Halloween is coming up fast and there has been a lot going on since I last posted to this blog. My husband and I purchased Cartwright Grocery from my aunt and uncle in April. I have become good friends the the mammo and ultrasound techs at Chattanooga Imaging on Hamill Road. About this time last year, I found the first lumps. Scary thoughts filled my head especially with the knowledge of everything that Aunt Maxine went through before her passing. I was terrified at times. I cried. I raged. I saw my doctor. The tests all showed that my lumps were fibroadenomas. Fibroadenomas are benign tumors made up of both glandular breast tissue and connective tissue. No cancer at that time. Whew. Six months later, no changes. Then two more make an appearance. Another mammogram, two more ultrasounds. Still no sign of cancerous cells. Women with fibroadenomas have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer (about 1½ to 2 times the risk of women with no breast changes) so I am not in the clear nor am I likely to ever be. Every six months, I have a mammogram and ultrasound. I just finished the latest ones. I am thrilled to be cancer free. My very soul hurts for my friends and family members who are not. I look at these strong, courageous women and I admire them for smiling, surviving, and living. Even those like Aunt Maxine who fought as long as she could until the cancer that started in her breasts ravaged her body and brain, smile until the end. I know that underneath the smile they have to be afraid of what lies ahead. I was. I am. I smile. I’m living. I’m lucky. In April, I will go back to Chattanooga Imaging. They know me there. Thankfully, I am more than just a patient to them. Come what may… no changes or cancer… I will survive because all of those who fought the fight before me educated their doctors, trained the techs, developed the medicines and surgical techniques that will allow me to do so. So fight like a girl. Don’t just survive – live!