When Hallie died of Stage 4 breast cancer this year, I finally decided to go get checked. It didnt matter that I knew very well that early detection saves lives, or that I had a son to live for, the fear kept me from getting checked. But Hallie changed that for me.
I met Hallie in High School and although we didnt know each other well, we knew of each other. Our school had lots of clicks but the one day we all came together was Halloween. Everyone gets dressed up, even the security guards.
My earliest memory of her is when she flashed me her gorgeous, big smile when she saw me dressed as Madonna in the Papa Don’t Preach Video. It wasn’t until our 20th reunion that we discovered we had Geralyn in common. Hallie is Geralyn’s cousin.
We became facebook friends but I didn’t know many things about her. Like that she had a history of breast cancer and had been getting checked every year since 35. And that every year, her doctor cleared her when really, she had dense breast tissue and was being improperly diagnosed. I also didn’t know, that during her last months, she marched to Albany with Are You Dense? to help get a bill passed that would make doctors responsible for telling you that you have dense breast tissue.
When she showed up for Thanksgiving dinner at Geralyn’s, the sight of her overwhelmed me. Her flowing blond hair was gone and she looked and walked like she was 70 years old. Seeing her like that changed me.
After her memorial I cried for weeks and then I realized, I HAVE TO GET CHECKED. If not for me, for my son. I had to face my fear head on and JUST DO IT. So I did. At the suggestion of Geralyn, I went to Dubin Breast Center to get a 3D Mammo. “It’s the Best!” she assured me. And it was!
I’m sharing this story with you because facing THE FEAR taught me several things;
1. Things are not as bad as they seem in your head.
2. I’m a lucky girl because my 3d mammo ouch meter was a 0.
3. I’m two times lucky because my double biopsy ouch meter was a 1.
4. And, I’m three times lucky because my biopsy came back negative for both girls!
After all this, I firmly believe 2d mammos should be a thing of the past because too many women are being misdiagnosed, like my friend Hallie.