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50 YEAR SURVIVOR!

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!

Marshall
Sun City, AZ

Kick For The Cure

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

Anonymous
New Haven, KY

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

Aloha,

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.

Mahalo,

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

Warrior Grandmother

5 yrs ago Mima was diagnosed with breast cancer. Time stood still for me, knowing the one best thing in my life was ill - there was nothing I could do. We stuck together as a family; Mima was the glue, before & after her mastectomy. We thought the worst was done, she'd have chemo & be fine. March 2007, she was admitted to the hospital for Pleural Effusion due to the shoddy care from her oncologist. Two weeks before her release, we found out her doctor overdosed her both on chemo and on steroids. We were livid, though Mina remained serene, finding innocence in almost everyone, I loved her for that. March 2008 she was admitted again - her o2 stat & blood levels were extremely low, even after weekly transfusions, she wasn't improving. It was then we confirmed she had full blown metastatic bone cancer. Time stood still for me again, paralyzed with fear of the confirmation, and of losing her, not now, but soon. She was released to go home. Once home, she remained her optimistic self, going weekly for blood exams, & transfusions. I remember she called me saying her cancer count had stopped & her blood had increased, with the sound of legit happiness I hadn't heard in awhile. Each day that passes I know she has days of being worried, says many prayers, & has weakness from time to time, but tranquility overcomes her when she is with her family. Every day is a battle, but she is a warrior of her own kind. Not a Patient, but a Cancer Fighter. I love her for each day that passes, her remaining sane even when the family was not, for showing us how to stand when it feels damn near impossible.

barbie
miami, FL

She was a fighter till the end

My sister found out she had breast cancer 3 years ago and she fought a long battle till the end... The cancer spread from her breast to her brain within 2 years and we thought she could beat it but last November the doctor told her she had about 4 months to live. I was crushed, how could my crazy red head big sister be dying? I did not want to accept she was going to die but we did accept it together. I would try to make the 3 hour round trip drive out to see her every other weekend so we could spend time together. In January my family finally was all together and we thought that was it but she fooled us all. I watched her decline over the last few months and it was obvious the cancer had taken a toll on her. Monday May 4, 2009 she said her last words to her son, Andrew I love you... She went to sleep and on May 6, 2009 early morning she stop breathing for good... She died where she wanted in the country with her son, best friend and our dad at her side. The hard part is now letting go, accepting that she is gone and that I will never hear her or see her again but I know she fought a good fight and she is finally at rest....I love you sis and will nvever forget who you were!!

frankie
McKinney, TX

Truly Blessed

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 33 years old. I felt a lump in my breast and promptly went to the doctor. My doctor assured me it had all the characteristics of a benign tumor, but sent me for a mammogram anyway. The surgeon ordered an ultrasound and biopsy...again insisting it was benign. The lump I felt was not cancerous; however there was a stage one triple negative tumor behind it. It seriously looked like a white dot on the ultrasound! Luckily, my lymph nodes were cancer free.

What this means? Had I not felt the lump, the cancerous tumor deep inside would have continued to grow until big enough for me to feel or 7 years later when I was scheduled for my first mammogram at 40. I would have died. I am a one and a half year survivor and have to do everything I can to get the word out. Everyone age 20 and up should get a mammogram yearly. It saved my life and could save yours. Please pass it on... :)

While I was undergoing treatment a coworker who hadn't had a mammogram in 2 years decided to get one (I bug a lot of people now). They found stage one breast cancer! Although hers was hormone positive and mine was negative, our stories were almost identical. She is a one year survivor now and we have a bond for life. You just never know!

Sherri Bare
Des Plaines, IL

Family and Friends

I have two types of cancer not related to each other.The Dr said I was a Text book case. I knew the lump was there but I had no insurance and no money and figured I was doomed. I have a great sister that betrayed my trust and I am very glad she did by telling my daughter which I didnt want to worry she had ,had enough sorrow already I didnt want to add more. My daughter text me and told me I was seeing her Dr boss no questions ask that was a month ago I have had a breast removed and will be treated with chemo for the other cancer. God has been with me I thank him daily. There is help for ppl like myself with out insurance or money through local foundations as the Bible says "ask and you shall fine " My Dr showed us the way and God will see us through it.Trust in God and Family and Friends they are my support group.With out my God and Daughter and Friends I would still be lost.

jerry
Frisco, TX

You must do your best to get the Best

My Mom was told she had breast cancer in 1997, she had surgery. At her follow-up she was told it was gone. In 2006 she was told she had a lump but it could be removed and the Dr. again said it was gone. When she returned for a checkup a few weeks later, they said they missed some and that it spread to her surrounding breast and that they needed to remove more. We took her to the Fox Chase Center in Philadelphia, but it was in her bones by then and spread quickly to her brain, she did not go to a cancer specialist until it was out of control. She died in 2007, days before the cancer walk she wanted to be a part of. You need to go to a specialist, I have had braca test, I do not have the gene. I believe you should do all you can to keep healthy and try to go to a Dr. who knows what they are up against. My Mom did not know how bad it was until it was too late. Her sister had breast cancer after her, and she is free from cancer cause she went to a cancer specialist, we can be survivors with the right help.

Florence
Philadelphia, PA
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