4 Words Foundation, Inc.

  Because Awareness DOES Matter!

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Health Awareness

Posted by [email protected] on November 11, 2017 at 5:40 AM


A few months ago I visited my physician for my annual Gynecological exam.  This is a great time to discuss any concerns and I brought a few to this visit.  I explained to the physician some ongoing symptoms that did not seem to get better over the prior months.  As individuals we are told to listen to our bodies, contact our physicians with any concerns.  We know our own bodies and we know what is normal or not. 

As we age, sometimes new symptoms are just part of the aging process, some might not be.  Some symptoms can be just benign in nature while others might be signalling a serious health condition.  After multiple tests regarding these symptoms (ie: diagnostic colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, MRI, etc.) these symptoms continued. 

As a women, there are some issues that we are told have "silent" symptoms.  I was concerned about "below-the-belt" conditions and asked it I could have an Ultrasound to rule out other possible causes.  The physician obliged my request and ordered the Transvaginal Ultrasound.

Upon my return to the office after the testing was done I was assured that everything was okay.  As I was leaving the office I heard the physician say out loud, "stop watching TV".  I turned about and asked - "just what do you mean by that?"   They stated that just because a celebrity had died of Ovarian Cancer, didn't mean everyone would get it.  Quite frankly I was stunned by this response, turned and proceeded to the checkout window.

Now maybe they didn't mean to say that out loud, maybe they were having a rough day; however I have been going to this physician for years and I am not the type of patient to call for every ache in my body.  I had a genuine concern (and still do).  This physician has always been one of my favorites, talks direct, doesn't sugar coat issues and this is what I respect most about them. 

I am a cancer awareness advocate for both women and men.  I'm also a cancer survivor.  This episode a few months ago has really hit a nerve.  I now don't know if I should bring concerns up to this physician at my next visit, or is it time to consider changing to a new one?

I am a believer that taking care of your health should be a partnership between patient and physician.  Like a business, if the partners no longer think on the same terms, or agree with common issues it is time to have the discussion that may result in parting ways.

I guess I'll figure it out in a couple of months when I return for my annual exam.

I'm Proof - Mammograms Work!

Posted by [email protected] on October 4, 2017 at 6:15 AM

 

October is upon us and as everyone knows it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  October we are surrounded by messages, fundraising events, and everything pink.  How could we not know it is all about Breast Cancer?


1 in 8 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year.  These diagnosis don't just happen in October.  They happen each and every month and range from Stage 0 to Stage 4.  Thankfully to the researchers, physicians and other healthcare professionals; a diagnosis of Breast Cancer is no longer a death sentence.  In fact more and more women AND men are surviving this diagnosis.


The mission of 4 Words Foundation has always been, and will continue to be about raising awareness in the prevention, detection, and treatment of ALL cancers - including Breast Cancer.

By practicing well care you can prevent many illnesses, however the most important fact is that by receiving your annual screenings you are able to detect cancers at earlier stages when they are most treatable with much better outcomes.  So why not take time for yourself, schedule your annual mammogram.  It was because of my own annual mammogram that my Breast Cancer was discovered and I was able to receive the quick and decisive treatment needed to be where I am today - cancer free and loving life.

"I'm Proof - Mammograms Work"


Cancer is Not Defined by Month

Posted by [email protected] on August 9, 2017 at 6:00 AM


I just realized this morning that all the Cancer Awareness months are so well known that individuals do not stop to think that there are a couple of months on the Cancer Awareness Calendar that do not have any cancer related to them; August and December.

Why is that?  Did someone decide to go on a cancer awareness holiday? 

Cancer is not defined by a week, a month, or a year; it is everyday.  Those who are currently battling cancer, those who have survived do not get to take an awareness holiday.  It is now a part of their lives forever.  If you are currently battling; your days are filled with anxiety, hope, and fear.  If you have survived cancer you also have the same anxiety, hope and fear, although it may be of a different scope.

While there are some cancer awareness events held during these months, they may not be as well attended as families take vacation, some get ready for college, a new school year begins in many communities, and everyone just wants to enjoy the end of summer.

I get it, life gets busy.  But to cancer patients/survivors/families this disease does not take a holiday.

We need to keep the converation going, keep cancer awareness in our sights, and continue to Unite in the Fight.

5 Year's Cancer Free

Posted by [email protected] on June 18, 2017 at 4:50 AM

This month marks my 5 year anniversary of being cancer free.  Through the caring and compassion of my healthcare providers and the support of my family and friends, I am truly thankful.

I no longer have to go to the Oncologist for check-ups, I will continue to see my Radiation Oncologist yearly, and I finally get to stop taking the chemo-preventative prescription.  However, the one thing that will always be a part of my life is the fact that I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and survived it.  As always I will still get my annual mammograms, and continue to practice well-care.  In fact, practicing well-care is what caught my cancer early.  I am a staunch supporter of annual exams; whether they be with my primary care provider or my gynecologist.  

Starting 4 Words Foundation, with the help of my best friend and my niece, was based on those I met during treatment.  Some stated they had not had an exam in months/years, others didn't see their physician until it was too late.  They denied they had a problem.

Cancer is scary; there is no doubt about it.  The fear of the unknown can be paralizing to most individuals, it can knock the wind right out of you. However, once you are past the initial shock, moving forward is your only option.  It is never easy, it can take a lot of personal strength.  

Thanks to the advances in medicine, more women that ever are finding their Breast Cancer early, being treated and having better outcomes than years ago.   There is absolutely no reason for not getting screened.  Take charge of your health.  We want you to be around to take care of your family.

"I'M PROOF - MAMMOGRAMS WORK!"




"JUST" - A Word That Hurts

Posted by [email protected] on April 16, 2017 at 5:40 AM

A couple of months ago I had an appointment with my Oncologist whom I currently see every 4-6 months.  These appointments are normally informative and collaborative in my healthcare.  During this particular visit I wanted to discuss an issue regarding some symptoms I have been experiencing for the past few months.  The physician listened as I explained the symptoms, the tests I had already had, their findings, etc.  After examining me stated, "I don't think it is anything to worry about, you "JUST" had DCIS."


I have heard that word from the Oncologist before but this particular visit that one word hit a nerve.   If I "JUST" had DCIS then why did I have surgery, lose 15% of my breast, spend 6.5 weeks going to daily radiation therapy, and currently take a prescription to prevent recurrence?  I left the office that day feeling very insignificant.  In fact it has bothered me so much that is why I have written this blog.  Writing is very  cathartic for me.  


DCIS (Ductual Carcinoma In Situ) is Stage 0, and has a >95% cure rate when diagnosed and treated early.   I am very fortunate to have caught and treated my cancer very early and my prognosis is excellent, however many others are not as fortunate.  To any cancer patient or their family, regardless of the type of cancer diagnosis, it is not "JUST" cancer.   


For the most part as survivors or current patients, we are able to go on with our lives; however their are times that the thought of cancer might continually enter our mind.  For me, it is just before each doctor visit or diagnostic test.  It usually comes to the forefront a few days before each appointment.  For others it's everyday.  Everyone deals with their diagnosis, treatment, feelings and survivorship differently.  There is no right or wrong way.  We are entitled to our feelings and concerns and to have them diminished by the word "JUST" is incomprehensible to me.  My feelings or those of any cancer patient are not "JUST".


A cancer diagnosis, its treatment, and survivorship are life long reminders to us; that we are human, we have feelings/emotions, we are not invincible, that it will always be on minds and that each of our particular cancer diagnosis are not "JUST".



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