Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Get Yourself Mammo-ed!

Today's post is dedicated to a very special friend who discovered she had breast cancer just a few months before I discovered my own lump in the breast.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst Singapore women and I'm sure we've all read at one time or another newspaper or women's magazine articles quoting horrendous world and national statistics on breast cancer, and maybe even bought a pink ribbon pin in support of the cause during the month of October, designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month worldwide. And yet despite all the exhortations to go for breast screening, I bet many of us have said to ourselves, "it won't happen to me" and postponed yet another mammogram appointment.

That was me for the last few years, until the day C, my very good 'makan kaki' (singlish for dining companion) and traveling companion told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Somehow, the threat of breast cancer had never seemed real until someone close to you gets it. As the 'makan kaki' gang gathered around C in support, we also became individually more anxious for our own mammary glands and I particularly started to feel extremely guilt-ridden over those missed mammograms.

Well, the guilt didn't last long as a couple of weeks later, after feeling a slight lump in my right breast, I was scheduled for my first mammogram.

Ah... yes, most of us have heard horror stories of that evil contraption that clamps our precious breasts in its vise-like grip like an instrument of torture left over from the Spanish Inquisition. Obviously designed by a man who never had his own breast clamped and flattened, my only tip to women - steel yourself and follow strictly the instructions of the technician as she tells you to hold on tight and hold your breath (which is a no-brainer since all breath ...oof... will be forced out of you once those metal plates come pressing down) - remember, if she doesn't get a good x-ray, she is likely to repeat the process and who in the world is that masochistic!

Going through an annual mammogram is a necessary evil for women who've hit their 40s, and the several seconds of pain for each breast is a small price to pay for early detection of any cancerous mass.

By the time I had surgery to remove my lump, it was 1.5 cm in diameter and I was extremely lucky that the cancer had not spread to any of my lymph nodes in the armpit or neck area - Doc Smiley commented that I must have had really sensitive fingers to have detected the lump, but methinks it was the Lord's guiding hands thru' heightened awareness after C's diagnosis! Early detection saved my lymph nodes and I'm truly thankful!

.....pink strands.....

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - do not let the message just float through your consciousness - if you haven't gone for any breast screening, let me encourage you to do it now and do it regularly.

For more information, you may wish to drop in at this latest website launched by KK Women's and Children's Hospital - it is definitely worth a tour on breast-cancer related concerns.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


I admire your courage and inner strength,u seem so jovial and is such an inspiration,this article is indeed a wake-up call to most women,especially,my mum...she hits 50 this yr,been nagging at her to do a mammogram,but she keep dragging until recently,phew...
I have been following your blog for some time already and enjoy viewing all the food u prepared lovingly for your hubby,all the best to you and your family..take care


10/18/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger boo_licious said...

Hi Cath! I must admit ever since you left the blog last year I've not been checking it but becoz of sheer boredom tday, I was clicking on old links and found out you had updated the blog.

Am sorry to hear abt what is happening. Definitely will keep my fingers and toes crossed for your speedy recovery.

10/19/2007 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@Nan, I'm happy to hear that you've got your mum to do her mammogram - that is good news, do keep it up regularly :-).. and thanks for the support!

@boo_licious, I was a bit lazy last year (actually an understatement) but now have all the time in the world to get back to blogging :-D - will definitely be updating more regularly!

10/22/2007 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger BeLaRiNa said...

Hi Cath, I'm a 22 year old who happened to stumble upon your blog in search for a double-boiled pear recipe and i'm hooked!
I sent your site to my mom as well and I think we'll have fun exploring your archives of amazing recipes and concoctions.

Reading your recent entries, I just want to encourage you that God is indeed sovereign over all things and though i don't know you yet:), I'm praying for His divine healing, strength and Joy! for you and your loved ones during this time.

Prov 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like medicine...;)

10/22/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@BeL - thank u for your encouragement and prayer - have fun with the recipes and look forward to seeing u more often :-))

10/23/2007 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous mama bok said...

Get well soon..! Sorry i haven't visited your blog for so long.. :(

11/22/2007 09:04:00 AM  

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