.  It’s so important to get regular screenings.  They really do save lives.

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Filed under Cancer Awareness, Family