I went for my "annual" check up last week. Since my last "annual" checkup in 2004 my naturopath has learned volumes about breast cancer, the hard way. Whereas before she took this subject seriously, she now is very sober and very knowledgeable about many aspects and issues concerning healthy breasts.
Many years ago, when Rosie was a tiny baby, I found a lump on my breast. Dr. F looked at it and while the lump was on my breast, not in it, she quickly sent me to have it checked. In the few days of waiting it took for me to get in to the radiologist, I lived in shock and fear. In fact, I was so scared I never told anyone but Bill about the whole experience. The lump turned out to be fatty tissue, but my attitude is also quite sober when it comes to breast health.
For years, I have known that we women living in the Pacific Northwest are at highest risk for breast cancer, joined in hazard by our sisters in Northern Europe. Same with multiple sclerosis. So while we joke about the number of rainy days and our personal confusion when that big yellow ball appears in the sky, it may turn out not to be so funny. There is a high correlation between lack of vitamin D and rate of breast cancer/MS. The sobering fact that Dr. F shared with me is that 95% of all humans - man, woman, child - living in the Pacific Northwest are vitamin D deficient.
Since my last "annual" checkup 5 years ago, the medical establishment has created an easy blood test measuring levels of vitamin D. Dr. F and I quickly agreed I should be checked. My assumption was that my levels would be fine or very close to fine because I am serious about my health care, and I take my cod liver and coconut oil on a daily basis.
My results came back yesterday. The scale for vitamin D sufficency is measured, I am pretty sure, on a scale from 0-100. Healthy range is 33-100, and acknowledging that is a crazy huge range, Dr. F says she likes to see her patients at around 50. I weighed in at an alarmingly low 12. Armed with my little dropper bottle of high potency D, I will be super-saturating my body with the liquid sunshine for the next 3 months. And while I've already started the kids and Bill on an appropriate amount of the high dosage vitamin D, they will also be feeling the prick of information gathering in the next few weeks to check for extreme deficiencies.
Again, the link between low vitamin D and breast cancer/MS is still just a correlation, with some studies supporting and others denying the marriage of the two. But for now with it being our best guess, taking large doses of preventative vitamin D is neither hard nor dangerous.
If you read this blog, it is because I know you and care about you. Please, take this post as a cautionary tale and make an appointment with your primary care physician (or mine, she's great) and get tested. A little knowledge now can save us both a ton of pain and fear later.