S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
The purpose of this column has always been to share –thoughts of the heart, information for consideration, and to celebrate this Shih Tzu breed that we love. The purpose today, though, is to use it as another place to get the word out to women:


Women’s health issues are presented on hundreds of magazine covers, television and radio programs, and Internet sites. Reminders come along on the phone via those asking for your donations for research. We take a lot of this for granted. It is easy, and maybe more comfortable, to take the “somebody else” stand. I am always compassionate when I hear of yet another case of cancer diagnosed in someone I know, but, I too, have always taken the “somebody else” position. Until July 19.

My mammogram in June showed “something” odd. A second compression also showed abnormal calcifications. A biopsy was recommended. The waiting time for the results seemed forever. Then, the verdict was in. “It doesn’t look good, Ann,” said my doctor. The results of the biopsy were conclusive for invasive breast cancer. Me, this time.
Me, I have breast cancer. The words are cold and scary----and I felt oddly “dirty”.
My doctor carefully went over the path ahead with my husband, Doug and I. We were both crushed and overwhelmed. Surgery was not an option—it was mandatory—we had only to decide which of the two procedures seemed better for us. Neither was a pretty thought. Both were disfiguring. The prognosis is favorable for a long life. I had never really thought of the words “breast cancer” and “death” in the same sentence before. But the ride was beginning down a path that would forever change my life.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” My life had just taken an unexpected detour down a path that seemed darkened with great fear and unknowns. It is a one-way only road—no turning back. But I am not alone—as anyone who finds herself on this path discovers. My husband wrapped his arms around me. It is “us” on this journey. My family is a special bunch, They are always here for me, as I was for them in their growing up. My friends grabbed me by hand and heart. I am not alone. My life is richly blessed with a great husband and family and friends who will help to nurture and heal my spirit while medicine works to heal the body. And I have Faith in God that will overcome fear.

By the time this gets to print, my surgery and recuperation will be over. I may be working through chemotherapy with all of those challenges. I will be whole and happy and stronger for the journey of a lifetime. I will also be a shouting, reminding voice to women: Breast cancer CAN happen to you. It is random—there was none in our family history. We don’t know the cause for sure----caffeine? diet cola? preservatives in chicken? There are no clear causes, but it CAN and DOES happen. Do not let the fear of the unknown stop you from finding out. The only thing you may accomplish with this mindset is to feed the fear, lessen the options available and possibly shorten your life. GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS. Find out how to do a proper monthly self-exam.

Take care of yourselves. You have dogs to brush!!!
This Time It's Me