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Check your boobies!

One night in July 2013, I was sitting in my comfy chair watching TV when I felt a sharp stinging pain go across my right breast. I thought that was odd but massaged away the pain and thought nothing more of it. The next morning while having my shower I remembered about the pain and did a self exam. I was familiar with self exams as I would do them fairly regularly so I felt the changes in my breast. As a result, I found a large lump at the bottom of the right breast and made a doctors appointment straight away. This followed with a mammogram, ultrasound and finally a core biopsy which showed I had invasive micropapillary carcinoma.

I had surgery, then 4 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks of radiotherapy and one year of Herceptin treatment as I was HER2 positive. I am now cancer free but will not be clear for another few years.

The one thing I am grateful for is those that consistently speak about self examination because without it I probably would not have as good an outcome. Please, please, please - check your boobies!

Irene Lowe
Melton, Victoria, Australia

Wow 2014 a year to remember!

I would like to commend everyone who is fighting the fight and The Breast Cancer Site too; this site helped me through my darkest hours during my treatment. To know that I was not alone, the stories and the words of encouragement that I read helped to keep me positive. I am healthy & active 54 year with no history of any cancer. On a Wed., March 2014 one year to the date of my last mammogram I was called back by the radiologist who has read my mammograms for 14 years - there was a spot; he wanted me to come in the following Mon., I said NO I want to come in today; 1:30 p.m. sonogram performed then suggested a biopsy, 10 long days passed before the results, it was BC. Wow, thank god my husband was home that morning. The next step a surgeon appt - after many tests. Surgery was scheduled for a lumpectomy. After another 5 long days final results Stage 1 ER+ PR+ HER+ oncology report 19 No Lymph Nodes Clear Margin (Thank GOD) but chemo was a sure thing due to the HER2 gene. 6 rounds of chemo with Herceptin, finished chemo late August then 33 rounds of radiation. Herceptin to continue until April 2015. It was brutal - but I got up every morning went to work. I needed to - it kept my mind busy. Being busy helped me to shake the up and down feelings. Besides the treatment so many other things went wrong in the year of 2014, I truly feel I was being tested to see how strong I really was. I have always been a spiritual person but now even more - everyday I pray and thank God for early detection; I thank God for my support team of friends, family; coworkers & Dr's but most of all my husband of 36 years. I truly learned what "In Sickness & Health" means, he never left my side! I still wake up and say "Wow", but I tell myself that I am going to be alright!

Margaret
Marana, AZ

What cancer didn't take

What Cancer Didn't Take

Cancer invaded my home, my family.

It took my mother as it's victim, it slowly seeped into this beautiful soul and buried itself deep down.

Cancer preys on unsuspecting souls.

Weak or healthy, young or old.

But this time , it picked a fighter .

My mom didn't go down without a fight .

When it claimed her breast, she bought a new one.

When it thinned her hair, we shaved it.

When it put toxic poison in her body , she fought it.

When it made her so weak and tired, she took a break and got right back up.

When it threatened to take control of her body, she shouted " YOU WILL NEVER TAKE MY

SOUL".

She held on to her sense of humor, her strength, courage, and her love for her family.

When it started to take her ability to do simple things, she challenged it and won some fights.

Cancer may have taken my mothers but it only took her body,

I still have her love, heart, and soul.

A million memories , her traits of being a wonderful woman and mother,

and the courage and strength to face anything.

In memory of Denise Toth

6-11-49 - 2-23-13

Elizabeth toth
North Tonawanda, NY

Owning It

My diagnosis came as no great shock to me. at the age of 41, I know my own body well enough to know something's different. On October 30, 2014 I went in for a mammogram with a pretty large lump that I had felt for quite a long time before this. The tech immediately called in the radiologist, and, that same day, things got underway! I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and the lump was 3.5cm in size. Unfortunately, a few days later, on the day of my biopsy, my mother was diagnosed with a heart condition and needed immediate surgery for that, so I postponed. This was a blessing in disguise! It gave me time to think, research, love and live. On January 6, 2015 I had a bi-lateral mastectomy with sentinal lymph node biopsy, and I was out of the hospital less than a day later. I'm still fresh out of surgery, but one thing I have learned through this experience is that research is great, but don't let it scare you! I saw videos of people having my same surgery that were in bed for weeks afterward. I was up and walking around within hours. I've taken a total of two pain pills in the past 3 days, and I feel fine! This is YOUR experience... OWN IT!

We've all heard it preached.. self exams. Do Them. Research.. Do It! Groups.. find a great group that you can lean on for support. All these things matter, but above all, give your cancer a name and OWN IT! (My cancer's name is GONE)

Dixie
Atascosa, TX

Don't Ignore It!

At 38 I felt the lump. I have family members with fibroids so I ignored it and chalked it up to genetics. Also, I was healthy, didn't "feel" sick and no family history of any cancer. I didn't have insurance so rarely went to the doctor. March 11, 2014 just 6 days before my 40th birthday I went to my family doctor for extreme pain in my hip joint. My fiancé encouraged me to have her look at the lump since I was going anyway. I was still ignoring it! I mentioned it to her as side note, and she immediately sent me to have a mammogram. That was followed by an ultrasound then recommendation for biopsy. I had the biopsy on my 40th birthday and two days later received the news...Cancer.

I went to surgeon who after examining me sent me straight to an oncologist. It had spread to lymph nodes near my collar bone. It was confirmed by scans that I had Stage 3C Estrogen + Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I started chemo 10 days later and would have to take 6 rounds followed by surgery and radiation. I opted to have a bilateral mastectomy 1 month after chemo ended. They removed 28 lymph nodes and found 23 to still have active cancer. My surgeon was not optimistic about my prognosis. Fear overwhelmed me, but I continued on with treatment (33 radiation treatments) since my oncologist was optimistic. I couldn't stop fighting. I have a 14 year old daughter who needs her mom, and I had finally found the man of my dreams. We were supposed to grow old together, and I needed to be here to see the amazing woman my daughter will grow to be. January 8th, 2015 I heard the words "Cancer Free"! It's been a long, hard road but with the support of my amazing family and friends I made it! Only thing left is reconstruction, 10 years of Tamoxifen, and a better year ahead! Cancer changed us all but we came out stronger than we ever imagined!

Cathy B.
Petal, MS

Breast Cancer, My Journey

I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in October 2014 from a routine mammogram. I was very shocked because I had not expected this. The lump was so deep that even the doctor couldn't feel it, but it was clear to see on both the mammogram and the ultra sound. Everything felt surreal, like it was happening to someone else, it was such a massive thing for my brain to process.

I had a lumpectomy and several lymph nodes removed in November, which revealed clear margins – they’d got all of the cancer. I began my 6 sessions of chemotherapy treatment in December, I still have 4 to go, which will be followed by 15 sessions of radiotherapy.

I was told that with this type of chemo I would definitely lose my hair, so I started looking at head wear options on various web sites, and came across some amazing women who filled me with ideas and inspiration. When my hair started to fall out I decided to take control, cancer was not going to take my hair, so I booked in at my local salon and had it all shaved off. The hairdresser was fantastic, we laughed at many anecdotes regarding hair loss and wigs, and he only charged me £5 for my ‘buzz cut.’

Cancer has changed me as a person. I no longer worry about the little things in life. I’m seeing the world through new eyes, like the winter sky and all its beauty. The dark nights that illuminate all the stars. I look at women with renewed awe and respect, because it’s down to them running races, baking cakes etc. that make breast cancer a little easier to bear, and I feel like never before the love of my family.

Catherine Meeson
Leeds, United Kingdom

Double trouble!

When I was 50 years old I suffered a really bad heart attack which damaged my heart for good. I have an aneurysm which fills up with blood clots so I have to take Warfarin/Coumadin for the rest of my life.

Well, I thought hopefully that's my bad luck finished with, until in November 2012 I felt a lump in my left breast.

It was almost on my sternum so I didn't think much of it but decided to have it checked out.

I went to our local hospital who have an all in one breast clinic. I went alone as I didn't think I would be told anything bad.

After the mammogram I had an ultrasound. The radiologist said she could see something abnormal and that she wanted the doctor to carry out a needle biopsy. He gave me a local anaesthetic but it still hurt!

I returned to the room where I first seen the consultant and he said to me "I think that this is a breast cancer, but we're not infallible so we'll get the biopsy tested and you can come back next week but bring someone with you as 4 ears are better than two".

As you might imagine, I walked out of there in a daze. Just then my husband rang to ask how I'd got on and I had to tell him.

The results showed I had a high grade tumour which was HER2+

The treatment regime was gruelling due to my heart disease and my heart function deteriorated further, although it's supposed to be temporary but it's still not back to the way it was.

However, I'm still here, still fighting and now, 2 years after my mastectomy I'm feeling human again!

And as a lovely treat my husband has booked us a 3 week holiday in the Caribbean in April. Life is good and it just goes to prove that cancer is not an automatic death sentence anymore.

Good luck to all of you ladies (and men) who are going through this or recently diagnosed. There IS hope xx

Anne Howe
Keighley, United Kingdom

And it's cancer.....

Tough words. So many new words. On Nov 5, 2014 at 47 years old I went for my annual mammogram only to see something on the screen. I knew at that moment that I would get a call back. Repeats, ultrasound, biopsy then diagnosed with DCIS Stage 1, ER/PR +, HER-. My tumor was only 1 CM. Clinical diagnosis prior to surgery lead to a plan of lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, and radiation followed by 5-10 years of meds. I accepted that and prepared. I was engaged to be married June 2015. I wanted this done and ready to move on. We have 6 kids between us ages 10-25 and 3 grandbabies. My family needed me. My career, my marathon training - none of it allowed for me to skip too many beats. The ups and downs of this disease during diagnosis and treatment have proven to be so challenging. My surgeon called me one evening to tell me that the mass was removed and all margins cleared however 1 out of 3 lymph nodes had cancer. Now stage 2! Completely unexpected!! She mentioned a clinical trial called RXSponder and referred me to a medical oncologist. More unknown. My oncotype came in at 19, just barely in the intermediate risk group. I was scheduled to begin 6 rounds of chemo in 2 weeks but have chosen to put that on hold while I research the clinical trial. I've become used to the hurry up and wait involved in this process. On 1/1/15 I married my sweetie just a little earlier. Surrounded by our children, family, and my huge group of prayer warriors. My future is unknown. Randomized selection for either chemo or meds. It's in Gods hands as it has been since I first saw that spot. HUGS!

Danielle Brock-Eha
Burlington, KY

3x Breast Cancer Survivor

Hello my name is Dedrach Matthews and I'm a three (3) time bi-lateral breast cancer survivor. 1998, at the age of 28, I found a lump in my right breast and I had a biopsy performed, which confirmed that he lump was cancerous. At which time I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. I had to undergo surgery and chose to have a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy. I had six months of aggressive chemotherapy and 12 weeks of radiation therapy.

Six years later (February) 2004, I found another lump but this time it was in my left breast, which resulted in another biopsy and again a lumpectomy. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Six months later (August) 2004, I couldn’t move the left side of my body. I thought that I was having a stroke. Fortunately, I wasn't having a stroke. My Oncologist ordered a PET scan STAT and the results were devastating. The cancer had returned and spread to my lymph nodes and into my chest wall.

Unfortunately, this time surgery could not be performed. This time I was diagnosed with stage 4 aggressive breast cancer. My doctors and surgeons stated that there wasn’t much more that they can do for me this time. Then they decided that they will try a new aggressive chemo. I agreed and had six months of chemotherapy and 12 weeks of radiation therapy. I’m proud to say that this year 2015, I am 17 (right breast) and 11 (left breast) years BREAST CANCER FREE. I give God ALL the glory.

Dedrach Matthews
Baton Rouge, LA

Faith

I was 38 when I was diagnosed. I found my lump by myself and was told I had both ductal and lobular cancer in my right breast. I decided that a mastectomy was the way to go. I Don't regret my decision. I had a nipple-sparring mastectomy and my surgeons did a beautiful job. My cancer did not spread, and so I was told I would just need to take Tamoxifen. I also tested negative for any genetic genes. The reason why I wanted to write on here was to tell you that, I believe what happen to me was a blessing. It changed me into a better person. One day I went to a healing mass and discovered a wonderful devotion called the Divine Mercy! I encourage you to pray this wonderful, powerful prayer. Along with the Rosary! I pray everyday for all those with cancer and I believe trust in Jesus will save you!! God Bless!!!

Anonymous
new haven, CT
Flurry of Savings
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