Friday, November 19, 2010

Breast Cancer Series: "Early Bird"

"Early Bird"

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend a day-long, local breast cancer symposium, wherein we pampered registrants were treated to speakers and presenters, plus a nice lunch. Also part of the day's events was a small, themed art show, for which I felt very privileged to be asked to participate. Exploring my personal experience with breast cancer through art has been something I've wanted to do for some time now, and I was glad and grateful for the opportunity and invitation to put something together.

The above piece (one of four), entitled 'Early Bird', addresses the conundrum typically faced when diagnosed with breast cancer (or any cancer) -- that being just how early our malignancies may, or may not, have been detected. It's a clear and simple fact in cancer prognosis that earlier is better. But how early is 'early' enough...? We all understand being diagnosed at Stage 0 is preferable to Stage 1, and Stage 1 preferable to Stage 2, and so on. In my own case, my lump was discovered before it had spread too terribly far (thankfully) -- yet not before its pesky malignant cells had indeed invaded, if only microscopically, one sole sentinel lymph node, automatically pushing me into the Stage 2 category, and catapulting me upon the medical path of aggressive chemotherapy protocol.

Now with it all behind me, and my current status what's known in the biz as 'NED' (No Evidence of Disease), I do believe and trust that the many decisions made regarding my treatment and care were the right ones. And yet, I will still probably always be questioning, in the back of my mind, whether my 'early' was 'early enough'....