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My Mount Everest

Ductal Adenal Carcinoma, highly prolific, prognosis poor. And so it began, 5 years ago today. I always collected rocks when I was stressed & named the rock whatever my stress was. Some times I would have several rocks in my purse I could pull out & look at when I needed to. Money, job, family issue, what ever. Each had a rock. When the stress was resolved I would throw that rock away. This day I went out & found a rock about 5 pounds. My cancer rock. Rocks are very interesting. They are smooth, cool, warm, rough, heavy, light, round, or almost any shape. Alone a rock is just a rock. But in a pile they become very heavy & will weigh you down. I would separate my rocks so the weight would not be too much. Don't let your rocks pile up. My cancer rock was big. I put it in my purse & carried with me. Every day it reminded me of the weight of having cancer. Some say rocks have healing power. I slept with my rock laying it next to my right breast. I don't know if they heal or not but I would try anything. As my journey began my silly rock fetish took on a new bigger meaning. I started a journey for the battle of my life. Having cancer is like climbing Mt Everest. The journey is difficult and arduous. Some make it, some don't. I was one of the lucky ones that reached the summit. I stood atop my Mt Everest, the biggest rock of all. I can tell you 2 things... The view from the top is awesome and although a huge rock in life, it is just another rock. Chisel away at it and it crumbles into little rocks. It's not easy & it's not fun. Many have gone before you, come with you, and will follow you. Never give up. You CAN do this. Only by the grace of God did I survive & today I am a 5 year survivor.

Penelope Delano
Fredericksburg, VA

My mother the strongest person I know.

This woman right here is the strongest person I know..she has been through so much in her life. Having lost both her mother and father in a short amount of time, and having many health issues through out her adult life. Heart murmur,high blood pressure and then just recently has been diagnosed with breast cancer..she is a very loving and caring Mother,Grandmother,Great Grandmother and Friend to all.. She is my best friend and roll model and to this day she fights her battle of cancer..I just don't know how much more a beautiful person like my mother can endure in her life...As my Grandmother Maria always says GOD DOES NOT GIVE U WHAT YOU CANT HANDLE..and THAT HE WORKS IN THE MOST MYSTERIOUS WAYS...so mom I love you..and keep on fighting because we must win this battle...

Rosemarie
Vancouver, WA

Help Jean beat the fight to cancer and independence

I'm asking for help and this is my story. In January of 2012, my mom was diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer and she carries the BRAC one gene. During her treatment she lost the house she owned and grew up in due to foreclosure. After her treatment that ended in November 2012, she had a hysterectomy to try and stay cancer free due to ovarian cancer running also in our genetic genes. Unfortunately, after her hysterectomy, she was rediagnosed with metastatic breast cancer which is now in her lungs. This cancer is non curable and the doctors are working hard to keep it managed. The reason I am asking for your help is because I’m trying hard to find help for my mom. So far I cannot find any help! Now, her new apartment, fresh start and her strength to fight this battle is wearing out. She is thinking about stopping treatments, so she doesn’t lose her place that she is residing in. Please donate one dollor or anything to help my mom keep her town home. We do not know how long she has to live but the stress of not having anywhere to live is getting to her. I really just want to help my mom keep her place. We have been calling places to find help and someone told her to go to a homeless shelter! I am doing all that I can so I am reaching out for anyone help every penny counts. Thanks in advance if you help my mom. The goal of 6000 is for my mom's rent for a year. Please share this story! I just want my mom to know that cancer didn't win and didn't take not only her medical state but her independance too! Help everyone! - See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/other/help-jean-beat-the-fight-of-cancer-and-independence-/167071?fb_action_ids=10152062654769007&fb_action_types=og.comments&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582#sthash.wAtkM7Ol.dpuf

Brittany
Elyria, OH

OH NO - Not me!

I am 67 years old and trying to enjoy my retirement!! Not so. I have always had lumpy breasts and was not concerned when my left breast became swollen and I could feel two distinct lumps in it. Mammogram showed nothing new, ultrasound looked suspicious and on New Years Eve, 12/31/13 after the biopsy, the call came. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma --- Happy New Year!!! My margins were clean and there was a micro tumor in one of my sentinel lymph nodes, everything else was clear. First the surgeons talked lumpectomy - then a MRI was scheduled -- several tumors were found in my left breast, I am estrogen and progresterone positive and I have the HER2+ invasive cancer. So a regiment of chemotheropy and herceptin have been scheduled for me. I had my first treatment last Friday. Everyone says how much good a positive attitude is --- that's great but this week I have had extreme fatique, bone and muscle aches from the Neulasta shot and constant stomach cramps -- that takes positive down a few notches. But there are things to be thankful for --- the steriod pills have given me an amazing appetite and I have not experienced nausea. There is absolutely nothing about this journey that is going to be fun but I know at the end I will be cancer free so bring on the bad stuff. I'm gonna fight and I am surrounded by loving friends and family.

Becca
Findley Lake, NY

Surviving Cancer

I went to my OBGYN because I felt a lump on my left breast. He sent me for a mammogram and sonogram then a few days later they called me to get a biopsy. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 22, 2013. My mother passed away at the age of 42 from Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer. I was 15 years old when she passed away. I saw her struggle with Cancer while I was growing up and it was devastating when she passed. So you can imagine how I felt when the Dr told me I had Cancer. My first reaction was surprised and scared. Thankfully my Dr was very informative and worked with me to treat this as aggressively as possible. I also tested positive for BRCA. I had surgery on December 11, 2013. They removed both my breast and added tissue expanders. My lypm nodes were tested and were negative for cancer.

I started my first round of chemo January 31, 2014 and had my last chemo of this round April 18, 2014. I start my second round on May 1, 2014. I hope to be finished with this round by June 12, 2014. Then my plastic surgeon will contine with the reconstruction.

I am blessed to have my husband by my side every step of the way. My daughter has been of tremendous support and my grandson keeps me going. I have a huge group of family and friends who are my biggest supporters. God and prayer plays a huge role in my life!

Pat Acosta
El Paso, TX

Breast Cancer Stage III at 28 years old

My name is Aline and when I I was 28 years old, I had a lump of the size of a grapefruit in my breast, a lump of 8cm. I went to the hospital several times, but nobody took me seriously. I was 28 years old and <<young women don't have breast cancer>>. Mamagraphies were denied. Nobody in my family had it. I was alone. Cancer spread in my lymph nodes. All 14 of them were touched. I had to remove the lymph nodes too.

I was giving less than 15% chance of survival. I was in a experimental, research treatment. I had both of my breasts removed. I had a terrible, destructive, hard chemotherapy that made me so ill, it almost killed me and I had intense radiotherapy that left me with chronic Back and neck pain.

My BRAC genes mutated, therefore, I had to remove my uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. I was not even 30 years old and I so wanted to be a mother, but I could not. Instead I am in menapose, I was already in menaupose at 28 years old. I was told to go buy myself a coffin. I had 12 surgeries. I have no more breast, no more uterus or ovaries. My genes mutated. I will never carry a child. But I am still here and against all odds, I adopted a beautiful little boy is who the light of my life. That is why I tattooed a Phoenix on my back, because I came back to life like this beautiful bird. Never give up, care about yourselves. Don't accept everything the doctors tells you. I was told I will never be 29 years old, I will be 40 years old in May. Continue the fight! Will Love, Aline

Aline
Montreal, QC, Canada

Pregnant with Cancer at 27

In November 2009, I was in my early 3rd trimester with my youngest. It had been weeks since I’ve noticed a bloody discharge from my left breast. I wanted to get it fixed so that I can be ready to breastfeed my baby when she’ll be born in a few months. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a roller coaster ride that I didn’t want to be in. After some diagnostic tests and the doctors meeting with oncologist, they presented me a plan- 2 rounds of chemo, deliver baby, finish chemo, surgery, etc. Since the cancer cells were the “nasty” type and were very aggressive, prolonging treatment was not recommended. My OB doctor didn’t want to deliver the baby prematurely. I was devastated to find out that my baby would have to get chemo because of me. I asked for a second opinion if the option to deliver baby prematurely was viable. It was a very tough decision to make- keep baby to term while taking in chemo drugs or delivering baby prematurely then start chemo after. We chose the latter. She was born via C-section at about 5 lbs. Then, it was time for my first surgery, a left radical mastectomy with lymph node dissection. After recuperating from surgery, I went back to work part-time. Shortly after, I went back to school to finish my graduate degree. I started radiation therapy in October, 2010. It was over 30 daily treatments. I would work in the morning, radiation therapy at lunchtime, then go to my internship at the mental health center. I also developed inflammation in my left arms (lymphedema). I went to physical therapy treatments in the evenings. Weeks after the treatments, my skin healed but the exhaustion was worse. In December 2012, after the breast surgeon felt another suspicious lump on the right breast (mammogram revealed it was negative), I chose to have another mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for both. Now, I am more strong and active with Isabella, 7, and Lauren, 4, Mom. Every day is a blessing.

Lean Smart
Murrieta, CA

Finding the Light

At 31 years of age, I never expected to be diagnosed with cancer. I stumbled across the marble like knot in the shower. My gyn and I both assumed cyst. But after 3 weeks when it didn't go away, we decided to scan just for safety. Mammogram led to ultrasound and ultrasound to biopsy. The phone call will ring in my mind forever. The biopsy showed "invasive ductal carcinoma". Immediately we scheduled a lumpectomy during which they found precancerous cells around the tumor and a positive lymph node. Further surgery would be necessary as we'll as chemotherapy. A bilateral mastectomy and 8 chemo treatments later I am no starting the road to a post-cancer life and finding my light again. Breast cancer is no respector of age but then again I am no respector of cancer! Be encouraged if you are on the journey that it can be done!

Tammy
Trenton, GA

Caregiver of Cancer patient gets Breast Cancer

October of 2013 I was taking care of my brother who has a disability, and lives over an hour away, when he got cancer. He needed round the clock care, and while my parents lived near, they were just not able to do this alone, We uprooted our lives, my husband and I. We were taking him to his radiation treatments daily, and chemo weekly. After about four of his nine weeks in, I got a call from my gynocologist who insisted I come back home and get a biopsy as a result of my last mammogram.

November, I did this and I was told what they found was benign, however, another call came and said they didn't get enough I needed to get a surgical biopsy. This resulted in the news, that I myself the one taking care of everyone else, has Breast Cancer. What? All of this during the holidays. No history in my family, of breast cancer. So, back home to get a lumpectomy, invasive ductal carcinoma, the good news, they caught it early, stage one. December, Lumpectomy done, and lymph nodes are clear, but I need 7 weeks radiation, thirty five treatments. Great! But I sure feel lucky, no mastectomy, a few radiation treatments, and a pill for five years. It was a little bit of a rough road, but I did it. So far, I'm cancer free, and my last treatment was April 16, 2014

Shawna Wolf
Vero Beach, FL

Breast cancer

I was diagnosed with breast cancer, dec 24th 2013 , what a christmas that was, i under went 5 months of chemotherapy then a double masectomy and a month after that operation i was taken back in for a lymph node removal, i started radiotherapy a few weeks after my second operation, six months down the road i'm still recovering as the treatment was very severe, but eventually i'll be able to have a breast operation , its a long while away at the minute as i'm still very sore, but one day i'm going to sit back and look at this as one bad dream, We can get through breast cancer, just don't ignore the symptoms, they dont go away, but with early diagnosis those wonderful people that are out there wiling to help, can make it go away.I had wonderful support from everyone i dealt with and without the likes of the macmillan nurses, my husband and my two children, i don't think i would have got through it, The picture ive added is my first wig as the second session of chemotherapy was when my hair started to fall out.i'm now getting my hair back and it wont be long until i can go for my first haircut.

karen hanson
north yorkshire, United Kingdom
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