According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,290 new cases of in situ (non-invasive) breast cancer occur in the US annually. This is in addition to the tens of thousands more women worldwide who are diagnosed and treated each year. Statistics show that 1 in 8 women in the US will develop the disease within their lifetime. We all know those who have or have had breast cancer.
Over the past 20 years newer drugs and improved medical procedures have helped to lower the death rate for breast cancer. But surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, nurses and psychologists all agree that the improvement in care, alone, is not the only factor contributing to the rise in remission levels and reduced death rates. Attitude plays a strong part in the success of what doctors can do.
Meet my friend, Jeanette. We’ve known each other since way back when we went through high school together and then attended the same university. Like me, Jeanette is a breast cancer survivor. Always beautiful and fun-filled, she tackled cancer with the same great spirit that has been her trademark throughout her life.
Jeanette was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2007 and was scheduled to undergo chemotherapy. Rather than sit by and watch her hair fall out, Jeanette had a head-shearing party in her hospital room. On February 15, five days after her first chemo treatment her family gathered to celebrate the season of her healing. It was Jeanette’s 60th birthday.
The first step for Jeanette and her son, Ryan, were Mohawks.
Ryan, Jeanette and her husband, Joe, then shaved their heads. Kim, her daughter, cut her hair short–a major gift to her mom from a girl who’d loved her long hair.
This photo of Captain Mom, created by one of Kim’s friends, totally captures Jeanette’s winning spirit. Capt. Picard never looked so good.
Our high school graduating class held its 50th anniversary celebration in September. Jeanette, who’s been in remission for over 8 years, looked as beautiful and as happy as the day we graduated.