Monday, October 09, 2006

Guest blogger Laura Jensen Walker

Captain’s Log, Stardate 10.09.2006

Today I’m joined by my friend Laura Jensen Walker, chick-lit writer and breast cancer survivor!

Laura's book, Thanks for the Mammogram! Fighting Cancer with Faith, Hope, and a Healthy Dose of Laughter, was reissued in paperback last month, and she also wrote a chick-lit novel, Reconstructing Natalie.

And now, here’s Laura!

Okay, everyone, it's October and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I want you all to check your breasts! Young or old, perky or not-so-perky, you need to know your breasts intimately so that should you ever find--God forbid--an unusual lump that's not the same as your normal fibrocystic lumps, you'll know to get it checked out RIGHT AWAY. Don't wait. Don't delay.

That's what I did more than fourteen years ago and why I'm still here today. Except, I didn't know my breasts intimately--it was just a 'fluke' or an 'accident' that I 'happened' to brush my hand against my breast when I reached up to push my hair out of my face and I felt a small, hard lump.

But it was no accident. It was God directing me to this lump that turned out to be cancerous. And it was God who walked beside me and held my hand through every step of the cancer journey. God, and my precious husband. And my wonderful girlfriends.

And I'm so grateful. Since then, God has used my cancer experience to educate others and to minister to them--in talks around the country, and through my non-fiction book Thanks for the Mammogram (just released in paperback a couple weeks ago) and now, the novel of my heart, Reconstructing Natalie. I'm doing lots of radio interviews for both Natalie and Thanks for the Mammogram this month. And today, when I needed a little pick-me-up, God gave me the sweetest bouquet when the male radio host for a station in Alabama told me upon the conclusion of our interview that Reconstructing Natalie was "the best novel he'd read all year!" Wow. How cool is that? Especially 'cause he's a guy (who reads tons of novels.) Can you say made my day? Thank you, Lord.

The host said he learned more about breast cancer--and all the emotional ramifications women face--than he'd ever known as a result of Natalie, and although he hopes and prays his wife will never go through this disease, he said now he'll be better prepared to help her through it.

This is why we write. To touch and help others.

And now, I want you to touch your breasts. Go ahead. Just do it! Give yourself a self exam and make sure you get your annual mammogram. Don't shy away from it because it's uncomfortable. A mastectomy is more uncomfortable.

Although breast cancer is an epidemic and can strike any woman at any time (even vegetarians like Linda McCartney and Olivia Newton-John) the good news is that if caught early, it can be treated!

And the even better news is that should you or someone you love get diagnosed with breast cancer, no matter the stage of the disease, God will never leave you or forsake you. He'll walk with you every step of the way through that dark valley.


Camy here: Thanks, Laura! Ever since reading Mammogram and Reconstructing Natalie, I’ve been better about checking myself.