Climb Against the Odds 2014
Michele Cobble + Michelle Echenique
Mrs. Betty Pommon
Caymus Capital, LLC
Match Eva Bertran
The Graham Family
Alain & Annie Dellepiani
The Mieling Family
The Hilliard Family
Brenda and Don MacLean
Yoga Works Larkspur
Lori & Bill Fallace in Memory of William Pittman
Miss Bridget A. Kelly
Chase, Clarke & Andrew Campion
Stonehurst Place B&B, Atlanta GA
Fred & Karen Thompson
Mr. Arthur Morgan
Michele Cobble + Michelle Echenique
MotherSon & Co
On May 29, 2013 I had my yearly mammogram. May 30th, I received a call to schedule an appointment to check on dense tissues... Morning of May 31st, laying in bed, I discovered the lump. It felt big.
How did I miss that?
That day I was hosting family and friends to celebrate my son’s graduationn from high school with Honors … The lump did not prevent me from fully enjoying our very special day. But it was there. I felt it every once in a while throughout the weekend. Could it be cancer? I had had a mammogram a year earlier and a breast exam, how could it be so big after a year? How could I not find it before? I had stopped doing self breast exams. I was relaying on the yearly mammogram and breast exam. Plus I had filled that questionnaire a year earlier that said I was at a very low risk for breast cancer…
I felt strange, different. Something was growing in me that could kill me. And I felt perfectly healthy. That did not make sense.
That Monday morning I had the ultrasounds. Radiologist saw me right after, 80% chances of cancer he said. I looked at it on the screen and cried. I will never forget its shape. There it was. It did not look threatening, a bit like a star, a galaxy, and yet it was deadly. And it was a part of me. That afternoon I had the biopsy, Arthur, my son, drove me. By Wednesday June 5th it was confirmed. We were both working in the office when I received the call. Within seconds I was part of the cancer world. And our team was formed without a word. MotherSon & Co
Our summer changed overnight. We were to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday in France in July. We cancelled that. In July I had two lumpectomy surgeries back to back. Being self employed at the time I could not stop working while undergoing surgeries and treatment. I realized how vulnerable I was. No one could do my job for me. Disability was not an option. I was not prepared for something like this.
I also realized that I was not alone. Once you start saying you have breast cancer you realize everyone either has had it or has someone very close who has or had it.
My mother’s best friend passed away of recurring breast cancer, she was 38 years old and left behind 3 young children. She was never replaced. 2 of my cousins and my aunt had breast cancer and it is not in our genes. 3 of my close friends have gone through it…Serge, Arthur's uncle on dad's side, passed away 3 years ago at age 50, leaving behind wife, daughter, grand daughter and all if us...within 6 months.
Arthur and I plugged along supported by our friends and families. Arthur’s dad took me to both surgeries – he does not mind getting up early and wanted to be there for me. I worked the day before, the day of and the day after both surgeries. It helped me actually. Arthur was running errands, making lunch and dinners supported by all my friends…
There started our adventure, undergoing treatment, while working best we could, while getting rest with the support of all...
It is true I found that it is in time of crisis that you realize how many friends you actually have. Their are many beautiful surprises... I realized through this that I was blessed with many incredible friends, way beyond my expectations. More than I realized. Stronger bounds were formed.
I realized I was blessed with an incredible surgeon, radiologist, oncologist, and their caring staff all from the Redwood Regional Medical Group in Santa Rosa. Everything was expedited and taking of in a very timely manor. I can even say I love my insurance company. Blue Shield. Their people are very caring and supportive and Blue Shields partners with caring and reasonably priced teams. They are a non profit organization, as all health insurance should be in my opinion.
Summer came to an end, my son was preparing to leave for college and I for radiation treatment.
Radiations are exhausting. A daily drive of 2 hours +. The team was wonderful. By the time I ended treatment we were all friends…
And then, depression started. A depression that lead me to 12 days in a behavioral hospital… Another adventure began. Now I really could not work. No cell phone no computer. My son called me at the hospital from UCLA. “Mom, don’t worry I am handling the business, it is all good. Get some rest”. And he did from his dorm room! Good thing we worked together through the summer! He leaned a lot! He also managed a 4.0 for his 1st quarter at UCLA. Another blessing.
And life goes on, slowly and surely I am recovering from the stress and the trauma of our summer.
I shared with my surgeon that I had stopped doing self exams a while back and actually had not been reminded in a while to do so. Especially after filling out the survey that told me I was not at risk! She replied that they were told to stop recommending self exams, due to too many false alarms… I wish they had not.
Tell all girls and women to do a self breast exam every change of season. As a preventive. Breast cancer is on the rise and the numbers are expected to go up for the next 20 years. The women with breast cancer are younger and younger. They are even working on a vaccine for younger women.
It has been FDA approved and now is undergoing the final trials. It will be a prevention for the most common forms of cancer. It will not be enough still...
Breast cancer is the number one cancer killer in the world. Research on breast cancer helps research on all other cancers…
We are so excited to climb Mount Shasta. Mount Shasta is a very special mountain of Northern California, a healing place. The climb will start on my 50th birthday. June 15th, 2014.
Sunday March 2nd, we learned that Bill, a family friend, 51 years old passed away of lung cancer leaving behind his wife with 2 small children. He never smoked and lead a very healthy lifestyle. What did it to him? He was diagnosed last June, stage 4. All he felt was a pain in his chest, he thought it was soarness from working out. It was cancer.
We are climbing Mount Shasta for all - past, present, and futur - persons affected by cancer. We hope to achieve our goal of $30,000.00 with your help we know we will!
Live your life with a fearless heart!
Frédérique & Arthur
MotherSon & Co
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