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The inspirational stories below are just a sampling of the amazing people in your lives who have experienced breast cancer, and we are happy to be able to honor them here. Tell us your story of courage and love, and inspire other survivors and supporters around the world.
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Some years ago, my partner, the love of my life, was told she had primary biliary cancer. OK it was not breast cancer, but it is just as aggressive and the effect on the individual and their families is the same.
From day one Cherie vowed to fight this terrible thing, we saw many Doctors, there were tests, and eventually Chemotherapy. Once a week we attended the clinic and she went home on home therapy on a little pump - she named it Ralph, because the first few days of therapy made her so sick!
Throughout the 4 long months of chemo she kept up her spirit, she fought back and was often stronger than me. When the chemo was finished she was declared cancer free, on blood tests, but we knew it would come back.
We lived like there was no tomorrow, we traveled, we danced, we enjoyed love that no-one could take away from us. And we talked.
We talked about the day we would know it had returned, we talked about the ongoing fight, and we talked about the end.
18 months after the first diagnosis there were new signs, she in pain and losing weight. It was back. This time in her ovaries.
She had surgery to alleviate the symptoms and experimental chemo, but five months later I lost her. She wanted to be home when it came, and so, with a morphine pump, and my help as a Registered Nurse, my darling wife died in my arms at home.
Her message is one of courage. Her motto, "Never give up"! Even when the end was inevitable, she planned for what would come next. She even planned her own funeral.
Her courage against insurmountable odds gave me courage to carry on. She said once when we were alone, "I know that I will probably lose this fight; but people are learning from this, and that makes a difference. One day people like me will survive".
One way or another we can all make a difference. I will, for my darling Cherie. Rest in peace my love.
To make a long story short,my name is Lisa and in 1997 at the age of 34 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.In "98"I had an radical surgery to remove my left breast and nodes.I did the chemo,radiation,and took tamoxifen for 5 years.I was told that my attitude would be my best medicine.Well it was!..I had that outlook that I had cancer but it Didnt have me! I had things to do,places to go,things to see! I had a ten year old son that was my life,still is.I needed to survive for him as well as for me.So my thing,smile everyday even if it hurts,thank God in heaven for another day,take time for the small things in life. Feel the suns rays on your face,watch the fish swim,listen to the birds sing.....and live,love & laugh,don't ask why ,take it a day at a time,be strong,be you and don't forget to breath....I'm 52 now and my son is still my life sake,he made me want to live,and helped me along the way.he was part of my medicine,the attitude was the other part,and when you get so down about yourself,think of someone else that has it worse...it works,well for me anyway. So attitude has a lot do with everything you do. I would joke about everything,people would be like,but what you have is not funny, I said I know,but crying about it isn't going to make me better,thinking positive can! So...I did just that, Joking around about things made me laugh at times(and others). I had to think this way,to me there was no other way. So please,keep up that smile,look in the mirror everyday and say...I haver cancer but it don't have me!....and kick cancers butt!...so Live,Love,&Laugh....
On November 01, 2001 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This condition may not raise eyebrows unless it happened to you and you happened to be a woman. In my case, breast cancer raised more than a few eyebrows since I am a man. Believe, me I was shocked and surprised. Nevertheless, I went through a mental experience that few men ever stop and think about, even in their wildest dreams. I’m sure people noticed that I had larger breasts then most men, but I didn’t know that it would turn out to be cancer.
When I did discover the lump, it was April 2001. Ignoring it , until the late August 2001, when I started noticing little spots of blood on my white tees. Now I am thinking, what in the hell is going on now? The spots started getting larger and larger and when woke up I would see more and more blood. The months of September and October were spent going back and forth to the doctors and taking what seemed like an endless battery of tests. I actually had to get a mammogram. They found some calcifications from the mammogram and the doctors just wanted to make sure that was all it was. So I had a biopsy done on that 10/30/01. On 11/01/01the dr. called and told us that it was malignant. I had breast cancer.
I needed to tell my family and close friends. I had a double mastectomy on 12/13/01. From June 2002 through July 2002 I endured ten and a half weeks of radiation.
The cancer has come back only once, but I’m in remission now. I continue to fight every day for all persons with breast cancer, especially men.
Sadly on October 19 2013 my biggest supporter, my mama Lora Kirkland passed, but I continue to fight on with her spirit beside me.
In 2010 I was changing my life in a huge way, uprooting my three children and leaving an abusive marriage of 16 years. I was giddy with relief and freedom and found myself buying dresses (completely out of character) and laughing freely. Shortly after I left my home I found myself hugged by a dear friend and felt a spark I would have never had guessed would happen! I took a leap and started dating! Whoa! Divorce finalized quickly and I was scheduled to take care of a lump that I had been concerned about for three years! It never showed up on any imaging, mammo or ultrasound, but finally in September 2010 there is was on ultrasound. Reports said it was benign, the gyn said benign, the surgeon said it's benign- but that she would remove it simply because you could see it just under the nipple. Day after Christmas I went in for my excisional biopsy. I remember being so upset that my nipple pulled to the left! Haha. Results came in on Jan 4th, 2011. Cancer. I had been "dating" for 6 months. I was terrified. I am a single parent, newly divorced, living in my mother house and my savings were now all going to medical bills. I had my second surgery for clean margins within the month and my boyfriend did not let me leave, he took in me and my kids. Unwrapping after that surgery was devastating. I always considered myself independent, hated crying, despised asking for help. In that moment I needed the unconditional love I had never experienced. John gave that and more! Counseling, radiation therapy, nerve damage and an online journal along with family and amazing friends & painting got me through. My last day on radiation fell on Relay For Life, I was a guest speaker. I survived. I love my life more everyday, I have helped others cope with this horrible disease thank to my experience. I fear everyday that it will return; but I will beat it again!
Even under the best of circumstances 2013 was going to be a challenging year. I was working full time and working on my dissertation, but I never dreamed that I would be educator, student, and patient. During my annual wellness exam in February, I asked my doctor to take a look at my breast, I felt a lump and my nipple had inverted. She immediately had me set up an appointment for a mammogram. The little voice in my head started whimpering when they wanted to do an ultrasound, but it didn't start screaming until the radiologist wanted to see me. He was very forward as he pointed out a mass in my left breast and said the word malignant. I had a lump that needed to be biopsied as soon as possible.
That seems so long ago now, and yet it has also been a whirlwind. Life now is broken into BBC and ABC. No, not British Broadcasting and American Broadcasting, but Before Breast Cancer and After Breast Cancer. Or maybe it should be BF and AF, Before Foobs and After Foobs. Survival is more than just putting one foot in front of the other, it's laughing when you trip over your own feet. Laughter and friendship make even the worst days possible to deal with. It is said you never know how strong you are until you are tested, and 2013 had been more of a test than I ever wanted. I somehow managed to write my dissertation and even a couple of papers for publication while going through chemo. I completed my doctorate after my bilateral mastectomy and graduated in April 2014. Being able to fly to Gainesville to walk that stage surround by friends, family, and mentors, that was the first step on my next journey.
My fight started all in the fall of 2013, my sister past away last year from breast cancer, and I had made a promise to her to start taking better care of my health. I started to go back to the doctors. But one evening I was sitting on the couch i had reached up to itch an area on my left breast I found a lump. I was only 47, I never had my first mammogram. So I schedule my very first one as it was hard on me to do since the passing of my sister Denise. She was quite the fighter.
Later on in the season towards winter I had become really sick with pneumonia, bronchitis and c,o,p,d, I knew there was something wrong with my body. I ended up on an ambulance going to Clinton, Missouri there they put me on the ventilators my carbon dioxide level was 94 and not enough oxygen. They life flighted me to the city where I eventually made it off the ventilators and they schedule a biopsy on the lump that I had found. Needless to say they found two lumps on the same breast. The results came back it was Stage 4 breast cancer. It had already spread to my spine and pelvic area.
As I got my strength up and was released, I started my Journey with my first round of chemotherapy it was the strongest of the 3 medications they could give a person. I lost my hair, i had sores on my feet and hands. I couldn't hardly eat, I lost 40 Lbs. But it put a hold on the cancer that was there. It was doing its job for that time. Then they scheduled me for my double mastectomy. I did wonderfully recovering from that in the summer time. Although missed out on swimming and all the fun stuff a mom could do with her son. He was a trooper right along with me. I am here a year later, my markers are down by 7, I choose to keep fighting!
My name is Cynthia Kaley, my inspiration is Angelina Jolie. When she told the world that she had a double mastectomy, I prayed for her. When she said she stated that it didn't make her any less of a woman. I cheered for her. A few months later I found a big lump on my breast. That is what some people do not understand, that morning it wasn't there, by night time it was. I had the genetic test done 2 times. Thank God it came out negative. But because of Angelina, I had already made the decision to have a double mastectomy if it had come out positive. She reminded me that not having them wouldn't make me any less of a woman, unless I allow someone to treat me that way. I tell everyone my story. I hope to be an inspiration to others, the way she inspired me. Thank you Angelina, one day I hope to be able to thank you in person.
I was 40 years old and my gyn said it was time for me to get my first mammogram. I expected it to be very routine. I had NO lumps and no family history. Of course I would have a clear mammogram or so I thought. It was July 7, 2014 when I had my first mammogram. It was followed up with another mammogram, an ultrasound, and biopsy. On July 11th, I got the call. I had breast cancer- invasive ductal carcinoma. My precious husband was sitting next to me holding my hand as we had the call on speaker phone. As tears streamed down my face, I was so scared. I was a wife and a mother of two wonderful boys. I knew I had to fight this battle. As I met with my oncologist and surgeon, I was told I had a 1 cm of invasive cancer and many precancerous cells. Well, I saw my mammogram and I knew there was only one option for me. I chose to have a double mastectomy. I did not want to fight this battle again. I had my double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction on August 5, 2014. A couple of days later I was told that I had a lot more cancer than what they thought. I had four tumors- an 8 cm, 6 cm, 4 cm, and a 2 cm in the right breast and precancerous cells in the left. God had given me a peace from the beginning with my decision for a double mastectomy. Now I knew why. I was blessed that it had not spread to my lymph nodes and the doctors felt like everything was contained. I am currently taking chemo (16 rounds) and have two more treatments left. It will be followed up with 30 rounds of radiation.I can not express the importance of getting a mammogram. I am fighting the hardest battle of my life, but I am a "Pink Warrior"! I shall overcome! Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
April 1st, 2011...the news came in...Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma! I was 46 years old. No family history of breast cancer, and otherwise very healthy. I had had mammograms for six years, already, because of 'dense' breast tissue. My family doctor thought it would be a good idea to have routine mammograms every year just to be on the safe side. After the sixth mammogram something had changed. There was an architectural distortion. From that distortion to a 2.1cm tumour in two weeks!
Six rounds of chemotherapy, 30 rounds of radiation and six surgeries later, I remain cancer free! Lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, reconstruction, oophorectomy and a final 'nip tuck' to make everything right...all is GREAT. In April, it will be FOUR years!
I look back on the past 3 1/2 years with a smile on my face. I am a changed person! I have always been a positive person but now, even more so! Life is amazing! I value every single second of it. I wouldn't change one bit of it. IT all made me the strong force I am today. I am blessed and thank God for everyday! What, for some, would be the scariest thing in their life has been my greatest gift.
In October of this year (2014) my sister, Michelle was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She had a multi centric tumor on the left breast, as well as signs of cancer cells in the lymph nodes on the left side. The best option given was for her to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, followed by chemo and radiation. At 51 yrs old and with her loving husband Bob and two amazing children, Kayli 18 and Justin 15, as well as sisters, nieces and nephews and many loving friends, Michelle made it very clear to everyone that fighting, smiling and positivity were the only words she would allow. Chemo began just days before Thanksgiving, dose 3 was 2 days before Christmas, reconstruction continues, hair loss has occurred and still, my sister continues to keep a smile on her face and a purpose in her step. Through a support page on Facebook our family and friends can keep up to date on treatments and post messages of love and support. Michelle has inspired a community to love, fight and appreciate everything and every chance that comes our way. There are still months of treatments and challenges, but my sister has given every one of us the confidence that there is no other way to fight cancer except head on and with courage and grace. We know that in the future we will all look back at this time and know that because of Michelle we are all stronger and wiser. And we hope that we have shown Michelle that in her fight No One Fights Alone.