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My Journey From Mammogram to Mastectomy & Beyond

My story begins in the summer of 2008 with a routine mammogram. Within 3 days of that appointment, I was called and received a letter in the mail saying that something on the film looked suspisious for a malignancy. I was in complete shock! How could they be so sure?

A core needle biopsy several weeks later showed the mass to be

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma....breast cancer. My doctor was in tears. He never saw it coming. The tumor was found in that "extra" tissue he had removed, but without clean margins. It was October 1st, 2008 - the first day of breast cancer awareness month. My husband and I sat there looking at a wig catalog and looked at each other and said, "I can't believe we are doing this". It was surreal.

An MRI guided biopsy of the right breast showed Infiltrating Lobular Cancer, only it was on the opposite side of where the first cancer was found.

I cried a thousand tears until I could cry no more. I woke up in the darkness of night sobbing at the thought of what I was up against. Chemo therapy, losing my hair....I just wanted to run away to a deserted island and pretend this wasn't happening to me. God knows that only prayers and faith got me through the weeks leading up to my surgery.

I had a right breast mastectomy 2 days after my 45th birthday. 12 months of chemo and a tissue expansion followed by an implant.

Losing my hair has been the hardest thing I have had to go through, and dealing with the loss of my breast and nipple. But, I enjoy working in my jewelry design studio and online boutique, The Taffy Box dot com as a means of coping.

Koryn
Woodbridge, VA

40 yr old single mom to a special needs child and breast ca too

My ex left me with a special needs child, believe me that consumes my life. It was one of the most challenging times of my life until breast cancer decided to come pay me a visit. After a mammo and all the other tests that followed it was confirmed that I had extensive DCIS, which meant a mandatory mastectomy. I opted for a double, so I could avoid ever hearing those words again and also for symmetry. My family flew in from across the country and I went in for surgery on 6/22/09. As most of you know the insurance companies boot you out in 2 days, so I was home on 6/24/09. I did have the reconstruction started, but have yet to look at myself. I have cleverly found many ways to get a bathing suit top on before I take off my medi-bra. I did find out that my lymph nodes were negative and the surrounding tissue was as well. So I can now focus on the next 9 months of reconstruction and of course taking care of my lovely son Nicholas. Hope and strength to everyone reading this post.

jeannie

jeannie
holbrook, NY

Next in Line

My mother's mother had a radical mastectomy at age 70; then she and her husband went on a lengthy cross-country tour.

My mother had cervical cancer,caught early, at age 50, Her brother had cancer and took his own life at age 33. His younger daughter died of indirect breast cancer complications; she was 43.

I had breast cancer at age 50; I now have metastatic bone lesions. My daughter had skin cancer at age 38, caught early and treated, and I have a teen-aged granddaughter. We hope she's not the next in line.

Even my stepsister's eldest daughter died of breast cancer which had spread.

There is now a vaccine for cervical cancer. If we can prevent one kind, chances are excellent we will soon have vaccines for others, like prostste cancer..and lung cancer...and breast cancer.

Anonymous
SPRING VALLEY, CA

Good to be alive

July 5th 2003, I was rung by my GP to be told that I had breast cancer, I like everyone else thought why me and to be told on this day, my youngest sons 21st birthday, it was supposed to be a happy day, I told him then rang my other two children who at the time were living in England. I discussed with them that I was have a Mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of Chemotherapy. Luckily I did not need any other treatment only Tamoxifin for 5 year. I am Cancer free and take everyday as it comes. I click every day on this site and have done so since my mastectomy. All my family and friends click everyday also.

Jennie Doolan
Hastings, New Zealand

Two Time Breast Cancer Survivor

In May 2006, a spot was found on my right breast. I had a breast biopsy and stage 0 LCIS was found. On April 29, 2009 during a routine mammogram and ultrasound, a small spot was again found on the right breast on the left side of the nipple. I went through four ultrasounds and a MRI. I had a breast biopsy on May 14, 2009 and stage 1 LCIS was found. My Mom and older sister are breast cancer survivors. My younger sister is having a breast guided MRI because a small spot was found during a routine mammogram. I had three options: a lumpectomy with radiation, remove one breast with medicine or remove both breasts with reconstruction. I cannot tolerate the medicine and decided to have a bilaterial mastectomy with reconstruction. There is a 50% chance the cancer will return in the left breast. On June 18, 2009, I had a bilaterial mastectomy with reconstruction and lymph nodes removed under the right arm. I don't need chemo. I am in the third week of recovery, a star patient, and have a great attitude. Make sure you get mammograms every year-my life was saved.

Victoria Prestia
St Charles, IL

My Mother in Law, the Survivor and Advocate

My Mother in law Sunnie Jacobs was diagnosed with stage 2 Inflammatory Breast Cancer in December of 2005. Since then she has stopped at nothing to fight the cancer and inform women how deadly early detection of this breast cancer could be. She received a proclaimation from Gov. Charlie Crist (FL) that the first week of October would be known as IBC week. She doesn't stop at that. She speaks at the new cancer institute in Boca Raton Fl. and she has even made the trip to Washington D.C. to Lobby on IBC awareness. She has been an inspiration to me because when she should be enjoying the years of her life she is fighting to save countless others. I am an advocate for her in everyway. I try to tell someone everyday about IBC and early detection and inform women like I will here. That this breast cancer does not show as a lump, it is the most commonly misdiagnosed (which is why it is so deadly) and it cannot be seen in a mamogram. So women and Mothers Please inform yurself about this cancer and know what to look for. This cancer knows no age limit. It has been diagnosed in girls as young as twelve and the 5 year survival rate is only 50%. Inform your Doctors and insist on an MRI if you suspect something.

Jennifer Jacobs
Moline, IL

I beat breast cancer twice!

Three Christmases ago I learned I had breast cancer for the second time, and for the second time my life was spared because of early detection. Even though I lost both breasts and endured 18 months of hell, I emerged healthier in body and spirit, and now I gladly devote myself to supporting people whose lives have been touched my breast cancer. Through my website I hear from women all over north america who are facing or recovering from some stage of treatment. I am particularly interested in reconstructive surgery since I had the latest and best DIEP flap procedure and have perky breasts and a flat tummy to show for it. I am a DIEP sister and will sign off with my motto

I am alive and I have cleavage!

Jamie

Jamie Inman
Hollister, CA

My Breast Cancer Journey

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, 1999 shortly after by 50th birthday. After a biopsy procedure and finding out the tumor was malignant, I shared with my surgeon that I needed to dance at my 2 year old grandson's wedding some day.

So in January of 2000, I had a mastectomy of my right breast, reconstruction, and six months follow-up of chemotherapy. In the name of the Lord, I claimed that I would be cured! While turning 50 was a bit traumatic, from that point on my philosophy of age is that it's only relative. The blessing in my experience gave me a totally new outlook on my life's journey. I joyfully celebrated by 51st birthday and I will be turning 60 next October. My grandson will be 11 in December; and yes, I am still planning to dance at his wedding, as well as the weddings of 6 other grandkids!

Linda L Blake
Dayton, OH

The Journey

What I thought would be a horrible battle 5 years ago, turned out to be a pleasant journey. At 39 I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 3. The wind was knocked out of me! I had just gone through a horrible divorce and was thinking that the kids and I would be okay.

The 1st thing I can say is I am so glad that I know God. He carried me through all of it. There was days that I really could feel him holding me and saying it will be OK.

When they were doing test to prove the diagnosis I received a phone call that I needed to come home immediatly. They did not think that my father would make it through the night. I made it to my car and on the verge of colapse this song came on the radio about it will be well with my soul that the Lord would take care of it all. The Lord gave me strength and mindset to get through the fight for my life. I felt like I was a warrior at that time but also numb to the pain. He took the pain. He put me in the path of wonderful people that fought with me through prayers, love, friendship and being a servant to him by helping me.

I am so thankful to everyone that has been put in my life. I am so thankful for all the adventures I have had with the people that he put in my life. I am so thankful for the opportunity to use this thing meant for evil to bring goodness to others by testifing to my Lord's love. Thank You Heavenly Father for showing me how to be more like you.

Jacqueline Harlan
Mesa, AZ

My Mother, My Hero

My mother was my hero. She passed away in 1994 of breast cancer. She fought it for 10 years, and then finally the battle was over. She was the most loving, sweet and kind woman there ever was. She put her everything into taking care of me and my brother and baby sister. Sometimes she would go without, so that we would have what we needed. In 1984, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She underwent the Chemo, and the pills, and the laying on of hands and prayer. She bravely boarded a plane in 1989,(she had never flown before), and came to Washington to be with me as my 2 year old daughter underwent Open Heart Surgery. She was not feeling well, but came anyway. She was a very giving, loving Grandma. My kids did not get to know her, and I wish they could have. The cancer and chemo finally got the best of her. It spread to her Esphagus, and then to the brain, and one sunny day in October of 1994, she breathed her last breath. She is gone, but never forgotten. Every Mother's day, I buy a balloon that says, Happy Mother's Day, and I go somewhere private, talk to Mom, and let the balloon go. I have not missed a Mother's Day yet, and I never will.

I walk the Breast Cancer walks, and light a candle for my mom everytime. I love her and miss her desperately.

Kirsty Clemensen
Melbourne, FL
Enchanted Forest Sleeveless Tunic
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