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The Hand of God

I am not yet a survivor but am and have been a supporter. I was told of my first cancer almost two years ago. Saying the "C" word out loud was the first hurdle. I turned to prayer, not everyone can.

As if the cancer wasn't enough, I got a bad infection in the hospital. My immune system became shot. I had to stay away from all germs and went on a diet to boost my immune system. During this time, my parents became ill, my father died and two weeks later my son-in-law had three strokes and a seizure. Our family became closer and we prayed together and separately and felt the prayers of family and friends. It was like a gentle hug.

During this time a few weeks after the stroke, I found a lump on my breast. I thought it was nothing, but went to the doctor and he whisked me off for mamogram and ultrasound. I was booked in two days to have a biopsy. How could I tell the family? Haven't they endured enough? How do I tell my daughter?

I turned to prayer. I am terrified of bridges and during my prayer I saw a vision of our Lord on a bridge with his hand out, beckoning me to come. Of course I argued, but His hand invited me to come and so I did. His hand carried me across the bridge and carried me through my masectomy. The entire family embraced me and we survived and will continue to do so.

Lynn L'Heureux
Calgary, AB, Canada

Even the eyebrows?

It's strange isn't it that once you've had the cancer removed and you're told that chemotherapy's next, all you're concerned about is, "will I lose my hair?" rather than, "thank God I'm going to live!" Well, maybe it's not like that for everyone but, post-operation, that's what it was like for me.

I was assured countless times that I would lose my hair, but I still thought my strength of will, my pure force of personality would make those hair follicles shape up and hold on. They didn't of course, and I lost every hair on my body, yes even the eyebrows then, for good measure my finger and toenails did a disappearing act too. I never saw that one coming.

Through it all though I kept working. Yes, I needed the money, but working made me focus on other things: not cancer, not all the side effects of chemo, not mouth ulcers, not weight gain, not chronic insomnia. I focused on communications strategies, news business programmes, the shopping and ironing, all the mundane things associated with normality. And it helped. Not just me, but my three children who were 8, 10 and 14 at the time. I knew they had been frightened by the diagnosis of my breast cancer, and their world was close to falling apart, so bringing everything back to as near normal as humanly possible was my key objective - day in, day out.

It's not always easy to be positive when you feel attacked on so many fronts, but I found the sheer act of being positive was really infectious; we all became more positive as a result. I called it my virtuous circle. It could so easily been a downward spiralling one, and what would that have achieved?

Sharon Morrison
Essex, United Kingdom

Stay strong

I have survived breast cancer twice. I was 47 years old in 2001 when I had a lumpectomy and 33 radiation treatments, and 50 years old in 2003 when I had a double mastectomy. When my doctor finished the mastectomy, the plastic surgeon stepped in and put extendors in for the reconstructive surgery. My skin would not stretch because of the radiation, so months later, I had the extendors taken out and told my doctor to sew me up. I would love to have had breasts, but now I am really glad that I can go home, take them off, and lay them down! Some mornings, I have to actually look for them because I take them off just wherever!! I had never known anyone who had been through this, so I went in blind. We all have a purpose in life, and I think my purpose for going through cancer twice is so that I can help others know what to expect and what is going to be happening to them. I thank God every day for letting it be me instead of my mom, my sisters, or any other woman that I have ever met or known. It has made me a much stronger person, and I am so thankful for that. Just stay strong, have faith, and fight with all you have inside you.

Janet Roberts
Winston-Salem, NC

My Hero

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. She was devastated and so was I. My mom was, in my eyes, untouchable. She was a great mom, wonderful grandmother and the best friend I could ever ask for. My son was only 4 when she passed away in August of 2004 and to this day we don't know if it was the cancer that took her or if it was a heart attack, but I know she is looking out for us in Heaven and awaiting the day she can hold us in her arms again. This is for Agnes Fullerton February 3, 1941 - August 28, 2004. Mom - may you rest in peace until we see each other again. Love, Barbie

Barbara Dellinger
Hickory, NC

Renee' s Story - Give Cancer the Boot

I found a lump on my right breast in August 2002. My GYN scheduled for an appointment the day after Labor Day to have the lump checked out. My doctor scheduled me for 3 tests on September 3, 2002. I went for my very first mammogram and Ultrasound of my right breast. The next day I went for my fine needle biopsy. On 9/9/02, I was scheduled for a right side lumpectomy. On 10/8/02, I had my 1st chemotherapy treatment. On 3/26/03 was my last Radiation treatment. Then on 4/24/04 I was having difficulty breathing so, I went to the hospital and that when I found out my cancer had spread to my lungs. On 5/25/04, I was told I have Bone Cancer. By 11/24/04 I already had 9 quarts of fluid removed from my lungs by a chest tube, more chemo. When I had my 2nd chest tube, an additional 4 quarts of fluid was removed. I have also had radiation on by back. On 8/15/06 they found active cancer to my clavicle, sternum, spine L2, L3 area, pelvic area, hips, knees, and feet. I go through bone scans, CT scans, pet scans, and blood work every 3 months. All of this started when I was 32 years old. I am the only person in my family that has had cancer. So far I've had: 331 Chemotherapy treatments, 50 Radiation treatments, 1 lumpectomy, 2 ports, 2 chest tubes, way too many bones scans, pet scans, ct scans, and blood work. I see my oncologist every 3 weeks, and I have blood work done weekly. So, I am at his office 52 weeks a year since I started seeing him in March of 2006. I now live in Ohio, before that I lived in Tennessee.

Renee Gasho
Jamestown, OH

My Mother

Hello there, I am a 23 year old single mother of a 2 and a half year old son. My mother battled breast cancer for four years and the on top of that she was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of 2008. My Mother passed away November 13, 2008, at the age of 58. My mother was a caring and very compassionate Mother. She told me when I was pregnant that she was holding on long enough for me to "Have a Grandbaby for her to see." That was hard, and it's even harder when you have to see a parent go through this kind of pain and suffering. My mom was 54 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to go through Radiation and Chemo Therapy numerous times. I wear my pink to support my mother Carolyn. I'm so down knowing that my son will not know his grandmother Carolyn, for he was young when she passed away, but I will always tell him about her. I want everyone to wear the PINK for my mother as well as other survivors... Pink is the best Color to wear! I Love You Mom, and I Miss you..

Beth Gray
Spencer, WV

Support and in memory of both who died and lived from it!

Hello! I am a friends with many folks who have beat breast cancer and one who lost her life from it.

She is the "in memory" I am writing about. She created for us a world from the Dragonriders of Pern (r) (c), created by Anne McCaffrey. The book is called The Atlas of Pern (r) (c) (Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 1984) her name is Karen Wynn Fonstad and she died in my home state of Wisconsin. Her images, and others helped to fuel my love as a fan of Anne McCaffrey and many of her co-writers. There are several folk who are members of the different fan base forum for the works of Anne McCaffrey, which is how I found this site. Closer to home I have three friends who have beaten breast cancer. Two live near me, one is a fan of Anne McCaffrey and a crafter, the other likes to craft with beads too. I'm in the Wausau metro area, and one lives in the area I grew up in, Wild Rose. She and I are members of a local not-for-proft the Wild Rose Airport Association, which helps support the Wild Rose Idlewild Airport in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Their spring fly-in/drive-in is the first Sunday in June. I help with doing Public Relations for my area.

Virginia Korleski
Wausau, WI

13 years Stage IV and staying happy!!

My cancer was found July, 1990, on my baseline mammogram at age 40. The biopsy showed a small tumor, ER positive, no node involvement. Had a lumpectomy and radiation and thought I was done. Two years later there was another lump shown on my mammogram in the same breast. I opted for a mastectomy. No radiation or chemo. Again, all was well. In 1996 a big surprise... a bone scan showed the cancer had spread to the bones in my hip and sacrum.

I went through Tamoxifen, Femara, etc. Then through the available chemotherapies. I am now on Taxatare. When this stops working I only have one more chemotherapy left, Platinum. I anticipate about 1 1/2 years on these chemotherapies and I pray that by then there will be something new approved for treatment. I am not giving up on life. I plan to stay alive until a cure is found. That is why it is so important to continue to support research. In July I will be a 19 year survivor, 13 years Stage IV!

I thank God and my doctors daily that I am doing so well. I am able to live my life with joy. God has blessed me and used me as encouragement for others, especially those diagnosed as Stage IV. You never know why breast cancer hits. I have a heavy family history of breast cancer on my father's side. Two of my 3 sisters were diagnosed after I was and, thank God, they are doing well. I have been tested for BRCA 1 & 2 mutation and found negative. There must be a genetic connection that has not yet been found. I pray my sisters continue to do well and that my older sister does not have to go through this terrible disease.

Lynn Stalnaker
Groveland, FL

Michellina is my new friend's wife

My week in the Dominican Republic was unforgettable. Brightened even more by our groups bus driver Jose, it was an experience that as my aunt had said "softened my heart." Jose drove us to the village everyday, helping in the building process happily, enthusiastically, and genuinely. He drove us even when his bus broke down and the rental was costing him all the money we were paying him. If only I spoke more Spanish or he more English. We had so much fun trying to talk to each other. He is so loving to everyone, including his family who he is so proud of. Jose brought his family with him on the last day so we could meet the people from the small faded pictures in his wallet.

Warm is the only way I know how to describe Michellina and, really, her whole family. She was smiling though she was being taken along on a hot crowded bus, often feeling sick from her medication or chemo. She wanted to share in the special moment of my group and I presenting newly built houses to two Haitian families who were desperately in need of them.

I share my story because I hope that by sharing it, she can receive the help she needs, some how, if only in well wishes. Medications alone cost her about $100 US dollars a month, she also has to visit the doctor frequently. They sell items such as t-shirts. That, and Jose's driving is the total income which I can't imagine is nearly enough. Her daughter was translating Michellina's goodbye, she would see us next year if she was still alive. She said it so honestly and without pity. It has permanently left a heavy feeling on my heart.

Only 350 more days to go.

Jenni Sager
North York, ON, Canada

my mum is very special

my mum Fiona has been fighting breast cancer since her birthday in 2008. She has gone threw all her chemo and is doing her radiotherapy and is very a strong fighter.She has lost her hair but it is growing back mum is 44years old and is very strong.We are a very lucky family to have a special mum like her.

Adilade, Australia
Offshore Breeze Peekaboo Tunic
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