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My Mother - the Survivor

This isn't about me, I'm not the survivor here. I'm the supporter, the one who was even more worried than she was.

My mother is a spunky, crazy, beautiful and outgoing 56 year young woman. Of course, she's just as stubborn as her mother was, so my father and I had to push her to go to the doctors about the lump that was weirdly growing on the top of her right breast. She knew what it was from the start, so she wasn't even upset when the weeks went by and the doctor finally told her it was breast cancer. Although she wasn't upset, or mad or any of those negative feelings - I was. I was hurt, angry, and I just didn't understand why this would happen to MY mother. She was strong - we already knew that. We didn't need something else getting in the way of it.

A few more weeks went by, and finally the day was here. She decided to go with the total right mastectomy. She wanted the breast removed, and we completely respected her wishes so, that's what happened on Sept. 8th, 2014. Hours passed in the waiting room at OSU, but finally the doctor came out and told us everything went perfectly fine and that the lymph nodes came back negative! Best news EVER!

She's still recovering, and she's doing wonderful. I've never seen someone so strong before, and I'm glad that I can call her my mother.

Thank you to all of the doctors, and thank you to all those strong women, and men, out there who've fought this ridiculous battle!

Dakota Perry
Pataskala, OH

What to do when your diagnostic studies are normal but you aren't

On June 12, 2014, I had my annual mammogram. Later that day, I found a rubbery lump in my right breast.

Three days later, I learned (by letter) that my mammogram was normal. Still concerned about the breast lump, I made an appointment with my primary care physician. On exam, I had a low grade fever with breast and axillary lymphadenopathy. I was prescribed Bactrim DS for a presumed bacterial infection.

Antibiotics had no effect and I was referred to a breast surgeon who told me that my mammogram was “beautiful” and the palpable breast lump was “nothing worrisome.” Nevertheless, she referred me for an ultrasound that was read as entirely normal.

Two weeks later, I had a routine appointment with my GI doc. Short story: My GI doc examined my breast lump and described it as “an almost sausage-shaped thrombus.”

I went back to my primary care physician and was sent for lab work (D-dimer) and a Doppler ultrasound of my right arm. When those tests were normal, I asked for a repeat breast ultrasound. I was sure my previous ultrasound had been technically inadequate and I insisted on a repeat study.

On July 18, 2014, my repeat breast ultrasound showed a discrete but “clinically insignificant” abnormality. The radiologist said he was 99.9% certain the abnormality was benign (fat necrosis). I said I was 99.99% certain it was cancer, and then I challenged him to biopsy it and prove me wrong.

On July 22, 20014, my breast biopsy was performed by a radiologist who assured me that no lesion like mine had ever turned out to be cancer.

Three days later, I was told I had a grade 2 invasive ductal carcinoma with micropapillary features, ER+ (100%), PR+ (20%) and Her2-. The pathology report indicated that vascular/lymphatic invasion was probably present (and it was; my current diagnosis is Stage 2B breast cancer, T2, N1mi).

Moral of the story: Be your own best advocate. There’s no way to be sure a breast lump is benign without a biopsy.

Pam Collier
Durham, NC

My fight is for my daughter

Diagnosed 8 days after the birth of my granddaughter, mine was supposed to have been easy, with no chemo and no radiation, that changed really fast. Neither mammogram or ultrasound picked up the other 2 hiding tumors, I had a total of 3 two different kinds. I had no systems other than being tired. After complete mastectomy that was followed by chemo, Taxotere and Cytoxen now I'm doing 40 radiation treatments, I'll know in a few days if I have to repeat chemo, for the ladies that are just being diagnosed, this is doable, stay calm and take one day at a time, mastectomy isn't the end of the world. My genetics test was negative!! So hopefully my daughter and best friend will never have to deal with this again..

Nancy Jones
Soddy Daisy, TN

There's Life After Breast Cancer!

I am approaching my one year anniversary of the day I heard those dreaded words--"you have breast cancer". On September 27, 2013 at the age of 40, my world was turned upside down when I was told I had stage 3-A Triple Negative breast cancer. I also had a total of 8 positive lymph nodes out of 30. Over the course of the past year, I have endured a sentinel node dissection, 12 rounds of Taxol, and 4 dense-dose rounds of AC treatments, which led to losing my hair. I learned I am BRCA1 positive, underwent a bilateral mastectomy with immediate tissue expander placement, 10 weekly expansion fills, surgery for implant placement, and finally 34 radiation treatments. Furthermore, my 2-year marriage could not endure the stress of my cancer diagnosis, and my marriage crumbled before my eyes during treatments.

Let this story be an inspiration to every woman out there who is fighting to regain their life and feel normal again. I fought for myself, my children, and for every woman out there who is rebelling against the ravages cancer can have on your body, mind, and spirit. I refused to back down or give in, and I'm here to say you CAN regain your life, be happy and move forward with your life. You ARE beautiful! I've lived my life and enjoyed the best summer of my life with family and friends. I'm busy living and enjoying every second. Cancer was tough, but it has taught me to cherish every single second I'm given. The sun will shine again in your life. Your smile will shine brighter than ever before, so let your story be a bright light to those who find themselves in the darkness of cancer.

FIGHT on ladies--we are warriors!

Teresa Trussell
Syracuse, OH

Jaime ' s story

My name is Jaime Cech and Iam a stage four survivor. I was diagnosed at age 34 with triple positive her2 aggressive breast cancer. By the time of my original diagnosis my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and stomach and I was in for the fight of my life. My oncologist got together and pre paired our plan of attack. 12 rounds of chemo a double mastectomy and 30 radiation treatments to follow and a life that will be forever changed. I never anticipated CANCER or planned in advance that this would consume my life. A single mother of two girls and cancer wow! I started chemo immediately losing my hair and a feeling of self. I didn't recognize the face in the mirror anymore and the more poison(chemo) they pumped in me the weaker I felt. After 12 rounds of chemo I went into cardiac arrest. I was burned from the inside out because of a broken port. Shortly there after I had a double mastectomy and lymph removal. My tumor was donated for research to help future bc patients. I received 30 rounds of radiation to rid my chest wall of the cancer that remained and I continued with preventative treatment until my heart wasn't strong enough anymore. Through the storm I pushed and pushed to find that inner me again, the person Breast Cancer tried to consume. I realize through all the trials to never give up on life or yourself because anything is possible. Two years ago I was given 10% chance to live and today I'm stronger then ever and two years clean, cancer free and still the mother of two beautiful daughters who see me as a hero a fighter and a breast cancer survivor.

Jaime L Cech
EL MIRAGE, AZ

My Journey

I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma June 2014. After being told that something was found in my mammogram. I was sent for a biopsy which confirmed what was suspected. I was overwhelmed by all the information but went for a second opinion in NYC, the same diagnosis was given. However, I began to do some research and being that my cancer is estrogen driven I made the decision of doing a bilateral mastectomy. It was done on September 8,2014. I am recuperating very well and awaiting to start chemotherapy in 2 weeks. I know I have a long journey ahead but I am glad it was found in time. It turns out I had a stage 2 cancer. At this time I have expanders on with drains but the pain is gone. All I feel is a soreness. My surgeons did an outstanding job. I Thank God everyday because I know he is by my side, along with my husband & loved ones.

Leticia Bolorin
Mahopac, NY

The C word.

My unwilling journey. A journey with no end . The cancer can be removed from the body but never from the mind . People are wanting an uplifting story, with a happy ending,sorry can not help you . The best advice I can share with anyone is, do your monthly exam, the life you save is yours!

jeanne
phoenix, AZ

Survivor!!

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor and I'm am Blessed more then you may know!!! Being diagnosed at such a young age is mind blowing. It's and emotional rollercoaster. Breast Cancer is really a life changing experience. And till this day I still can't believe that I HAD Breast Cancer. My two children kept me strong. They kept me positive. They kept me going. Without those two I don't know what or where I would be. Their love through it all warmed my heart. I still cry sometimes just thinking about it but then I smile because I'm still here and grateful as ever!! I had a life changing experience and I can honestly say through it all I kept a positive attitude. But that's all you can do when your going through something like that. Having Breast Cancer made me a stronger woman, a better mother and a warrior. I kicked Breast Cancer's Butt at the age of 25 and I would do it ALL over again if I had too!!! Always remember... God Gives His Toughest Battles To His Strongest Soliders!!!!

Kim James
Col, OH

My Cancer is Beautiful

I’m a 6 year Breast Cancer Survivor.I had given birth to my first and only Child in March of 08,but she died at birth and three months later I was diagnosed with HER2 POSITIVE STAGE II-III Breast Cancer. I’ve had sixteen bouts of Chemotherapy along with ten surgeries that range from implanting a port to removing Lymph Nodes-Mastectomy and reconstruction. I was given six to eight months to live if my Chemo had not worked.I can no longer have children because the chemo messed up my Uterus so bad that it caused me to have a hysterectomy among other things, But wait..no one told me that I would not be able to taste food or that my hair would fall out with my first treatment while walking through Wal-Mart or that I would lose my sex drive and almost stop feeling like a woman.I have had my nails turn black and some to fall off and even a few of my teeth to rot and fall out,the list goes on.I know that we all have a story so I started a facebook page called My Cancer is Beautiful https://www.facebook.com/chestless4me and a blog www.cheastless.com My goal is to be totally transparent and to give you some deeper insight as to what to expect when having Breast Cancer,and what you and your family may have to face based on my personal experience.I want the world to see that the disease itself may be ugly but the woman that carry it are amazingly beautiful.Now I understand that we all are different,but what unites us is this terrible decease.You’re not alone on this journey and it’s ok to be happy,sad,mad and even confused about what’s going on with your body,your mind and your spirit.

I was taught that in order to get a blessing,you need to be a blessing,so let me be a blessing to you!

p.s.I Love you in advance and there’s nothing you can do about it!

Love your new friend Tina and this is my story:)

Tina
Newnan, GA

Life saving bear hug

A year ago last April, my husband and I vacationed with close friends. Upon leaving one friend gave me a bear hug and my only response was "Ouch!" When we returned home, I did a self exam including lifting my arms in the mirror. To my surprise there were two creases in my right breast I had never seen before. I scheduled a visit with my gynecologist referring to a possible lump as the tissue seemed denser than the other breast. He immediately sent me for a mammogram which showed suspicious looking tissue, nothing specific.

Seeral biopsies later, further tests, it was determined that I had I had invasive interductal cancer stage 2.

On july 3, 2013 I elected to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction performed at the same time.

My port became infected and had to be removed. The expander on the elective side became infected, and of course removed.

I underwent several rounds of chemo and 15 weeks of radiation. To my dismay the tissue on the cancer breast began to die so that expander also had to be removed.

I am at a crossroad about reconstruction. All the expanded tissue is still there and could easily be reconstructed. The opposite site, however, I have only the option of a latissimus dorsi flap. I am putting off making this decision until I hear back from some women who have had this procedure and are happy with the results.

I feel extremely fortunate to have had that hug. I had an extremely aggressive cancer and had it not hurt I would have waited until August for my routine exam. My oncologist told my husband and I it may have been too late. Whoever said cancer doesn't hurt was wrong!!

Diane Almy
Delta, CO
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