June 25

Buddy Check Reminder

By Jim Garrot

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:44 PM CDT

Just in case you think doctors always know best, here's proof you may be the best judge of your health. The woman you are about to meet listened to her gut when medical professionals told her she had nothing to worry about. But Lynne Martin was right when she suspected that her breast cancer had returned.

Martin always liked to spend time outdoors. She knew the risks of skin cancer. And when she spotted something suspicious on her leg, she sought treatment right away. It was stage-three melanoma.

After spending more than six months in a wheel chair recovering from surgery, the Woodford County woman really appreciates leisurely strolls like this one.

It's a simple pleasure that might not have been possible...not because of melanoma, but because of another diagnosis she received during a re-check for the skin cancer.

The three-time cancer survivor said, "He was quiet and he took a long time and I thought, oh boy, I've got two types of cancer. I knew right away."

This time it was breast cancer. Surgeons removed Martin's left breast and performed reconstructive surgery.

She fought hard. The doctors even figured her battle was over...that she'd won a second bout with cancer.

But, two years later Martin begged the doctors to do another mammogram on her reconstructed breast.

"They said, are you crazy, you don't need one and I said,' I think there's something wrong.' And they said, 'Do you have any symptoms?' And I said, 'No, none, but I have a feeling something's just--I've got a bad feeling. And they did one and the doctor came running back in and said, 'It's back. Your cancer's back."

The news got worse. Besides a second battle with breast cancer, the melanoma had spread to her liver.

So, they said you have a month to live...just go home and get ready to die.

That was three years ago. She proved the medical professionals wrong again.

She taught them something, too.

Martin later discovered that because of her breast cancer case, every woman across the country with a mastectomy and reconstruction gets an automatic mammogram once a year.

"I thought, that was worth it, just to hear that. It was worth it!"

Still, chances are likely that her cancer will return again. And again Martin says she will fight to live.

Now 46 and single, she says she lives every day like it's her last...appreciating the beauty of a life well-lived.

It is the 25th of the month. So, be proactive about your health like Lynne and do your breast self-exam and remind a buddy to do hers as well.

For more on Buddy Check 25 log onto week.com.

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