My Third Eye: One Woman's Vision of the Great Mystery

Via the Paths of Creativity, Cancer, Folly & a Wild LOVE OF LIFE

Jane Underwood

Jane Underwood
San Francisco, California, USA
October 08
The Writing Salon
I'm a mother, writer, photographer (amateur), and owner of The Writing Salon, a school of creative writing for adults, in San Francisco. I'm also a woman living with breast cancer (since Aug. 2005), working to heal myself (and to understand just what that means, REALLY). Since I'm beginning this blog six years after my breast cancer journey began, the first post is a flashback to that fateful day. The rest of this blog will be, I suspect, a kaleidoscopic mix of past and present, as I refer to the first six years of living with breast cancer... but also focus on the present. And the present contains a whole lot more than just breast cancer. So be forewarned: I will frequently digress.


SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 2:15PM

My Breast Biopsy & Ensuing Personal Empowerment

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If you are wondering if I am out of the woods now, re: my cancer, the answer is No.  I am not, as of this post, "NED" (no evidence of disease), although I have enjoyed a NED status for much of the past six years, and hope to enjoy it again. I am working on getting back to being NED. Cancer, for many, is a roller coaster ride. Ups and downs, twists and curves.

This blog won't be a "health" blog focused on giving out medical information, but I will periodically toss out some of the most important things I've learned so far. For example, in my "My Ache" post, I make mention of something called a "needle aspiration" biopsy. Here is what I now think about needle aspiration biopsies: 

Don't get one. Why? Needle aspirations can spread cells that were once contained within an enclosed area. Wouldn't you rather NOT risk spreading those possibly malignant cells? Do your research before you decide what kind of a biopsy you will have. There are different kinds, and there are numerous things to consider. You do not have to rush or allow yourself to be rushed (as I was). Seriously. You can take a day or two or three. Unfortunately, I didn't learn this until many months into my "treatment journey," as I slowly began to realize that I could be involved in every single medical decision; I could have a say, based on my own research, about how best to treat my unique case of breast cancer (and every case IS indeed absolutely unique, just as every person/body is absolutely unique -- I believe this is a crucial thing to understand).

In short, I began to learn that I wasn't interested in jumping onto the conventional breast cancer "gold standard treatments" conveyor belt. I didn't want the common cookie cutter treatment protocol. So I set about the business of empowering myself to have a say in how I would decide to go about battling/healing my cancer.

One good place to begin your research on this biopsy topic (or on quite a few other relevant topics) is at the "little engine that could" website: Breast Cancer Choices. It's not one of the big well-known sites, but it's one of the best.

That's all I can muster for today! Except for maybe another photo moment..a peek at my San Francisco neighborhood, Bernal Heights.


P.S. -

It appears that the title of my first "big" essay post didn't correctly show up, according to some commenters. So to reiterate: The "My Ache" post was a flashback to six years ago.

This blog will be a combo of flashbacks plus posts about my current life --  mix of: Then and Now.





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This is the first post by you that I've read- by chance - but I made you a favorite to follow and go back to the previous ones to catch up. Thank you for sharing your journey on which I wish you smoother roads and clear horizons.

Jane, thank you for the information. I think that waiting a few days to do some research makes sense. I hope that your journey is smooth and the road long.
I also just stumbled upon your posts today. Also am a survivor, and thriving, I appreciate you telling women to not be rushed or feel they are being rushed into making a decision because it IS THEIR decision to make. I did some homework for myself, but I think not enough. My journey was bumpy for the first year, but has since smoothed out after I took more personal control over my 'Gold Standard' of treatment as opposed to the what the insurance compies and docs thought to be. For me it has been 7 years and I count everday leading up to the next year. I wish you an easy journey and the strength to maintain the road ahead.
The discovery of having health care involvement in our treatment (for all kinds of things) is a big one. I also almost leapt into the gold standard conveyer belt for my own problem...and then I let my brain out. Now I know I have time to figure things out, I'll make time.

I found your blog today, and will keep on reading!