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God knows so listen!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in right breast at the age of 45 on Sept. 5, 2007. Had 2 lumpectomies to remove the tumor. It was 1.5 cm and had 3 positive nodes. Left breast was ultra sounded 3 times to make sure there was no cancer and everything was clear. When I went to start chemo the oncologist kept feeling I should have an MRI. She fought with the decission because there was no medical reason for it and she wasn't sure how she would explain it to the insurance companies, but she was feeling very strong that I should have one. I know that was God whispering in her ear and I am so grateful she listened. It turned out that I did have cancer in the left breast that ALL 3 ultra sounds missed. My husband and I prayed about it and decided that I should have a bilateral mastectomy. I have to admit that I loved my breast, but not as much as having a life to spend with my family. My surgeon and oncologist are both women who both believe very much in lumpectomies to save the breasts instead of having mastectomies. When I told them of our decission neither of them hesitated. That confirmed to me it was the right one. I had my double mastectomy on Halloween 2007. Afterward it turned out I had a 1.7 cm tumor and 5 positive nodes. The kicker was there was also an additional 4mm tumor on the right side that hadn't shown up on anything. If we and the doctors had not listen to that little voice, GOD'S, I could have gone through the 4 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation only to die from the cancer that wasn't found.

Jenny Wilson
Hampton, VA

Of the importance of prevention

Twenty years ago my mother underwent mastectomy, radio- and chemotherapy as well as breast reconstruction. She is well and alive. Last year it was my turn to undergo breast surgery. But thanks to a yearly mamograph and ultrasound exam since 20 years, I got rid of the tumour at the very early stage. My tumour could not be palpated. Hence the importance of prevention!

I have since joined a study on the impact of alimentation and physical exercise on cancer recurrence and am setting up a cancer support group at work. I live in Italy near Milan where the founder of breast-conserving surgery with the invention of the technique of quadrantectomy, Prof. Umberto Veronesi, still works. He is an outstanding person and has done/does so much for us, women.

Varese, Italy

Mom survives yet again.

In March of 2001, my mother, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a radical mastectomy and lymph node removal. My husband and I were returning from Hawaii after his deployment there with the military. I didn't know until we returned that she had the surgery. Every year since then she celebrates by walking in our annual Relay for Life Cancer Survivor Walk. I have walked every year with her on her first lap and every year we have been blessed to have her around. This past June we celebrated 8 years cancer free. The day after the walk, she found out that once again, she had breast cancer in her other breast. She is also in early onset Alzheimer's and I feared the worse. She had a bilateral mastectomy yesterday and today, in the hospital, she is up and moving around like nothing ever happened. Her family and friends, church members, and past co-workers have rallied around her with prayers for her to come thru this with no worries. Once again Mom is a survivor!

Rita Sapp
Oak Grove, KY


My grandma is 66 years old. 3 mths ago, my aunt came home from wk and found her laying on the floor of the living room, not responding. When she did come to, she was slurring her words and we knew something was wrong. She was rushed to the E-room where she was seen by the attending physicians who did all the normal tests. Her normal Dr was called and came to the hospital. She received 4 pints of blood that evening (that's how low the count of platelettes were), and was sent home the next day. He asked for a follow up as his office the next week. The next wk we took her to the follow up where they performed detailed bld work and said they would let us know the results. When the results returned, they referrred her to a hematologist oncologist. aplastic anemia-they said. The Dr then said that she would need to do another follow up bld test to monitor any change She received another 3 pints of blood. (7 in a month). She starting doing bi-weekly shots that they said would help her own bone marrow to produce it's own red blood cells, (now they say myleofibrosis). The Dr, after doing a lymp node biopsy-inconclusive, then doing a bone marrow biopsy which gave the sign and symptoms of the myleofibrosis, the results were then sent off for further testing in CA .The results returned from CA from the bone marrow biopsy that it was stage 4 breast cancer. She is curr. doing radiation on a tumor that was found in the hip joint and will continue until next week. She will then have the port put in approximatley a week later and then start what chemo they can to try to slow the progression.

Kristin Hailey
Houston, TX

Miracle healing- ( FYI- My picture on this facebook) - I am deaf

My cancer was caught early when my deaf friend, whose healthy co- worker like me died from the breast cancer without feeling any pain until later , urged me to see my doctor. At that time I started to feel a lump in my right breast a few months later after I had a check -up . And I did not have a chance to make calls for having mammograms due to a new hospital in Plano, TX, where my family doctor recommanded at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano in Spring, 2007..

I waited until after my summer camp, then I had an appointment with my another doctor for my mammograms at the same hospital, about 45 minutes drive from Dallas. Later I was told to return to have a biopsy done at once before they found out that it was a cancer (stage 2). So I asked my friends at church and schools to pray for me and informed this bad news to our families. Many prayers went up and God is good to us .

Finally I had my mastecomy after my discussion with my best Oncologist and breast surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano based on my biogsy report showed that my right breast cancer is interducial , meaning that there was a higher chance and it can spread if it was left and not treated. So it was serious to get the entire breast . Due to my small breast with a big tumor, it wont came back if I got rid of my entired brease with1 lymphnode, which was positive for cancer.

I had the removal of my mediport last Jan.,2009 ,even my health improved dramatically after taking USANA vitamins starting last March, long as I still take Arimidex daily ( four years left).

Linda Fenske
Dallas, TX

Its so important to get mammograms

I went to get my annual routine mammogram back in May 2007. I felt no lumps, we had no history of breast cancer in our family and therefore no reason to believe there was anything wrong. I had a mastecomy on my right breast July 1,2007, two surguries after that. I was very fortunate that they caught it as early as they did I didn't have to have chemo or radiation. And have been cancer free for for 2 years now.

Kim Hernandez
Bradenton, FL

I Discovered Cancer Through Unrelated Surgery

I had my annual mammogram in December of 2003. April 15, 2004 had left rotator cuff surgery, on the 22nd found the lump, same side. After being told numerous times by that surgeon plus physicians assistant (males) it was scar tissue "don't worry" I thought it might just be my imagination., I didn't give up, just quit mentioning it to them. In intense therapy sessions, I had no energy to move. Therapy ended July 23, my doctor (female) worked me in July 26, mammo/ultrasound that day - mammogram didn't find, even though we knew something was there (breasts were extremely dense), ultrasound found it, diagnosis 8/11, biopsy 8/20, two surgeries 9/2, removed two lumps and one forming on chest wall,stage 3-b, lymph nodes involved, removed 9/7, port 9/29, first chemo 10/6, hair fell out 10/15, massive mastitis infection 10/23 - week in hospital. On it went. I finished radiation May 20 2005, the day of my first "Survivor Participant" Relay For Life. I wish I had been more insistent about it, but I did not give up. thank God that Dr. S. ordered the ultrasound and from there I had wonderful Drs. who were able to guide me through a horrible experience. My Drs. learned quickly I was afraid of needles and getting stitches and always put me at ease. I relied a lot on humor to get me through, made a "wig" -sewed bright orange yarn onto cap, "rolled" the yarn on curlers, and put a hair net over it, wore that for chemo days. I would like to say, if you think you have found something DON'T GIVE UP, keep telling til someone listens. Even though the shoulder surgeon thought the lump was nothing, rotator cuff surgery ultimately saved my life by knocking that lump loose.

Waynesville, NC

My Surprise

On August 8, 2009, I found a lump in my right breast. I already had a mamogram schedule in two weeks. When I went I told the ladies about the lumb and they did both a mammogram & ultrasound. The radiologist that read them said everything was fine, just one breast on dense that the other. I was not satisfied so I call my OB-Gyn to see what I should do. They sent me to a surgeon, who felt the lump and did a needle biposy that came back inconclusive as to what it was. On Oct 9th I had a lumpectomy, what proved it was cancer. After the pathologist looked at it, I was then told I had invasive ductual carcernoma Stage 3. On November 5th I had my masectomy. From When I found this in August to then the tumor had grown to be 4.9cm and had spread to 5 of the 13 lymphnodes that were removed. On November 20th I started my chemo which was 6 treatments of TAC. I finished that on March 5th and started radiation the day after Mothers day. Thru all the treatments I did fairly well until the last Chemo. I am not sure why, but it really got me down. I spent 3 days in the hosptial with pain and fever. All I can say is I Thanks the Good Lord that I am now healed and getting better everyday.

Through all this my older Brother was my mentor. In October 2007, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma and knew what I was going thru. He is also doing great and about to finish up his 2 year maintanence plan.

He had the best attitude of anyone I had ever seen and it helped to give me a positive attitude.

Mobile, AL

One Family's Story

My mother died at age 64 of breast cancer. My sister died at age 44 of breast cancer, just 6 weeks after my mother. My mothers mother, my grandmother, had also died at age 32 of breast cancer. I was only 42 when I lost my mom and sister and I started to look for answers. My doctors agreed that because of my family history it was not a matter of IF but WHEN I would also get breast cancer. I looked into getting a double mastectomy and the doctors agreed it would be a good idea but the insurance company said no. So I waited and waited and waited for the ticking time bomb inside my own body. I only had to wait 6 yrs, I was 48 when I got the news. I had one small lump, smaller than a pea. I opted for a double mastecotmy. My friends thought I was out of my mind but to me it was a no brainer. Unlike my mother and my sister, I had extensive family history to work with. I was one of the lucky ones. No lymph nodes were involved so I needed no cemo or radiation. My cancer was detected early and I now have been cancer free for 13yrs. So far, 17 people in the family have been tested for the Brca gene and all but 2 have come back positve including several males. My oldest daughter tested negative so her children are free of the curse. My insurance will not test me because I have already had breast cancer so they see it as a waste of their money. My other 3 children are waiting to be tested.

Paula P
Cape Coral, FL

Trying to find humor

I found out that I had breast cancer in 2004. My Mom had died of breast cancer in 1992. So, I was very scared of getting this diagnosis, but not entirely surprised. I knew it could run in families. I had turned 40 years old and wanted to do something to honor my Mom. I decided to walk in the Avon Breast Cancer walk. It was while training for the 2 day walk that I found I that I would not only be walking to honor my mother, but I would be walking for me, too. I was able to do the walk at the beginning of July and then I had my mastectomy at the end of July. I had chemotherapy which of course made me lose my hair.

One thing through out my recovery process was trying to find humor in things. So, when my hair did begin to finally grow back in. I had lots of fun coloring it different colors. The picture I sent is Easter 2005 where I was trying to look like a painted easter egg. Well, I guess I can't load the picture. My hair was about a half an inch long and I had it striped purple, pink, blue and green.

May anyone that is diagnosed with cancer remember to accept help from others and try to laugh at least a little.

Cathy Gaughan
Concord, CA
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