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4th Time Around

I was 25 years old when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no family history of breast cancer and the only reason I caught it was because it was on the outside of my breast. I thought it was some kind of bug bite but after a month it hadn’t gone away so I went to the doctor to have him look at it. He didn’t think it was anything but did a biopsy anyway. The biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. I opted for a lumpectomy with chemo and radiation. He said if I make it 10 years cancer free its a good chance it wasn’t coming back. Sigh of relief when I hit year 10. Well, year 11 I got diagnosed again, same breast. This time they did a mastectomy and chemo. 3 years later, a got breast cancer in my other breast. This time they did another mastectomy and a hysterectomy. They said, let’s get it all that way you don’t have to worry about ovarian cancer. Whew, nothing left, right? So why did I just get diagnosed with cancer again? Did anybody know that you could still get breast cancer after having a double mastectomy? Guess, I’m in that 1%. Anyway, God did it before he’ll do it again. I know I’ll be alright but please stay vigilant in checking yourself and getting your regular checkups, even if you’ve already had mastectomies. Also, please donate to breast cancer research. Things are so much better now with the treatment plan than they were 23 years ago. God Bless!

Kansas City, MO

My Story

Well, December 2013 started with a shock - me? breast cancer?!!!

And that was the start of my huge emotional rollercoaster ride. My life and my health was now being controlled by others, so the first thing I had to do was 'let go' - that was lesson one! The following lessons were - to trust in myself and listen to my body, tap into my own healing power and knowledge, to not listen to others' horror stories and negativity. I surrounded myself with positive people and thoughts - where possible.

I had the colour yellow as my support colour (yellow flowers in the house, a yellow piece of material in my bag) all reminding me of sunshine. For my surgery, I envisaged its success and my fast healing, in my chemo I envisaged the syringes emptying healing liquid sunshine into my system, the radiotherapy was the warm sun.

My partner of only 18 months helped me put together a playlist of music that I loved to dance/ listen to. Every day I repeated positive mantras 'Everyday I get better and better' etc.

I ate healthily, took about 10 days off work in total during the treatments. I was lucky to have a good support network around me (and I learnt to ask when I needed to)

I believe that the main healing points were my own self belief, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, Rieki etc, alongside traditional medicine, positive people/words. and of course my partner, who is now my husband

Obviously it wasn't always easy, at times my confidence was knocked, my femininity was shoved out of the window and my newish relationship was challenged. But, you know what? I am glad that I went through it all.

One of the most amazing things was that I hadn't had a sense of smell for 15 years, I couldn't breathe through my nose, yet three days after my first chemo session it all came back! I smelt roast dinner and cut grass for the first time in years!

I had been a cygnet and I came out the other side, a Swan.

Brighton, United Kingdom

Not so fast

A year ago almost to the date on 9/23/15 I was diagnosed with stage II invasive ductral carcinoma in my right breast. I was a truck driver and felt that my right breast had a burning pain from the side to the nipple. I felt all over many times for lumps and discoloration but didn't feel anything. Since I was in Salt Lake City for a couple of days my partner had found a free breast mammogram center for me to go. There my mammogram came back showing a mass and I needed to get back there for a biopsy. Ten days later I came back to have it done. It hurt like heck and they was only able to get one sample. Three days later I was told I have cancer. I decided to get off the road to take care of it but didn't realize how long and what it would take. I was naive to say the least. Will the first thing I thought I would just have a mastectomy and it would be over, but when I went home to Washington State my oncologists said I would not have to go that drastic and she recommended lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation. What happen was I got the surgery the Friday before thanksgiving and ten days later had to go back for a second surgery to get more lymph-nodes on account of positive results. I got through the surgery's, chemo and radiation and have a slight problem with lymphedema on my right arm and hand.Finally I thought I was ready to go back to work 9/23/16. Not so fast, I had my one years mammogram to clear me for work driving truck again when they found a mass and results of the cancer now in my left breast. I guess I will be getting a bilateral mastectomy and hopefully no chemo. Although being bold didn't bother me, I feel like I've been there, done that, kind of thing. I am looking forward to getting back on with my life. P.S. I am grateful for my partner.

Jamie Branigan
Sequim, WA

Christmas Gift to Myself

Hello there, my name is Edythe (Edie) Kline Bellocchio, my Christmas present was the dredded phone call, "yes it's positive. It's CANCER in my right breast. All I thought was I have to do something, I need to be here for my children (34, 29, & 17 years old) plus my grandsons! As I'm thinking about what to do, my breasts did their jobs, I nursed all 3 of my children and I'm 56 & not going to have anymore so, let's do a mastectomy (a double) to get rid of the big "C" on 1/21/2016 I had the double mastectomy done, and had expanders put in for reconstruction.. I just had the expanders removed, implants put in. I then went for my post op Drs visit, & good to go!( nipples will be tattooed in November) I'm with my sister Lenore who I met 33 years ago ( upstairs neighbors) and away to Victoria Secrets, I was measured and tried on so many bras, bought 2 of the most push up bras that they had. I haven't seen my daughter & grandson since 7/7/2016 (went to Florida for summer and stayed with my first born) she saw me yesterday and said "Mom, Vavoom! You look fantastic, so here I am, 56yrs young with perky "ladies" & Cancer free!! Was it all worth it? You bet your sweet bumm it was!! I'm also a Girl Scout Leader (for over 30yrs) and my scouts and their parents went through it all with me! What a wonderful support team everyone was, doing the double mastectomy and having a few lymph nodes removed and not having to go through Chemotherapy treatments is priceless!!! My gift to myself was new Boobies, so I can be around for my children and my GSCOUTS and friends. If I had to do it over again I would still do what I had done, I'm ALIVE and Kicking & CANCER FREE. I'm BLESSED to have such POSITIVE people in my Life and discarded all the Negativity from my life! I'm looking for a Support Group now. ❤️Edie B

Edythe (Edie) Kline Bellocchio
Brooklyn, NY

almost 20 year cancer survivor

In January of 2017 I will make the 20 year mark of being cancer free besides the love of my family and my close friends whom I enjoy doing things with especially one of my good friends whose name is Geraldine with whom I have taken many great trips over the last several years the last one being a trip to Disney world in Florida I have a cat whom I have named Cleo she is a golden colored female whom has brought more joy to me as she has kept me company when I went for my last check up with my cancer he said everything looked good also he was well please with my blood work results that he was like a kid with a new toy at Christmas.

Donna Schiro
Merryville, LA

Hip Hip Hooray...Chemo Ends Today!!!

September 1, 2016

Hip Hip Hooray Chemo Ends Today!

In April of 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, at the age of 32. Today I hit my first milestone in this crazy cancer journey, I finished chemo! Woo Woo! Up next is surgery and radiation! Words can't express how lucky I am to have such an amazing support system...thank you all for the continued love and encouragement! Shout out to my fabulous oncology staff for demonstrating such amazing compassion through this whole truly means the world!

Elizabeth Williams
West Palm Beach, FL

A true friend

Going through Chemo is no fun and very hard on the body. In the driveway ready to go to another Chemo session with my husband...I was so sick I wanted to die right there and then. When my friend Dawn drove up as we were ready to leave. During my toughest and lowest moments in my life my friend held me in her arms as tight as possible and she began to pray for me.

The comfort that I felt was beyond words and the realization of what a true friend is all about. Even now she's still there for me. I love you Miss Dawn Foster. Thank you for being a true friend and God bless you.

Christine lopez

The Mission: To Decimate Cancer!

My name is Jason Gadsby, a husband, a father and a Disabled Veteran. Earlier this year, my beautiful wife, Niki, was diagnosed with Stage III Triple Negative breast cancer at the age of 30 years young. We have 2 beautiful boys for whom we both work, day in and day out, ensuring they will lead happy lives with both parents present.

Being a parent with a disability is hard enough, but it is especially trying when both parents are down. Niki is an exceptional fighter, a true mom and the love of my life. As of this writing, we have two more chemo treatments before we head to surgery. I say "we" because she will NEVER be alone in this.

Everyday is a struggle for us, from the lack of sleep with a 3 year old and a 1 year old, to having to remind each other to take our pills, but that's what we have each other for. We know we are not out of the woods yet, but we try to be as positive as possible in the face of uncertainty.

I write this mainly to share a little bit of us with you all, and in return I only ask that you pray for my lovely wife. The pic I provided is the day she had her power port placed for chemo and such. It was her first surgery, but I coached her through. (Up to 9 surgeries myself, so almost a pro). Thank you all and good luck in your journeys to survivorship!!!

Jason L Gadsby
Killeen, TX

Cancer is what I have, NOT who I am.

My motto is,” Cancer is what I have, NOT who I am.” I have been fighting Breast Cancer and Lupus, an auto immune disease for over 11 years. The past 11 years have been filled with surgeries, over 150 rounds of Chemotherapy and Radiation. As it stands right now there is no cure, but the advances I have seen in the past 11 years are astounding and this gives me the hope and courage to fight everyday. There have been many challenges along the way and sometimes juggling everyday with Cancer can overwhelm you.

My daughter Mackenzie was just one when I was diagnosed and the most common question I get asked is how Mackenzie handles it all, my answer is always, “this is all she knows.” This stands out from all other questions because as a mom I feel guilty that my child has had to witness me enduring rounds and rounds of chemo, and radiation, hair loss, nausea, complete lethargy , and sometimes even extreme pain. As a mom you want to shelter your child and take the best care of them as possible. We all want them to grow up in glass houses with rainbows overhead and fairy dust sprinkled about. But that is not reality. If I have learned anything from having to figure out the balance between being a mom and a cancer patient is that my journey with this disease doesn't define me as a mom or a human being. Cancer is what I have not who I am. I don't bleed pink, although it would be a prettier color to see. Yes Mackenzie has had to see the reality of Cancer but she has also seen me grow as a human being and has witnessed a woman who will never give up the fight. Together as a family, my husband Dave, Mackenzie, and myself we Fabulously Fight everyday.

Fabianna Marie
Boston, MA

A mothers love

My name is Dawnmarie. I'm 48 years old a mother to 2 sons and a 3 time breast cancer survivor. My mother had breast cancer and so did her mother. I'm Braca 1 & 2 positive. I was 24 and my son was 15 months old when I was told I had cancer. I immediately had a mastectomy with reconstruction. I endured chemo and radiation. I was newly divorced and afraid of leaving my son alone. I did well. Fast forward 15 years. I now have 2 sons ages 12 and 15. I was told I was sick again. This time I was given 6 months. That was March 2007. Second mastectomy, chemo, radiation and 36 surgeries to date and I'm still here. I was stage 3B with mets, and ovarian cancer stage 1. My sons are my sole reason for being here. Never give up. Doctors can be wrong. And a mothers love can beat anything.

Dawnmarie Souza
Riverview, FL
Pink Ribbon Hope Yoga Pants
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