I found a classmate from high school last night on Facebook (well, actually a classmates younger sister). Her older brother was in my class, we were on the swim team and on the year book staff together in high school – eons ago. Anyway, his younger sister – she would be two years younger than me – was just diagnosed with breast cancer. What is bizarre is that she was diagnosed with the same kind of breast cancer – HER2+ breast cancer – at about the same age as me.
HER2+ breast cancer is not especially common. And, the typical onset of this type of breast cancer is in women who are in their sixties. It is unusual to be diagnosed with it before 60 and, pretty uncommon to be diagnosed with it under the age of 45.
This woman and I probably spent most of our childhood within 5 or 6 miles of each other. Interesting . . . I played in orange groves when I was a kid – it wasn’t named Orange County for nothing. At one time there was a lot of agriculture here and with it . . . a lot of pesticides. Women golfers are known to have higher rates of breast cancer – presumably due to the pesticides used to keep golf courses the way they are kept – green and weed free.
When I came upon my former classmates blog, I was saddened to see that such a lovely, bright and happy child grew up to have breast cancer. And, she is not my only classmate from high school – that I know of – to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is pretty common. But, when I saw that she was getting Herceptin treatments (meaning that she was also diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer), I was floored.
She has a great attitude and a great spirit – at least that is what I see from her blog. She is going through chemo now and will have to go through everything else I have gone through – bilateral mastectomy, radiation and a year of Herceptin treatments. My heart goes out to her.
And, hearing that someone who probably spent most of her childhood within a few miles of where I spent mine was diagnosed with the same, pretty uncommon type of breast cancer, well, it makes me kind of numb.
I will be praying for her and for her family.
Love and peace,