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My Journey

October 2012. Started like any other day had a day off with not much to do. That all changed when I had a wash. Felt a lump in my right breast, thought "I've got a day off I'll go and get it checked. Made an appointment , same day referred to local hospital,4 days later , had physical exam plus, ultrasound and mammogram ...then the bombshell "we are almost certain it's cancer" words cannot really describe how it hits you. I had right mastectomy , failed implant, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Went back to work five weeks later,after nine nearly ten months off struggled ++++ with tiredness, again you can't appreciate this tiredness unless you have been there , because it's beyond tiredness , exhaustion like you are dragging yourself about. 1 clear mammogram to date . I keep praying that all will continue to be well but one never knows it certainly gives a very different slant on life.

Cathy McCarthy
Kettering, Northants, United Kingdom

I am lucky and very blessed

I was diagnosed with double breast cancer on 8/8/2012. I was shocked to say the least. 2 people I knew had monograms and I thought to myself when was the last time I had one. I did not realize I needed a referral and was ready to tell the nurses that I would reschedule. God must have been watching me that day. A week later I went to have a biopsy. The doctor told me 80% of biopsy came back negative. Who thought I would be in the 20%.

I was scheduled to see the surgeon a few days later and brought my son and niece with me. The first thing the doctor said to me was this is curable. I don't think I heard much after that. My last day of work before the surgery, all my co-workers wore pink it my honor. It brought tears to my eyes.

I had the surgery, 8 rounds of chemo and radiation. I never lost my positive attitude because of the fantastic support group I had. I took the parts in pieces, surgery first not worrying about chemo and radiation.

The chemo was next I was able to work during this time, but the 6th round of chemo really started to take its toll on me. I wore hats to work to hide my bald head and everyone said the hats had character. I had the chemo mixture changed on the 4th round and kept saying to the doctor can we go back to the 1st mixture. I needed to go back on leave again. Chemo was over and now radiation. It is 22 months later and I am cancer free! I thank God every day. I am lucky because my support group was the best. My son was with me throughout my journey. My brother picks on me again, which is great. I told myself when looking at my bald hair that I would dye my hair red again because that would mean I'm okay. That promise to myself happened in June 2014.

Karen Cumming
Meriden, CT

Infinite Hope for Sandra

Diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer at the young age of 38, my wife has been winning this battle. After enduring chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, removal of lymph nodes and now suffering through radiation, Our battle still continues and we are hopeful that she will emerge victorious. She is a brave, strong woman. An inspiration to all, especially me. We thank everyone for the love, support and encouragement we have received. We are faithful that God will help us, no matter what this journey brings our way.

Jason Frank
Brooklyn, OH

Incredible Journey

I know there are others out there like me, but I have not had the privilege of meeting one. You see I was not diagnosed 5 years ago or ten years ago, but 27 years ago! At the time, I was a young 33 year old woman with a four year old daughter. I was horrified to learn that I was Stage 3 and had a large tumor and 4 lymph nodes. I did everything I could: mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy and years of tamoxifen.

I then experienced an unexpected remission of 18 years. When my cancer returned in my ribs, I had a difficult time getting a diagnosis. We knew there were broken ribs, but all of my scans were unclear as to the cause and it had been so long since my original diagnosis.... Finally, in 2009, I had a bone biopsy. My original breast cancer was back and had metastasized to my right ribs and lung.

Treatment again and then remission again. In 2012, my cancer once again reared its ugly head; this time in my liver. Another biopsy and, for the first time, my cancer tested her2neu positive,

Now, I am back in remission again. Recently, my four year old daughter turned 32 and was married. I would never have believed her mom would be there. But there I was, so happy and proud.

My message is one of hope and determination. Determination to stay the course with treatments and keep fighting. Cancer is the sneakiest, meanest enemy we have - keep fighting!

Eileen P Swords
Slidell, LA

A Teacher's Journey of Hope

His small clenched hand thrust into mine and released a few small coins. I stare down at a nickel, a dime, and few pennies, "This is to help you beat cancer Mrs. Greer", he says excitedly. I give him a hug and a thank you with my heart so full of love, it spills out in tears. I'm greeted at the office with a child's prized piggy bank full of coins. "She wants you to have this Mrs. Greer How can I accept such sacrifice?

I am overwhelmed with emotion as I bring my treasures back to my classroom. I set the piggy bank on my shelf and the coins in a cedar box on my window sill along with a green lifesaver, a small broken candy cane, a couple of quarters, a dollar bill...all sacrificial gifts from the heart to help Mrs. Greer "beat cancer". I feel their hugs, see their sparking eyes, hear their well wishes, and I know I have to beat this cancer...and I will.

Every time I think of this even today, two years later, my heart is filled with tears. Three years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic HER 2 Breast Cancer.

I'm a teacher in a small community with limited resources. Due to finances I needed to continue to work and trust the doctors here at home rather than pursue answers in other places. Throughout chemo, bi-lateral mastectomy, radiation and reconstruction I continued to trust my God and my doctors.

I believe the key to recovery was trust in my doctors, my faith, support and prayers from family and friends, and continuing to pour out my life to my school children. To this day I receive hugs, smiles, and love from my students who bring such delight to my life. Keep the hope!

ladydigreer

Diane Greer
Prescott, AZ

My Journey

My name is Michelle...I was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer at age 31, April 11th 2014! I say it was a blessing! My family and I were laying in bed in a Sunday morning...I have a 7 year old daughter & a 4 year old son! My daughter kneed me in the breast and it swelled.......I went in a couple of weeks later since the size would not go down! No symptoms.......healthy....thinking it was a cyst! And my world fell apart On the spot! Appointment after appointment. Till I heard my diagnois! Had she not have bumped me......who knows when I would have found out.....or were I would stand today!! I have gone thru 8 chemo treatments & have 8 more to go! I will also have the double mastectomy! My journey has been a great one! With a positive attitude all things are possible! And with God & prayer by my side

Michelle
green bay, WI

Too blessed to be stressed!

My journey actually began on July 5, 2014 when I found a lump on my right breast. It was a walnut texture that hurt to the touch. Right then, I said I think this is cancer! I was given a referral to have a mammogram but kept putting it off because of upcoming events that we're going to be taking place with my daughter and son that I didn't want to miss if my hunch was correct. When I finally went to have my exam in December , I had the feeling something was wrong because of the number of people coming in to give me my mammogram. I had a biopsy the same day and waited for my call. December 3, 2014 my doctor called me and gave me the news that I did have breast cancer. My bilateral mastectomy was December 17,2014. January 26, 2015 I began my journey of 6 months of chemotherapy and herceptin 12 month treatment. I am thankful for my life and the people that stuck by me. Yes some have left and others probably feel there isn't anything wrong with me. I have my good days and bad days. I am still in pain from my reconstruction and deal with that pain every day. I smile through it all because I know there are many that did not make it where I am today. I live each day knowing God has blessed me to be thankful and praise Him at all times! God has been good to me!

Terri Jones
Jacksonville, FL

a long ten years

My story......My story ten years ago I lost my brother to cancer two weeks later my mom was told I was most likely not going to live through the night as my bowels had ruptured and I was septic and on a respirator well I made it 6 weeks in hospital and two years to get better, I went back to school at age 45 i did it that was 2009 I became a nurse then 2011 I found a lump in my right breast stage 2 I wondered y back then did my brother die and not me but I know realize it's for me to be able to give back through life experience I am now a palliative care resource nurse I love my job and understand the little green guy sitting on my shoulder wondering if it will come back not only am I there for my clients but they are for me xxx be strong fight like a girl

hat's the good oft story the bad is my ex moved in with my brothers widow I ended up with a blood clot to my lungs and a colostomy on the left the half a breast on the right and already overweight an extra fifty pounds thanks to tamoxifen But I have survived ten years this way still have my home now a nurse and not gonna let my weight stop me or cancer this group is amazing in knowing none of is are alone. We all have a story that makes us strong and who we are

pat
oakville, ON, Canada

Grateful Every Day

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 weeks before my 31st birthday and 3 months after having given birth to my first and only child, Monica. This month, I celebrated 19 years since that diagnosis, and I am still grateful for every day here.

I found a lump while nursing and had it checked out. A quick, 20-minute appointment with my infant in tow turned into hours, my first and worst mammogram as a nursing mother, an ultrasound, and then a biopsy a few days later. They told me there was a 98% chance it was nothing. I was diagnosed with DCIS on July 3, 1995. My first thoughts, as scenes from "Terms of Endearment" played in my head, were, "How long do I have?" and "Who's going to raise my baby?" After the initial shock wore off, I adopted Tigger as my talisman and vowed to bounce back and to raise my daughter.

While we didn't have much of a support network having just moved to New England, I was blessed to have my friend, Blanca, fly across the country to be by my side the day after diagnosis, to have my rock of a husband, Ricardo, and to have family and friends arrive soon after to help me through mastectomy surgery and months of chemotherapy. I am still in awe, overwhelmed and grateful for the kindness, prayers and love that surrounded and supported me, and I'm convinced it's why I'm still here today.

Life is sweeter since that diagnosis, and I live differently. I am grateful for the wake-up call early in life. I followed my passion and made more music, played with children, laughed and found joy. I say, "YES!" to life more often, have travelled the world and lived abroad, have celebrated victories and learned from setbacks. I cry every time I get to witness one more milestone with my beautiful daughter. I am grateful every day. I hope to be a source of inspiration to other young survivors. Each journey is different, and there are no guarantees. Stay positive. Carpe diem. Pay it forward. LIVE!

Pam Espinosa
Chelmsford, MA

Strength

It was Think Pink Day 2012 and I found myself in the office of a breast surgeon undergoing a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. It also happened to be 2 day before my 34 birthday. The following morning, the doctor's office called and asked me to come in, they have the results. With my best friend by my side, i am told that I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer, a very aggressive cancer and it is likely stage 3. After the room stoped spinning, I put on my brave face and sad, "Let's do this." The one hard part, would be telling my 9 year old son. He took it well, probably helped when I said he could draw on my head when I lost my hair, and to this day he is my hero. He has persevered and accelled through and at everything put before him during this difficult stretch.

I had to do chemo first, 4 rounds of AC and 12 of Taxol combined with Herceptin. Then came the mastectomy, followed by 38 radiation treatments. I heard the word remission in August of 2013. Great news!! However, that was tempered with the news of serious cardiac side effects from the Herceptin. What I can say, is at least I'm still here to deal with the side effects, much better than the alternative. I started reconstruction with DIEP flap in February 2014, now just working on the finishing touches. I don't know what the future holds for me, if/when it will come back. But, what I do know is that my life has been forever changed, mostly for the good. I cherish the little things, hug more often, make every day a memory, and try to make sure everyone in my life knows just how important they are.

Laura Klima
Redding, CA
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