Upon being diagnosed with breast cancer I wanted answers. I wanted the why? Why did I get breast cancer? What did I do that could have caused it or what could I have done differently? These questions are meant physically what did I do or not do? Whatever I could find out would help with peace of mind where my daughters were concerned. I wanted to know if there was something they could do differently. I went through genetic testing. I tested negative. That was a huge relief in that my daughters were not pre-disposed to a gene. I wanted to join a study. I wanted to do my part to help others. I want to be a part of the cure.
Several months ago a study that I was suited for came through on Army of Women. I was finally going to be a part of a study. I filled out all of my paper work and sent it in. A large package came in the mail for me to use in having my blood drawn and returned to the study group. They provide everything you could possibly need. You simply take it with you when you have labwork and ask them to draw the extra viles. They don't have to use any of their supplies. They simply stick in the extra three viles and hand them back to you. The viles were then replaced in the tube they provide and put in the federal express envelope and returned the same day. Easy peasie! I did my part and returned the package.
I later received a phone call asking if my sister and mother would participate. I asked and they agreed. Fast forward to the week of July 30. On July 28 my mom had an appointment with her Renal specialist. It was a three month routine where they draw blood two hours prior to her visit with the doctor. Seemed the perfect time to have her study labs drawn. She wanted to participate as much as I did. She was a very very hard "stick" has the techs often called her. On this particular July day a new lab technician was there. He was unfamiliar to me and to my mom. I pulled out the package and asked him to draw the additional viles to send in for the study. He looked extremely puzzled by the request. I attempted to show him the letter and the lab request. He walked to the reception desk asked a question and came back to say he was not allowed to do it. Yep - I was extremely frustrated but didn't want to upset my mom and simply put it all away. He made his multiple attempts to draw her blood until he finally got a vain. It was always torture for her. I always held my breath until they got a vain.
Being the loud mouth that I am, I was glad to tell her Doctor that the new lab guy was not cooperative and explained. Dr. H was always a "hoot" - his response was "you should have yelled for me - oh man I can't believe he didn't draw the blood." Hmmm yep - I couldn't believe it either. He said that if we wanted he would have them come draw it but I would not hear of it. Mom despised having her blood drawn. She was willing to go through that painful process again but I didn't want her to do that. We left, albeit frustrated, with plans to get it drawn at a later date. Sadly, next time won't come. Two days later mom went home to Jesus. There was no indication on Wednesday that Friday would be her appointed time to leave this earth. The opportunity to have her blood included in this study was brushed off by someone who didn't have an interest in a breast cancer study. He was new and inexperienced. It may seem trivial but to someone who longs for a cure and has lived it - it was not trivial. There are no "do-overs". Moral - once again - is to push. Don't accept answers that you know are not right. I should have insisted he call the doctor and get the permission. I learned recently that "nice" is not necessarily the right response. Kind is the better response. I should have kindly but firmly insisted. I'm sad that the lab work will never be.
Breast cancer affects everyone in your life. Though I was, at the time of my diagnosis, her caregiver, she found strength that no doctor could believe in order to be there for me. She told me once that no mom should have to watch their child go through cancer. She hated what the treatments did to me physically. She hurt for me. She walked the journey with me until her final day. She wanted to be a part of the study - just as I did and do.
I would love for this October to the be month that a cure is found. Maybe you fit the requirements for a study. Log onto armyofwomen.org and see if you qualify. It may be you who holds an answer.
If, nothing else, get your mammies grammied this month. Don't put it off.
Love you guys,
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