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I Made It

My journey began early Nov 2007 I had my annual Mammogram. One week later the report said all is fine, see you next year. Thanksgiving night, I did my own breast exam and found a lump in the nipple. Fortunately I had my annual GYN appointment the following Monday. She was not concerned but ordered an ultra sound, that came back inconclusive, recommended a biopsy. Had that done, came back cancer. It was invasive but my tumor was only .08 cm and no Lymph Nodes had been affected. In Feb 2008 I had a bi-lateral Mastectomy, late Feb discovered I had contracted MRSA at the hospital. Spent six weeks with a PICC line in my arm receiving Vancomicin treatments for 2 hours every single day. March 2008, had my expanders removed, MRSA contaminated them. Waited until July 2008, had the expanders put back in, with another PICC line for one week of treatment before, during and after this surgery. Late July began expanding. Nov 08, had my implants. April 2009, had nipple reconstruction done and left implant readjusted as it had fallen. Will have Areola tattooed in 4-6 months. I did not have to have Chemo or Radiation. No family history. Always had regular Mammogram's, I do take Femara daily for 5 years, 4 to go. Prayer, my great support team, great team of doctors, and a whole lot of Faith got me through this journey. Praise be to God for healing me . The journey is almost over and I'm ready to have my life back free of surgeries and disease. DO THOSE SELF EXAMS ! ! ! ! !. It SAVED my life.

Anonymous
Cocoa, FL

By the Grace of God

My daughter Stephanie, has survived Breast Cancer twice. She was 29 years old when she find a lump. After alot of test, they said she had Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It had spread to her Liver and Spine. No surgery this time. She had her 30th birthday not to long after that. Then she started 15 mouths of chemo. One week she would have chemo, the next week Herceptin. That went on for 15 mouths. Then she had a PET scan. It was clear! Only for 3 mouths. A mammogram / ultrasound showed a small lump. This time she had a lumpectomy, and 6 weeks of radiation treatments. She has a PET scan every 6 mo. now. She's 35 years old, and has been in remission for 3 years. By the Grace of God my daughter is still with us today.

Cynthia
Lewisport, KY

I Thank God and His Angels Every Day

In June 2002 I started a diet to lose weight for my daughter's wedding and my son's graduation. I started to take fat blockers to lose weight fast, but thanks to the pills a lump popped up on my right breast. On September 11, 2002 I had a lump removed and was diagnosed with breast cancer, what a blow, but through my faith in God I got through, just the taught with no hair, we are so vain. I started chemotherapy on December 16, 2002 on our 30th Wedding Anniversary, at lease my husband and I were together, and radiation started in June 2003. I didn't lose the weight, but that didn't matter anymore, I lost my hair, but I was still able to attend my son Marc's graduation that year and Monique's wedding on June 28, what a busy year. I just felt bad as I couldn't be there for them, in helping them out as I should, but only when I could.

Thanks to God and all the friends (angels) in my life, they made it a lot easier to face treatment, and all the new friends I made in Moncton, hospitals and L'Auberge Mgr-Henri-Cormier, it was like a home away from home. I think that through the years my faith has become stronger. I am a survivor, as on Feburary 25, 2009, and on March 22, 2009 I became a grandmother to two boys. We have to be thankful for all we have in our lives , because there are a lot others, worse off than we are.

Aurella
Miramichi, NB, Canada

I Survivied!!

I was putting on my seat belt one day and it hurt my breast. I thought that was strange. I put it off for a while, not too long though because it just started hurting so bad I could hardly stand the pain. I new a doctor (very good surgeon) who worked at the clinic. I new him from working at the hospital. I went to him and asked for a mammogram. From that they did an ultra-sound and found a lump. Then they did the biopsy. Then the lumpectomy. I was in a fog. I was only around 30 yrs old and going through radiation and chemo. Lost all of my hair and felt "green" half of the time. Luckily, I am single and didn't have to put any one real close through that with me. I've been cancer free now for about 8 yrs. and it feels GREAT TO BE ALIVE!!

Kathleen Jordan
Madison, WI

What A Difference A Year Makes

Exactly one year ago on June 20, 2008, I had my first chemo treatment for breast cancer. At Age 61, I was ready to retire from the school district and enjoy some time off with my family and friends. We have a "Health Fair" at our district every year in April, where we can take advantage of health tests offered at a reduced rate. So, I thought that I should have my routine mammogram (which I did every year) to make sure everhthing was okay before "officially" giving notice of my retirement. A few days after the mammogram, I received a call that I needed to come back in for a "closer" look at a dense area.

After another mammogram, a sonogram, and a biopsy on my left breast, I received the dreaded call that comfirmed that I had "Invasive Ductal Carcinoma" (Breast Cancer). There were no words to describe my feelings at that moment. I was numb! Devastated! What about all of my plans?

Now one year later, after 6 rounds of chemo, 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, and a year of herceptin treatments (because my tumor was HER2+, not Estrogen+), I feel great! I can now make those plans, or any other plans that I want!

I thank God everyday for that mammogram. It literally saved my life.

Debby Benner
Carrollton, TX

Medical miracle

My grandmother was the most stubborn person you would have ever met.. When I was 11 and i remember this clearly, my mother noticed the discomfort she was in. (Nobody was aware of this- but she has gone undiagnosed for 4 years prior to that) After all the stuffing in her shirt, her breast were shriviled and had open sores. Agaist her will she was taken to the doctor. She refused all treatment and doctors gave her a year at most. 10 years later, she hurt her back cleaning under her sofa. She was hospitalized and doctors said the cancer has spread to her bones. Again, doctors told us to start making funeral arrangements that it would be any time now. As a medical miracle once again, 2 years after that she moved in with us clearly in bad shape. Hospice came every day for the next year until she peacefully passed away in her sleep. She lived 14 years with out treatment- her determination to live kept her alive.

I love and miss you grandma.

michelle
Rahway, NJ

GOD PUT US HERE TO LIVE, NOT TO DIE

I canceled my mammogram appointment in December until Jan. I was tempted to move the appointment again but something said don't do that you have always gone faithfully every year, I was 58 at this time. I went for my mammogram in Jan 1998 they thought every thing was ok but I had two phone calls from my doctor to call them about my mammogram. I knew there was a problem as they had never called before when I had a mammogram. I went to see the doctor that afternoon and was told that the small bead like calcium had changed shape and I needed to see a surgeon to have a biopsy done. I went that week to see a lady surgeon my doctor recommended. The doctor told me she only did biopsies with surgery not needles. They did two more mammograms on me inserting a wire where the surgery needed to be done. The surgeon did a lumpectomy removing the area and while waiting for the report to come back the surgeon felt all under the breast and found a hard spot which was a tumor which was ready to burst, she removed the tumor (lumpectomy) After having seven weeks radiation I have been cancer free for ten years. My pastor told me it was ok not to want to die as God put us on earth to live not to die.

I can tell you at the time I would have gladly given up a breast in order to have life. I thank God he has allowed me to be cancer free for all this time as I have had 3 precious grandchildren I would have never known.

Carol
Oklahoma City, OK

Aimee's Story

I was 29 years old. Casually having conversation when I had a dull pain just above my right breast. I reached up to rub out the pain. I then felt the lump. 2 days later I am in my OB/GYN's office. He wanted to make sure it wasn't swollen breast tissue, so off I went - told to come back in 2 weeks if it hadn't gone away. Upon my return, he wasted no time. Immediate referral to a general surgeon, who wouldn't even see me unless I had a mammogram first. Because it was so high on the breast, the mammogram was inconclusive. The next day I had an ultrasound. Once my surgeon received the results of the ultrasound, he told me that the tests showed that the mass needed to be removed. Had a scheduled lumpectomy and a week later got the C diagnosis. I chose to have a mastectomy when they went in to get the lymph nodes. Then came 4 cycles of AC, the loss of all my precious hair and feeling crappy for 2 months on and off. 6 months after treatment I decided to remove the healthy breast and begin reconstruction. Unfortunately the skin grafts used for the areola for the nipple reconstruction didn't take and I wasn't satisfied at how they appeared. I enjoy tattoos and body art in general so I designed a piece that would cover every scar I had. I found an amazing tattoo artist named KELLY McRAE of SKIN DIMENSIONS in Winnipeg. I presented him with my idea and said - "Sure, when do you want to start?" He brought my drawing to life and gave me my confidence back. It's been 8 years NED now, and looking forward to many more! I am proof early detection is key!

Aimee Horbul
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Aunts that can!

In 1977, my maternal Aunt Grace in Mobile, AL, had a radical. That's all that was done "back then". Well, 32 years later, she will turn 96 this coming December. Another courageous woman whose rich legacy lives on!!

Anonymous
Flagstaff, AZ

I can make a difference

This year, I finally did it. I lost 120 lbs and was able to walk in the AVON 2 day walk for Breast Cancer. It was the most gratifying experience that I have ever had. I have wanted to do this for the longest, but was never physically capable. The reason why: My Aunt was diagnosed about 18 years ago and given only months to live. She fought and has won her battle so far. My husband's Aunt lost her battle and a good friend, just this year lost her battle. So what am I doing about it. I'm walking again next year. Because I know I can make a difference. What am I asking from you. Well, in order to participate, you must fundraise, so I am going to try to put together a Tribute / Cookbook to those affected by breast cancer. If you are interested in contributing a story/tribute/recipe, please email me at booksforboobs@yahoo.com

I want to make a difference and I know together we can.

Lisa Zeigler
Cambridge, MD
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