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An extra scary Halloween!

I will never forget Halloween 2005. I was at work and the phone rang. It was the doctor's office asking to see me - preferably now. Since I had been going through mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, etc. I asked if they found cancer and the answer was yes.

Having just lost my younger sister to cancer in August, it was a nightmare to call my other two sisters and niece and tell them. We hadn't even had time to mourn Tona and now I was starting my own journey. Two hours later my sisters, niece and I were sitting with a surgeon. It is so strange - I went to work healthy and now I am deciding my options.

Having gone through my sister's journey of chemo for six years I didn't want chemo - I had to work to support myself and couldn't be sick. So I agreed to a lumpectomy (which they had to do twice and then I had an infection), radiation and Herceptin.

It will be four years on Halloween and during this time I have had one scare and had a lump removed that was not cancer. Other than that it is actually hard to remember all the tests, treatments or even that I had cancer.

A friend and breast cancer survivor told me when diagnosed "Your life as you knew it will never be the same." She was right - I try and enjoy each day to the fullest and love my family and friends more and more. Life is precious!

Jackie VerVoort
Appleton, WI

Five Years later and Cancer Free

My favorite all time saying and belief is... "God Is Good"... and He truly is. I was diagnosed with breast cancer September 2004 and to me that was the most devastating news anyone wanted to hear. I had watched my dad and my sister both suffer through cancer until their final days on earth. Reason enough for me to start getting mammograms at an early age. I was 28 years old when I had my first one and every two years after that until I turned 40 and then I had one every year. For me, that was a good thing because when the doctor thought he saw something during a routine mammogram, it made it easier to confirm it because of previous film. I never expected to have to fight that dreadful disease, but I did, which shows that none of us are exempted. Fearful at first of the outcome I had to continue to trust God to get me through this and HE did!

My surgeon informed me that I had Carcinoma In Situ and he assured me that we were in good shape because of the early detection. I had a lumpectomy and went through six weeks of radiation and now taking (possibly my last 6 months of) a cancer treating drug (tamoxifen) for preventative measures. I am thankful for the continued research and the constant upgrade of technology which enables the medical staff to see what the eye itself can not.

I encourage all of you ladies (and men) to get your screenings done and not think that you are too young or it will not happen to you, cancer doesn't target any particular group. With God all things are possible and I believe that one day, we will beat this ugly thing called Cancer.

Vanessa Abron
Sulphur Springs, TX

Giving Thanks

I am a 7 year Cancer

Survivor. I was diagnosed

with Cancer in December


I had 2 Surgeries, Chemo

and Radiation. I finished in January 2002, what a relief.

I thank God everyday for

the Mammogram that saved

my life. Where the Cancer

was found it would have taken years for the Dr. to have found it. It would have been too late.

I thank God everyday for the

Dr.s, the nurses and my family

who were there for me everyday

through it all.

Thank you so much from the

bottom of my heart.

Yolanda Simone
Rochester, NY

My experience with breast cancer!!

When diagnosed I was 66 -years of HRT . After a lumpectomy -was told only a Mastectomy could cure me. I asked what kind of cancer and was told invasive-lobular with propensity of 80-90% spread!! Opted for bilateral=found I was fortunate --stage 1.

On Tomoxafin for 5 months I developed cataracts--when I asked to go on Arimidex-discovered ist side affect of previous was this!!

After 8 years on Arimidex and frequent testings I was discharged by Oncologist==after I had ruptured implants of saline but with silicone edges similar to a tire with an inner tube. upon removal- yes silicone was in the cavity--well cleansed and ok. now with no implants.

Howev er I have learned some have actually molded inside and caused a general Bacterial infection. My advice is forget implants-- at 73,- I am clean and a stuffed or padded bra gives enough contour without the concern of medical problems! branning retired R.N.

Cindy Branning
Port Orange, FL

My Breast Cancer Story

On August 4, 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was after having a needle biopsy, which was after having my routine mammogram. Even though the news was devastating, it was caught early enough that I was diagnosed with the noninvasive type. I chose to have a double mastectomy due to the fact that my mother had passed away from breast cancer and I wanted to make sure that all the cancer was gone. I am coming up on my one year anniversary and I can say, "I'm cancer free!" I encourage everyone to do your monthly self-exams as well as getting your annual mammograms. It could save your life.

Kathy Sweeney
Little Rock, AR

Thank you

I would like to say Thank You to all the people who click and support this website. I know from personal experience how important the free mammograms are. I found a small lump about a month after losing my job and my health insurance. I went to the local health clinic and they gave me a voucher for a free mammogram, at that time my tumor was found and I had a radical modified mastectomy which saved my life. The tumor was caught just inches from my lumph node system and I did not have to undergo radation. I have been cancer free for 5 years, I never take these years for granted. I now have 4 grandchildren I would have never known without the free mammogram. Thank you Thank you Thank you

Tina Marquardt
Ogden, UT

Help yourself, before surgery

Do not let you primary care physician send you to a doctor to do the surgery, go immediately to a Plastic surgeon to get the surgery done. My breast is a sad story of how I allowed a "surgeon" to operate on me and leave the biggest mistake of my life. I must live with what I have as my insurance tells me it is now just cosmetic. B.S. It is tramautic to have to look every day at the horrible scar across my breast, no nipple, etc., I am so sorry that no one instructed me before my surgery. Be alert and responsible. Gladys

Gladys Meredith
North Las Vegas, NV

I am a breast cancer survivor

At the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. My husband and I were about to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Instead, I had a lumpectomy, chemo and then radiation. I am now an 8 yr survivor and we have celebrated several more anniversaries and I thank God, my family and friends (and my WONDERFUL doctors) for giving me the strength & courage to face the disease headon. It is a life-changing experience but it doesn't have to be a bad one!!

Sarasota,, FL

Nancy's Adventure

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer on March 4, 2008. I had just turned 40 the previous December. I was devistated, but I knew that I could beat this because I had two daughters to finish raising. I had a double masectomy on March 20, 2008 followed by 16 weeks of chemo and 5 weeks of radiation. I completed my reconstruction on July 8, 2009. I have learned an important lesson that I have passed on to others, There are things in this life you can control and can't control. I could not control the cancer and what it had done to me, but I could control how I reacted to the procedures and treatment, that is what go me through. I feel lucky and privilaged to have gone on and completed this journey.

Nancy Ehrich
Salt Lake City, UT

Self-Exams Are Important Too!

Every year I went for my Mammogram, in 2003 I went in April and the results were good. I still did my self exams and in November of that year I felt a lump. I went to my doctor and she ordered a biopsy. It came back I had breast cancer. In a matter of 7 months. Yes Mammograms are important but so are your self exams. 6 years later still cancer free.

Hazel OBrien
Marysville, OH
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