You remember Ruthie’s Brigade?  You are my family, dear friends and faithful readers who have made up my cherished and much-needed support network during my battles with breast cancer and a blood disorder.  I’m hoping not, but we may need to march again.

I went for my yearly mammogram/ultrasound a few weeks ago. After the procedures, the reviewing doctor indicated that the tests were normal/benign. However, my breast tissue is dense and because of this density, it can be hard to find cancer on a mammogram and could also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.  Her suggestion was that I have a breast MRI.  In the next month or so, I will meet with my oncologist and we’ll discuss the test.  I’m not too happy about this:  during my testing before the lumpectomy in 2014, I went for this MRI and ended the test before we even began.  It was uncomfortable and my body wouldn’t conform to the table, etc. I said to the technician: “We are done here,” slid off the table and marched into the changing room!

I frequently have blood work to monitor the erythrocytosis (red blood count).  In 2017 the numbers were too high and I had a phlebotomy each month. That was a tough road:  I’d no sooner get my strength back and it was again time to give blood. One of my medical team suggested that maybe nocturnal oxygen would bring the number down.  I began that treatment in December 2017 and haven’t had a phlebotomy since.  Fast forward to last week’s blood test:  red blood count was high. No phlebotomy was prescribed; I have an appointment for the beginning of July for a re-check, and I pray the number will be lower and no further procedure will be required.

Sign Up for E-News

When I get more results and decisions on these issues, I will let you know; please keep the thoughts and prayers coming. Hopefully, we can keep Ruthie’s Brigade at parade rest! 

Hope you enjoy this little aside:  I am a White Plains gal and grew up on Longview Avenue (where the  Cancer Center and other White Plains Hospital buildings are  located/under construction).  I have watched the Hospital grow and grow until it now takes up the block between Longview Avenue and Davis Avenue. Gone are Steve’s Stationery where Dad would get his paper; gone is the lovely stone church building on the corner of Maple Avenue and Longview, and bye bye to the Doll Hospital where Mom had to have the head replaced on my friend’s doll—my brother had tossed the doll out the window!  What really hit me was the demolition of the brick apartment building that used to be 8 Longview Avenue. My grandmother lived there all those years ago; I remember visiting with my Dad and having dinner with Nonna.  A treasured piece of my history is now gone.

I conclude this column with a heart-felt suggestion: Please, please  schedule your mammogram; if you’ve never had one, do it.  Yeah, it is uncomfortable, but worth every squeeze and push to know you’re doing the right thing for yourself. After all, aren’t you worth it?  God bless!