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BRCA1 positive

It has been tough I felt like I was alone there was so much out there for someone having cancer but I didn't have cancer. I had to do research and make my decisions. Many people were negative to me and stated why would you do anything you don't have cancer. But after all my cries and not knowing what to do I opted for a double masectomy with implants and a complete historectamy. I am happy with my choice 😄 I just wish there was a support group out there for me I may not have cancer but it still is tough to make this decision and I don't want anyone else to feel like me.

Sue
Coral Springs, FL

Being Blessed with Cancer

My name is DeeAnn. I am a nine year survivor of triple negative breast cancer. When a doctor tells you that you have cancer, it brings all new meaning to the belief that your life is in God’s hands. After having a double mastectomy followed by 8 rounds of dose-dense chemotherapy and more Neupogen shots than I could count, I am truly a changed person both physically and emotionally. Everyone would understand if I wondered why God had cursed me with this horrible disease. But I believe that God blessed me. While my physical changes are obvious, my emotional changes are just as obvious to those who know me. I am a stronger, happier, more patient, compassionate and content person than I ever was before. I have been able to understand and commiserate with others going through what I have been through. The best part is when I help them laugh. Some of my biggest fears in life were of how people would think of me. Would they like me? Would they accuse me of something I hadn’t done? Through my battle with cancer I realized that really wasn’t important. In fact, I have had betrayal and accusations that would have devastated me before, but I have survived them and shown grace in doing so. Most of all, as a former control freak, I came to understand that in this life there is precious little that I do have control over, but I can absolutely trust the One who does have control. I have peace that I never knew before. So if you are reading this and have found yourself in this battle, I hope that I have been able to give you hope. No matter what happens, good things are on the other side.

DeeAnn Harrington
Montrose, CO

Wake up call!

April 14th the perfect day, I was ignorate of my breast cancer! 15th yearly mamo, tech stresses" if you get a call for diagnostic do it quick!"

17th, the call came 49th birthday 19th, kinda sucked waiting. 21st diagnostic, there it was, you need biopsie on 24th.

Week later dr calls, you have Breast Cancer! None in my family so I am floored! Kids devastated and I am single, feel alone..

Well forward to July 1, after nipple sparing surgery month earlier and nodes removal, just rt breast, I op for bilateral, not going to do this again I said. 9 hours and 41 min later, tummy tuck reconstruction too!

Surgeon tells me abnormal cells in left( great call on my part) stage 1a

Got it all and healing still don't know about chemo, but I AM A SURVIVOR!

Please have your yearly mamo! Never felt it, surgeon couldn't feel it either!

Just do it!!!

I am 65% today and getting stronger every day!

Debby Fick
Katy, TX

Breast Cancer Beauty

I was a 39, single mother of 8 when diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. I remember finding a lump 6 months prior. I believed it was just due to my hormones. I showed my mom and she said this doesn't feel right. I ignored the lump and continued on with my life. Finally, I went to my OB/GYN who sent me for a sonogram. I was then told they suspected it might be breast cancer. I was never afraid for me but for my kids. I kept meeting people EVERYWHERE who were survivors. I then thought God was preparing me for the news I later received. I remember telling my kids & the older ones crying. One said, " I don't want you to die." I promised them that I would not die from this. I promised to beat it! I had a mastectomy, chemo, then radiation. I never knew that so many strangers would lend support. This time was financially straining. I was blessed by a stranger who purchased ALL of my children's school supplies, uniforms, & even bought gas cards! During Breast Cancer Awareness Month I was honored by some of my children's football and cheerleading teams. I was given a party by my children's aftercare. People offered helping hands with no hesitation. Some days were a challenge but I made it!! So I tell my story 18 months later, while I'm recovering from my reconstructive surgery. My advice for anyone who is fighting the fight is to stay strong, stay positive, pray, & remember to accept help during this time. One day there will be a cure!

ALISA ALLEN
Upper Marlboro, MD

Saying Goodbye

It is never easy to say goodbye.But my aunt Fran, taught me courage,strength,and fortitude.

I was 7 years old when she came to on of our family reunions,At that time,all i knew was that she was sick.And she had something called

Breast Cancer.And I also knew that she was saying goodbye.And in the back of my mind,I was saying GoodBye?What does she mean Good Bye?

I thjen found out that she was DYING!! I thought WHY? Then I rememberd to Pray! I prayed the only way that a scared 7 year old coul pray.

Then a sence of peace came over me.And i wasn't scared anymore,I was sad yes, and I cried when she left to go back home to California.

Knowing that I would not see her until Jesus Comes!

So be of good courage,and hang in there,remember that you are LOVED!!!

vicki manor
chesterfield, MO

14 YEAR SURVIVOR

In May 2000 right after my 30th birthday, I found a small lump in my left breast, to describe it as close as possible, it felt like a frozen pea and it hurt to touch in any way, even to lay in bed on my side, actually that is how I first noticed it, it felt like the sheets were bunched up or my pj's ( I hope that is an easy explanation). Two weeks later after some research of my own, I realised it was most likely cancer, due to the pain and the area it was attached ( yes I could feel it), so I took myself off to my doctor had all the checks - ultrasound, biopsy and core biopsy and I got to know the name of what I was fighting, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. At the time I was diagnosed and through the operations and treatments, the breast cancer council let me know that there was only one other woman in Australia with my type of breast cancer, she was 79 years old and living in WA, so unfortunately that was no help to a 30 year old mum of two in QLD. By the time of my first operation it had grown from 3 inches to 11 inches, the doctors informed me that if I had not had the operation I would only have had months to live, it was very aggressive. But with the love and help of my Mum and Dad I got through all of the non stop op's, invasive and painful tests and the treatments that followed. I can never repay them for being there for me and for instilling in me the strength to not only beat it, but to know with a certainty right from the start that I was going to live. I was lucky to have found it early, so it had not spread and I only had to have a partial mastectomy and radiation treatment, so I am triply blessed and forever grateful to my family and god for me being here for my kids today.

Sharon Hansen
Beaudesert, Australia

Following in my mothers steps

My mother past away at 23 from ovarian , bone and breast cancer. The doctors told my father he would have to pay close attention to me because there was a very high probability that I would develop one or more of these cancer at a young age. They were right at 15 I had my first surgery for ovarian cancer they had to do a partial hysterectomy on me. By the time I was 29 I had miscarried 13 times and was told that I would never be able to have children on top of that I had already been diagnosed with breast cancer and gone through chemo. Once I was done with the chemo and was in remission I had to have a complete hysterectomy and a double mastectomy my reconstruction surgery went very bad within a month I had to go back to surgery and have them removed. The one thing that always gave me hope and I hope what I say next gives other woman hope my boyfriend who I started dating at 18 was always there for me as a matter of fact he is now my husband and still standing strong as is his family they have also been a constant support for me and I am so lucky to have this extended family of sister brothers aunts uncles and a Mother there for me.So for all women out there I want you to know there are still good men out there don't loose hope

Stephanie Camp
Sullivan, OH

Keep praying fight the cancer and your faith

I was diagnose in July of 2010 of stage 2 breast cancer and it was aggressive my surgeon did lumpectomy on my right breast my lymnode is negative.in nov. Of 2010i started my chemo for 8 treatment after the chemo I was refer for radiation they scan me first and then mark the area that they will treat after that he told me to go for mammogram and the result was a lump on my right breast again the same spot so My surgeon did mastectomy.Another chemo again.I change my oncology for second opinion .I was survivor for 3yrs.on May 2013 Iwas hospitalized cause my boss I was disoriented they did MRI in my brain and scan my lungs MRI shows swelling in my brain it mesastisis and they did biopsy my lungs and found a tumor in my lungs but it was not lungs cancer it trigger my breast again it was triple negative I have to undergo for brain radiation for 10 days .now I go to cancer treatment of America in Zion.staff treat you good.the doctors are giving the right treatment for you. I'm not done yet with my treatment. Keep my hope and faith

Anonymous
Malabon, Philippines

Coming out the other side!

One year ago this month after my second mammography and ultra sound in a two week span, the radiologist recommended I get a biopsy.

August 2013 I went to the breast surgeon, she recommended 2 biopsies, one on the left side of my left breast and one on the right side of the left breast. The ultra sound showed some shadowing on the right side of the left breast, I also had some dimpling in that same area too.

Waiting two weeks for results was agony, I think my husband aged 10 years waiting. September 2013, I received the diagnosis, you have breast cancer. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I had no history to draw from as my mom had passed away when i was just 5, my oldest daughter was with me and the look on her face was as if someone kicked her in the gut. Fast forward to November 2013, I had decided that with no history or knowledge of breast cancer in my family, a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction was my best chance to come out the other side. I had to think of my family first, I grew up without my mom and I wasn't going to let that happen to my kids, even if they were grown adults. Turns out that there was more cancer than originally thought in my left breast, so I had made the right decision. It wasn't an easy recovery, I was angry and cranky but I made it through with the help of my family. I felt like I got through this ordeal with courage and grace, even if I was a little cranky. My second surgery for the reconstruction was in April 2014 and the recovery was much easier, thank goodness. I have one more surgery to complete the reconstruction at the end of this year, I feel like one of the lucky ones, as I don't have to have chemo or radiation, I will only have to take tamoxifen for 5 years. This former NY girl is going to kick cancers butt!!

Eileen Gross
Canton, GA

The Trifecta

I'm on the roller coaster for the third time and I don't like rides! First dx at age of 42- found lump,didn't show up on mammo but it was colloid carcinoma. Radiation for 6 weeks and off I go. Second cancer was endometrial which was second primary -hysterectomy and off I go. As I write the third cancer-ICD I also found the lump-same breast and I am triple negative. Grade 3 Stage 1. I lived at one time,in one of the two areas of our country with the highest breast cancer rate. ).

Well almost made 20 years but I intend to kick it to the curb again. Mastectomy ,chemo and reconstructin in the next six months.i have too much to live for. Two grown kids, four beautiful grandkids -two boys and two girls-one of whom is my namesake and a husband who has traveled this journey with me all three times, while also fighting prostate cancer. Where did you come from Steve? We weren't even married the first time I was dx- yet he stayed by my side and still does. Fake puppies, real puppies or no puppies- I'm only sexy chick. His words, not mine.

Here with the team. I have-about 30 of us- called the "Breast Friends", who I met through our local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Triangle to the Coast. I have been blessed to have great resources over the last 20 years here in NC along with the best team of doctors. I have always been a take charge kind,of woman- and cancer isn't changing that. I am a warrior-stronger than ever before-I'm a warrior-and you (cancer) can never hurt me again. (Lyrics by Demi Lovato), I never ask why me but rather why not me ? I don't want anyone else to go through this for the first time-much less third time. I have also,had the genetic testing and I don't have the BRCA mutation.

Together in the fight,

Diane Kerkhoff

Diane Seneca Kerkhoff
Clayton, NC
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