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one year survivor

"In october 2013 i found a lump in my left breast, after a mammogram/ultrasound and finally a biopsy on November 11 2013 i got the news i did not wanted to hear from my oncologist i was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma stage 3 breast cancer.

At that time all i thought was will i survive my dr explain to me all side effects from treatment but i stll had my doubts. More test were done i started chemo the following week. My first day of chemo yes i was nervous but the nurses were so nice to me that i forgot about how nervous i was.

During my chemo treatments i just put my headphones closed my eyes and listen to my favorite songs on youtube i remember listening to kelly clarkson song "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

I met new friends during my treatments we told our stories gave each other strenght. One of them lost her battle with breast cancer that was a very sad day but she is our angel now.

After nine chemo treatments had a double mastectomy surgery and the removal of lymph nodes. two weeks after i got the good news that i'm cancer free. On december 5. 2014 will finish 33 rounds of radiation and im very happy.

Thanks to my family and friends for their support and prayers. I been blessed with wonderful drs and nurses..god always gave me the strenght in my time of weakness.

I love my new life everyday is a blessing

yucaipa, CA


I am thankful for. . .

1. My diagnosis of breast cancer 4 1/2 years ago;

2. The discovery of Herceptin about 15 years ago, which is used to treat HER2+ cancers—before then, there was NO treatment;

3. The answer to my prayer that God use my cancer journey to help other women traveling the cancer road;

4. God leading me to start His project—The Sparkle Caps Project—in 4 years, we have given out over 1,000 sponsored gift bags of blessings to women battling cancer;

5. My husband Gary, family and friends who supported me on my breast cancer journey;

6. The new friends and acquaintances that I have made because of cancer;

7. The support (in so many ways) and encouragement of others, which lights a fire to my passion to help other women dealing with cancer;

8. The wisdom to listen and the desire to follow my Heavenly Father’s instructions;

9. The tears that flow too freely and the deep-seated compassion that allows me to pass on God’s love to our Sisters in Pink, Green, Yellow, Black, Burgundy, White, Orange, etc.

10. God, who loves me like no other can.

We are blessed, each of us, in so many ways during our trials. When we get to the light at the end of the treatment tunnel, we experience life with more appreciation; more compassion for others; less judgment (walk a mile in my shoes), and a greater joy for life. We do not know our time on this earth. OUR DESTINIES CAN BE SHAPED BY CANCER BUT NOT DETERMINED BY CANCER.

Susan "Victorious" Heimbigner
Sumter, SC

Always Have Faith, Amen

Hi my name is Dinky (nick name), at 51 I was told I have Non-Invasive DCIS. Scary words to hear. It started out with a yearly October Breast Cancer exam. A gift of life I do every year to myself. Next came sterotactic biopsy, ultrasound and the the words " clustered microcalcifications" with changes on the breast for past 6 months = cancer. Surgery for double complete mastectomy with immediate reconctruction (3-4 hr surgery) came next and worth all the pain that came with it. This past July, it was surgery to have my girl implants place with the 1st infection a week later. So second surgery the following week came to drain the built up infected fluid, soak the implant in triple antibiotic solution and replaced her back into her space. Works!!! Now 11-25-2014 yesterday, I went in for my 4th surgery, skin grafting for my new nipples. I'm home recovering and very comfortable. A little sore with some pain. Next will be my tattoo in 3 months and in 6 months will have some tummy lipo to fill in new breast areas that can use some fill. Two & one deal :)

I continue to see my MD's who have been the "Best"!!!!! I'm truly blessed to have such a beautiful family, wonderful friends who have become my family, my pets who have been here to love & cuddle with me, my faith which has been with me from day one and my husband who this year sent me away on a dream cruise vacation to Europe which included the vatican. We are schedule to cruise the Caribbean very soon for some rest, sun and warm waters. He has given me some much love, support and has shown me he loves me as I am. Xoxo Jim! This journey has taught me life is so precious and to love everyday! I do wish all my BC sister a journey filled wth much love & support. ;)

Santa Rohnert, CA

Being diagnosed with cancer saved my life

Being diagnosed with cancer saved my life.

My journey began in early 2013 with my annual mammogram and the dreaded call back. Six months later, after a follow-up test, I heard those words, the words you never want to hear from your doctor. ‘There is no easy way to say this, you have cancer’. On Nov 18th, 2013 I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

YOU HAVE CANCER – these 3 words change your life in an instant. Your life, as you know it, will never be the same. The day I was diagnosed, my sister asked me ‘how are you doing ?’. My response was the same as always - ‘Every day is a good day, even today’.

Next was a long road. Surgery, 12 weeks of chemo and 7 weeks of daily radiation treatments. Adding insult to injury, I had an underlying heart condition and had a heart attack between chemo and radiation treatments. There is a lot to be said about being in the right place at the right time. I was told I was headed for a massive heart attack and it was going to be soon. Had I not been in cancer treatments, my heart condition may have gone undetected and the outcome would have been very different.

Being diagnosed with cancer saved my life.

The most important person in my journey has been the love of my life. I've been married to my awesome husband, for 27.5 years. He tells me EVERYDAY how much he loves me and that I'm beautiful :) I am so very blessed.

Being diagnosed with cancer does not define you BUT, LIFE as you know it, will never be the same… in many ways it will be better. 

The only thing stronger than fear my friends is HOPE. For now, I cling to the HOPE of navigating this life FREE of cancer !

Life is a journey… this is just a bump in the road !


Betty Stafford Clarke
Gilbertsville, PA

April 25 2014

In December 2013, I was sitting on the floor when my dog Nikki came over and started circling around me, barking the entire time. She jumped in my lap, something which she never does, and started pawing at the area that would soon be discovered by a routine mammogram in March 2014.

I had an ultrasound and biopsy & was told before I left from having the biopsy that I had cancer.

I had my first surgery in June. They told me that I have stage II invasive ductile carcinoma. The tumor was 1.8 and was aggressive. I had 19 lymph nodes removed and only 3 were cancerous. The margins were not cleared after the first surgery, so I had a second surgery in July.

I began chemo in August and tried to stay off of the internet to avoid any preconceived ideas of side effects. Chemo was hard, but the Neulasta shot was worse. I had bone-crushing pain that I have never felt before. Losing my hair was difficult, but I decided to shave my head and have SOME control over things.

I was unable to complete chemo because I broke out in hives all over & some were about the size of golf balls. I ended up in the ER 2 times. I began radiation about a month after my last chemo treatment, which is where I am now. I have 7 of 34 rounds of radiation to go. My hair is slowly growing back and I am finally taking a week off of work to rest. Radiation makes me very tired, but is not nearly as bad as chemo. I begin taking Tamoxifen for 10 years after I complete radiation.

Everyone has told me that I have "The right attitude" about this. You either decide to fight or not. Those are the choices. I love my family and friends. I have a lot to live for and refuse to give up, so for now I fight. God has his plan for me. That I am sure of.

Terri Livingston
Boynton Beach, FL

Please get a mammogram and do self breast exams!!!

The day this picture was taken I was given my diagnosis that the lump I found on March 2, 2014 was indeed breast cancer. I had no idea that my husband had arranged with all my kids so that they would be there for this surprise family photo. It was just supposed to be for our church directory. That day was one of the happiest days of my life, 2 words "it's cancer" wasn't going to steal my joy. I got to go with my daughter and see my grandson kicking around, ninja style. Then visited my son in law at work to show him the ultrasound pictures. Then we got these portraits done. Then I got to enjoy a rare occasion...having dinner with all my kids at the same time. We had so much fun laughing and enjoying each other. This day is definitely one of my favorite memories.

I was told that I would have to start chemo immediately and had a port put in. Chemo scared me more than the cancer. I asked everybody I knew to pray for NO CHEMO or RADIATION. When I finally saw my oncologist for the first time she decided to run the oncotype test...probably because I was triple positive. It came back under 18 which determined that chemo would not work for my tumor. On May 21st I had a bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy and on Sept 24th I had reconstruction. I am now cancer free and on tamoxifen for the next 5-7 yrs. I am grateful for the doctors that God put in my path and the prayer warriors that prayed without ceasing. When I found the lump my husband asked for an alter call to pray over me and God told me I would be OK & I am.

Lisa Hatfield
Sevierville, TN

My worst nightmare came true....

Hi! My name is Dot .... September 2014 I found a lump in my right breast went to see my doctor who sent me for mammogram and ultrasound after that was told I would have to have a biopsy which was done on 9/26 and I got the call on 9/29 it was Invasive ductal carcinoma ER/PR and Her2 positive and because of the size of it they are saying Stage 2....I cried...OH how I cried....My Mother died of breast cancer in 2006...she had a long hard fight....I miss her terrible.... she had found something in her breast...but ignored it for a long time....and when she finally said something she was already Stage 4....she had chemo radiation and a radical mastectomy....lived another 10 years cancer free...then it came back with a vengeance in her lungs liver and bones....and took my dear Mother..... she was first diagnosed at age 50..... but they said her cancer probably began when she was about 44.....well I had feared my 44th birthday coming since I found that out.....GUESS WHAT...I turned 44 on 9/16!!! BUT I found my lump and immediately had it checked and they have made sooo many advances in breast cancer care....and have THE BEST doctors taking care of me....and an incredible amount of support behind me. It is going to be a long road Chemo first to shrink then surgery then more chemo and radiation and hormone therapy.

I have a wonderful husband and 4 beautiful children...Merri 17 Alli 10 Tori 8 and Cole 6 I NEED to survive because of them....I WILL survive because of them!!! I also have 5 sisters and a brother who have been fierce in their support!!! oh my goodness you would think they were fighting my fight for me.... I also have an INCREDIBLE ARMY of friends who have also been fighting this fight with me...I am so thankful for all the support I am getting...It helps so much to know I am not alone...and it helps me to keep a positive attitude!!

I can and will beat this!!! I have to!!!

Dot Chuckran
Brockton, MA

My story till now

My name is Tanya and this is my story. in January of 2014 I was doing a self exam like I always do in the shower, found a knot that wasn't supposed to be there. called the Dr. was told I couldn't get in till march. On march 24th the Dr. told me that yes I did have a lump, so she set me up for a mammogram. On April 2nd I went in for the mammo and an ultrasound, they found the lump and immediately set me up for a biopsy. April 8th had the biopsy. On April 22nd got the dreaded call from the Dr. that yes it is Cancer. May 9th had surgery Dr. thought he got it all turns out he didn't get all the margins, so had another surgery on June 10th. On July 1st got real sick went to hospital and turns out I had an infection in my breast. The Drs. put a drain in and put me on antibiotics that it turns out I'm allergic to.

By the grace of God I found the lump, the Drs. told me it and the other one they found the day of the first surgery were only about 5mm so I shouldn't have been able to feel them. I am now 5 months cancer free, I have chosen not to have the radiation or the pill, because I have a 10 year old daughter who has epilepsy, and she needs her mama. The bad side effects outweigh the benefits. My wonderful husband who is also disabled has been my rock through this whole thing. I thank God every day for bringing him into my life 23 years ago.

So for all you survivors and all who are still going through this horrible ordeal, just remember you can do this.

Tanya Turk
Golden Valley, AZ

My Mom, My hero

The day my mom first let me feel the lump in her breast, was one of the worst days of my life. I say one of, because there were many more over the next twelve years of her battle. It was late in the year 1999 on that horrible day and by that time she had waited way too long from the first day she felt it start growing and when she told me. You see, my mother NEVER went to the doctor. She never had her yearly mammograms or pap tests or anything. She had this big medical book that she diagnosed herself from. So, she immediately started telling me she thought it was this or that kind of tumor and I told her I didn't care she was seeing a doctor! And so it began. I got her an appointment with a doctor who sent her to a surgeon and the next thing you know, I am waiting to hear if the biopsy was cancerous or not. Of course it was, but my mother just smiled and said, "Well, let's get rid of it then. And I'm glad it's not one of you girls". So the chemo started.

After several rounds of chemo and radiation, she was cancer free. For 4 1/2 years. Then it started coming back. It came back in her bones first. So she had chemo. It came back in her liver. She had chemo. It was in her lungs. More chemo. One time it was in her bone, liver, and lungs at the same time. For 12 long years my mother had chemo. Her Oncologist said she was the best patient. And she never gave up. She was so brave. She had neuropathy so bad in her legs , caused by the chemo, that she finally could not walk so she went to a nursing home to do rehab. But things went downhill there and she was gone in a couple of weeks. She was 68 when she first got breast cancer and 81 when she died. My mom, my hero. I miss you.

Cindy Eck Buckskin
Muskogee, OK


My name is Loretta Hudson and I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct. 20, 2014. I went for a follow-up, had a mammogram and ultrasound. I was ask to come back for needle biopsy on Thursday, Oct. 23rd. On Oct. 27 I received the phone call from my dr. office to say unfortunately the biopsy result was cancer. It was Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). It was horrible news. I cried and had to inform my husband, children and family members. It was a tough day. Then I determined that I had to rely on my Heavenly Father, because after all, he is in control. I had unbelievable support from my family, work and church. People seemed to come out of the woodwork with prayer and unwavering support for me.

I went to surgery on Nov. 18, 2014, with 15 people waiting in the surgical waiting area.

Friday, Nov. 20, 2014, I received a phone call from my surgeon that the pathology report from surgery had come back and the report was clean!!

Praise God, he brought me through. Early detection is definitely the key and anyone that's thinking about putting off your mammogram, I would advise you not to. PLEASE GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM!!!! I had no pain and no lump, it could only be detected by mammogram.

So long story short, I got the diagnosis on Oct. 20, 2014 and received the call from my surgeon on Nov. 20, 2014 that I was cancer free!!!

Loretta Hudson
Pasadena, CA
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