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It strikes again, but not me!

In December of '15 after my yearly mammogram, I was called back for another test and an ultrasound. A mass was found on the rear wall of my left breast, almost on the rib cage. I wouldn't have felt it, at least not until it was too late. I had a lumpectomy, chemo (which, for me, wasn't as horrible as I feared), then radiation. This week I had my 1st follow up mammogram. Praise God, it was clear!

The odd thing is, just last week, my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. It is rare for men to get this type of cancer, only 1 to 2% of men get breast cancer. I wish more information was available about male breast cancer. We are told his is related to his NASH disease, (liver disease). He is having a double mastectomy, then very specialized chemo. He is also having genetic testing.

We are strong, I am strong. We will get thru this also!

Dalene Kolk
Jackson, MI

My 3-D Mammogram Never Caught My Breast Cancer

I am a 50 yr old, active, and healthy plant based vegan. In early May 2017 I found a small lump in my left breast by chance. I was not doing manual exam.

Mid May I went and had a manual exam, 3-D mammogram and ultrasound at a breast center.

The 3-D mammogram report stated I had 'extremely dense breast tissue' and they didn't see anything-all looked normal.

Then I had a ultrasound immediately following the 3-D mammogram the same day which showed a mass that was 'suspicious.' No biopsy was done at that visit.

I wanted a second opinion at a local diagnostic center I trusted. So I had a subsequent 2nd ultrasound in early June 2017. The Radiologist agreed that the mass was suspicious and a biopsy was performed the same day. Within 2 days I had results, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, stage 1A.

I was lucky as my cancer, while invasive, was small with no involved nodes. I had a lumpectomy and I chose to not take any hormone blocking medication or have radiation with my oncology doctors support.

If I had caught my cancer later my story I'm sure would have been very different.

My cancer was never seen on 3-D mammography.

When would they have caught it!? If I had not felt the mass when would it have been caught?

Nobody has EVER told me I have more risk of breast cancer because I have dense breast tissue! They also have never told me to go have more screening tests such as ultrasound because of my dense breast tissue.

Now that I have had breast cancer and have dense breast tissue I will never have another mammogram. Only ultrasounds or MRI will be performed on me.

My oncology doctors support my opinion on that. Thousands of women with dense breast tissue need better screening tools such as ultrasounds or MRI vs mammograms that cannot see our tumors!

I am sharing this with anyone who will listen! I don't want other women to learn this information the way I did.

Portland, OR

Diagnoised at age 26. I thought I would not see my babies grow up, 25 years later 4th time

I am currently on chemo 25 years later batting my 4th diagnosis. My 2 yr old is now 27 and was married a couple of months ago. God has truly blessed my life. You may not understand this but "cancer is the best worst thing that has ever happened to me" I remember back in 1993 hearing that ugly word for the first time and really just wanting to hear about someone that survived and was older that I could talk to but was not able to find anyone. Today I realize I am that person. I am a survivor because I have never let my guard down I have always questioned everything and have done everything in my power to take care of myself by eating right exercising staying positive and most importantly seeking the face of my creator. I may not understand why this has been my life story but I do understand I am a better person because of what I have learned . I have been blessed with being here to watch by daughter get married and I am still fighting I can't wait to see those grandbabies someday!

If you or someone you know would like to talk to me about my journey. I would be happy to speak with you.

Clovis, CA

A Light Amongst the Darkness

This is my journey with battling two types of breast cancer at 34.

I had two types of breast cancer, the most common AND the most rare, Paget’s disease of the breast. Well, it’s become a passion of mine to spread the word and make it more known about Paget’s disease of the breast.

I was misdiagnosed for a year. I had been seen by a dermatologist who performed a culture swab and skin shave biopsy. I was told that it was a rare bacterial infection, finegolda magna bacteria (f magna), that is usually found in the GI tract. I was treated with topical steroids and antibiotics. It kept coming back, and had started to get to where I always had to keep my nipple covered due to the oozing and ulceration. I knew in my gut it was more serious. During the course of the nipple showing signs of changes, I found a lump. I had multiple mammograms and ultrasounds, all showed I had fibrocystic breast disease with microcalcifications; I was 33 at this time.

In December 2016, I went to my GYN, because for over a year I had been battling the crusting oozing nipple. Two weeks later I was seen by a general surgeon for an excisional biopsy of the areola. In January 2017 the surgeon ordered a mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI with contras; he also ordered a u/s biopsy after the initial scans came back to see if the lump was DCIS. Between the time the excisional biopsy was performed and the ultrasound guided biopsy the dr called me and told me that it was Paget’s disease of the breast, and is very rare, but is fast developing and the only treatment is a mastectomy. A few minutes went buy, he called me back. I decided to get a second opinion, and it was confirmed it was Paget’s and DCIS. On 3/1/17 I had a mastectomy with reconstruction, and on 3/9/17 was told my margins were clear.

“I was given this journey because God knew I was strong enough to handle it.”

Laura Parker
Louisville, KY

My truth

Before March 5th 2017 I thought a Breast cancer survivor was a woman who had breast cancer and did not die from it. Boy was I wrong! Survivor doesn't give justice to what it is we really overcome. It's more than just not dying,it's about surviving the mental abuse that cancer will put you through, have you questioning&second guessing every decision you once were so sure of, it's about surviving the emotional abuse that to often leave you feeling crippled, but with no crutches, it’s about surviving while everything you once knew about yourself is being taken by an unseen imposter that confusingly,is you! it's about surviving through every life changing surgery, some so painful that at times you forget how to breath, praying for it to at least lessen just enough to catch your breath pain free for just a moment, but over time the pain does lessen unknowingly strengthening the way that we will view ourselfs, becoming proud to wear our permanent badge of honor, worn so beautifully becoming so much more than just our scars. But that won’t happen until we overcome everything we once never Thought We could, like having my breast removed, possibly having my ovaries removed and put on hormone therapy to stop the estrogen in which fuels my cancer, left me asking " if you take all of that from me, than how will I ever feel like i a woman again?" Being a survivor is the moment we are handed the pen in which our oncologist gives us and we are told to place our signature on a form (before we are given chemotherapy) stating that we understand that chemo will kill some of us. For me Being a breast cancer survivor doesn’t have anything to do with whether I survive or not, It’s the possibility that maybe, just maybe because of the fight in which I'm fighting today it will give my children and your children a greater possibility to never have to wonder whether they will lose their fight to breast cancer because we already fought that fight for them🖤

Corean Foley
Cortez, CO

Beginning the fight

My name is Laura, and I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 1A. My oncologist says this is the most common breast cancer in women after menopause. I had taken advantage of the mobile mammogram unit that had come to my work, and very happy I did. My doctor is very optimistic that we caught this early and we can knock this out. I have a plan and I believe I will beat it. I have a wonderful support system. I click everyday and have done so for about 15 years. It is so important to get your mammogram's consistently in order to catch it early. I am ready to fight the fight. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I fight the fight!

Warrior, Laura

Columbus, OH

My Story

My story. Where do I start. No on ever wants to hear the words "you have cancer". On 10/14/14, I was told those words. I was diagnosed with Stage ll IDC. Was I scared? Yes. Was I mad? Yes. Was I sad? Yes. Did I cry? Yes. Hearing those words threw me into a whirlwind of.... what stage is it, how did this happen, what did I do wrong, why me, will I die, and many more. Then I was thrown into a whirlwind of appointments, scans, consultations, and procedures. Within a month I was having my first chemo treatment. After 6 rounds of chemo and a Bi Lateral Mastectomy with immediate TRAM Flap reconstruction (10 hour surgery on 4/22/15) I am cancer free. I did not need radiation. I wish there was a way I could pass on my positive attitude to others. I always say "everyday I wake up is a great day" and I mean it. I am always willing to share me experience in the hopes of helping someone. I am one of the lucky one's. There are many who have it a lot worse that I did. Don't get me wrong, everything about cancer sucks, but remember to breathe and take it one day at a time. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to crawl thorough some pretty awful garbage in order to get there. You CAN do this. Keep on keeping on and and KICK CANCER'S BUTT!!!

Santa Clara, CA

A Walking Miracle

Marcia Higbee never thought she would get breast cancer. For ten years Marcia hadn't had a mammogram. When she realized that it had been so long since her last screening, she went for one in October 2009. The results of the mammogram revealed there was something suspicious. After a second mammogram and a biopsy, it was proved that Marcia had cancer in her left breast.

Her surgeon told her she would have to undergo surgery followed by seven weeks of radiation treatment. Marcia was in shock. As she returned to her car she thought "This could not be happening to me. This is a bad dream and I will eventually wake up."

Marcia and her husband Bill have been Christians over twenty five years. When she got hoem, theyt began to pray together. As they prayed, her fear was cast down and her faith built up. Every morning they prayed in the name of Jesus against the cancer cells. They commanded the cancer cells to shrink and die in Jesus' name.

Before the surgery, Marcia had a dream in which she was lying on the operating table with her surgeon standing over her. Behind the surgeon was Jesus with His hand around the surgeon's shoulder. Later she told the surgeon about the dream. He was surprised because another patient had given him a painting which showed the same picture.

Following surgery, Marcia went to the oncologist to learn of the results of the surgery. He was baffled because Marcia's tumor at surgery was only one quarter the size it was at the biopsy. He couldn't explain the cause for the tumor's dramatic decrease in size, but Marcia knew exactly why. "The name of Jesus shrank the tumor according to the way we prayed!

Now when Marcia goes to the grocery store or does other shopping and sees another woman wearing pink, she talks to this person. " I tell her what God did for me and He will do the same for her. What the devil meant for bad, God can turn for good."

Marcia Higbee
Reading, PA

My Truth...

I use to think a "Breast cancer survivor" meant a woman who had breast cancer and did not die from it. Boy was I wrong! "Survivor" doesn't give justice to what it is we really overcome. It's more than just "not dying" it's about surviving the mental abuse that cancer will put you through everyday,it's about surviving the emotional abuse that cancer will make sure you endure day in and day out, it's about surviving while everything you know about yourself is know longer their and you have to figure out who the new you is, it's about surviving through every surgery that is slowly taking away bits and pieces of your body, some having their breast removed, ovaries removed and put on hormone therapy to stop the estrogen in which fuels their cancer, leaving them with the question" if you take all of that, what says I'm a woman?" Being a survivor is the moment we are handed the pen in which our oncologist gives us and we place our signature before we are given chemotherapy saying that we understand that chemo will kill some of us. For me Being a breast cancer survivor may not have anything to do with whether I survive or not but more about because of the fight in which I'm fighting today hopefully gives my children and your children a chance to never have to try and survive through breast cancer because we already fought the fight for them

Cortez, CO

3 years since my last chemo

On July 9th, it will be 3 years since my last chemo. How time has flown! For those of you fighting the fight, please know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel - you simply have to flick it on! Never lose hope and surround yourself with positive energy! Discard all the negative! You have enough going on! Focus on you and winning your battle. No one else can do it for you. One day at a time. You can do it!! 💕

Nina Wozniak
Montreal, QC, Canada
Outerwear Brrr-gains
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