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In retrospect, this should never have happened to me. No history of breast cancer in my family that I know of. I was healthy, had a healthy diet, exercised regularly, wasn’t terribly overweight, didn’t smoke, drank in moderation. In fact I was the epitome of moderation; I never binged on anything. Well, I did eat a whole can of ripe olives one time when I was in college. I guess that could be called binging. And I may have had a few too many beers in my younger, wilder days.

But here I am with cancer like so many other women. And what did I do wrong? I thumbed my nose at fate. I was invincible. I couldn’t get cancer, could I? Well I did. And my mistake was that I let it go too long. Oh, I’m not the only one to do this. There are thousands who are in the same predicament as I am in. But it almost killed me.

I guess the big question is why do we do this to ourselves with so many warnings from the media, the medical community? When I was in my twenties, I had a suspicious area on my left breast and it was not malignant. I had a history of fibrous breasts. And then several years ago I had another suspicious area in my right breast and I thought that must be similar to what I had had years ago and I disregarded it. I now shake my head and wonder; what was I thinking? And then I felt a mass a year ago and did nothing. What was I thinking then? Well, this is what I thought. I was frightened of what was going to happen to me; of the chemo treatments, the surgery, my breast being removed, the radiation and its effects on my body. I didn’t want to go through this. I thought by eating herbs and cutting back on certain foods that I could avoid the inevitable. My immune system was robust and it could fight it. But I was wrong. And I nearly lost my life because of it.

If I had taken care of the small cancer when it was first detected, I would not have had to go through all of this. But I didn’t. Oh yes, we can all look back and say, I should have, could have …but here I am today after the battle for my life, and so far I am winning. But it has been a battle.  Fortunately, with the treatments and maybe with my hard work, I am going to live. And I think having a positive attitude helps as well.

I guess some of us will never learn. There will always be the skeptics out there, those who think it won’t happen to them. But I say to them, with all of the junk we are putting into our bodies, it is likely that it will happen. The toxic chemicals are in the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat and the materials used for our homes and furniture. There is no escaping. One in eight women in the United States will have breast cancer. And then there are all of the other areas of your body that can become cancerous. So my advice to all, is to be ever vigilant. Eat organic, cut down on sugar, detox and cleanse your body regularly. Be mindful of the chemicals in your cleaning products, clothing and furnishings in your home.  If you smoke, stop. If you drink more than two glasses of alcohol a day, stop. Be mindful of everything you put into your body and everything in your environment. And you may be able to escape.

But then someone will tell you about the grandfather who smoked all of his life, drank whiskey every day and lived to be 100. He had to be one tough guy. But then none of us are going to live forever.

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