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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 nicely.my mum is 44years old and is very strong.We are a very lucky family to have a special mum like her.

Alisha
Adilade, Australia

my sister's story

I had my sister write her story..."My name is Donna Easley Webb and by the grace of God, I am a 6 yr. cancer survivor. My journey has been full of pain and struggle but, the rewards and blessings have overshadowed them all. I now have a greater love of life and those in my life. God bless."

annette peugh
emory, TX

Finding my lump was a total fluke

I really don't have a history of breast cancer in my family other than my cousin who is my age. Nothing for mother, grandmothers, aunts, sisters. Still I've been pretty good about keeping up with my mammograms - not always every 12 months - but no longer than 18 months a part (by the time I go to make the appt there is always a couple month wait.)

I had my regular mammogram in September of 2006. It was normal. Around Thanksgiving my breasts were a litte more sore than normal. I am terrible about doing self checks. But since I was a little sore, I felt around while I was in the shower and I felt something about the size of a pea. Well I figured it was just lumpy breast tissue. After a couple of days of feeling this lump, I called my doctor. She said it was probably just lumpiness due to my cycle. I wasn't convinced, so I asked to have it checked out.

The radiologist thought the spot looked a little suspicious but they couldn't get a good ultrasound picture as the lump was right underneath the nipple. I was referred to a surgeon just to check it out. He didn't think it was anything but since it was so near the surface decided to schedule an incisional biopsy.

You know when you come home from work at 8 pm and there is a message from the surgeon asking you to call back that night, that something not so good is happening. Sure enough - a liitle bit of cancer.

A lumpectomy followed by radiation and I'm 2 years cancer free!

Feel those boobies and don't take no for an answer!

Susanne M Dahl
Aurora, IL

Dee

My beautiful niece Dee has been through so much in the last 4 plus years. She had her first ordeal with breast cancer 4 years ago at age 33 and now she has to battle it once again. She choose at age 37 to have a double masectomy. She is now undergoing chemo and has lost her hair for the second round! She is a loving devoted mommy of 6 kids 2 of them under the age of 10. I just ask for prayers for her full recovery and want to thanks her for being such a loving and brave woman.

I wrote a pome about cancer and would like to share it...

"Silent Killer!"

It comes on with little to no warning;

It strikes any age!

It's not particular to your gender;

Cancer, the silent killer!

It hides in the crevices of ones body;

It baffles the mind.

It comes as quick as over night;

Cancer, the silent killer!

It has no cares;

It survives on ones doom!

It only brings gloom;

Cancer, the silent killer!

But with much research we can put an end to this silent killer wether it kills the hopes and dreams of those whom get it or even worse. Lets pray for a full cure for all!

Melinda T
San Diego, CA

If Your Mammogram Shows Something Negative - BE POSITIVE!

I woke up this morning...A SURVIVOR by the grace of God!

Get that mammogram! I didn't--waited too long; however, even though a tennis-ball sized mass was found by CT scan, followed by a "soft-compression" mammogram and the films were "negative"...I AM COMMITED TO REMAINING POSITIVE!

Remain Positive even if there are negative findings!

In the picture during IV infusion in the chemo room: Head Chemo Nurse Jan, Medical Assistant Rebecca, myself (Fighting Like a Girl), and the most wonderful oncologist in the whole wide world Dr. Charles Eisenbeis of the Cancer Centers of North Carolina - Cary, NC

Cynthia
Garner, NC

Everyone has an Angel!

I am 52 years young. When I was 35 years old and in Radiology school, I car pooled with a good friend. She pestered me everyday from the day I turned 35 to have my baseline mammography. After months of harrassment I had it done. they called me into their office and said that their was a cluster of calcifications and they should be biopsied. So I opted for a needle localization because I figured they would then be taking out the area. They did and the margins were clean, and it was insitu. I was followed for the next 2 years and with a mammo they found another cluster on the other breast. I was in Nuclear Medicine school at the time. It was biopsied and it was the same. At that point it was my choice to have bilateral mastectomies, I took a month off from school and did what I had to do. My son was only 4 and I was a single mother, and today I am a 15 year survivor. My angel was my friend who harped on me to have my mammo, and I loved her very much. She passed away last year from a very rare cancer that was hard to diagnose. by the time they did it was too late, but she fought and fought hard every day. I thank God for sending her to me. But I think that early detection is the key, so don't wait , go get the mammo.

I work in Nuclear Medicine now and I do believe that I have been some of my patients Angel.

P.E.A.
Manahawkin, NJ

May 19.

My mother died long ago on May 19, 2000.I cant stop thinking of her, things like would she be proud, that im 18 ive grown up so much. all that i can do is cry, and think of her. its a good thing im doing this or so I like to tell myself that, because i do so badly want to remember everything. her smile, eyes, heartbeat, touch. just every little thing you could ever think of. I want. I need this woman to come back, for me to wake up and it be just a bad dream, although i know it can never be that way, ill always hope for something like it. She was my life my everything. the guidance i need now more than anything. i love her, so much. and miss her everyday of every second. Shes never left my heart nor soul not even for a second. My mind clustered with things of her, things i push and strive to keep back. Final Fantasy 7 has been my favorite game ever ive been ploaying it sincee i was really little. In the Advert Children movie theres always a part that makes me cry and its when cloud says, "But i let you die.." that part always makes me think of my mother, because even so young i did nothing to help. But maybe being there was enough, I love my mother...and i miss her like crazy...

My mother was close enough to being perfect than any i know.

She was angel, a true angel....

Amanda Saint
Cullman, AL

Second Anniversary AND I'M STILL HERE!

Praise the Lord! I celebrated my 51st birthday yesterday and also the 2nd anniversary of the CT scan that revealed my breast cancer. (Stage IV Metastatic ductal carcinoma)

I'm still here! And, it's almost time for the next mammogram and hoping that the mass is smaller and no more are detected.

Go get 'em girls!

Cynthia
Garner, NC
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