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I'm holding hands with God all the Way.

Had a mammogram in November 2013 and they found abnormality. So, I had to have another mammogram and ultra sound. On that day in Jan. 2014 I was told I had breast cancer. Biopsies results showed Invasive & In Situ Carcinoma in my right breast & Lymph nodes. I felt that my golden years were tarnished with some kind of joke after all I'm 75 years young. On Feb. 6 I had a mastectomy and they remove 8 lymph nodes. Two had cancer & the other 6 were clear. I took Dexamethasone 24 hours before Chemotherapy. I guess the worse was the nausea that reminded me of when I was pregnant with my twins. I was in the hospital for a month. I couldn't drink water without throwing up. This time there were NO babies just a part of my body removed. Like I told the doctor, "They already did there job" Because of the invasive Carcinoma in my lymph nodes that spreads like bamboo I have to have 36 rounds of radiation. My faith is strong, God is my refuge and I have the greatest support group of friends and family. I will survive. One thing that makes me smile, even though I have no hair and grey finger nails. My husband still says, " I love you"

Christine Lopez
San Antonio, TX

diagnosed on 05/19/14 with Breast cancer

Dear Cancer I know that you think you are on your way to victory since you have invaded my body but i got news for you, you are not going to win this battle not today not for a long time. I know one day you will because you got everyone in my family but none of us died this young from you and i am not going to be the first, you will have a battle on you that you have never seen before. Sure you are going to take my breasts from me but i will get new one's sure you are gong to make me lose my hair but it will grow back and yeah you will make me lose some weight but i need to anyway so by the time i am done with you i will use your own chemical warfare and use it to my benefit. no time for crying i do that at night when i talk to my Colonial (God) you see he has my back and when i wake in the morning i am ready with a new state of mind new strategy on how to win this and no where has my God told me to give up he tells me how to win and win i will so cancer get ready for a war you have never seen because you picked on the wrong bitch this time. Sincerely Voula Kalamatianos-Wilson

Voula Wilson
Elgin, IL

Shelly's Beast Cancer Journey

My journey started Jan. 14, 2014. I was 50 years old but am now 51. My ob/gyn noticed a retraction in the skin on my left breast. My recent mammogram in December was negative. Over the years I have been called back multiple times for additional imaging and ultrasounds and have always been told I am a cystic mess and have dense breast tissue. I assumed the lump in my left breast was just another cyst since the mammogram was negative. My ob/gyn sent me to a surgeon just to be safe. I was diagnosed on Jan. 27, 2014 with invasive lobular carcinoma. It is also estrogen and progesterone positive. There is no family history of breast cancer in my family. The lump is approx. 3 cm. When the surgeon did the core biopsy she said she really couldn't see it on the ultrasound but was sure she would hit it since it was so large. I underwent multiple tests, MRI, PET Scan, ultrasound and additional biopsies to get the complete picture. Multiple lymph nodes tested positive in the MRI, but the PET scan didn't show anything else. The plan is chemo, a double mastectomy surgery, radiation and reconstruction. I decided on the double mastectomy since the kind of cancer I have wasn't detected with the regular screening tests. Chemo began on Mar. 5, 2014 and today I finished my 8th round so this step of the journey is done. We celebrated today with the nurses at the infusion center.

My chemo was 4 rounds of A/C followed by 4 rounds of Taxol. I tolerated the chemo fairly well, but managed to gain 15 pounds. It never affected my taste or appetite. My biggest complaint would be the bone and joint pain from the Taxol. I had to take Vicadin starting on day 3 after the taxol to manage the pain for about 5 days. My friends and family all keep telling me I look great having gone through all this.

I enjoy reading the stories on this site from the survivors and the medical professionals.

Shelly Gidley
Carmel, IN

Dear Cancer letter I sent...

Dear Cancer,

You thought you had me, didn’t you? Three years ago today I was told you had to appeared in MY body, as if it was yours to invade – unannounced, uninvited, unwelcomed. I was busy with a business, kids, a new grandson, in great heath, scheduled to compete several triathlons, races and activities that summer – including spending time with my kids and new grandson and growing my business. You appeared as a painful lump in my breast that was a constant irritant (you were really tricky because only 5% of breast cancers actually hurt). I wasn't too concerned – searches online resulted in statements like “most breast cancers don’t cause pain” - so you just became an ‘irritating, painful lump’.

You even thought you had me beat by showing up with your ‘A’ game – stage 3 triple negative.

You challenged me physically, financially, spiritually, and emotionally. You caused numerous infections in my body that in themselves could have killed me. You took parts of my body that make me a woman, took my dignity and made me question the worthiness of MY survival. There are so many relatives and friends you have affected, and while I was winning the battle against you, within a year, my Aunt, my Father, and a good friend lost their battle to you. You are cruel in so many ways, and relentless in your efforts to survive and grow. You caused worry, fear and sadness to my family and friends. You had my children exremely scared, confused and feeling helpless. You are MEAN, and I hate you!

But, guess what??? I Won! Today I won. I beat you. I’m a better person because of you, a stronger more giving, more accepting person. I’ve made good friends, developed closer relationships and have grown spiritually. I’m back doing the things I love to do. Even though I don’t look the same…I’m better. A lot better. I tell everyone I meet- you are not invincible. I will do anything for anyone to help beat you.

-Christina ( Mommy, Nana).

Christina O'Hanlon-Martinez
Various, ND

Single Mom two time survivor

I was a 35 year old single mother when I got my first cancer diagnosis. It was stage one infiltrating ductal carcinoma. I had surgery, chemo and radiation and was told less than a 10% chance of re-occurrence. Less than 2 years later it was back. This time it was stage 4 because it had moved into my lungs, although it was still caught early. Had to have another surgery to put my port back in and started chemo again. Luckily after 6 treatments I was cancer free and will be 9 years in August. All if this while working full time, raising a teenage boy and taking care of a house and yard. I stayed positive and strong. I am now happily married and my son is 24 years old and living on his own. I look forward to my future and thank God for modern medicine and the power of prayer.

Michele Krieg
Gonzales, LA

Nearly there

Tomorrow is my last of 30 radiation treatments, 4 months of chemo and surgery. I'm excited to be done, but apprehensive about ending treatment.you start thinking, "nothing can get me if I'm in treatment". I know it's important to appreciate the end of this journey, the return to so e sense of normalcy...to be grateful for the moment. I will be graduating from "fighter" to "survivor"! I will choose to cherish the moment...and I hope you all will do the same with all your moments...

Callie Parreco
Denver, CO

Christmas gift

It all started with a self exam and turned out to be a 3cm tumor in my right breast. I took quick action and was diagnosed with IDC, Invasive ductal carcinoma right around Thanksgiving 2014. ER & PR Positive, HER negative. Before I knew it I was getting a double masectomy right before Christmas. During my surgery the surgeon stated that she was pretty sure she would find lymph node involvement. The day of surgery as the anesthesia was starting to work, I took both surgeons by the hand and started to pray as I was dosing off. Before I knew it I was awakened by the words "you led the entire team in prayer and your lymph nodes came back negative." Everything happened so fast that I had no time to feel sorry for myself. I had 4 rounds of chemo 3 weeks apart with Neulasta 24 hours after each chemo. I lost my hair and my breasts, but gained an incredible strength deep within me that I never knew existed. I am so very blessed to be surrounded with a supportive family and great friends that have constantly encouraged me and were there every step of the way. My sister graduated from nursing school just days before my surgery and was able to care for me along with my mom and daughter. My boyfriend of 3 years, bathed me, dressed me, cooked for me, carried me, drove me to my appointments and sees me as beautiful. I am continuously reminding myself how very blessed I am to have found my breast cancer at stage 2 A. I recall looking tirelessly on the internet for information about what was going to happen to me. Was I going to die? I wondered. I decided I was going to be a survivor!! I made a decision to put all my trust in God. I'm so very greatful for so much that I don't have time to feel bad. There is always hope! I will never stop counting my many blessings.

Christy Ryckman Lauriano
Newport News, VA

25 yrs old and pregnant with breast cancer

I currently have triple negative stage 2 breast cancer. I am only 25 years old and pregnant. No one on either side of my family had any kind of cancers. I noticed a golf ball sized lump in my breast that appeared over a months time and thought it was a clogged milk duct as I was pregnant with baby number 2. At my next prenatal check I had it checked out which led to mamogram, ultrasound, then biopsy. I'm currently 35 weeks along just completed my 3rd round of chemo, with 3 more to go, then I'm having a double masectomy as I tested positive for the brca1. Then radiation for a few months. Then I was told I could do reconstruction surgery one year after radiation. I always get sick the weekend after chemo treatments so after i get over my sickness this weekend I'm getting induced. Just getting started in my breast cancer treatment and journey but I'm young and have a 2 year old now. And a baby boy on the way, I have to keep pushing threw for them and my wonderful husband. It's hard being young and bald and having a double masectomy but my husband has been my rock!

Anonymous
Stokesdale, NC

Trust in yourself and your family and friends

I found out I had breast cancer during my annual mammogram. It was in 2012 and I was 61 years old. I usually live a good healthy life, eat as healthy as I could, excersized as regular as I could. It was so shocking that I would have breast cancer…me…no way. I was in complete denial and at first wished I didn't do a mammogram to find that out. I had to follow up with more ultra sound, biopsy on the left breast. Yep, a 1/2 inch tumor. Stage one cancer. I didn't want to do anything about it, just leave it there and maybe it will just go away. I do Reiki, so I thought, I'll just Reiki myself (on hand treatment) Nope, still there! I'll heal myself with crystals! Nope still there. Okay, better follow up medical science. I had to do a MRI, which by he way, was very scary for me. It finally came down that I had to have the lumpectomy on my left breast. Thank God no cancer in my lymph nods. Okay, its out…but two days later I had a call from my doctor. I need to do another surgery,needs to remove more from the breast, lab detected more cancer cells. I was so upset…not again…why didn't the doctor to it right the first time! My son and my husband told me "just get it done" so we can get on with our lives. So…two weeks later I did. Radiation for four weeks, which by the way, was a piece of cake. Met some wonderful women going thru the same thing.

Two years later, I'm cancer free, taking my hormone inhibitor medication. I guess what I'm trying to get at, is with me trying to control the situation only made it harder for me to except my cancer. Let your family, friends and your doctors help you at this time. Don't try and do it alone! I realized that having cancer is not a death sentence! Trust in your self and "just get it done".

Anonymous
Honolulu, HI

Three months recently diagnosed

About three months ago I woke up with an itch in my left breast! And there it was, a breast lump! No not me, I am 45! Surely this cant be! At the persistence of my lovely daughter, i finally made an appointment! A mammo/sono turned into a biopsy. The diagnosis, IDC. It has turned my world up-side-down but with the support of my family and friends, I am more determined than ever to beat this. I guess I am out here to tell each of you to please keep sharing. The stories of hope really keeps me grounded. My thoughts and prayers to each of you and those who are your world. Much love!

Pamela Rhodes
Palm Bay, FL
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