“Just a waste of my time,” I remember thinking while waiting my turn for a mammogram in Dr. Ira Berger’s office. I had brought my briefcase and had work spread on my lap, but spending time driving the 97-mile round trip from my home office to the radiologist’s was an unproductive part of my day.

It was 1992 and I had been getting annual mammograms for more than 10 years – ever since I turned 45. But I felt I had better things to do with my time, especially since no one in my family had ever had breast cancer, or cancer of any kind.

I had a new job working as a consultant for a company headquartered in Pennsylvania, and I wanted to succeed beyond their wildest expectations. My world had recently been shaken at the roots when my brilliant career as a marketing and sales director ended in a lay-off following a merger.

Even though I had finished with standing in the unemployment line, the shame of that weekly ordeal lingered in my memory. Each week the line had moved agonizingly slow while I glanced without making eye contact at the gray, cheerless faces and realized mine probably looked the same.

At least I was still alive. The extreme stress of the last months on the job following the merger took the lives of two of my colleagues. I needed outstanding success in this new position to resurrect my shattered ego and calm my shredded nerves.

And then I got the news: the mammogram showed a tiny mark on my right breast, a spec of a growth that needed to be removed. After a quickly-arranged meeting with a surgeon, a lumpectomy was performed.

It was after I was told, “It’s breast cancer,” that I realized I was being given a wake-up call. Oh yes, I definitely needed to change my life. Time with family and friends, even my daily prayers and meditation, had gone by the wayside after rumors about the merger turned into a nightmarish reality.

And so, even before the surgeon removed all the lymph nodes under my right arm (negative, thank goodness), I took a good hard look at my life and decided to make changes. Succeeding in my career would no longer take first place in my life. Communication with my spiritual source and giving attention to my family and friends would be my top priorities.

Being told you have breast cancer is a scary thing. I downplayed it to my kids (who were in their 20s and 30s) and told only one close friend. No one at my new consulting job knew since I worked at home and used lunchtime to drive myself to radiation treatments every day for six weeks.

If only I could have seen the future! I would have rejoiced when I was laid off knowing that a far better job was in store for me. The consulting position turned out to be with the best company in the world – a kind, caring boss; much, much more money; colleagues who loved their work; and I got to work at home. Instead, I allowed the circumstances to throw me into fear and lost my spiritual center.

As is often the case, what appears at first to be a catastrophe turned out to be a valuable wake-up call. Just as losing my job was a blessing in disguise, the breast cancer turned out to be a blessing too. I am very grateful for the changes it brought to my life.

Now when confronted with a challenge, I’m back to trusting and remembering to say: “Something good will come of this.” And it ALWAYS does. I just need to expect it and watch for it.

After 18 years I can definitely say I’m cured of breast cancer. There’s just one last thing I must do to complete that phase of my life, and that is to break my silence and encourage every woman to get her annual mammogram or breast ultrasound. It was a routine mammogram and an incredibly gifted radiologist that possibly saved my life. By writing this article and sharing my story, if just one of you reading about my experience decides to get regular screenings, then I can say: “Something ELSE good has come of this.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and here’s how you can help: there’s a marvelous company right here in Taos NM that makes award-winning organic cosmetics that are good for your skin. Go to www.VapourBeauty.com and purchase their Honor Plumping Lip Gloss. During October 100% of proceeds go to breast cancer research.

Author's Bio: 

http://www.howtogrowyounger.com Author, columnist, keynote speaker and pioneer of age-reversing consciousness, Ellen Wood, helps men and women grow younger with body/mind/spirit action steps. She is living proof that they work. Sign up for three free gifts at her website: http://www.howtogrowyounger.com