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Too Young? Never.

I was 37 at the time I was told I had Breast Cancer. I had been watching a spot on my left breast for about two weeks and called the doctor. I had problems with lumps for years but this was different. I went in for a mammo on a Wednesday and was told the doctor would have the results within a few days. By Friday he still did not have the results. On Monday he called me and told me to come in ( well we all know what that means. Bad News.) but before he could tell me, I told him.

Feb. 16, I had a biopsy and it was the C word. I was mad. I'm a non-smoker, don't drink much, exercise and eat pretty good. Well C doesn't care about any of that. After 4 days of crying and being mad, trying to understand why because it wasn't in my family history I said Lets get on with it and so waht has to be done. I have too much to do and have two kids to finish raising.

Feb. 27, 1989, I underwent a Bi-Lateral Mastectomy with reconstruction. The real breast were sagging so the new ones would be firm. I also went through 6 treatments of chemo.

We all get through our troubles in our our way. For me it was to talk about it and to try to help others. Most importantly, I had and have Faith in God and that was the biggest thing that got me through along with my family.

It's been 20 years now and I'm still here. I never say it wouldn't come back, so I live each and every day to the fullest and I'm enjoying my family and sports.

Keep the Faith.

Amanda M.
Baton Rouge, LA

Stronger than I thought

I was nursing my daughter when I noticed that my right breast seemed harder than the left. Because I was nursing I thought it was just something to do with the milk flow and forgot about it. After a month or so it was getting harder in fact it was painful. So I did a self exam and found that the whole bottom of my breast was hard. When I finally got into the doctor she said that it didn't seem like anything but that we would get a mammogram anyway. I had never had once since I am only 33. The tech almost didn't do the test since I was still nursing, but I insisted. Thankfully. After the radiologist looked at the films they canceled the ultrasound and told me that I would have to get a biopsy. The nurse told me not to worry. I found out on May 5th that I had breast cancer. I got an appointment with the surgeon that day, as fast as we could get there. I had no option for a lumpectomy since the area of cancer was more than half of my breast. Within 9 days I had the mastectomy. Then I found out that I was HER2 positive and would need chemo. I was devastated. Again. Now I have finished my chemo, and survived. It's hard to lose your hair, and no one who hasn't been through it will understand. It's temporary, but you ARE beautiful inside, and it's your life that matters, not your makeup, hair or chest. Your friends may disappear, they love you, but may not know how to deal with this. Sometimes you may have to remind them that they can call you. Be strong, you can survive this.

Star S
Colorado Springs, CO

Importance of mammograms

I was diagnosed with ductal cancer in situ recently. It was an aggressive form and had spread throughout the breast, but there was no lump. I had a mastectomy and senitnel node biopsy a month ago and am doing well. Thanks to early dectection, all of the cancer was removed with surgery and I don't need to have radiation or chemotherapy. I am so grateful not to have to go through months of treatment. Recovery from surgery was uneventful and not too painful. I am now able to return to my life and my normal level of activity.

Albuquerque, NM

Why annual tests are so important!!!

I had a scare January 2006 but the biopsy was negative. In July 2006 I had a follow-up mammogram and biopsy; this time it was positive for Stage I Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ. I found out on the road to Texas for my daughter's college orientation and a wedding.

I was lucky to have an experienced doctor, Dr. Philip Israel, Breast Center in Marietta, GA. This type of breast cancer is hard to detect and doesn't always create a lump. He continued testing until he determined what he was seeing in the mammogram and ultrasound.

I had a lumpectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy on 7-24-06, the day after returning from Texas. I began MammoSite radiation treatments on 8-14-06, first day back to school for my 5th grader. I had my last treatment on 8-18-06, had the catheter removed and left the following morning to drive to Austin, TX to move my daughter into her college dorm. With a 22 year old daughter who had just graduated from UT in May, a 19 year old daughter beginning at UT in August and my 9 yr old daughter, I was thrilled that I could do the 5 day Mammosite radiation treatment. It saved my energy for the chemotherapy later.

I hope my 3 daughters are never faced with breast cancer but if they are I know that the treatments will continue to improve and one day, hopefully a cure will be found.

Life is not a dress rehearsal so you need to make the most of each and every day that you have. Each day is a present, a gift from God! I was able to be here for my daughter's wedding in November 2008 in Austin, TX and pray to be here for my other daughters when they get married!

Gayle Whitmire
Marietta, GA

Very, very lucky!!

In Dec. 2008, I went to a dermatologist to have a spot checked on my upper back. A week after having it removed, it was diagnosed as melanoma. Luckily, it hadn't gone deeper that it had. The spot had been there for at least five years. I kept thinking, "I'll get it checked someday." I also had a spot on my shoulder that was itchy and odd shaped. When I got my stitches out, the dermatologist biopsied the shoulder spot and determined that it was squamous cell cancer. Again it had been there a long time and didn't go deep. At that time, he sent me to get blood work done, a chest x-ray, and get my mammogram current (hadn't had one in five years). Since breast cancer doesn't run in our family, I almost put it off. I did go and there was an abnormality on the mammo. I went back for a follow-up mammogram and then was sent for a needle biopsy. The results came back as early stage breast cancer! A lumpectomy was scheduled right away and I was fortunate to have all the cancer removed. My sentinel nodes were negative, thank goodness. I have the most common form of breast cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma). I didn't have to go through chemo, but am finishing up my radiation therapy. After fighting through a week of fatigue, I am feelling great, and have been able to work through all of this. My advice to everyone, don't put off getting checked. Who knows if I would have waited longer, what the outcome would have been. My outlook on life has changed. I really get irritated at people that put things off. Something could happen and there won't be a second chance to get it done.

kim calderon
carson, WA


On May 15, 2009, it wll be 50 years since I had my first mastectomy!

Remember to laugh, love and live!

Carolyn J. Luker
Atlanta, GA

Yes, Guys Can Get Breast Cancer!

In April of 2003, taking an unusual shower (I'm a tub bather), my fingertips found a lump in my right breast. I reported it to my doctor who said that lots of older men have gynecomastia, which often feels like a lump, and not to worry about it. Generally, "men don't get breast cancer."

I asked to come in and have him evaluate it. He felt that it was needless, but I persisted and he gave in. On feeling the lump himself, he still thought it was "the g word," but agreed to send me for a mammogram. When the mammogram showed a partially obscured mass, both he and the radiologist thought it was most likely nothing about which to be concerned. I was still concerned and so an 'ultrasound' was ordered.

The ultrasound showed a suspicious, apparently self contained, intra-ductal mass of less than one centimeter. The only way -- I was told -- to be certain was to have a biopsy. It was not mid-June. This was arranged and one breast, thirteen lymph-nodes later, it was confirmed that I had had, indeed, breast cancer. Since it was all self-contained, I needed no chemo or radiation. I've had regular checkups and have just passed the five year mark and shifted to one year recalls. [When she first saw me after the surgery, my oncologist said that in her sixteen years of practice, I was about the fifth man!]

When I go swimming, etc., I go "topless" and, when asked, tell all the guys: "Yes! Guys can get breast cancer. Practice breast self-examination; your significant other can show you how. Share any suspicious results with your doctor. . . and don't take "No" for an answer!

Sun City, AZ

Kick For The Cure

"WE WEAR PINK" and have dedicated our soccer season to Breast Cancer awareness.

New Haven, KY

Pink Paddlers of Maui and the program of Manao'lana (Hope)


There is life after breast cancer!

We have a terrific group of survivors and caregivers that paddle outrigger hawaiian canoes together at least once a week here in Maui from the beautiful south west shores. We have people from all walks of life. Some live here full time and some come to follow the sun. The pink paddlers have enjoyed events such as racing in a regatta, moonlite paddles and, now are in training for a 90 mile paddle from Maui to Molokai, around Molokai and back. Hopefully we will be going in October to help raise awareness of early detection. When someone is given the news of breast cancer, she has an opportunity to become a "Pink Paddler" when she is ready.

We have a wonderful group at the Pacific Cancer Institute to take care of all the cancer patients here. We also have the full support of the Pacific Cancer Foundation in all of our endevors. Everything we do is to help raise funds for the foundation.

The Manao'lana program was started in 2005 with just a small group of 8 ladies. We have grown to a group of over 25 now in 2009. So when your in Maui, look for the ladies in pink every Tuesday morning at 8:30am paddling for fun, paddling for life. Come and join us! Just check the Maui News Date Book to find us.

I had my first surgery on my 50th birthday--Not at all what I was planning on for that day!

Pink paddlers in the boat we paddle for fun,

we paddle and laugh out under the sun,

on the island, we paddle island style,

from the beach into the ocean, in the ocean on the leeward side.


Jeannie Kaiser

Jeannie Kaiser
Kihei, Maui, HI

A Free Mammogram Saved My Life

In 1998, I had lost everything, including my job, my home, and my income and was living on savings. I had no health insurance, visited a free clinic, and was told I needed to have an annual mammogram. They could not provide it, but a flyer on the bulletin board there gave a number to call for a free mammogram. I called, and had my free mammogram in a small office of the local senior center, on portable equipment. That was the luckiest day of my life!

I am deaf, and I received no follow-up calls on the mammogram for some time, due to the difficulty in reaching me on my TTY telephone. However, one woman in the program would not give up and finally reached me and told me my mammogram was suspicious. I was referred to another free clinic, got x-rays, and was referred to a physician in the program. He did an in-hospital biopsy and invasive ductal carcinoma was found in my right breast (there was no lump.) About this same time, I was able to get on California MediCal/SSDI (individual pays a percentage of medical costs), and I went ahead and had a right mastectomy about a week after the biopsy, in early 1999. In 2000, the same physician did a left mastectomy to ease my mind about subsequent cancer. I was on Tamoxifen therapy until 2004, feel great, am now back with my former HMO, on Medicare, and am considering breast reconstruction at age 67!

That free mammogram saved my life, as the cancer would have been undetected otherwise, and would have silently invaded other areas of my body. I urge you to give other women the same wonderful chance I had. PLEASE CLICK ON THIS SITE DAILY AT LEAST ONCE!

Jill Clark
Lancaster, CA
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