Be a buddy: When advocacy becomes personal, Part II
Do you know your family health history? It’s your first step in becoming your own best health advocate. The spring issue of Cancer PreventionWorks focuses on knowing your health background. This issue’s cover story features local CBS affiliate news co-anchor and Prevent Cancer board member, Andrea Roane, whose family history of cancer inspired her to take steps to live a longer and healthier life and Stop Cancer Before It Starts!
“We were stronger than the cancer,” she says, “Michael was a breeze, thanks to early detection, and an excellent patient. Even when he should have been taking it easy, he was the ‘very good dad’ when Andrew had complications from the radiation, and initial surgeries, just days after Michael was released from the hospital.” Meanwhile, in the midst of all this turmoil, Andrea fulfilled her WUSA9 duties, while Michael became the primary care giver. After spending a late evening and early morning in the emergency room with Andrew, Andrea left Michael at the hospital with Andrew while she went home to shower and change and then straight to work. “I went on the air as scheduled, having little or no sleep without anyone the wiser.”
Frequent trips to the doctors in Baltimore for procedures over the next 3 years led to Andrew’s best swallow test on Good Friday, March 29, 2013. “We took it as a sign from God. We had turned the corner.” Andrew continues to receive regular treatments, and continues to improve.
Cancer can creep in on the healthiest advocates. “Because of my work through Buddy Check 9, I thought I was prepared to deal with a cancer diagnosis. But when it’s your child and your husband, it feels different.
All these years later we are still exhausted and dealing with some consequences of Andrew’s surgeries and treatment. But thanks to our faith and the prayers of friends and strangers, we are FINE!”
With a family history of now multiple types of cancer, Andrea is even more proactive about helping her family make healthy eating choices and stay active. They make a conscious effort to eat more vegetables and fruit and take regular trips to the gym, as well as encourage those around them to get screened – especially those with a family history of cancer. “Just keep after them. Go with them to the appointment. Be a Buddy,” she says.