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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

I was lucky

i was taking a bath one day and felt a lump as i was washing.so i made an appointment with my dr and she sent me to a surgeon and he first tried aspiration but nothing came out of the syringe.then he said lets get a mammogram done .so the following day i had my mammogram they found what was called microscopic calcifications.i was worried when i read up on it.so i waited to what the next step was,so the next week i was sent to the hospital to have a biopsy done.he removed i think was 5 or 6 cells,but thank god they were negative.then again i had another biopsy done.removed some more cells again negative.i was very happy as breast cancer runs in my family.i like to think i am a survivor cuz they could have been positive but the good lord was watching over me.

angel
bradford, RI

The fight continues

Stage II cancer was diagnosed in my left breast in October of 2002. After three months of preoperative chemotherapy, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy, thinking that would prevent worry about getting cancer in my other breast. However Yesterday I received the news that a lump on my mastectomy scar is indeed cancer. I don't know what is in store for me, but I figure if I beat it once I can beat it again.

Whatever the outcome, I am grateful for these last seven years. I've tried to live my life with appreciation and mindfulness. It is not what we are dealt in life that makes us happy or miserable, it is how we play those cards. I can't say I've been given a very good hand: my husband had a stroke three months ago, as with many other families out there, our economic future is uncertain, and difficult situations seem to pile up on us constantly. However, my life is full of richness: my wonderful family, friends, the pets we have had the honor of sharing our lives with, the world I get to commune with everyday just by walking out my door. I focus on the time I spend with my husband rather than think of everything else I need to do. I enjoy spending time with my children and give them credit for growing up into such wonderful adults. I let the antics of my four legged children entertain me rather than get annoyed at the mess they make.

Most important, I have learned that by giving of myself, by doing small acts of kindness, compassion and respect, I build my own strength. This strength will aid my new fight against cancer and sustain my appreciation for each day I am able to fight it!

Jean
Jacksonville, NC

Thanks to God!!!

I started to have pain in left breast 2 1/2 yrs. ago. Felt a golf ball size something. Figured it was a fibroid cyst. Went to Gyno and he said same thing. Went for mammogram (hadn't had one in 12 yrs., shame on me). Suspicious, so had ultra sound, then MRI. Had biopsy. Turned out to be Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Wow!! I was shocked. Asked why pain, as with cancer there isn't any and was asked if I drank caffeine. Yes. That's what aggrevated the tumor. I thank God for that pain, because once I made the Gyno appt., the pain was gone!!

First Oncologist wanted to do surgery right away, plus augmentation in both breasts, then chemo and radiation. The surgery would have been a partial mastectomy, due to the size of tumor. My son-in-law insisted on my getting a second opinion-and I am soooo glad I did. This Oncologist was wonderful. First, had lymphnode surgery, nothing found, all clean (10 removed). Had 8 sessions of chemo, every other week. Tumor shrank from golf ball size to new pea!!! Only bad experience with chemo was with Taxal!! Had surgery, lumpectomy. Then a month later, went for 36 radiation treatments. I thank God for being with me, in comfort, peace, chemo and radiation (not even red from radiation and very few side effects from chemo). I cannot state hard enough to get a 2nd opinion!! What a difference it made.

This September I will be 2 years cancer-free and I thank God daily.

Please, please, please, ladies, get your mammogram's done on a yearly basis. They said I had this cancer for 10 years!!! I didn't do self-exams either. Please realize the importance of self-exams and mammograms!!

Maggie Mundhenk
Piqua, OH

Music in the Meadow to Benefit Susan G Komen Race for the Cure

I have owned the Motel in the Meadow in Chester, VT for over 8 years. Upon moving here it struck me that with this large meadow I had the perfect venue to have a concert to honor the good friends I've lost to breast cancer. This will be our seventh year hosting this event. All money raised goes to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. This year should be the best yet. We are going to be a two day event on both Saturday July 11th & Sunday the 12th.

Saturday will be our regular concert from 1 -- 7 pm and will include for the first time Mark Shelton of Newport , VT www.sonicbids.com/MarkShelton. Returning to our stage will be the fan favorites the Stockwell Brothers from Putney VT , Tom Hitchcock and the Never Be Brothers from Springfield , VT , John Taylor and Mike Leuci from NY, Rob Cannillo from Florida , NY, and Chester's own GB 101. Aside from all this wonderful talent donating their time and performing under the tent we have the New England Dukes of Hazzard and their cars on display. Curtis' Bar-be-que will have their famous Ribs. TARPS will be cooking hot dogs and burgers for all to enjoy and of course snow cones, popcorn, and fried bread dough for the kid in all of us. Local crafters will be displaying their wares as well as a magnificent Silent Auction.

On Sunday from 10:30 to 2pm come for breakfast of French Toast & Sausage and stay for a good old fashioned Tent Hymn Sing with the Rusty Pickup Band from Peru, VT and Mark Shelton performing again as well.

Anonymous
Chester, VT

Today I am a Survivor

One week before my 50th birthday this year, I was scheduled to receive my yearly mammogram. (May 6)

One week later, I was told that I needed to come back in and have an ultrasound performed because there were some "suspicious" areas on the x-ray. (May 14) Happy Birthday to me!

A week and a half later, I was scheduled for a stereotactic biopsy. (May 27)

On June 2nd, the doctor called to inform me of the pathology results and that I had breast cancer -- Grade 2 DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) two areas 4mm in the right breast.

A couple days later I contacted a breast surgeon who was referred to me by my gynecologist. (June 4)

After a consultation in her office, she arranged for me to have an MRI performed so that she can rule out that there were no other suspicious areas hidden that the ultrasound did not pick up on. (June 10)

The results of the MRI were thankfully negative, and so a date for a lumpectomy was scheduled. (July 8) with possible radiation afterwords

I am scared but I am hopeful.... and I am thankful to have the support and love of my family & friends and sites such as this to turn to and read personal accounts of so many brave women who have survived this dreadful disease despite their fear.

I cannot stress the importance of having a mammogram done on a yearly basis, because my cancer was not felt as a lump.

The fear of having a mammogram cannot even come close to the fear of being told that you have cancer, but if caught early, you too will be a survivor!

UPDATE: Yesterday I had my surgery. Today I am a Survivor.

Deb
Shelton, CT
Butterflies of Bali Short Sleeve Tunic
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