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Stay Strong!

It was March 15, 2013 when I noticed a grape size lump in my left breast. I didn’t think anything of it because of course I just had a mammogram in November, which was normal. I have no family history of cancer. So I chalked it up to hormones, maybe a bad fitting bra? (what was I thinking). After all, I was in my 40’s. Then it doubled in size by April 1, 2013. I thought OH NO, it can’t be. Within a week, I had another mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy. My 'CALL' came at 822am on April 22,2013.

My reaction to the news was complete SILENCE. It was like the world stopped spinning. All I heard was my Doctor muttering a bunch of statistics and then he said “Monique, it’s really bad and you have to get it out soon”. I hung up and called my ‘rock’, my husband. He said “WE WILL get through it, I won’t let you go that easy”.

My first doctor said I would have surgery, chemo then radiation BUT something didn’t feel right. So I took a deep breath and discussed it with my daughter, husband, family & close friends. Together, we did some research. We found UCSD Moores Cancer Center. On May 15,2013, Dr. A Wallace proposed my options. She explained to me that I just didn’t have Breast Cancer, I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I may qualify for the ISPY2 Clinical Trial. I qualified and received the investigational drug. The trial required 16 weeks of chemo (12 for the trial + 4 traditional treatment) before a lumpectomy (neoadjuvant therapy), then 42 days of radiation! I told my husband that if my contribution can save future lives, I was all in! God has blessed me with the love of many friends & family!

The hardest part of this journey was telling our daughter, "Mom has cancer"! She tells me everyday to 'STAY STRONG'!

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Monique Binda
San Diego, CA

our story

I have had cancer 3 times including lung breast and skin cancer our daughter had breast cancer and now has 3 different kinds of .

Roxi Polzin
Bismarck, ND

Work with Us To Help Others!

Work with us To HELP OTHERS!!

Magnolia, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is turning up the pink for breast cancer awareness. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are asking, friends, family and customers to help fund the fight for the wife of Frank Hendrickson, one of our commercial estimateors.

Madeline has stage 2 cancer and insurance will not cover her treatment. To help Madeline with her fight, visit gofundme.com and enter “Madeline Hendrickson”.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your support.

Remember to wear pink this October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness

www.magnoliaphc.com

202-829-8510

Justin Johnson
fulton, MD

Breast Cancer? No thanks, I'm going to fight this!!!

I saw my OB/GYN on December 17, 2012. I had a ping pong sized ball under my left arm. After meeting with surgeon next, the tests began. The enlarged lymph nodes were cause for concern after the mammogram and ultrasound, but nothing else was detected. Both doctors said I had fibrous breast tissue. Then I had an MRI where a “suspicious mass” was detected in my left breast. Biopsies in both areas confirmed the cancer. I received the diagnosis on January 14, 2013. Shortly thereafter, I learned that the tumors were ER/PR-positive and Her-2/new score of 2+ and the staging was IIIA.

My focus for 2013 was to end this. Eight rounds of chemotherapy for 4 months starting in February. A bilateral mastectomy and 17 lymph nodes removed under my left arm happened in June. Six weeks of radiation in July and a complete hysterectomy in September. I had a total of three reconstruction surgeries starting in November and ending last month. Besides taking time off for the surgeries, I worked full time – thankfully virtually.

In March 2013, I was confirmed as BRCA2 positive. Ironically, this genetic mutation came from my dad, who unfortunately lost his battle against esophageal cancer in early 2014.

Just before chemo started, I thought that this was the most ridiculous thing that could ever happen. I was a fighter and was going to get rid of this nonsense. My husband and two young boys have been tremendously strong for me along with our incredible network of family and friends.

I hope to give others encouragement and strength who need it no matter what they might be fighting. Be strong, believe in yourself, fight hard, give yourself pity parties when warranted, and being an alumna of the University of Arizona, I have to say....Bear Down.

Heather Sneed
Gilbert, AZ

SHERRY AND BEAUTY

A friend suggested I post my story.

It concerns an incident I experienced not to long after I lost my wife, Sherry.

We had been fighting this cancer, off and on for ten years. In the last year Sherry had become more saddened with her appearance. She would cry and apologize to me because she “was ugly”. Understandably, there was little I could say to comfort her or change her perception of herself. It was not something she could accept. Soon she was gone.

It has taken quite some time for me to let go. There have been many days of abject sadness, sometimes with uncontrollable tears. It was during one of these episodes that I experienced what I would like to share with the women who are feeling the way Sherry did.

As I rambled about our home, talking to her, reliving our days, the good and the bad. I stopped in front of a photo of us, taken in her final months. The effect of all she had been through were obvious in the photo. Still there was that smile she always had on her face. Spontaneously I hollered, “You ARE beautiful”. Angry that she thought otherwise.

It has been several years since then. Today I am able to look at those days more realistically and with a bit less emotion. In a world where image is so important to us all, myself included, I question what had taken place that day. My conclusion is that I honestly saw the person I loved not the image the camera saw. I know some may be unable to understand or accept this. I am not sure I am able to wrap my head around it. It seems to defy logic. But I do know what I saw and felt.

I am writing this so those who are in a like situation may somehow understand that those who love you see the person they love, not the person who stares back at you from the mirror. Try to accept that “beauty IS in the eye of the beholder”

Anonymous
Las Vegas, NV

My sister, my friend, my savior wrote this for me

Story is on the link below since the wording is a bit longer, however the story is worth reading

http://www.gofundme.com/f5czpo

Anonymous
Wellington, FL

Cancer the C word

In 2004 I had my yearly mammogram and was shocked to be told I had stage 0 cancer. I had a lumptectomy and 6 weeks radiation. For the next 9 years my mamos were normal and I felt so lucky that it was caught early. In September 2013 my luck ran out the cancer had returned. Since I had already had radiation I did not have a choice of treatment. On October 11, 2013 I had a mastectomy and have chosen to take oral meds instead of chemo. I am now 69 and don't plan to let cancer run my life. Cancer is an ugly word and needs to be removed from our vocabulary and our lives. God bless all of us fighting this monster.

Bert Patterson
Philadelphia, PA

The Incredible Journey

On February 19, 2013 my life changed. I had a mammogram and then an ultrasound. A few days later I received a phone call from a cancer surgeon. On March 1 the doctor did a biopsy on my right breast. On March 7 I received the news that no one wants to hear. I had cancer. The doctor talked with me about my options and since there were problems on the left breast in 2012 I decided to go with a double mastectomy. I wore expanders for about three months and then had reconstructive surgery. Since it had not spread to the lymph nodes I did not have any treatments but I will be taking a Arimidex and Effexor for five years maybe ten. I give all the praise to God. My message to all women is check yourself regularly.

Ellen Wilkes
Demorest, GA

Cancer - You are Not The Enemy

Dear Cancer,

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that ‘YOU are not the enemy.’

Cancer kills. That statement alone would lead anyone to believe that you are the devil in disguise or the terrorist that needs to be taken down. However we choose to view it, you are an invader and one thing is for certain – no one wants to be on the opposing side of you.

I am not one of those people that will say how grateful I am that you came into my life because I have a whole new positive perspective now that you have given me a brush with death. No, not me. I am not grateful, I am angry. I am grateful for my anger. The anger has given me the strength to fight you.

Since you walked into my life one year ago, I have driven to over 70 doctors appointments, have had 3 surgeries, have been poked dozens of times by numerous different medical professionals, have been physically and emotionally unwell, have been unable to attend my children’s social functions, have lost my breasts and my hair, and I have become an incredibly insecure person whom I do not recognize.

One year ago, a nurse told me that my positive attitude would get me through this. I cynically thought to myself – bullshit! It’s not my mind that has the problem, it’s my body. The surgery, the chemo, the radiation, and the drugs will get me through this! Well, they certainly helped but the truth is that she was right.

One year later, after graduating from all the treatments, I am still angry at you for this terrorist invasion, but I know my worst enemy is my own mind and that if I allow you to take my sanity, you will have won. I am here to say GAME OVER. You lost, I won.

With a sarcastic wink, I say ‘Good luck to you in the future’.

Shelly Straub, Breast Cancer Survivor

Shelly Straub
Cicero, NY

Faith, Family and Fun

I have always had a routine mammogram and on Oct. 21, 2013 I got the news I had lobular BC in my right breast. I had a PET scan done and found out I also had BC in my left breast. I chose to do the bilateral mastectomy because the thought of radiation coming from both sides was a horrid thought. I did not want to even imagine what the damage down the road would be. I got lucky and only one lymph node was involved. I ended up having 7 surgeries on this journey of mine. Many were for necrotic tissue on my left breast. The AC chemo caused me to have blood clots, the Taxol caused me to have an expander taken out and caused a yeast infection in my mouth which I call a tongue fungus. Throughout it all I had my faith, my family, and many friends. A fundraiser was done to alleviate the burden of the copays and meds. Hats were knit to keep my head warm. Many came to visit. Through it all I kept a positive attitude that life is worth laughing about and worth living. I did take time off from work because for once in my life I was going to take care of me. Being from a family of 11, having 4 kids, and all the loved from my nieces and nephews kept me going. I took every set back in stride. God with with me all the way and that made it so much easier. I am getting ready to return to work but I still have my reconstruction to do next year. Life is Good! God is great!

I survived: 3 hospital stays, 7 surgeries, 4 AC and 12 Taxol chemos, over 50 appointments (and more to come), 2 bouts with cellulitis, pulmonary embolisms, and a tongue fungus. All with a smile and a laugh. Cancer did not take me down.

Marjorie Markham
Hickory, NC
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