Dense Breast Tissue and Henda’s Law with Henda Salmeron

Henda Salmeron, Henda's LawTen years makes a big difference in the life of children, especially when their mom has cancer. Ten years ago, Henda Salmeron was diagnosed with breast cancer, hidden on the mammograms due to Dense Breast Tissue. Almost immediately after the diagnosis, she had a heart attack. Life seemed bleak, but she wasn’t done yet; thank you very much!

Dense Breast Tissue Victory

She is perhaps best known for Henda’s Law, a Texas law that requires health care providers to inform patients of their risk due to Dense Breast Tissue. Along with the victory in Texas, many states have similar laws, but not all. Still, after all she’s been through, the sweetest victories is the additional time spent with her kids.

“I am looking forward to next year when I celebrate my 10-year survival,” says Henda, 

Women with a Mission

She understands how it feels to get slammed with an unwanted diagnosis.

“I felt like a preprogrammed robot each morning: shower, dress, feed the kids, do the laundry, show houses, sell houses, shop for groceries, smile, smile, and smile. (Yelling, shouting, and screaming were not algorithms allowed in the code),” she says in her book, Grit Under My Nails. Now, Henda is creating momentum for a mission on behalf of women across our nation, especially in the Armed Forces. If, like me, you’ve been notified of your status when it comes to Dense Breast Tissue, we can thank Henda and all the women and men who have stepped up to help. But, the work is not finished.

For example, since the Armed Forces are not governed according to state law, but national laws, health care providers are not required to notify women in the military if they have a greater risk of breast cancer due to Dense Breast Tissue. (This really bugs me, since they defend our freedom.) So, Henda is taking making the case for national laws, in order that standard of care becomes notifying all women of their status.

When Your Body Betrays You

Victory and joy are two words that describe Henda’s life now, so I was fascinated to ask her how she combatted the anxiety and depression that followed her double health crisis. Henda shared vulnerably about surviving when your body has betrayed you on recent episodes of Fireside Talk Radio.

Accidental Lobbyist

Determined that no other women would be surprised by a diagnosis, Henda devoted herself to getting the state laws changed. This became on way she fought back to live a full, adventurous life. She bought a whole new pink wardrobe, think “pink lady.” As an accidental volunteer lobbyist, she wandered the halls of the Texas capitol, which ironically, is made of pink granite, cornering anyone who would listen.

“I was so angry that someone’s lack of care might cost me my life. That’s when I swore I would change the standard of care,” Henda says. Another part of her personal recovery, physically and emotionally, was running a 100 mile, 5 day race in the Himalayas. Training gave her a way to process within herself.

The Therapy of Being Alone with Her Thoughts
Henda Victorious, CathyKrafve.com

“I learned to be patiently alone with my thoughts. All of them. After about three months and lots of miles together, we became somewhat friends. Not close friends,” laughs Henda now, “I was still mad at them for disintegrating to where I had to go run 100 miles in India to restore our togetherness. But we were making progress.”

Self-Advocates

If you search Henda’s social media, you’ll discover her success as an author, serial entrepreneur, real estate broker, lobbyist, philanthropist, just to name a few. So what advice does she give other women?

“We need to be advocates for ourselves, not depend on others to advocate for us.”

Joy: Life is Best When Shared

With so many accomplishments, what gives her the most joy?

“More than anything I’m my kids’ mom. They are the kindest most wonderful people,” she says, “By being their mom, it healed so many wounds with my own mother. They humble me every day with their love and acceptance, warts and all.”

She adds that she opted out of reconstruction because she loves her scars, calling them her “medal of overcoming.” For a free excerpt from Henda’s book, go to Henda’s Law and sign the petition to make notification of Dense Breast Tissue a national standard fo care.

May I pray for you?

Father in heaven, I know some folks are reading this because they are facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Maybe they searched Dense Breast Tissue. Perhaps shock has turned their brain to fog, wondering how they will make it through today. I pray now that Your great love would be their comfort; that they would experience Your presence in the place where crisis tries to claim our hearts. Today, I pray they would find courage and strength as my friend Henda did. Show them the personal mission You have for them and the ones who love them. Give them a vision for how their life can be filled with victory and joy in their new reality. Heal their bodies and give them hope. Thank you for all who surround them with help and comfort. Give their doctors wisdom and exceptional skill. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

We love to hear from you!

How have you pressed through to victory? What tips do you have for someone facing a crisis? How has a friend offered you the simplest, most loving help?

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Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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