Finding a cure for breast cancer....my gift to science
No one I love has ever been affected by breast cancer. When considering how prevalent breast cancer has become, this very likely puts me in the minority and makes me very lucky.
Because I’ve never been touched, the fight against breast cancer has always been something I’ve been aware of, but not involved in. Until this summer I never knew there was anything a healthy woman could do to contribute to the science behind finding a cure. I don’t think there would be either if it weren’t for some incredibly tenacious and courageous women who fought hard and gave so much of themselves to make it happen.
When Women’s Fund of Central Indiana became involved in Indy’s Super Cure partnering with the Komen Tissue Bank my eyes were opened. Jennifer Pope Baker was asked to lead the charge in recruiting women willing to donate healthy tissue to the tissue bank for a clinical study. The goal of the drive was to obtain samples from a diverse population of women, mainly Asian, African-American, and Hispanic. I am one half Mexican and therefore land squarely in the category of donors they were seeking. I knew I had to do it.
I have a very good reason-several, actually-for donating tissue. I have a beautiful four-year-old daughter and six beautiful nieces. I love them all with all of my heart and if I can do something help find a cure before any one of them grows up to have to face this disease, how could I not?
I am not particularly squeamish so on September 24th when I arrived at Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center I was more nervous about an interview I was scheduled to do than the procedure itself.
When I entered, I was greeted with smiles and many thanks by volunteers working at the center. I was given a bottle of water and directed to a computer station where I filled out a brief medical history. I was then offered a delicious smoothie of my choice and walked through the consent process with another volunteer. After the administrative portion of my adventure was complete, I was taken in to have my blood drawn. My nurse, a volunteer, drew my sample so expertly, I felt nothing. When my turn came for the procedure, I was led to an examining room where I was instructed to put on a gown and get comfortable on the table. The surgeon assigned to take my sample entered the room, introduced himself and thanked me for my willingness to give of my time and myself. The procedure itself was pretty simple, I was given a shot of lidocaine at the site where the biopsy device would be inserted. During the actual procedure there was no pain, just a bit of tugging and a sound like a coffee grinder from the tissue collection device itself. It was over in less than three minutes and I truly had no aftereffects.
I am so glad I did this. I would do it again with no second thoughts. I am blessed with good health, a good job and the ability to give of myself for the good of others. It felt wonderful and I have never been thanked so much by so many for what seemed to me like such a small contribution to a huge and important cause.