Thursday, June 9, 2016


Cancer is something that happens to other people – to people with pink ribbons on their car – people running marathons in news reports.   It is not something that should happen to someone you know and love.  

My wife is twelve years younger than me.   She is not supposed to have a condition that is life threatening – that should be my future – I accept that, I’m old.  

Two weeks ago my wife had a mammogram and the clinic contacted her for a retake.   There was a small suspicious spot and her doctor recommended an ultrasound.   The spot was confirmed and the surgeon recommended a biopsy.  The biopsy results came back Invasive Lobular Carcinoma: Breast cancer.    This all happened within a week.  

Suddenly our lives were upside down.   

Yesterday my girl went in for a lumpectomy.   This is not a pleasant procedure.    First a wire was placed in her breast during an ultrasound to exactly mark the tumor for the surgeon.  Next radioactive serum was injected into the tumor, then we had a two hour wait for the serum to move through the lymph nodes – this allows the surgical team to identifying the first nodes directly in line with the malignancy.   Finally, during the surgery, the tumor and the surrounding area, along with three lymph nodes under the arm were removed.  

Now we wait for the results of the lymph node evaluation, and if they are clear than no further surgery is required.  

In a few weeks my girl will be scheduled for radiation therapy: five days a week for six weeks.  Lastly she will be on hormone medication for the next five years.  

My beautiful, feminine wife is without a doubt the bravest woman I have ever known.  I was so uptight I felt I was going to explode, and she was calm, focused and accepting.     Her courage pulled me though this chaos. 

My wife has had yearly mammograms and that has allowed us to catch this cancer in a very early stage. 

There is no history in my wife’s family of breast cancer.   If you have a wife, lover, mother, sister or daughter that is not getting yearly mammograms you should insist they begin.    It is now obvious to me that breast cancer can strike any female in any family.

the Ol'Buzzard


  1. It can strike and it did in my family this year. Just as your wife's, it was found in a yearly mammogram and treated the same way. They had a chance to do more radiation for shorter time due to a new procedure. I was shocked, she was shocked and now we refuse the doctor who tells us that you can wait 3 years between mammograms. No, refuse it and get one every year. They are paid if you have insurance. It is a requirement of insurance. No breast cancer here either. Thinking of you and your wife.

  2. I'm glad that a mammogram caught it early. I hope the lymph nodes do not require further surgery and that the rest of the treatment will go smoothly and effectively. May Brigid the Healer bless your wife and keep her safe.

  3. Sorry to hear about your wife. Hope the radiation goes smoothly for her.

    As for the recommendation of making sure to get the annual exam, your wife is quite literally the first person I have known in even an indirect manner whose breast cancer was found through a routine mammogram. I've known a lot of cancer victims and with every one the malignancy was discovered during self-examination or by a partner noticing something odd. When I read your post, my reaction was "Holy wah. Mammograms aren't a total scam after all." I've always viewed that insistence on an annual tits in a vise exam as being a job security plan for radiologists. The reason the recommendations changed (or an attempt was made to change them) was that study after study showed that annual mammograms were neither cost effective nor particularly good at finding cancer. On a personal level, I looked at the data quite a few years ago and decided to lengthen the intervals between the x-rays; I have no plans to change what feels right for me any time soon.

  4. "Buzzard", I read your blog regularly and as soon as I saw the title of this post, I had a sinking feeling. Your wife sounds like a pillar of strength, and so must you be. Caught early, she will no doubt be a success story. You are now making me think I need to book an appointment! I'm not a prayer, but I'm thinking of both of you and hope for a smooth, worry free journey. -Jenn

  5. Nothing but positive thoughts here for you and your courageous wife.

  6. I just had a mammogram...came back grateful.
    I will give many shiny things to the Goddess for her...give her my love.

  7. I had to take a moment to compose myself. Cancer is a wicked beast. No woman is stronger in her life than she is when she has to fight that beast. She takes on a certain persona that enables her to get through it. You wife is strong and she will fight this beast with everything she has. Be strong with her. She needs you to help her. Goddess, bless her in her fight.
    (Please don't post this.)

  8. You and your wife have a great many friends cheering for you. Catching it early like this and jumping on it is perfect and all will be well. Every year brings new and better treatments. Hugs to both of you.


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