Monday, October 14, 2013

Message from a Breast Cancer Survivor's Husband

Many of you know that in January 2012 our friend Kelly Beatty (then 32) was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wrote a post last October telling Kelly's story. I also asked my readers to participate in a photo project to support Kelly in her fight, which is where my "Pink Out!" page came from (continuing to accept new pictures, by the way).

Last week, Kelly's husband Max, who works with me, sent a message around to the people in our law firm. We're a small place, we all know each other, and he wanted to remind everyone what "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" is all about. 

Max has given me permission to reprint his letter here, because it has a really important message: be proactive and intentional about your health. In terms of fighting a disease, breast cancer or otherwise, nothing beats early detection. In Max's words:
I just wanted to send a quick reminder to everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I’m certain that everyone reading this is “aware” of breast cancer, but Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about much more than that.  Many people forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages.  My hope is that this story will encourage you to either make a plan for yourself or encourage your loved ones to do so.  Many of you know this story, but even if you do, I hope you take the time to read it anyway.

My wife’s family has a long and storied history when it comes to breast cancer.  My wife has lost family members to the disease and has also seen loved ones battle through the disease and win.  Her mother, Kathy, was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42.  A little over ten years later, Kathy would find out that she needed to wage the fight and win once again. 

Kelly (that’s my wife for those who don’t know) always took her risk of developing breast cancer very seriously.  Her doctor told her that she would need to begin having a yearly mammogram at the age of 32—ten years prior to the age when her mother was first diagnosed with cancer. 

Well, Kelly turned 32 last year, and went in for her first mammogram.  After receiving the results, the doctor called Kelly and asked her to come back in for a second exam.  This is apparently quite common for the first mammogram, as they are looking for a “base-line” for comparison purposes in future years.  Kelly was terrified when she found a small hard knot near one of her underarms.  It sort of felt like a small pea, but I told her she was worried for nothing.  Kelly was only 32, and in my mind, there was no chance she had cancer.  

Well, and just like most things in my life, I was absolutely wrong.  After the second mammogram and subsequent biopsy, the doctor told us that Kelly had the most aggressive (i.e., quickest spreading) form of breast cancer.  Needless to say, I was absolutely terrified.  But there was good news—Kelly caught it in its very early stages.  In fact, Kelly was cured through a single surgery.  No chemotherapy.  No radiation.  And it was all because of early detection. 

I realize this story may seem a bit anti-climactic, but that’s the very point.  Had Kelly missed her first mammogram, the story could have been incredibly different.  The last thing I will leave you with is a picture of our two kids.  If Kelly didn’t take the steps and have a plan to detect her cancer in its early stages, she would have missed so much of their lives and the great (and horrible) things that they will do.     

1 comment:

  1. I am so grateful to know this gorgeous family. The entire Beatty family is a testament to the beauty that can occur when two people meet and fall in love. They have been through so much and are such a good example for all of us. Please let Max, Kelly, Jackson and Scarlett know that our family's thoughts and prayers are with them and we will be rocking our pink for them.