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Breast Cancer: Take 2 and Done

After being diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ of the left breast in October of 2008 and having a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, here I was 5 1/2 cancer-free years later, preparing for a hysterectomy and oophorectomy because I had tested positive as a carrier of the gene that causes breast and/or ovarian cancer...my General Surgeon suggested a routine mammogram since it was time for it anyway, so I complied. A new pair of eyes belonging to a new Radiologist at our facility saw something she wasn't comfortable with, so a biopsy of the right breast was ordered and performed. Several days later, I was hit with the news AGAIN. (I couldn't wait the whole weekend to see the surgeon the following Monday, so I went to Medical Records and got a copy of my pathology report and reviewed it with the physician that I work with.) This time it was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Very small, very new, very cancer. By this time, I decided that I'd had enough. Over the next month, preparations were made to align both my General Surgeon and Gynecologist to have both a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy/oophorectomy during one surgical event on July 1st, 2014. 6 weeks of medical leave from work ensued, which I could not afford, but I have such an AMAZING army of family and friends, this was not going to stop us! My army has rallied and fought beside me, made sure that no bill would go unpaid, that no need would be unmet, and that I would never feel alone. On October 10th, 2014, I completed 12 weeks of chemotherapy again, and cannot express the gratitude I feel, how loved and supported I have been during this second journey! It has helped tremendously to share every step with those that I love, my family and friends, MY ARMY.

Angie
Santa Fe, TX

Eight Little Words-Big Impact

In January, 2011 I went for my regular mammogram. I was called back for a redo. Then an ultrasound. I was told there were microcalcifications that could be nothing or could be cancer. The words that came next floored the nurse and the radiologist. I told them that now isn't a good time for this. The response was "when is it" a good time? I had to explain that I had just lost my father 3 months earlier and that my brother was upstairs in ICU. Oh my poor mother.

A week later. I had the biopsy and four days later heard those eight little words:" You have Stage 0 Ductal Carcinoma In Situ," Wow! The doctor and nurse told me that this was the best type of cancer to get. Yeah! Okay! Sure! This diagnosis came a week after my 48th birthday. Let the roller coaster begin.The gauntlet of emotions, research mode, survivor mode, educator. I said educator because during this time I heard a great deal of hurtful things by others. Some of the comments and questions that were made were not made to be mean but out of ignorance. Ignorance of the disease. I explained to others what my diagnosis was as well as treatments.

It's now close to four years later and I still reflect on all that has happened. I know that I would not have kept my sanity had it not been for close friends and family. I have lost friends through this and gained many more. I have gained a whole new group of "sisters" who have helped me when I needed someone who understood the place that I was at in this journey. I was lucky and I am thankful to a radiologist who insisted on the biopsy instead of waiting.

I try to help new "draftees" of this club no one wanted to join as others have helped me. Still wishing for someday when there will be a cure instead of just a treatment. I learned through this that I am a warrior. I am strong and I am a survivor!

Tina Prince
Waukegan, IL

My experience with breast cancer

In October of 2009 I was taking a shower at home and I did check for lumps maybe once a month. Well I found one, and I called my gyn, thinking it might have something to do hormones or something. She sent me to gat a mammogram. And then they ordered a ultra sound which led to a biopsy. It came back positive for cancer.

When I walked into the doctor's office and they told me the results....it felt like I was given a death sentence. It was a non-aggressive one thank god, and everything happened so fast, surgery, radiation for 6 weeks (everyday), it felt like you were burning from the inside out. I did not have any family support or anybody to talk to about it. I mean yeah the doctor's can answer you with medical questions but just girl talk. I was 39 years old. And scared to death.

My husband at the time, never cared or even bothered with me. He soon after asked me for a divorce, another long story. It took me 2 years just to say the word cancer. But every 6 months a check-up(which I always get nervous around that time)and so far yes I am a 5 year survivor.

Which I now say with pride and all my inner strength. I did it! it feels good to say that.

I hope my story can help someone who thinks they are all alone going through this......because you have so much inner strength you didn't know you had or where it came from but it's there. And I believed in God to take my hand and help me and guide me and comfort me.

All my prayers and strength to everyone dealing with cancer.....

Anonymous
Plattsburgh, NY

I am still here

I praise God everyday for giving me my life. I am a 15 year Breast Cancer Survivor. Twice diagnosed and I owe my survival to God. Hearing the words "you have cancer" can and will change the course of your life. I was first diagnosed at the age of 35 and then at the age of 42. I was living my life to the fullest and enjoying my career as a Nurse. When cancer comes into your life you feel like you have been given a dead sentence, you are unsure if you will make it another day, you ask God "why me, why me? "what did I do to deserve this"? But the truth is you did nothing, this not your fault! Once you have gotten over the shock of hearing the words "cancer" you realize that you have got to fight this demon ! You don't want to die you want to live ! So you cry! You pray and you pray! Fighting the Fight against Breast Cancer is not always easy but with the support of Medicine, Family, and Friends we can do this! We as Breast Cancer Survivors cannot stop hoping, praying, and Fighting! We are Strong! We will win! This Battle is not just ours but it is the Lord's! I refuse to stop fighting! I'm still here! Thank you Lord! Im still here!

Rose Harley
Allen Junction, WV

Gaye's story

My story started with a regular doctor's appointment, but my results were slow coming back.I. was told I would have to have a biopsy afterwards the doctor told me I would need to see a surgeon.At the time I had just remarried and was waiting to get my husbands insurance. That was November and we had to wait until Feburary for the insurance. Then on Valentines day 2006 my husband sent a beautiful bouqet of red rose's, less than a half an hour later my surgeon called and said she need'ed to see me immediatly, we knew, and we both cried it seams for hours. I had stage one breast cancer. My mammogram had caught it early, I could'nt even feel the lump. I had a lumpectomy, and six weeks of radiation ( which my husband drove me daily ) 8 years free and and a mammogram every year!

Gaye Kimble
Jackson, MI

I am not my breasts

In June 2014 I was forced to see the doctor by family, friends and colleagues because I was complaining about a lump in my right breast that was paining. I then went to hospital and they did 2 needle biopsies. The first test came back as it being fibroadenomas and the second sample they sent away. I left the hospital feeling optimistic and relieved. I believed that the second test would come back giving the same result.

Exactly 2 weeks later I was called back for a mammogram an ultrasound. The results were sent to the doctor on the same day. On the 20th June 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29. My lump was measured at 6cm. Upon hearing the news I did not know what my reaction was supposed to be. All I could manage to ask was “Are you serious?”

My doctor explained what would happen going forward. Immediately I saw the Oncologist and she explained that the lump has attached itself to my chest muscle and I will have to do chemotherapy before surgery. All I thought about was losing my hair and feeling sick because that is what I saw in the movies. I came home and reality still did not hit me until a week later.

I then made a decision that this is not the end for me but only the beginning of my journey to tell my story. A wise woman said something to me that stuck. She told me “You are not your breasts”. So my breast does not define who I am, my faith in God does. So I have complete faith that he will heal me.

I am still fighting breast cancer and I won’t give up. I thank my family, friends, colleagues and my amazing boyfriend for all the love and support.

Tania Hess
Cape Town, South Africa

Sisters

I lost my youngest sister last year to cancer. When she was diagnosed terminal.... I did a breast check and found a lump. The day after we buried her I had my biopsy. A childhood friend who had dealt with breast cancer naturally, talked me thru my chemo, her cancer came back full force and she passed away. I lost loved ones because they chose to ignore, postpone or chose alternative treatments. If my sister had not gotten cancer, I may not have checked quick enough. Get your mammograms and make sure you do self exams. I felt guilty at first, once; I was healthy again, but: now, I accept and am glad... I survived! I survived!

Salle Curtis
Pewamo, MI

My Experience with Breast Cancer

I have always had my mammograms every year, I had last mammogram in June of 2013. Everything thing was fine. In a few months after the mammogram I noticed that my nipple on my left breast had started to invert. I was at my G.I. doctor getting my check-up, and I decided to explain to him about my inverted nipple. He suggested that I get an ultrasound. Nothing showed up on the ultrasound, so he suggested a M.R.I. It came back cancer in my left breast in November 2013. I then had to have an ultrasound led biopsy on December 31, 2013. Because it was so hard to detect, he was worried about it being in my right breast. So I had an ultrasound and an M.R.I on the right one. It came back with a small amount of cancer in that one also. We decided I should have a double mastectomy. Before the mastectomy, I had to go through numerous tests, Thank God, these all came back negative. It had not spread anywhere else. My mastectomy was on February 25, 2014. They took out 9 lymph nodes, only one had a very small amount of cancer in it. I had reconstructive surgery right after the mastectomy. When I came out of surgery it was such a peaceful feeling, that it was going to be alright. My church people and my pastor was there along with my family praying. In April I had my first chemo session, I was scheduled for 6 but only had to have 4. I had my last treatment on June. In July I got my permanent implants. I have said all of this to get to my testimony, when I found out I had cancer, I kept asking why. One day I was praying and it came to me that the lord was telling me, I will take care of you through all of this from the beginning until it is over. He is no respecter of persons, what he did for me he will do for others! Just have faith and believe.

Judy Porter
Castalia, OH

Dear Mom

7 long, devastating,exhilarating,empty,fulfilled,blurry,memorable years w/o you.I'll just come right out & say it,those random times I go from laughing to an absolute monumental meltdown;those nights I toss & turn & still recall so vividly the way you smelled;those damn episodes of Grey's Anatomy;those days I just have absolutely no idea which road is best for me & would give anything to hear your wisdom.Those moments aren't a sign of weakness; I know that now. Instead,those moments are a clear & direct reflection of the utterly amazing woman you were & just hard difficult it's going to be to ever,ever stop missing you.Guess which life change I would be the most excited to tell you?It would be graduating with my MBA that you were 'there' for.I will never forget how dad reacted,since I never see him get sentimental outside of when you and Missy passed away.He handed me a card & was so tickled & in a hurry for me to open it when my response was ‘dad,it’s just a flipping card, I’m sure it’s only money..relax’ but what I didn’t know is what I would find when I opened that card. I opened it& immediately started balling knowing exactly what that card was only to silently hear Marco Polo say “Your mother bought that for your freshman year at Ohio State..she had such high hopes for you & knew what potential & what a bright future you had ahead of you that she went out & bought a graduation card after we dropped you off at your dorm. Since she didn’t get the chance to see you graduate for undergrad I thought it was only proper that you have a piece of her here with you to celebrate one of your biggest accomplishments..” You have touched many lives mom & continue to do so.I love u,will always miss u,& will stay strong for as long as I am living for u.You showed me what true strength was.What fighting a battle looked like & even more so, what winning a battle looked like you continue to be my inspiration.

Lindsey Escaja
Columbus, OH

fighting the fight

I went to the ER for a pain in my stomach, they did a CT scan that inadvertently got a spot on my left breast. When I went to have a mammogram I had missed my yearly so they did both sides and said the spot on my left side wasn't what they were worried about it was a spot on the right breast. More tests determined it was cancer so I had a lumpectomy. I liked my doctor but I wanted to go to an actual cancer hospital so I changed doctors and about 2 months later as I was healing they did an MRI just for precaution that showed the spot on the left side again that they later determined was indeed also cancer. I had another lumpectomy and a total of 68 radiation treatments. Thankfully it was caught very early. I know I didn't lose my hair with the treatments but I'm sure I have the same thoughts and fears about what was happening to my body and my life. It's all a very scary journey but I had a lot of support and lots of faith in God. I feel blessed that there re so many people that care. Be vigilant about your exams and keep the faith.

Terri Betts
St Louis, MO
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