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Out of the blue

I noticed a very slight dimple, and just knew that something was wrong. The Dr.'s did not see what I saw and could not feel anything unusual. They did not think it was anything to worry about. I scheduled a mammogram, and it showed a suspicious spot. I immediately had an ultrasound, followed by a biopsy. They found two separate tumors, and 4 other suspicous spots. Within two weeks I had a bi-lateral mastectomy. I was only 44 when I found out, and there isn't a single case of breast cancer in my family history. I am so thankful for the availability of mammograms and screening. I am almost one year out from my diagnosis, and doing well.

Laura
Columbia, MO

My Breast Cancer Fight

I was diagnosed in January of 2008, yes, I'm a survivor of only 1 year and 5 months. I had a rough life as far as support and money so when I was sent an angel, my boyfriend of 4 years, I was very grateful. I could have never survived without his support. He didn't have alot of money, but he pushed to find ways to make it happen, that's where Susan Koeman foundation came in.

Right now, I am cancer free and walking for the fight with Making Strides against cancer. My daught has completely surprised me with her support. She has gone all out to raise money for this cause.

Support and especially attitude wins this thing!!!!

Sharon Hughes

Sharon Hughes
Lake Worth, FL

Blessed to Be Here

In 2006 at age 47 I was diagnosed with stage 1 lobular breast cancer in the right breast. I opted for lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. In May of 2008 I was diagnosed with DCIS in the left breast. I decided to have a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction. In June of 2009 I developed an infection around the implant on my right side and had to have the implants removed. I am now healing from this last surgery and will be taking Femara for the next 5 years. I have been blessed to have awesome support from family and friends who were alwasy there for me. It has been a long hard road, but as of today, I remain cancer free. Every woman needs to be religious about having mamograms. They save lives !!

Sandy Warren
Morristown, NY

No more bad days

In July of 2007, my rodeo announcer husband announced his first ever Tough Enough To Wear Pink night. He spent hours researching breast cancer so he could be well informed, rather than just regurgitate the information he would receive the night of the rodeo. Since cancer didn't exist in either of our families, he just wanted to bring our awareness in the crowd.

On October 25, 2007 I had a lump removed from my left breast, fully expecting the pathology to come back as a cyst. It was early stage, triple negative breast cancer. Fortunately, it hadn't spread to my lymph nodes so I had four months of chemo followed by 33 days of radiation. I thank God that Michael had the information he had found during the summer since it really helped us both with my diagnosis.

During the last year and a half, my husband and I have found out what is really important in life. The petty day to day irritations just aren't important any more. Michael is more determined than ever to spread the word about the cancer epidemic. We were the poster family for the breast cancer group he works with each summer for the TETWP nights, and he's not afraid to go in front of cameras and microphones to encourage both women and men to go see a doctor, get checked early and often to make sure to catch any chance of cancer early.

Michael is my hero. I'm so blessed to have him with me, and couldn't have made it through without him in my life. I didn't just go through cancer, we all did. Our son, Jared was young enough that hopefully he won't remember when mommy was sick.

Each day is a gift and we rejoice in as a family.

Leslie
Burns, WY

Vigilance

My breast cancer - more than 8 years ago - was detected by a sonogram. It was not detectable on a mammogram. So I urge women to ask their doctors whether they have breasts that are dense or if there is some other reason for them to have sonograms as well as mammograms. A few years ago, I started having yearly MRIs also, since some tumors are not detectable via mammography or sonography. I think that women at high risk of breast cancer should consider all three diagnostic tools. The downside to this vigiliance is that I have had 6 biopsies -- 3 surgical and 3 needle -- in the past seven years. Luckily for me, they have all been negative for cancer. Today, I am healthy and cancer-free. I expect to stay that way, but still intend to be vigilant.

Amy Rothstein
New York, NY

The Importance of Mammograms and Counseling

At age 61, I started to lactate in my right breast...the tumor was benign. After loosing my husband to Lung Cancer in '03, being so angry and lost...I didn't have my yearly mammogram for 4 years. I just didn't care. I have had so many byospies in my life that they became second nature to me. When I finally had my mammogram, I was told I had Cancer all around my removed milk gland and needed a mastectomy. My thinking was if I could get Cancer where I had a biyospy in one breast, why couldn't the same apply to my other breast? I elected at age 68, to have a double mastectomy. I no longer have Breast Cancer...and because of the double, I no longer worry about my breast.

I have to tell you that I went through what is know as SURVIVORS GUILT. I had never heard of it before and that is why I am mentioning this.I felt so guilty that my Cancer was taken care of... but there was NOTHING anyone could do for my husband. I went to one of our local Cancer Centers...was seen by a Cancer Counselor...and today I am just so very blessed. I am CANCER FREE.

Valerie Matricciani
Havre de Grace, MD

This doesn't happen in our family!

That's what we thought anyway...that is, until my husband and I heard the radiologist's words "What you're looking at is a highly suspicious mass Mrs. Christerson".

It was October 2007 and I had just had my annual mammogram done for the 2nd time in as many weeks. We looked at one another, gulped and asked what needed to happen next. The radiologist told us to make an appointment for a biopsy at the desk. The next available time was in two weeks; I took the appointment card and we drove home. Later that afternoon, my primary physician called me at home to discuss the report he had just received. "Did you schedule a biopsy?" I told him I was scheduled to have one in two weeks. "NO, that won't due. I'm calling a breast surgeon I know and you will see her tomorrow or the next day."

I thank God for his assertiveness and authority in the matter every day because the breast surgeon found two different kinds of tumors in my right breast and scheduled me for a bilateral mastectomy.

One month later, it was all over. The pathology report actually showed cancer cells had been found in my left breast as well.

Since my margins were clean, radiation was not in my future. My oncologist ordered the onco test and it showed that chemo would not be beneficial.

Now, a year and a half later, I know without a doubt that each day is a gift not to be squandered. Don't delay in taking care of yourselves! Your life is precious and there is a purpose for each of us!

pam christerson
Roswell, GA

Mammogram found mine

My Breast Cancer was found on my yearly mammogram at age 52. I am a DES daughter and took Premarin on and off for about 20 years after my hysterectomy. My cancer was found very early with no lymph node involvement. I had a mastectomy and am in the process of reconstruction. I was scared to death at first, thought I would not keep my sanity through it all. My mastectomy was only three months ago and I have found that there is a tremendous amount of support out there. I found so many friends that have had this disease, that have given me support through each stage of recovery. I am now giving support to others, raising money for the cause, and encouraging everyone I know to do the Breast Self Exams, and get yearly mammograms. Early Detection is everything!

Denise P.
Fresno, CA

Sunday is Father's Day

My husband Brock isn't here to celebrate Father's Day with our sons because he died from BREAST CANCER. Why is it there is no mention about MALE BREAST CANCER since Sunday is Father's Day? I have heard it is now 9% of all cancer is in MEN. A father that gets breast cancer can pass it on to their children just like a mother can. Men should do self breast exams to help detect something is wrong and get help. Please let people know "MEN GET BREAST CANCER, TOO." A life is a life.

Kriss M. Bowles
Land O' Lakes, GA

Never Give Up Hope

At the age of 60 I had the routine 3-yearly mammogram. After a few weeks I got a letter asking me to go for a further mammogram, they found 2 tumours in the same breast and I was told I needed a mastectomy. I was terrified, I had never had any sort of operation in my life, and moreover I weighed 21 stone and wasn't sure they would even be able to do the operation or that I would be able to come through it safely. However the surgeon said all would be well, and it was. I was in hospital 10 days, they removed the whole breast and took out some of the lymph nodes from under my arm, and I had to go back a couple of times a week for about 5 weeks to drain off the fluid which collected - fat tissue holds a lot of water! Because they were happy that they had removed all the cancerous tissue I didn't have chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and 6 years on I am still fit and well. I have to take Arimidex for 7 years, and so next year will be the last one and I hope to be pronounced completely clear then. And I have managed to get my weight down to 17 stone just in case I should ever need another operation.

Joan Cowdell
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom
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