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My Sister

In JUly 2008 My sister found a hot painful spot on her breast..it turned out to be cancer. She had a maoscotomy with 23 nymphlodes removed in August 08 then chemo. On October 2009 she was told she was cancer free...but in December 09 she was told that cancer was found on her brain.

She had eight tumors on her brain.

She had radiation and that took care of 7 of them but not the 8th one. Even Gamma ray .

She passed on October 9th 2010 . She fought hard and kept her spirits up......but God needed her home.

I hope that a cure is found soon.

Bonnie Hughes
Morgantown, WV

Breast Cancer

I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in May 2014 with knowledge that it was going to be a lumpectomy and radiation. After the surgery it was found in the sentinel gland so I then needed to do chemotherapy. My husband, sons, family and work family all helped me through 4 chemotherapy treatments. After my first treatment my hair started to come out on a Friday afternoon by Saturday morning I had no hair and it was very hard especially because I am a Chair of Cosmetology. We went out purchased wigs and hats. With the support of the students and staff especially my boss and co worker I never wore the uncomfortable wig or most days the hats. I have 6 weeks of radiation and still have everyone supporting me. I would like to add that the staff at Fox Chase Cancer center have helped me along the way with encouragement and support.

Rebecca Wolbert
Philadelphia, PA

Survivor

My story begins almost 2 years before my diagnosis. I had pain in the left side of my left breast, almost under my armpit. I called my doctor and he ordered a mammogram. He said that he could see a "cluster" of cells, but it was not alarming; however, he told me that he wanted to watch it every 6 months just to be sure everything was ok, and said as long as the "cluster" did not form a mass then everything would be good. I had my last mammogram on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, and Monday, I was called in to have an ultrasound on Friday, then a week later for a needle biopsy (that was when I knew it formed a mass and that everything was NOT ok).

On January 21, 2014, my doctor called me and told me I had mucinous (colloid) carcinoma - BREAST CANCER. My first thought was "Ok, What's the next step." My second thought was "OMG! Did he say what I think he said?" He set up an appointment with a surgeon, I had my lumpectomy on January 31. They got it ALL!! Amen!! I met with a radiation oncologist 2 weeks later, then started 33 external radiation therapy treatments on Feb. 24 (finished on April 9), after that I started Tamoxifen on April 25 for 5 years.

I had my first mammogram after treatment on Oct. 2 and was told everything is CLEAR!! Yay Me!! I beat this ugly, mean, nasty C-word! I am a survivor! If it were not for my very loving and caring husband, and my massive support group, I would not have been able to go through this alone. Thank God I did not have to do that!

Dannie Jo Lewis
Lake Charles, LA

Second round with cancer and I'm kicking butt

In August 2007 At the age of 38 I was diagnosed with estrogen positive breast cancer in my right breast the cancer had spread to the lymp nodes as well. I had a lumpectomy the following month after diagnosis and was back in surgery the next month for cancerous node removal. This was followed by several rounds of chemo and radiation. As I write this I am lying in bed recovering from a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgery due to a reoccurrence of the same cancer discovered on a routine mammogram September 2014. The first cancer I discovered the lump myself while lying in bed. I am blessed that I have had such a wonderful support system. I had a previous cancer patient tell me that the key to getting through this will be maintaining a positive attitude. And no truer words were spoken. This is the advice that I pass on to anyone that's faced with this dreaded diagnosis. Cry, cuss, scream, do what you must but get it out and get over it. It's ok to have your moments you are human but you have the power over this so wipe those tears get up get dressed put on your scarf,wig, hat or just go bare headed but get up get cute and keep living. This is the hand I was dealt so guess what I'm gonna play my cards. My prayer is that breast cancer will soon be a thing of the past. Praying for a cure!!!! Felicia A Wilkes (Warrior)

Felicia
Raleigh, NC

Trust your gut

Last year, I went to see my gynecologist because I had a lump and some pain on my right breast. She told me to get an ultrasound and found out that it was a benign cyst, so I have nothing to worry about. However, as the months went on, the lump was there and so was the pain. On May 2014, decided to see an internal medicine doctor on who also deals with women's health. She recommended me both an ultrasound and mammogram.

I also had an MRI plus fine needle and core biopsy which the results said "You have a high suspicion of malignancy." I wanted to break down, not only because of those results yet also she could not determine what type of breast cancer I had. I am 37, a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. I felt unaware of what to do or what to think of the possibilities of getting cancer. But I did know one thing, no matter what happens, I will fight this plus I have the help as well as support from family and friends.

She referred me to a breast surgeon which the surgeon and her team decided to do their own imaging and biopsy to give the answer that I pray every night of knowing. On August 6th, my breast surgeon left a message on my phone which I called her stated that I had DCIS which was stage 0 and noninvasive. My husband and I held each other knowing what I have and being ready for the next step. The surgeon stated that I would get a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. October 3, 2014, I had lymph nodes removed with the mastectomy and tissue expander on the right breast.

On October 17, 2014, I saw my oncologist and that's when she mention the word CHEMOTHERAPY. I cried when I got home, told my family, including my daughter. I felt defeated but did not give up. I start chemo next month and I will always keep in mind that I trusted my instincts when I checked myself a second time.

Stacy Vargas
Brooklyn, NY

I'M A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

MY NAME IS MARIE WIGGINS I AM A SURVIVOR OF BREAST CANCER AS I WAS SITTING DOWN IN MY LIVING ROOM WITH MY FAMILY PLAYING CARDS I SAID TO THEM MY BREAST IS GETTING BIG AND I DID THE BREAST TEST AND FELT A LUMP AND SAID TO THEM I NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR AND CHECK IT OUT. SO I WENT TO THE DOCTOR AND TOLD THE DOCTOR SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BREAST IT IS SORE AND GETTING BIG, HE FELT IT AND SAID YOU NEED A X-RAY DONE. I WENT AND HAD A CAT SCAN AS I LOOK AT IT I ASK THE DOCTOR WHAT IS THAT BLACK SPOT HE TOOK A BIOPSY AND TOLD ME IT WAS CANCER AND I NEED A OPERATION. HE ASK ME HOW DID I KNOW WHAT IT WAS I TOLD HIM I CHECK ALL THE TIME AND I FELT SOMTHING THAT WAS NOT RIGHT. HE ASK ME HOW I FELT I TOLD HIM I PUT IT IN GOD HANDS AND I AM ALRIGHT, I CRIED SOME AND ASK HIM TO CALL MY DAUGHTER SHARON, HE SAID ITS OK TO CRY GET IT OUT. I HAD MY OPERATION IN 2004 AND NOW IT 2014 I BEEN CANCER FREE FOR 10 YEARS NOW. I GIVE ALL THE GLORY TO THE LORD AND MY FAMILY FOR HELPING ME THOUGHT EVERYTHING KEMO AND THERE LOVE. GOD BLESS

MARIE WIGGINS
BRONX, NY

By the grace of God

Sunday July 10, 2011 I felt a large lump in my left breast and went to bed thinking that it was just an infection like I had years ago. July 11th had a 10 am appt w/my primary care physician, 1 pm a mammogram, 1:30 pm an ultrasound, 3 pm a biopsy. The doctor's words were "I don't expect this to come back as anything but negative" in anticipation of it being a fibroadenoma. Tuesday at 2 pm I called for the results completely confident all was well. The surgeon told me it came back positive and offered to meet me in his office that evening after hours to discuss what needed to be done. By that point I had already decided on a mastectomy because the lump was so large it would have left the breast deformed. But the doctor said my wanting a double mastectomy was being too aggressive. Wednesday was an MRI, Thursday were CT and PET scans. Fortunately the cancer had not spread and I felt like I hit the lottery. Friday I had a surgery date for 7/26 - 1 week after my 50th b'day. Everyone was amazed at how quickly the testing and diagnosis were completed and for that I'm grateful. I don't know how people wait days or weeks for their results that might change their lives forever. I cannot tell you how God carried me through that time and the months to come and how He surrounded me with family and friends every step of the way. My kids fought over who was going to take me to chemo! Triple negative cancer, six chemo treatments, 35 radiation visits and I'm 3 years out ... 5 is the magic number because then my chances of a recurrence are like that of any other woman. By the way, the mastectomy was the right choice because they found a very small lump that had remained undetected. I can honestly say that I'm not sorry it happened because of all the blessings that came from my journey. God is good all the time.

Denise Santeramo
Durham, NC

Dont let life get in the way...

On August 9, 2009, one day before my birthday I went for my annual mammogram. It was completely normal. On August 12, 2010, one day after my 56th birthday, I was told it was highly suspicious. It turned out to be invasive ductal carcinoma along the chest wall with DCIS in situ. I never would have felt it! Surgery ( I elected a lumpectomy.) followed by Oncogenetic testing determined my best treatment was 6 weeks of radiation followed by tamoxifen. I'm happy to say that I have just celebrated my 4th year as a survivor. I am very grateful I did not let my busy life get in the way. My advice- take care of yourself first so you can take care of everyone else!

Debbie Hamilton
Baldwin, NY

Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser-Making a difference with the help of family.

Our Mom, Dolores Segura has raised $1800 through her Breast Cancer fundraiser. My sister Maria Segura cooked 30 women a delicious dinner, we had raffles and giveaways and games. Everyone wore their breast cancer shirts or dressed in pink and Hope was the theme. Mom's employer also offers a match program which will double what she raised. My Aunt Mercedes passed from Breast Cancer 3 years ago at the age of 50 and this event was in her honor.My mother is a 2 time survivor and my cousin Rosie is almost 2 years cancer free. Hope, faith, prayer and strength has keep our family together. Together we will keep raising money for the cure💕

Melissa Long
chicago, IL

Adapt and Overcome

In the spring of 2010, I was experiencing extreme pain in my lower back. I thought it was from weight gain and sciatica. I had recently been on steroids for terrible poison ivy, so when I went to my Dr. with pain that I thought was Sciatic, he did not agree with my self-diagnosis. He indicated that my sciatic pain would have been helped by the steroid I was on for the poison ivy. He sent me for a scan thinking that maybe I had a slipped disc or something, and found that my sacrum was close to three times the size it was supposed to be. Neurosurgeon would not perform any surgery without a biopsy.

CT guided biopsy returned breast cancer. I could not understand why breast cancer would be in my spine, not to mention how a 31 year old gets breast cancer. I immediately made an appointment with MSKCC in New York, and transferred all my test results to them as well.

Turns out, I had stage IV breast cancer. It was in my lungs, liver, lymph nodes, and breast and of course spine. My Dr. explained to me that when breast cancer spreads to the bone that it is automatically stage IV, and that having a lumpectomy or mastectomy would not increase my lifespan or health in anyway, but it was my choice. I chose not to have the surgery at that time. I received radiation therapy to help shrink the tumor in my sacrum, and relieve the pain I was in.

After further testing we found out that I was extremely estrogen receptive and that by starving the cancer of its food source, that I could live for a long time with cancer. 4 ½ years later my cancer is very stable, and I go for scans and follow ups every 6-9 months.

My daughter was 8 at the time & me and my boyfriend had been dating for 6 years. Four+ years later, my daughter is enjoying her tween years, and I married that boyfriend – who will always be my best friend.

Lis
New City, NY
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