A WORD ABOUT Clear Research:
It is time to reach out, to educate and inform women everywhere concerning important abortion-breast cancer information and to unite breast health resources.
I stand in the gap between the scientific and lay populations; as a breast cancer survivor I am proud of my work to further the well being of others.
Medical Research Analyst Eve Silver, Author of "The Breast Cancer Manifesto" -- "Way Past Pink" MAMM Magazine August 2003
In the mythology of Greece the city of Carthage was founded by a woman. She fled from danger, practically penniless, but was offered an opportunity to buy all the land she could cover... with the hide of a bull, (which wasn't much.) So she she cut the hide into one, very long, exceedingly fine strip, and carefully laid it out on the ground. The area within the spancel became Carthage, and she became it's queen. Quite an achievement for a desperate woman, alone.
As a breast cancer survivor, I have come to realize that this disease is not something one should tackle alone. It is a destroyer of morale and a debilitator of the spirit. One needs support and encouragement, and occasionally, someone to cry with and someone to witness your rage.
I discovered the 3 cm tumor beneath my breast while standing in the shower. Paradigm shift.
As a medical research analyst, I carefully considered my options. With the encouragement and approval of my breast surgeon, I chose a wide excision and lumpectomy. I had Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, (DCIS) with grossly clear margins. Having done my research carefully, I used the Van Nuys Prognostic Indicator and chose to have radiation without mastectomy. It was a rough time but there were many with me. I was beginning to heal emotionally and physically.
Three years later, early in 2001, I was re-diagnosed. My cancer had returned. I took the aggressive path and had a bilateral mastectomy, with reconstruction and saline implants.
One breast was taken prophylactically: I considered the decision with dread, but made my decision with firm convictions: My paternal first cousin Shirley, whom I loved (and a year younger than I), and our grandmother, both died of breast cancer. My own mother a nine year survivor now, was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years before me. I wanted it OUT. Because DCIS affects the ducts, I determined to get rid of them. I went to Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Care Center in New York City, there, I found my excellent and highly skilled surgical and reconstruction team.
A generous program provided by The American Cancer Society, allowed me to travel back and forth for treatments by ferry boat to New York City. I was in New York City at Sloane Kettering recovering, until September 10, 2001, the day before the Towers fell.
In preparation for my surgery I had joined a health club. I purposed to join in an effort to prepare my body for surgery and hopefully reduce the discomfort and length of my recovery. Though I was hesitant and not fit, I believed that I should prepare for my ordeal. The fitness training staff monitored, cheered and offered correction. I joined a wonderful Yoga class, where I really learned to breathe. I swam, and walked for miles, at my own pace, on the tread mill. I changed my diet. I was encouraged and immersed myself at the gym. Slowly, I came to see that I could indeed prepare myself physically, mentally and emotionally for the ordeal ahead.
Post surgery I found that I was soon flexible enough to be able to tend to my own personal hygiene. In a short time I had greater range of motion in my arms and less discomfort than expected. I was now able to fix my own hair and raise my arms above my head far ahead of schedule. I was able to relax myself when pain or tension began and needed less pain medication, because I had learned how to breathe.
I believe my situation will help many others preparing for surgery to see that they may be able to prepare in advance for the wellness of their bodies post surgery.
REFLECTIONS ON RECOVERY
In the process of breast reconstruction I learned to my distress that I was not a good candidate for nipple reconstruction. I was not expecting the level of personal sadness which accompanied this news. I realized that it mattered to no one else, but it did matter to me at a very personal and intimate level.
There are flashing signs in the center of my soul which say:
ONGOING RECONSTRUCTION OF SPIRITUAL AND MENTAL ATTITUDES:
PLEASE USE TENDERNESS WHEN APPROACHING
and at times:
SELF-WORTH IN MIRROR MAY BE WORSE THAN IT APPEARS
The dark side of dealing with cancer makes everyone else uncomfortable too. No hand is dear in that dread dark. One enters alone and is engulfed by devastation, loss and grief. There are no easy words to describe the lingering shapes and shadows of anguish. I am a survivor, in every sense of that word. I feel that my life, my femininity and my self-image were shattered, fragmented and reorganized. I know that is hard to hear; it is hard to write; but I believe it is important to say so.
The breast cancer survivor, is often presented in public, well after her ordeal, when the reality of her pain has been dealt with and diminished. I am an ebullient, effervescent person by nature; it was unimaginable, as a woman of faith, to find myself so thoroughly depressed and disheartened. My support system was severely fragmented and attenuated, but there were a few who made the difference.
"He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me." Proverbs 55:18
Many women touched my life: friends from my youth quite literally flew to my aid, my daughter Kimi, my childhood friend, Cynthia, stalwarts Kathy and Barbara, my god-daughter Abby, women in my family and the family of women from my church. They were there with me the first time, as I closed my eyes, not knowing how much of my breast I would retain, and they were with me again the second time, when my cancer returned as I opened my eyes to find them waiting with me there, my daughter curled up at the foot of my bed, waiting for me to awake.
When I got to see a linear accelerator up closer than I had ever expected to, they were there to drive me home. It made me so sick, butthey were there to care for me when I lost layers of skin and fought virulent infections. My stalwart Barbara and dear friend Kathy were there, when I kicked a mild addiction to the pain killers that took me away from it all, just a little while.
THE COMMUNITY OF SURVIVAL
There have been other women as well. I did not understand what courage was until I met it in their eyes. These are the women who have survived the sacking of their souls as malignancy threatened their lives.
The first was Mary, an old friend and fellow, diagnosed with more aggressive disease than I, two weeks after me. I worked with Mary when I co-founded a statewide home education network in our home state of New Jersey. We worked at our separate professions, and together to educate our children. Five days after my surgery, I made the trip upstate to stand by her bedside. She was remarkable, she was... invincible.
I discovered that there was a humongous community in place, and that network empowered me. It was galvanizing. I met survivors. I heard their stories, and they took me in. I was one of them. I discovered mi familia in the breast cancer survivor community. They are, individually, marvelous examples of triumphant humanity, but together they rise as One, a Phoenix, bright and powerful and lit from within. I might never have met them had my alleles not gone renegade. I graduated Project LEAD in November of 1999. I am ashamed now of this organization and resigned due to their insensitive and unconscionable decision to create a "Golden Boob" award, outraging breast cancer survivors everywhere
EVE IN FOCUS
During my mothers battle with breast cancer, I met a lone Latina woman at the Mount Sinai elevators in NY. I had helped her briefly; suddenly, she turned and trusted me, a total stranger. With a sober smile in a moment of desperation, she placed my hand upon an incredibly hard, baseball-sized mass in her breast, and asked in her language, My child, what is this?
I want to help her, and everyone like her in the under-served community of Latinas.
In 1999, I founded CLResearch and Cinta Latina Research, supporting traanslational basic science research goals affecting cancer control, education and breast health.
As an abortion and breast cancer survivor I realize the truth: Life is not mythology. I have fled from danger, and been given both a mission and a unique opportunity to cover as much ground as possible in the time I have been allotted, with this thin spancel of my life. I have danced with my fellow survivors and celebrated our lives.
THE OPPOSING PINK
Catalized by the revelation that The Susan G. Komen Foundation Headquarters International and the National Breast Cancer Coalition deny the abortion-breast cancer link, I have lectured internationally to share the devastating truth regarding the Abortion-Breast Cancer Link and the damaging link between abortion and premature birth risk.
I lay upon the rim of the world a long and slender, many hued ribbon, una CINTA LATINA, and with it I seek to encircle and inform all the communities I can touch and unite in health. By God's Grace we will see death conquered, for our daughters, and their daughters and, God willing, for yours.
Best of health,
Eve Sanchez Silver
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