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Breast Cancer was no Surprise

In May of 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 invasive lobular carcinoma with 5 large metastatic lymph nodes in my underarm. I had a mammogram just 3 months before that and it was okay. I noticed a sensation in my left breast of extreme heaviness and I was conscious of my breast all day. Then it became sore to touch and felt thickened. My doctor sent me for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. The next day I had a biopsy of the 3.5 cm tumor and 1 of my nodes. Two days later I got the diagnosis.

It was no surprise because I have family history and very fibrocystic breast. My mother and sister have had Breast Cancer. What did surprise me was having Stage 3 with 5 large lymph nodes. I really thought I would find it earlier because I have worked in Breast Imaging Centers as a Mammographer for many years. I expected to recognize my own much faster than most. The problem was that lobular is not as easy to find and tends to not show on the mammogram. It is rarely a lump and does not exhibit itself very easily, so that is what happened.

I had a bilateral mastectomy and nodes removed. The biopsies showed 2 precancers in the other breast so it was the right decision. I did not have reconstruction because I wanted to minimize surgeries so I could fight this cancer with all I had. I did not want to compromise my immune system by trying to heal from multiple surgeries. I have been on femara for 3.5 years and had chemo and radiation. Femara is a hormone blocker for hormone positive cancer.

I am doing well so far at almost age 60 and in remission so far. I continue to work and be an advocate for all patients in our facility. Breast Cancer has helped me to grow and to appreciate everyday. My friends and family were and are so supportive. I thank God for them all every day. Life is much sweeter when you are allowed a second chance!!!

Ginny Edwards
Hartsville, SC

My Story

My story began in 2006, I went for my annual mammogram and a spot was found and then I had to have a biopsy and it was discovered that I had breast cancer - but it was the kind of breast cancer that was NOT caused by birth control pills but I cannot take any kind of hormones! And because of my age I had radiation via Mammosite (which is a system that involves a cathier inserted and radiation delivered twice a day 12 hours apart for 7 days) then I went through chemo from October to December, 2006. Then in 2007 began my journey to of healing and with my faith and my husband I journey daily back to health! And I always go for my annual mammogram!

Mia Morgan
Owensboro, KY

I'm a survivor

I found a lump under my arm and went to the doctor and had it biopsied and the results came back positive for stage 2 carcinoma i did 2 in a half months of Chemo and a masectomy followed by 2 months of radiation and 6 weeks of chemo again i have been cancer free for 15 years

Lydia Wenndell
Tacoma, WA

My journey

I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma in July of 2010. I was having pain in my left breast and found the lump myself. I had a mastectomy on my 46th birthday. 4 rounds of chemo and no radiation. I had reconstruction almost 4 months after finishing chemo. I believe having reconstruction so soon is what caused my horrible complications. I was in renal failure and spent 8 days in ICU. I also had double pneumonia and blood clots in my leg and both lungs. I spent a total of 4 weeks in the hospital, wore a wound vac for 3 months and was out of work 3 and a half months.I also tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation and had a hysterectomy in 2012. Thankful to God every day that I have only a few residual side effects ramaining

Dawn Hill
Columbus, GA

My Journey

My journey began in October 2007. I found a lump in my left breast. Ihad a biopsy of the lump. When I woke up in recovery the surgeon said it was an encapsulated tumor and that he had removed it. I received a call from the surgeon to say that the biopsy had come back positive for cancer.I called Dr. Beth DuPree and I was scheduled to meet with her the next week.

When my husband and I met with Dr. DuPree with were so impressed and much relieved that I would be in such good hands. We found out at that time that the surgeon who had done the biopsy had not done clear margins or checked the lymph nodes. My next surgery was January 2008. Unfortunately, one lymph node tested positive. So now I had to have chemotherapy as well as radiation.

I began chemotherapy with Dr. Reilly in February. It was decided that I would not teach the rest of the school year. I watched my baby granddaughter while out of work. I have to say Emily was my inspiration during this time. I looked forward to seeing her little smiling face each day and was busy taking care of her instead of thinking about my situation.

. I went back to teaching in September of 2008.

However, my journey did not end there. In April of 2012 I began getting pains and a burning in my stomach at night that would last for about 2 hours and then go away. It turned out I had lesions on the liver and bones.

After a consultation with Penn it was decided I would have chemotherapy again with Dr. Reilly and his amazing staff. .

I have had my chemo treatments changed and am doing better.

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful support system with family, friends, doctors, nurses, and my fantastic Metafriends group.

Always keep as positive as possible, this makes such a difference.

Linda Ordini
Ewing, NJ

Bilateral mastectomy, the only way to go!

I am a 3 yr survivor. I was diagnosed at age 47. My mom is a 16 yr survivor. They found DCIS in my left breast. "You have cancer", that was all I heard! I knew that if this ever happened I would remove both my breast. THANK GOD for intuition...I had a bilateral mastectomy (on my poor son's 15th b-day). Two weeks post op I am told they found invasive carcinoma in the right breast when it had been removed. Oncologist assumed it had been there as long as 5 yrs!!! Mind you, I've been having mammograms since age 32 (15 yrs). Back to surgery I went to have lymph nodes removed from the right side. All nodes clear! Thank God, again! I am still taking my chemo pill everyday (2 more yrs:) and a few other things to counter side affects. I am cancer FREE and healthy. Because of my journey I am a STRONG believer in removing BOTH breasts...I could have died not knowing about the other side...and who needs em?! I got two brand new beautiful ones that won't kill me😍 And I got to see my beautiful daughter graduate and now my amazing baby boy too. Life is good. God bless all of you who are just having to begin this journey! Find something to laugh about, it helps!

Shelley Ward
Oregon City, OR

My fight!

On February 10, 2014 my dr found a lump in my right breast, I was scared to death. I was sent to the hospital for my 1st mammogram and ultrasound. I was told its suspicious of cancer and was sent for a biopsy on February 18, 2014. On February 21,2014 I got my call it was breast cancer. Worst day of my life. All I could think of was was my kids, I have a beautiful 11 yr old daughter and a gorgeous 3 yr old son. Ive prayed to God that he leave me here to watch them grow up. This has been so devasting to me. I am 40 yrs old and my lump was found 2 days before my 40th birthday. On March 24, 2014 I had a right breast masectomy with 23 lymph nodes removesd, 14 of them had cancer. I have invasive ductal carcinoma in stage 3 due to the size of my tumor and all the nodes taken. I am 2 weeks post op and slowly recovering. I go next week to meet my oncologist because I was told I have to have chemo and radiation then probably take a pill for 10 years. I pray everyday that I survive this. Right now Im still in the shock, crying everyday stage of my life. Ive got to get strong and kick cancers butt for my kids and my hubby. My heart goes out to anyone who has to go throuh this fight.

Stephanie Buckley
Pomeroy, OH

Stay Strong

They say that everything happens for a reason...I truly believe that and it will become apparent to me....

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in feb 2014 aged 55 and otherwise healthy.....it was like a bolt out of the blue.

In March 2014 I had surgery...a right localised therapeutic mammoplasty and sentinel node biopsy on my right breast. The results came back and they were successfull in cutting out the cancer from my breast and the margins were all clear but cancer cells were found in one of my lymph nodes and learned that my cancer was Grade 2, 50mm in size.

I am due to go for further surgery on 14th April to remove all lymph nodes from under my right arm followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone suppressing tablets... Cosmetic surgery on the other breast to give me a matching pair!

In the space of a few months my entire world has been turned upside down but with so much to live for and fantastic support and love from my partner, family and friends.. I remain positive and determined.

I had No symptoms and if it wasn't for a routine mammogram it would have gone unnoticed and untreated . Early detection has saved my life for which I will be eternally grateful

Positive Attitude All The Way. Sharing stories does help to heal.

Susan Scott
Glasgow, United Kingdom

Breast cancer at 29 & 38

I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, I had lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I have been 9 years free, then late last year was diagnosed with breast cancer again (re-occurrence in the original breast), same type grade 3 and triple negative. This time I have undergone bilateral mastectomy (my choice) and chemotherapy. Luckily the cancer wasn't in my lymph nodes, or anywhere else. It's been a rocky road but I've got through it. Luckily I have managed to work as I have a very supportive ward manager and work colleagues. I may not have wanted to get up some days, but I have a 2 year old who is my little miracle. She has given me the strength on a daily basis to get up and move forward. I have a loving husband and a 20 year old daughter too, they have been my rock. I have also had the gene test, which I'm awaiting the results of. Life is for enjoying as none of us know what is around the corner, but I'm here and looking forward to a brighter future.

Jo Quigley
Falmouth, United Kingdom

Breast Cancer at 45

Went for my yearly check up May2013. Two days later got a call that i need to take another mammogram of the right breast,had that done. Doctor said will wait 6 month to do another mammogram ,that was dec 16th 2014. Was told i needed a biopsy and they recommend a bilateral MRI. The biopsy of the right breast was cancer. Had bilateral MRI and they found a spot in the left breast. Went for an Ultra Sound to locate the spot on the left, but do to my dense breast they could not locate the spot so i had to have a MRI stereotactic biopsy.That came back as stage 1 cancer. I already knew i was having a mastectomy on the right so i decided i would have a Bilateral Mastectomy which i got on March 7th 2014. My margins came back clean and my lymph nodes came back clear. Will have Breast reconstruction in Philly on April18th. There is no cancer in my family, i even did the genetic test and came back good. I was just the 1 in 8 women that happened to. I had no lumps. I can't stress enough to every woman to not miss their annual Mammogram cause that is the only reason they found my cancer. I believe the way everything happened to me was a Blessing because the stage 1 cancer on the left breast never showed up in the mammogram and the Ultra Sound could not locate it either. So who knows how long that could have grown before it would have been detected. I don't need any other treatment for the cancer just a 6month check up (Blood work & Chest X-rays) and 6month check up and then yearly. I also have a wonderful Husband and loving family that made this journey easier for me,also a loving church family that would check up on me bring us food and send get well cards. I was 45 when i was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our first grandchild will be born july 2014 and i want to be 100% good.

Petra King
Washington Boro, PA
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