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The Importance of Self Exams

In June of 2006 I had a clean mamogram. While doing my monthly self exam the following month I found a lump, it was malignant. I had a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation followed by 1 year of herceptin infusions. Today I am cancer free. It scares me think how different things would have turned out had I not done that self exam and just waited for my next yearly mamogram! Ladies - Please do those monthly self exams!

Darlene
Garden City, MI

My Mom-The Hero

My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. She had a mastectomy. The cancer moved to her brain. She had a tumor removed from her brain the size of a small lemon in 2004. She had radiation surgery to remove the smaller tumors. The cancer moved to her lungs. She was already on oxygen 24 hours. The tumors were inoperable in her lungs. She kept going for chemo after the brain surgery. During 2005, she started acting different. She would be watching tv and would tell you she would call you back but wouldn't. She would start forgetting things, but would laugh it off and call it old age. She put things in her house in weird places. Right after Christmas she fell in her oncologist's office and her doctor took her to the hospital. She had been hiding the signs of that the cancer was back with a vengence. She just wanted to make it through Christmas with her family. She was put into hospice the 2nd week of January. The doctors told us we had 3 months with her. It was a week and a half before she passed. The last few days, the only person she knew was my 6-year old son, Ryan, the light of her life, the only reason I think she held on as long as she did. She passed in January 2006. She was the most wonderful, caring woman on the face of this planet. She would give you the shirt off her back and the last dime she had and not ask a thing from you. She was my best friend and my confidant. She is truly missed by one and all. The Lord is truly blessed to have her with him, I know I was.

Jennifer Huffman
Valdese, NC

The Year from Hell

It started with a lump in my right breast. After an ultrasound, the doctor said it was a cyst. No problem. Six months later, it was bigger. Another ultrasound showed it was now 2 cysts. I decided to have them removed. The surgeon took a sample and sent it off to be analyised. Two weeks later, I had a total right mastectomy. It was in 3 out of 8 lymph nodes. Then started 6 months of chemo. I ended up in the hospital every month for a blood transfusion. After the 4th visit to the hospital, my oncologist - Dr. Richard Toser - said the cure was going to kill me. The chemo stopped. 25 sessions of radiation followed. People would say to me "What an awful thing to go through". I would reply, "I'm not going through anything - my family and friends are. I had the disease - they had to watch me suffer." When I think back on it, I am in such pain thinking about what my husband and children and family and friends went through. I can never repay them for what they went through and what they did for me. I know that the many, many prayers sent to the Heavens above played a great deal in my recovery. I am now "cancer free" and with God's help I will stay that way to watch my grandchildren grow.

Terri Campanella
Hamilton, ON, Canada

It's been a long road to travel

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 1999. I had surgery just 5 days after I had my mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, and results. I had 8 chemo treatments and 33 radiation treatments. Everything went fine I was only nauseated for about three days after chemo and was fine until the next.

It wasn't until 2005 that I decided to have reconstructive surgery. I now wish that I had never had it. The plastic surgeon left stitches torn loose and I got an MRSA infection. Not once but twice and the surgeon would not take credit for it. I had to go to another regular surgeon to get it well. I ended up finally going to another plastic surgeon to close the wound and do some repair work.

I am now in the process of having a Fat Cell Transfer done to rebuild my very small breast that was left after the reconstruction went bad.It will take many procedures to complete the breast.

I try to live my life to the fullest and help any that I know to remember to do self exams and get yearly mammograms. I even have a tee shirt that was given to me that says on the front..Official Monthly Breast Examiner...and on the back it says....Touching Boobs Save Lives.....www.IdRatherKnowNow.com.

This year will be my 5th year to participate in the Relay for Life lap. I am also on the planning committee for this years ceremony. I wanted to be more involved.

Ann Marcus
Cartersville, GA

Two years and counting!

June 17, 2007 I went in for my yearly mamogram, I was stunned. I had breast cancer in the right breast, and needed a mastectomy. I went home and gave this alot of thought and decided that I would take both breasts in order not to have to go through this again. I told my husband and sister that was until I decided I could tell my children together. July 23, 2007 a bi-lateral mastectomy. Sure enough they found cancer in the left breast. The right had 2 positive nodes and the left zero. Tomorrow is my two year survivior date. I have two teenage children and a great husband. 8 weeks of chemo and 33 days of radiation I am still here.One of my best days was when my onconologist said here is a prescription for Femera you will need to take this for 10 years!! Yippie I will take that. I Thank God for my sister she was and is my best supporter when I wanted to cry and not show them how I was really feeling she has always been there. I am a very private person this is the first time I have shared my feelings. Everyone is different and I will tell you I read every story daily and pray for each one.

I click every day for women to be tested. Thank you to all the ladies that had the courage to share it is so important to all of us.

Don't wait, just get tested.

God bless us all today and forever.

Melissa
Orlando, FL

IBC

I was told that I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I had never heard of it. My Doctors said it's the worst of the worst. I read about it and figured I was going to die. I was wrong. I had chemo,surgery,radiation and herceptin. I had all the nodes taken out under my arm. I'm now in remission and so happy to be alive. I can't thank all of my Doctors and Roswell Park in Buffalo NY. As a group..they saved my life. Please ladies..read up on this type of cancer and be aware. God Bless all of us.

Connie {Squeeg} Cole
Angelica, NY

It was My First Mammogram

As a 37 year parapledgic, I had learned to deal with all the physical challenges which accompany bening paralyzed. I never thought or even considered that any other physical ailment would attadk my already medically fragile body.

At 40, when I had my first mammogram, a lump smaller than a pencil eraser was found. My biopsy confirmed it was cancer. With no history of breast or any other cancer in my family genes, I had my first lumpectomy. It all seemed rather routine, the lumpectomy, the checking and taking of the lymph nodes, and the radiation therapy. Tamoxifen was not an option due to my paralysis and the risk of blood clots. Treatment was completed and I awaited my five year all clear.

Well, my all clear turned into my second bout with cancer. It came almost five years to the exact date of my first encounter. Again it was smaller than the top of a pencil eraser and it had not invaded my lymph nodes. I now had to decide on a lumpectomy, maybe every five years or a mastectomy with no assurance it would not occur in the other breast.

A decision filled with much prayer, family and friends counseling, and pastoral advise was made. I opted for the mastectomy and never looked back. I did however again wait for my five year all clear. Each year I held my breath and each year I made more healthy lifestyle changes. I added exercise , reduced my intake of refined sugar and processed food, and began eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, My all clear came as I went for my yearly mammogram, "Everything looks fine see you next year!" I was thrilled, on my birthday and I got and amazing gift: Cancer Free for 5 years!

Min. Denise E. Gilmore
Dayton, OH

Perfect example of early

My cancer was found very early at my yearly mammogram. I had microscopic calcification with cancer cells. I had a lumpectomy in April of 2003. Six weeks of radiation. It has been six years now and I am certainly CURED.

Judi Ingram
Homestead, FL

do not believe most of the doctors

My doctor did not one, but two lumpectomis for what was an zero breast cancer. He mutilated my breast, twice.

When I asked if I could have an implant, he merely said, and I quote his exact words, "why not just cut the other one off"

Going through the "supposed" breast cancer situation, the radiation treatments every day, I really think that most of these doctors are just "cut-happy"

Do you really think that if it were his wife he would say" let's cut the other one off"

I went to a plastic surgeon for an implant.He told me that it would look normal again. He also lied.

I have not been able to have any sexual relations with my husband since the surgery,because I feel that I am not the person that I was. The scar, physically and emotionaly has just ruined my life.

I just want to warn anyone - DO NOT EVER GO TO A DOCTOR NAMED KADISON. HE IS AN UNCAREING AND JUST A CUT-HAPPY SURGEON.

I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST,BECAUSE MY LIFE IS CRAP AFTER THIS ORDEAL.

I must admit that my significant other took me for radiation treatments every morning for 8 weeks. I hope that you have someone to do that too.

And I hope that you can let it go. I wish I could.

Anonymous
Maspeth, NY

My Mom

My mom just had her 12 year anniversary of her double mastectomy. When she was given the choice between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, she very clamly said, "I used to stuff my bra when I was young, I can do it again" Well it turned out she made the right choice. After they did all the pathology on her breasts after the surgery, they found that she had more small cancer cells than they thought. By choosing the Double mastectomy, they got it all and she is still here with us today!! Mom, you are my hero!!!

Laney Hanson
Santee, CA
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