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What a Shock

For the first time on the 26 September I had a McMillan coffee morning in honour of my friends partner who had died in August after a brave fight. It was a success I made lots of money for cancer and met some fantastic people.

However 2 weeks later I found a lump in my breast and after a whirl wind of tests it was confirmed as Grade 3 aggressive Tumour. This was removed on the 9 December with 3 lympth nodes we went back on the 19th to be told cancer was in 1 out of the 3 nodes and I would need further surgery plus chemo and radiotherapy (what a lovely Christmas present).

My Chemo started on 14th January the nurses were brilliant my first was awful was sick for 24hrs and ended up in hospital. Next 2 were better given good anti sickness tablets, the next 2 were awful and did not manage number 6, again the staff were fantastic I was so worried but gave me such support. Had lymph node clearance on the 14th May no more cancer all clear (thank god). My radiotherapy starts on the 31st July last leg I hope. I would like to say lots of Thank You's to all the staff that have supported me the NHS could not pay them enough. To my fantastic family and friends and also to my new grand daughter soon to be born. I am hoping to be around to see her grow up and also my fantastic grandson xxx I feel so blessed xx I was so scared and unsure what the future held for me (still are) but I know with the support of people around and a positive attitude and gods help and presence (he listened when I needed him most) we can beat this horrible disgusting disease .God Bless to you all xxxx

SUSAMN PIPER
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom

I AM A WINNER

It was May-2008 and I went for my yearly mammogram from missing it for two years straight.

So the weekend went by and Monday I was getting my procedure of the biopsy done at West Shore hospital . I went and got prepped and first the doctor gave me a Valium to relax me because he had to take me down to the mammagram machine and put markers were the cancer was located to do the biopsy. So I stood at the mammagram machine and he marked the spots. He the pushed a wire through my skin to mark it. By the the fourth wire he looked at me and seeing the look on his face I knew he felt bad. He said" I am so sorry I can not finish this due to this hospital not having the right mammagram machine. He said he will have to send me to Grand Rapuds at the Lacks cancer center.

She then did a consultation and we had to meet a team of doctors very soon.

A few weeks later I went back to the Lacks Cancer center and met with a team of doctors. They talked about a lot of things my brain could not remember.

A few days later I get approx four mammagram a, a MRI( which the doctor wS puzzled she could not find any glow on that spot). Which to this day did not understand that. But after all that on November 21,2008 I had a Lattissimus Dorsi Flap reconstructive surgery the same time as my cancer surgery removal. I recovers and two months later received chemo for six months, and then in July I received the last reconstruction surgery. Now five years later I feel wonderful and feel I picked the right surgery.

Kimberly Marie
Traverse City, MI

I'm Making My Way Through!

Hello my name is Julie and I'm a breast cancer warrior. 2 weeks before my 25th b-day I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both of my breasts. I was told that I only had 2 1/2 yrs at best. In October of 2014 I will celebrate my 10 yr survivorship mark. I attribute my longevity to my Lord, loved ones & friends who have supported and given me strength when I thought I had none left. I especially owe a huge amount of gratitude to my husband David. He has supported me through it all. 1 month after I was diagnosed he married me without thinking twice. He makes me feel beautiful everyday of my life and he is truly blind to all of the scars my body has. To date I have undergone 13+ surgeries. However, I don't see my scars as something ugly to hide. They are my battle wounds. I proudly show them because they are a testament to my strength and determination to stay alive. I also managed to obtain my bachelors degree in criminal justice while I was bedridden. I managed to stay on the Dean's list the entire time. I did this for 2 reasons: 1- I always valued higher education and my wonderful husband gave me that gift. 2- it was important for me to show my 2 boys that if I can achieve that in the state that I was in, then there is no mountain that they can't conquer. I know I will never be the same Julie I was before this and that's OK. I'm stronger and take nothing for granted. I've always been a rebel and I rebel against that death sentence. There is still too much I need to see and do. My boys need their mom and I will see them through to adulthood. Any time I get after that is just icing on the cake. Don't let breast cancer define you, you define it. Where there's a will there's a way. So watch out world, Julie is still making her way through!

Julie Garcia
El Paso, TX

I am a Survivor!

I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in April, 2008. My mammogram in November 2007 did not show any abnormalities. On April 11, 2008, I felt a sore lump on my left breast. I saw my gynecologist ASAP. The lump I felt was actually a benign cyst sitting on top of a highly aggressive 4.5 cm cancer. Had it not been for the sore "lump", the cancer would have gone undetected from April until November (my next mammogram appointment). I believe the cyst was God's way for me to find the cancer.

My PET scan showed that it had spread outside the tumor. The tumor was "tagged and flagged" and I did four rounds of chemo. When I had surgery in July there was no trace of the tumor. Just the "flag". I did four more rounds of chemo after the lumpectomy and 34 rounds of radiation. I did very well on the chemo. Of course I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes (as well as other places), and I had some pretty bad days and nights. My skin did not burn at all during radiation, just turned a beautiful shade of brown. I had wonderful doctors and chemo nurses, and my precious husband and family who took great care of me. After my chemo and radiation, I also did an additional year of Herceptin.

I have been cancer free for six years this month. God is an awesome God. I did everything my doctors told me to do and my husband and family took GREAT care of me. Prior to any treatment, I had my church pray over me. I do believe that even though I had to go through the process, God did heal my cancer. I worried that I would live the rest of my life in fear of the cancer returning. God has taken that fear away from me. As any cancer survivor will tell you, your life is changed. But it is for the better. You live each day knowing that each day is a blessing and that life is WONDERFUL! God is GOOD!

Deborah
Suches, GA

Not just surviving,but THRIVING!!!!

With fibrocystic breast, I thought hmmm it' s probably just a lump...but I better get it checked out...a mammogram, sonogram and needle biopsy later.. the phone call and the diagnosis...I felt absolutely NUMB...but then I remembered what an awesome God I served and that He was my Healer!... Stage I with clean nodes, my lumpectomy was scheduled with a return for clean margins. My port was placed and I received the 4 rounds of TC with minimal side effects (went to Myrtle Beach after the last round) I completed 33 rounds of radiation, had my port removed and started the Tamoxifen. I was 51 years old when I was diagnosed with no family history. The support and love from my family and friends was INCREDIBLE!!!!,,, I just celebrated 1 year cancer free with a trip to Cancun. My encouragement to you is that God is a healer just trust Him through the process!

Robin Walker
Alexandria, VA

27 years cancer free

27 years ago I heard that dreaded word "cancer" first I cried then I got mad. Cancer was not going to defeat me.

I had a right modified radial mastectomy. At first I was afraid to look at where my breast had been. A close friend was with me when I took the bandages off and looked at my scare. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. With the help of my friend I was able to get through that tough moment.

I had chemo once a week for a year. I was one of the lucky ones. I never lost my hair and never got really sick. I continued to work 2 jobs. It helped me feel alive.

I had a good support system. My family and friends kept me laughing. I now go once a year for a mammogram and blood work to check to see if I am still cancer free

I have beat cancer!!!!

Liz Butler
Grants Pass, OR

Breast Cancer Twenty Five Years Ago

Twenty five years ago I was told I had breast cancer.I had my left ed breast remove and had chemo.I felt like I was ugly, being punish for my life.My husband and daughters helped me get threw it.I lost all my hair and I brought a wig and I did lunchroom duty at school and one boy saw I was wearing a wig and pulled it off.I ran out of the room crying feeling ashame.Haveing breast Cancer was so hard my four daughters where young.My one daughter enter a father's day contest saying how her daddy was there for me taking care of the kids cleaning.And she won .Her dad was so proud.If it wasn't for my family I don't know what I would have done.

Dee Starkey
Philadelphia, PA

My Story

October 15, 2005

I found a lump in my right breast, but was also having gall bladder problems at the same time. After my mammogram, which did not show the lump, I had a sonogram that did. I had gall bladder removal on November 23, 2005 and the surgeon removed the lump at the same time. I was told that it was stage 2A cancer.

Another surgery on December 16, 2005 to make sure margins were clear. I began chemo in January of 2006. Then radiation in August of 2006.

Here it is, almost 9 years after my diagnosis and I am happy to say that there has been no sign of it coming back. I pray that this will continue.

I have 4 grandchildren and 7 grandchildren and I just don't have time to be bitter or feel sorry for myself. I am truly blessed!!

Sharon
Jackson, GA

Boob Von Voyage

Ladies I wrote a short story regarding my experience and now I'm trying to condense it into 350 words. The best thing I can say to all of you is to keep your sense of humor. It's only a boob or two boobs, if you are fortunate enough to have caught the cancer early, as in my case. I can say that my father-in-law that fought stage four colon cancer for five years and kept his humor through to the end. So it is possible.

Sure, I was mad when the doctor old me. Sure I asked, "Why me?" Then I made the decision that this was my fight and I would face it my way. Not the way others thought I should fight. In so, I did it with my sense of humor. I planned and held a Boob Von Voyage party, with silly hats, noise makers and strings of beads. We all said good by to the girl in style.

My daughter, in the military was able to come home and my husband that was working out of the country was able to make it home the day before the surgery. They had supported my decisions and silliness from day one. When I called my husband and told him I was going to have reconstruction I asked him, "You want regular or porn star size boobs?" He laughed and said, "I don't care baby, I just want you alive and well."

So here I am, into my sixth year of cancer free living and sporting two new tattoos to tell my story. Oh, I had to go with regular size because I have just one implant. I had some very hard days trying to look into the mirror but decided being alive was much more important than how my chest looks. I'm too old to walk around on a nude beach and just looking at me in my clothes, you would never guess what's under my shirt.

Stay well, keep having regular mammograms, and if you get the bad news, keep your sense of humor!

K. Dawn Bloodworth
Gilbert, AZ

Second time around

I'm devastated that I have breast cancer again have masectomy next month not a candidate for reconstruction. To high risk I am 60 now last had it roughly 14years ago I am so scared and frightened of the operation I just wish everyone we'll.I'd be welcome of any feedback I'm not sleeping either I am so stressed.

Christine hine
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
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