My husband is the director of breast imaging in his small town of Alpena. He took it upon himself to further his education with the latest technology, information and techniques for breast cancer. Single handedly, he persuaded hospital administrators to install digital mammography equipment, and the specialized equipment he needed to perform advanced screenings and procedures.
Steve was the only radiologist, and the hospital was the only one of it’s kind within an almost 200 mile radius who had this state of the art technology.
Steve and I live in two different states, I’m in Chicago, Steve is in Alpena, Mi. I wanted to do something to support the important work he does.
Small towns are funny, they don’t take to strangers from big cities well. Steve, originally from NY has been in Alpena for over 20 years, I think he’s okay now. But every thing I tried to do never seemed to be received.
I decided to go back to school to become a licensed clinical aesthetician. I decided to focus on oncology skin care, with a major focus on breast cancer victims and survivors.
I finally got a break last October during breast cancer awareness month. I contacted the president of Zonta club, a woman’s business networking group. Zonta coordinates the annual 5K in Alpena and donates funds to the hospital so Steve can continue to do the critically needed work he does. I came up with the idea of having some type of raffle for breast cancer victims or survivors, which would be given out at the 5K. Penny, Zonta’s president suggested she could put the tickets into the packets of those who checked off survivor. GREAT! I made up beautiful invitations, only 20 of them, this is a really small town. They were placed in the race packets. The invitation read, for the first 10 to respond, a spa treatment of their choice, either facial or body would be given at a later date, which was on the invitation along with the location where the event would take place. A local spa owner donated her spa and services for the day. Steve also made himself available to answer any questions.
I had 10 women within hours.
On spa day, I discovered something I which perplexed me. During the mask portion of their facial, I gave a hand and arm massage. With each woman I touched, I immediately knew which side of her body was operated on by the dense, fibrous tissue I felt. On some of the women, this dense tissue ran up into the neck and face area. As I questioned them, I was told by each one at times the intense pain and inflammation could be unbearable. What do you do about it? I ask. Nothing, was the response. ??????? I was in shock.
One of the sonographer’s in Steve’s radiology department, is a breast cancer survivor. When I asked her about it, she said that she had a wonderful massage therapist who helped to move the lymph fluid, which brought down the swelling and gave her relief.
Part of my training in aesthetics was manual lymphatic drainage. This simple, and most blissfully relaxing technique gives relief to those suffering from a host of ailments. From the common cold to trauma suffered to the lymphatic system, such as, breast cancer surgery or radiation treatments involving the axillary lymph nodes.
I am so passionate about the subject of breast cancer and secondary lymphadema, I was asked to write an article for the annual cancer report for Alpena Regional Medical Center. Treating physicians must be made aware of the other sufferings breast cancer victims endure. Treating physicians must also be prepared to have a list of therapists who can perform MLD for breast cancer victims.
“Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.”spread the word