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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

I will beat this.

My new husband was off work for the month of December, so he was home cooking or we would have a couple beers together when I got off work, and I started to gain a little weight. I noticed around Christmas time that I had a small dimple or pucker close to my nipple on my left breast. My sister & 2 cousins had already been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 2 years--but I was telling myself, 'you've just gained a few pounds'. I went in January for my new insurance wellness check-up. I wasn't worried since I had just had a screening mammo in September and that came back fine. I was referred to an imaging center for a diagnostic mammo and ultrasound. During the ultrasound, the Doctor told me we need to schedule a core biopsy & we would have the results in 48 hours. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on February 12, 2013 over the telephone by a nurse. I was very upset, very mad and very lost. After seeing a local doctor, I decided I needed a second opinion/alternate treatment options and went to MD Anderson. I was given a formal diagnose on March 5, 2013 of Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma With Lobular Features. I had a lumpectomy on March 28, 2014 and was hoping for the best. I went back on April 9 for my follow-up and was told margins were not clear, so surgery was not complete and I would need a mastectomy. I was also moved to Stage 2B. I have a consultation with reconstruction surgeon tomorrow and am awaiting scheduling of mastectomy.

Nancy Parsons
Midlothian, TX

Mid-journey

I was 45 on Nov 27, 2013 when I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. I had lost my job that same month. Breast cancer has a large presence on my mom's side of the family. I was also fresh in love with a man I had met 5 months earlier. I really had no idea which way this journey was going to start or end. I immediately feared the worst, as I did most every step there after.

My boyfriend was amazingly supportive and a rock for me. It was also an amazing distraction to be so deeply in love and happy at the time of my diagnosis. Instead of fear and sadness consuming me, I was able to proceed with a smile on my face most of the time. Of course, there were times when I was alone and feeling sorry for myself that I would have my break downs. There were good and bad days.

As my journey has unfolded, I have felt increasingly lucky. The characteristics of my cancer were all good. It was a small tumor, hadn't spread, and was not aggressive. I chose a bilateral mastectomy. That surgery was on March 18, 2014 at age 46. This was the part that most scared me. I had no idea how or if I was going to be able to handle the loss of my breasts. I wasn't sure how long it would be before I removed the covers off the mirrors and would be able to surface. I told a lot of my friends and family I would see them in 6 months.

Since my surgery, I feel stronger and more empowered than I ever have in my life. I sport this 11 year old chest like a champ. I wear it proud like a warrior might sport battle wounds. Who would of thought? Not me.

I had a nipple and skin sparing mastectomy. I hope to begin the reconstruction process next month. No radiation treatment is necessary and minimal chemo if any. May God bless and thank you.

Amy
Safford, AZ

Beating the odds!

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The doctors told her we would only have her in our lives for 6 more months. Despite what the doctors said my mom kept fighting and getting her treatments, which she is still getting. My mom beat the odds it's been over a decade and my mom is still here cancer free and beautiful as ever! #nevernevernevergiveup

Anonymous
San Antonio, TX

my rocky road to recovery

Hi my name is amanda and felt my story would be helpful to other's that have or had breast cancer.my uncertainties started when I noticed changes in one of my nipples.the colour had changed and it became very ichy.after noticing some yellow discharge I went to the doctors who said it may be an infection in the milk ducts . antibiotics were prescribed.

There was a slight improvement , however months later I noticed this problem getting worse and there was blood stained discharge coming from the nipple.

after a 2nd visit to the doctor I was sent for a mamagram and scan.

this test found no evidence of anything untoward and after 2 weeks during a follow up appointment at the hospital , the word pagents disease of the nipple was mentioned.a biopsy was needed there and then due to changes in the nipple.the consultant reassured me it may simply be eczema or this pagents disease. This was a rare cancer.the word cancer scared me but I was hopeful once the consultant informed us it was treatable.

another 2 weeks of waiting for the biopsy results which confirmed it was this pagents.

a date was given for an operation to remove the nipple and areola. Once this was removed the consultant said that would be the end of it.

the operation was done and it was confirmed they had found a tumour also in the breast. My world fell

apart when they told me the tumour was aggressive

And her2 positive. After consideration I opted for a mascetony. After an 8 hr operation they found another tumour and widedpread cancer cells.

im now having chemo . radiotherapy and taking part in trial which I will have a new drug.my life is upside down.im on a rollercaster and gutted I have had to cancel my wedding in mexico. I recently started to lose my hair so ive taken control and shaved it off.

The key to this terrible disease is to take the control back .stay positive and focused and kick cancers ass

amanda phillips
stoke on trent, United Kingdom

I'm Too Young to Have Breast Cancer

I had just turned 31 and one morning I felt something strange on my right breast. My husband insisted I visit my doctor but I thought to myself, "I'm too young". A few weeks later I went to get checked and underwent a biopsy, since it was Holy Week Holiday the results took longer than usual to get back. To make a long story short, it came back positive to "Infiltrating Duct Carcinoma". I had a radical mastectomy, my nodes were removed, I went through chemotherapy and radiation. My husband got laid off but it was a blessing because he was there for my children and myself. I had to go back to work but everyone there was very understanding. Today I'm celebrating 25 years cancer free!!! I praise The Lord for He has made me strong and added so many beautiful years. I've lived to see my grandchildren and come June I'll get to me meet my great grand son! Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

Mildred Vega
Guayanilla, PR

My story - Donna

I turned 40 in April 2009

I had been sure feeing shoulder pain for a while due to an old injury but said to my dr can I have a mammogram as there is cancer in my family. She organised a date ( much to the displeasure of the clinic as I was TOO YOUNG )

I had the scan, had to have a biopsy and got a call back - Friday 13th November 2009

So first surgery December times 2 as it had grown fast since the diagnosis

Then the chemo, which I only managed 2 courses as it was making me too sick to have any more

Then radiation and a hysterectomy because my cancer was hormone fed

I turn 45 today - scarred but alive

I am waiting for reconstruction surgery to fix my "good boob" but I am happy... Alive... And ME

Donna
Beaudesert, Australia

23 to life

Hello, my name is Elovesb. When I was 18 I enlisted into the military. When I was one month past my 19th birthday I had my first lumpectomy. I was diagnosed with "pre cancerous cells" to this day it still confuses me. I was lucky, I took a pill that made me miserable for almost 2 years (I quit, I couldnt take the pain the pill caused). Almost 4 years went by with regular exams and self breast exams. I turned 23 and 2 months later I was scheduling my double mastectomy. I had another lump. On January 8th I lost both my breasts. Ive got a new lease on life and other than some obvious body issues (you find a good bathing suit that hides the indention) I couldn't be happier I still have some pain and a few strange things to get use to but life could have been alot worse. I could have lost my life I could have lost everything. Instead I gained a new perspective and an anger for people wearing the pink ribbon and stare at my chest. (Went to Ihop and they really did stare a whole family coming back from a walk for the cure ohh the irony) I dont mind the questions at least I can let people know that the age range isnt always right and if I save just one girl like me by telling her she needs to check I will be happy.

Anonymous
san Antonio, TX
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