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My Current Battle with Breast Cancer

 

Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.

February 23, 2011

www.katherinealbrecht.com

I have some very personal news to share with you. I've thought about this long and hard. As a privacy activist, there are some things you want to keep to yourself. On the other hand, as a radio host and writer I've developed such a relationship with you guys over the past four years, going through the vicissitudes of my life.

Now, with some major news in my life I suppose it would be somewhat dishonest to continue my relationship with you and not talk openly about what's happening. I've been getting a lot of emails talking about the large amount of rebroadcasts I've been doing. People are asking If I'm okay. Let me take a deep breath and give you guys some bad news. The bad news is I've been diagnosed with breast cancer. No matter how you do it, I don't think there's an easy way to talk about something of this magnitude.

I had some pain around Christmas time. It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the chest with the tip of a pencil. I said that's kind of strange. I know that I need to be doing monthly breast self-exams, I do them in the shower every month; I've been very diligent about that for many years. I also know that there is breast cancer in my family.

I'm very young to be stricken with breast cancer so there may be a strong genetic component going on with that. I would encourage any women who are experiencing any kind of pain or strangeness in their breast to place take it very, very seriously. I did some looking online as we all do when we have suspicion or concern and I found on all these different websites they all said if there's pain, don't worry it's probably not breast cancer. I'm here to tell you that's actually not true so please don't believe everything you read on the internet. A lot of time breast cancer can be preceded by, or accompanied by some pretty severe breast pain.

I got through the holidays. I went in for my annual physical by my OB-GYN in the first week of January. I went in for that appointment and told my doctor about my pain. She took a look and said she saw a dimple. That was the first moment that I actually became frightened, because I do know that any kind of dimpling in the breast is a very serious issue and needs to be dealt with so she got me a referral for a mammogram.

For women who are healthy, I want you to listen, too. This happens even if you eat right, don't use Teflon, and drink filtered water. I don't touch anything with artificial color, I don't drink anything with sodium benzoate, I haven't had high fructose corn syrup in probably five years, and no hydrogenated vegetable oils. You probably couldn't have a better diet and a better lifestyle across the board than I do to try to prevent this disease and yet you need to be vigilant.

I went in for the mammogram and the radiologist who read the mammogram at first said she didn't see anything on my mammogram. I'm sure had I gone to some cheapo clinic, they'd have sent me home. But, this radiologist said there is a form of breast cancer that doesn't show up on mammograms and there were a few areas that had her suspicious, so she referred me for a biopsy. Now, some people may think the biopsy is damaging, but in the case of breast cancer it's not a bad idea because it gives some pretty important information about what kind of cancer you have and how it's to be treated.

The results came back a couple of weeks ago with the devastating news that it was positive. My mother was devastated but is a huge supporter. My husband, who has been with me for every appointment, every step of the way has been a huge supporter as well. I was blessed the day I met him and the day we got married because he's been absolutely wonderful.

Coming out to the whole world is a huge step. As a privacy activist and a public figure I've realized over the past few years that I can't be both. I've got to come out and tell what's going on.

As a researcher, by training, I probably own twenty books now on breast cancer, have read virtually every website on the subject out there and have tried many forms of alternate treatments.

There's nothing like a potentially deadly disease to get you to stop and think very long and hard about your priorities. With one in eight women developing breast cancer in this country now, and the numbers are rising steadily, I doubt there's anybody in my listening audience, or who read my column here in Fort Fairfield Journal, who haven't been impacted by this disease in one way or another. I know there are a lot of women out there who are battling with, or have survived, breast cancer. I'd love to hear from you gals with your positive and uplifting stories about how you dealt with it.

 

 

 

 

This editorial was transcribed and adapted for print from a recent Katherine Albrecht radio program, by David Deschesne, with her permission.  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D. is a syndicated radio talk show host on the Genesis Communication Network. Listen to her program live daily, or download her podcast for listening at any time at www.gcnlive.com Katherine’s website is:  www.katherinealbrecht.com