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Mom's cancer, our Battle.<3

Early May we got the dreadful news it was cancer. My mom has been my hero and inspiration my whole life and now she is more than ever. I have never in my life met a woman as strong as she is, i hope one day i am half as strong as she is. Her name is Cindy Beyer and she has raised my sister and as a single parent for the last 16 years, now it is just mom and i living at home so i take care of her when she isn't feeling well. I do my best to do what ever i can to help in any way possible for my mom. When i found out mom had cancer and was going to go through Chemo treatments i knew i had to do something to make sure to keep her spirits high through this battle. That something turned out to be miss Harmony, the kitten i got for mom for comfort and to watch her grow play and learn. Mom and Harmony take naps everyday together and not a day goes by that Harmony fails to make us smile and bring our spirits and hopes up. Just remember every woman out their fighting their own battle, Chemo pains are temporary, so is cancer. Hope, love, and family are forever.<3

Kaylee Frazer
plover, WI

Not A Joke

It was April Fools Day 2011...I was sitting in the Doctor's Office, when the Doctor came in to say...YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER! I knew life would NEVER be the same again. I knew that was the first day of the rest of my life. What I didn't know, at the time, was it was a new beginning to the BEST days of my life! Yes, I had to go through five surgeries...lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, reconstruction and partial hysterectomy! I underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. As one of my medical team said...'you have just given yourself the best possible breast cancer insurance policy'. Most of my decisions were preventative. I had been diagnosed with a Stage 2, Grade 1 Estrogen/Progesterone positive cancer. I was 46 years old and the Mother of a six year old son. I was going to do whatever it took to be alive and well to see my only child grow up. There was never any question about that! What started out as the scariest thing in my life, turned into the most positive thing in my life! I get a second chance! I like to say...I got a first class ticket in the second chance club! I believe with every ounce of my being that attitude plays THE BIGGEST role in cancer survival! I started out by thinking it was half the battle. I now believe it is 95% of the battle! Three years later...I have NEVER felt better...I have NEVER felt more ALIVE! I am filled with gratitude and treat EVERY day like a GIFT. NONE of us know when 'our gig is up'. Something I DO KNOW is life is great...life is beautiful... and life is made up of a million little wonderful things that we get to share, love and experience EVERY day. I am SO grateful for THAT!

Sue Kempton
Whitby, ON, Canada

My story

I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and non Hodgkin's lymphoma in December and had three surgeries to remove the lump in February. I am currently going through chemotherapy and will be done in August. I then have to have 6 weeks of radiation which will start in September.

I never thought I would be going through anything like this but I am very grateful I have the support of my friends and family. I wouldn't be able to do this without them.

If anyone out there has noticed a lump and is undecided about whether or not to have it checked. Please don't hesitate!

I almost didn't go in but I'm glad I did! I have an aggressive form of breast cancer and my story might have been an entirely different story if I would have decided to ignore it.

Janee
Kent, WA

One Day At a Time

There is a lot of discussion about breast cancer, but very little is said about the women's cancer I endured. I have been told that not many women live to tell their story after they encounter uterine cancer, as it can be hard to detect.

My journey began in June of 2006. I was 56 years old and diagnosed with third stage uterine cancer. There was no pain, but a small amount of vaginal bleeding. I had been through menopause for five years. At first I thought I had been handed a death sentence and then the reality of a fight from my life began to set in. With the support of my immediate family (husband, daughter and son) I built up the courage to deal with it head-on. Surgery for a total hysterectomy, plus removal of lymph nodes, was performed by specialists in the field. After a lengthy operation, I underwent 5 weeks of external radiation and 2 weeks of internal radiation. The process seemed slow, but I was told that I had a 95% chance of full recovery. It was at this time that I realized how lucky I had been to have the wonderful team of professionals, volunteers, friends and family to help me through my darkest days. Their enthusiasm helped me keep a positive attitude in managing my road to recovery. There have been bumps in the road along the way, but I was determined to make the best of my new lease-on-life. Presently, I am eight years cancer free and counting. Although I cannot work, I do fatigue easily and there are a few other health issues, I am still alive to enjoy the better things in life.

If I were asked what advice I would give to someone who was newly diagnosed with cancer, I would tell them to stay positive and live each day as though it was their last. Negativity breeds negativity. It is all about attitude and the will to live life the way YOU want to! You WILL get through it one day at a time. I did!

Donna L. Martin
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

Fighting a battle I did not choose.

The words no woman wants to hear, you have breast cancer. In 2010 I had a breast reduction. I ate pretty healthy and always worked out at least 3-4 times a week. There was a spot on my right breast that was monitored every six months since 2010. In 2012 my left breast turned hard on the side. I was told it was scar tissue from the previous breast reduction. Fast forward six months checkup, left breast is getting harder. Again, told scar tissue even though they could feel the mass on the left. At this point I am trusting the Dr.s. I moved to another state, and went in for my annual exam 12/29/13 and my new Dr. feels the mass on the left breast, orders a mammogram and ultrasound that I had done after the holidays in mid-January 2014. They looked at me like I was crazy when I told them it was just scar tissue. They said I would have to have a biopsy to be sure. The biopsy was done by the same team 2/13/14. I got the call at work that changed my life.” I am sorry Mrs. Jones, you have breast cancer”. I was diagnosed with Stage 3A breast cancer in the left breast. Lobular Carcinoma that is impossible to detect by mammogram and ultrasound. My world went into a fast track of appointments to prepare for surgery, all while still holding down a full time job. On March 18, 2014, a week before my 49th birthday I had a double mastectomy. Pathology found that the "spot" on the right was cancer as well, with positive lymph nodes on both axillae areas. My port was placed and I started chemo 5/2014, with three more months to go.

We did not choose this battle and to make it you have to have faith in something. I choose to hold on to God and his glory. I have grandchildren and daughters to see through their milestones in life, so I have to just push through the bad so I can see the good once again.

Denese Jones
Sugar Land, TX

I am Blessed

Around the last quarter of 2005, I found a lump on my right breast.. Then it was getting bigger and heavier. I went to see my surgeon & had it aspirated. She said it wasn't cancerous. In March the following year, I was due for my yearly mammogram. I knew something wasn't right when they asked me to go back for more pictures. I was scheduled for ultrasound. There was no 3-D imaging at that time. Then I had my biopsy. I got a call from my surgeon the day after my biopsy to see her ASAP. So my husband & I went in the next day. During the office visit, I felt like I was hit by a ton of bricks. I cried bucket of tears. I thought of my 2 wonderful sons in their teenage years (rough age for boys). My surgeon wants to take it out ASAP since she doesn't know if it is contained or it is a metastatic cancer. If it is the latter, then my days are numbered !I was scheduled for surgery on a Good Friday at 3:00 pm. Being a Catholic, it is very significant for me. The hardest part was before surgery when they have to insert a wire and at the same time I have to have a mammogram to check if the wire inserted is in the right place. The surgery was successful.

The next ordeal was whether I should do chemo or not - that was the option given to me by my oncologist. I asked the advice of my classmate who is a pathologist in CT. My classmate told me that I was still young and undergoing chemo will damage my good cells. I took “tamoxifen” for 5 years and side effects were cysts (had surgeries to take them out). 8 years later, I am still here and so blessed. My life may not be perfect. It is full of challenges. But it is part of humanity. I know that God is with me all the time in this earthly journey of mine.

Pamela D Black
Fairfax County, VA

Carol's Courage

My sister, Carol, in November 2013 found a marble sized lump in her right breast. She went to have a mammogram 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. The doctor urged her to have a needle biopsy the next week. We waited for nearly 2 weeks and called the doctor back. The news was cancer.

She then saw a breast surgeon in December. She went for tests and was determined to have Stage 2B invasive ductal carcinoma HER2+.

She began chemotherapy in 3/14 with the TCH (taxol, carboplatin, herceptin) of 6 rounds prior to surgery chemo. She will be on herceptin for an entire year. She will be having a double mastectomy after her body heals from the chemotherapy. She became very weak and ill after the first 3 chemotherapies and barely could eat or drink. She lost nearly 30 pounds in just 8 weeks. She became so ill that she ended up in the hospital after the fourth chemotherapy because of low white blood counts. She began to realize that she needed to at least try to eat and has gained weight since.

She will have her final chemotherapy this next week. Her surgery will be within 6 to 8 weeks depending on her recovery from chemo.

Carol is a special lady. She is a gentle soul. Carol has a mental disability with agoraphobia. She is unable to leave her apartment without the help of family. She has been strong but the anxiety from her panic disorder has complicated the process. She is unable to drive so I take her and my other sister to the doctor and other transportation needs.

She has kept a good attitude despite all of her challenges.

Carol lives on social security disability but some financial needs with getting a new apartment soon.

Carol is a warrior and I believe that with her faith and the support of her family that she will be a SURVIVOR!

If you would like to help Carol. There is a fund at gofundme/carol'sbreastcareneeds.

Living with cancer is a battle of it's own. Living with agrophobia and cancer very challenging.

Pat Grosse
Elyria, OH

Being told I have breast cancer

In April I had my mammogram,two days later they called me to tell me the doctor there that read the views said I needed to come back in for more views and an ultrasound because he saw something in my right breast that had never been there before. They had me back in there two days later which was a Friday,after the ultrasound was completed the technician said my doctor would have the report in three days. Imagine my feeling of being scared when my doctors office called the following Monday morning at 8:30 before their office was even opened to tell me that my doctor needed me to come in for a follow up and can I be there at 10:00. I knew then it was going to be bad news. When my doctor came into the room to go over the results the first thing he said was,it just breaks my heart to have to tell you this but the results are positive for breast cancer. He then said I am sending you to a surgeon. He promised me that he was not going to just turn me over to all the other doctors necessary for this but that he would be there for me every step of the way. The following week I met with the surgeon and he confirmed it,he said there was no need for a biopsy as he knows the radiologist that did the report and it was bad. He said it was a very fast growing and aggressive cancer. He said I didn't have time to play around that this needed to be removed within the next week. One week and two days later I had a double mastectomy and all 21 lymph nodes and all 7 lymph nodes down the middle were involved and had to be removed. Last week I had my first chemo treatment which has to be strong and aggressive because of the type of breast cancer I had. I now know that I have to learn how to be strong through this as I still have 8 more.

Kim Moeller
Vero Beach, FL

ANSWER TO PRAYER

Four years ago this past February, I head an angel whisper while at work, “Get your mammogram.” As I put the key in the front door lock that evening, I again heard the angel whisper, “Get your mammogram.” I dropped my bags in the open doorway and went to my den to retrieve my 9-MONTH OVERDUE mammogram order. I called the breast center the next day and received an appointment for that Thursday, which was my birthday.

The following Monday at work, the breast center called, asking me to come in to repeat my mammogram. I went in on my lunch hour; had a repeat mammogram, which turned into two ultrasounds and three needle biopsies—a long lunch hour! Two days later, I had my diagnosis--stage I invasive ductal carcinoma. A lumpectomy was two weeks later, followed by 6 chemos, 33 radiation treatments, and 1 year of Herceptin infusions. I am on a 5 to 10-year estrogen blocker.

During radiation, in answer to prayer, I was led and blessed to start The Sparkle Caps Project. Our goal is to empower and uplift women with all types of cancer, letting them know that they are HOT CHICKS, in spite of their hair loss; that their femininity is not tied to their hair; and to have positive attitudes, because that is part of the battle.

The cancer journey is not an easy one. It is unique to each one of us. I pray that you each will find your blessings on this unasked for journey, as have I, Susan “Victorious” - Victorious over cancer! Victorious in God!

Susan "Victorious" Heimbigner
Sumter, SC

Bald and Beautiful at 24!

Hearing the news that the pathology report tested positive for Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer was not a surprise to me. At a very young age I watched one of my favorite Aunts suffer and lose the battle against Breast Cancer. Since then there was always a fear growing inside of me that I would face the same battle. It was almost as if I felt cursed or pre-destined to go down this road. But just like anyone who ever experienced the first time uttering the words to themselves, "I have Cancer" the tears began to fall. I decided that was the first and last day I would ever shed a tear over my diagnosis.

I wanted to find away to make this battle worth it, by making a difference, by becoming an inspiration to others. I decided to take the worry out of everything. I stopped worrying about chemo, losing my hair, not surviving or even losing a breast. Those things no longer mattered to me, they no longer scared me. What scared me the most, was missing my opportunity to turn this into something beautiful.

God only chooses his strongest warriors to endure the worst and for that reason I am looking forward to this battle. There is a reason God chose me to take on this battle and I don't want to waste any time as I try to discover why.

I am currently in the mist of my chemotherapy treatment and I am embracing and loving this bald head of mine. I use to be a person wrapped up in hair. I use to be jealous of girls with long beautiful hair. But now, I feel beautiful without having to spend $100s on weaves and being jealous of other women is a thing of the past. I am beautiful just the way I am. I am not my hair. And my hair does make me beautiful. What shows on the inside makes a person beautiful and I believe and feel that now. 

My little bald head and my never ending smile tells my story!

Marqui McPherson
Murrieta, CA
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