This week the Alanis Morrisett song was going through my head continuously. My adventure in irony began on February 14th. The 14th-15th of every month I do something every woman should do. I do a breast exam on myself. I started doing this a few years ago, when I had my old Facebook account, and I found out that one of my friends from high school found a lump, and it was stage-3 breast cancer. I watched her progress through treatment and eventually win her battle with breast cancer. The same time she found out she had breast cancer, I had signed up and ran the 26.2 With Donna Race to end Breast Cancer. I put her name, my cousin’s name, and Shane’s aunt’s name on a bib. Every step, every pink ribbon, I thought about those people I had known who had survived breast cancer.
I digress. On February 14th, per the advice of every doctor, every survivor, and my own mother, I felt my boobs. I found something. Nothing kills the mood for Valentine’s Day like finding a lump in your breast. Shane found it too, easily. It was a long weekend, and I waited until Monday to phone flight medicine and get it checked out. Ironically, I had signed up again for the Breast Cancer Marathon. I thought that this was a sign from God. I’m 38 years old. I have no clue my genetic background. For all I know, biological family could be amongst the vast number of statistics. I saw the doctor on Thursday, I got a mammogram on Friday, and was cleared to run the breast cancer marathon. I did not have cancer. It was a fibrous tumor on a milk duct that would flair with my cycle.
I ran the marathon. It was not my best race. I finished in 4:25 hours. There were challenges during the race. I had stomach cramping because of the heat. It was humid and warm. At the end, the race was punctuated by thunder, lightening, and a tornado warning. When it was all said and done, I had finished it. I have my favorite marathons. I love Disney Races, because they make me remember my childhood and the trips we took. I loved doing the Marine Corps Marathon, because of the five years I spent serving my country. I loved doing Buffalo Marathon, because it was neat to see Niagara Falls. I’m very excited to do the New York City Marathon this year, because there is something about that city that makes me love it. But this marathon has more meaning than any one of those races combined. 26.2 With Donna is a marathon that raises awareness. I am sure that if I had not run that race at all, I would not even consider examining my breasts. I had I not found the lump, I would have probably not even considered that I could be a statistic. It’s sad that it took running a marathon to convince me to check my breasts. I don’t know how many people read this, but if I can convince one more person to do self-exams, then I have accomplished a goal far greater than running a marathon. Pick a day during the month and check your breasts. It takes 5 minutes, and it can save your life.