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Cancer free

I'm 49 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 1, 2015 at the age of 48. I had 4 rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy on June 14, 2015.

Today I had my first three month follow up and so far I'm cancer free I will be taking Tamoxifin for the next five years. Today I also got to ring the bell signifying the end of chemo! So exciting! Looking forward to the next three months of being cancer free!

Amanda
Santa Rosa, CA

Life Changing Moment

I was diagnosed with St II ductal carcinoma on July 27, 2015(My Life Changing Moment). It was like someone pulled the rug from underneath me!!! This could'nt be happening, I go to the doctor regularly, I self-check regularly!!!!!! I'm a nurse for God sake...I would know if i had cancer!!. Well after 2 unsuccessful lumpectomies, I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction on October15, 2015. I can say that this has been one of the most horrific experiences of my life, but my family and friends have actually managed to turn it into one of the best experiences if you can believe that!!! Everyone has rallied around me, and never let me feel alone!!!!My friends stepped in and took care of my family when I couldn't, and pushed me when I got tired! My husband NEVER left my side! This has brought me closer to family and some friends..To every woman who is diagnosed with this ugly monster, just know that you can beat this!, but you HAVE to fight...fight like a girl!!! I am back at work now, taking my Tamoxifen(5yrs), and loving life!

Allison
Duncanville, TX

Maine state troopers help fight the breast cancer foundation

Last year each Trooper from the Maine State Police ran these plates on their cruisers for breast cancer awareness month. At the end of the month the Troopers were able to keep one plate and the second was auctioned off. The proceeds were then donated to help fight the cause which around $40,000

This year Dane and I were honored to donate our plates to our dear friend Michelle Fortin, who kicked cancers ass!

I was diagnosed September 11, 2015 with Lobular carcinoma Cancer. On October 15,2015 I underwent a Bi Lateral mastectomy in Boston, Massachusetts. I never looked backed. From there I went back to work, coaching and spending value time with family and friends. It is such a privilege to be given this plague representing such a great cause. Though the battle may not be over, it's in my rear view mirror thanks to all my family, friends, and support I have received.

Thank you to our Maine state troopers for your support and generosity!

Sincerely and with Love

Michelle

Michelle Fortin
Winthrop, ME

My Cancer Battle in 2015

I had the battle of my life in 2015. I discovered a lump in my left breast on January 30, 2015. I had my 1st mammogram ever on February 9th, a biopsy on the 12th and was diagnosed with Stage 2 DCIS breast cancer on the 17th. Not the news I was expecting but I prepared myself physically and mentally to begin treatment. I was very focused, I kept my faith and I never gave up hope even when I didn't feel good. I began my 1st round of 6 chemotherapy treatments on March 10th. I responded very well to treatment and after only 2 chemotherapies, the lump was gone. I continued through with the next 4 chemotherapy and ended that chapter of my life on June 23, 2015. On July 21, 2015, I had a partial lumpectomy and 3 lymph nodes removed. The biopsy revealed NO more cancer. I began 33 rounds of radiation on August 18, 2015 and finished with my last radiation on October 2, 2015. This is the day I celebrated the end of my treatment and the beginning of my life CANCER FREE. My year was filled with needles, pain and fear but it was also full of love, compassion, hope and faith. I hope that anyone that is fighting any type of cancer believes that there is hope. It is one of the most powerful therapies for cancer.

April Williams
Ocala, FL

When my life changed

My name is Karla and I was 43 years old when my life changed forever.

I found a small lump in my right breast around the nipple area. I had be plagued with benign cysts all my life and in the past all the cysts had hurt to the touch. This didn't. I am a nurse and had heard all my career that cancer typically didn't hurt. Not to say that it can't but I new I needed to see a doctor. Went and was scheduled for biopsy. The biopsy turned out to be cancerous. The surgeon advised me to go to the cancer center to discuss the BRCA testing. Mine was positive. I was scared to death. We decided that a double mastectomy was the way to go. Surgery was scheduled within a day or so. That was a hard decision to make because I felt like I was loosing something that God had given me. When the breast tissue was sent to pathology there were 2 different types of cancer found one in the right and the other in the left. The Lord definitely had his hand in my decision as he does in everything after numerous surgeries with reconstruction and serious check ups I am now cancer free! I firmly believe that early detection is the key. It's better to be pro-active than re-active! I urge people that are going through this nasty dease now to NEVER GIVE UP!! Turn to our Lord to see you through. I know without him and the support of my family and friends I would not be here today. May God Bless!

Karla MmcDonald
East Bend, NC

Self checks make a difference!

I turned 40 in July and have been self breast checking for years. Until August when I found a lump in my left breast. I called my obgyn and immediately scheduled a mammogram. It confirmed a strong possibility of cancer. Shortly after, I had a biopsy which definitively proved cancer. A lumpectomy and node removal followed. 7 nodes were removed and we were given the great news that it luckily didn't spread to the nodes but it did come back Invasive ductal carcinoma - triple negative. Four rounds of Adriamycin & Cytoxan and four rounds of Taxol later I'm at my last chemo! After this 30 rounds of radiation await me but being over the chemo hurdle is a huge step. I have been blessed with amazing family and friends that have helped our family tremendously. My 5 & 8 year old never missed a beat thanks to their help! My advice to women... start breast checks as soon as you start to develop. The doctor said I was lucky to have found it before it spread. I hope the same for all women!

Megan Hughes
Clarks Summit, PA

Mother of 4

On June 10, 2015, I found a lump in my left breast while dressing for work. I got an appointment with my doctor that day thanks to a coworker that use to work for my OB/GYN. He felt it, thought it felt like a cyst but scheduled a mammogram to be safe. On June 19th I had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound and biopsy. It was Cancer. Here I was, a 34 year old wife and mother of 4, and now a cancer patient. I was scared, angry, sad, & depressed. My husband was there for me every step of the way, every appointment & treatment. I could not have done it without him. We held tight to our faith, we knew that we would get over this obstacle. I started Chemo on July 10th and had my last one on October 23rd, my husband's birthday, he said it was the greatest birthday gift ever. Two days later I was pushed in a wheelchair by my husband across the finish line for Making Strides against Breast Cancer, I was to weak to walk, but I showed up and completed it with friends & family by my side. I had a bilateral mastectomy on December 9th, my lymph nodes were clean and my pathology showed that no cancer remained in my breast. I had a complete response to Chemo. Our prayers were answered. We have an amazing Family, Church Family & work Family. During my treatment and surgery we had meals prepared for us, along with many cards and well wishes. I believe that it was a combination of Chemo and Prayers that healed me. My hair is starting to grow back and I am starting to feel my energy coming back, I no longer look sick through my eyes. I still have a long road with Herceptin, anti-estrogen pills for 10 years and reconstruction. But it is a small price to pay to have many more years watching my children become adults and growing old with my husband. I feel very blessed. Bring on the next 50 years.

Ann
LaGrange, KY

My warrior wife

July 2015 our lives changed forever when my wife Annalesha was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, a grade 3 tumour- Invasive ductal carcinoma. Since the day she was diagnosed I’ve admired her strength, will, determination and courage. Being diagnosed at only 30, with a 5 year old and an 11 month old child she's stayed positive and kept her spirits up despite entering the unknown. After much toing and froing it was decided that she would start chemotherapy before having surgery. My wife finished up her 6th chemo session on New Years eve and is now building her strength for surgery (bilateral mastectomy with node clearance) and pending radiotherapy. Although much of her journey is still unknown, she's keeping her faith and has always kept a smile on her face through it all. I'm inspired by her tenacity, courage and hope in the face of adversity and I’m so proud of her for fighting like the warrior she is.

Tarik
London, United Kingdom

Best christmas present!

On July 7, 2015 while at visiting my sister out of town, I got the call from my family doctor that I had triple positive breast cancer. I decided I was going to fight this with a positive attitude. I had a lumpectomy/node removal in Aug./15 and started my 6 rounds of chemo on Sept.9/15. My last day of chemo was Christmas Eve and I was blessed to be surrounded by my family and friends. I will be starting my 21 rounds of radiation this January and will continue with my Herceptin well into the fall. I am thankful for the amazing support I received from my family and friends and of course God, who is giving me the strength along this journey. Bring on 2016!

Lynne
Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada

Breast Cancer is Something that Happens to Other People! A Twice Journey for One Single Mom

I was a struggling single parent the first time I heard the words, “You Have Breast Cancer.” It was July 12, 2011, my son’s second birthday. I would follow my doctor’s recommendations and have a mastectomy to remove the invasive cancer, followed by four rounds of chemotherapy.

As a result of my experience with breast cancer, I became a public speaker, educator, and advocate for breast health and early detection of breast cancer. I focus on groups that are often diagnosed a later stages, young adults; men; Hispanic and African American women.

Four years later, September 22, 2015, I again heard those words; I had Stage III breast cancer. Another surgery, more chemotherapy, and radiation would be my course. This time, I would take charge of the circumstances and use this breast cancer to help others.

Themo-Therapy! Each chemotherapy treatment has a theme to coincide with the day. I would ask others in my social network to participate with me. We would dress for the theme and find meaning, for ourselves and others, in the day. Theme 1: I Am My Kids’ Hero: Who is Yours? Theme 2: Hollywood Characters that Motivate and Inspire. I encouraged participants to dress and post pictures and give the reason why each was meaningful.

The third theme was not a dress up. It was an invitation to make a difference in the community around us. Each One, Reach One! I encouraged acts of kindness and service. There was a lot of activity in Huntington Beach. I also received posts of service from New York, Hawaii, Vienna, and Cambodia! I wanted to demonstrate the difference we can make when we are intentional, together.

2015 has been a year of challenges and blessings. I expect the same in 2016. After my first breast cancer diagnoses, I often shared that breast cancer was one of the best things to happen in my life. I did not imagine feeling the same way about the new diagnoses. Strangely, I would not change a thing. I see good coming from this and am honored to be a part of it.

Jacque Balbas-Ruddy
Huntington Beach, CA
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