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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.

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!!

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.

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.

Philadelphia, PA

What the Heck! I'm only 30!

Just after receiving the "gold star" for reaching my goal

weight with Weight Watchers I discovered the enemy,

Breast Cancer. It was a "God Shot" that they even found it.

I was having "pain" around my ovaries, so I made an appointment to see my OB/GYN to see if there were any ovarian cysts present.

I had them in the past and just wanted to check it out. The doctor told me that I had pulled a ligament in my lower groan area from working out. "Nothing to worry about..." She also decided to give me a "breast exam" and found an old benign cyst I had drained several years back. Since I was a newer patient of hers, she ordered up an ultrasound. I was wondering why waste my time, but it was free, so why not. Good thing I did. The day of the ultrasound, the technologist who performed the scan, viewed the issue my doctor was concerned about and confirmed it was benign but decided to "look around" and found the enemy lurking in a place you couldn't feel it, or even see it in a mammogram. I found out I had both lobular and ductal types of breast cancer so I decided to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction.

That was over five years ago. I am turning 36 in a few months and it's like it never happened, until I look in the mirror and see the scars or the fat that came back.

It's changed my life. I view every day differently. They are gifts, not to be wasted on stuff you don't want to do! I bought a horse and moved to a rural area. And I never fold laundry or clean house if it's a beautiful day outside.

Sheri Olson
Modjeska, CA

A Caring Woman

My story is about my mother in law. She was the most loving woman I have ever met. She always had a smile, she would have done anything for anybody. She was a loving mother of two children, a boy and girl and also a wonderful grand-mother of three grand children. One day about six years ago, she was not feeling well. She was the one that was taking care of our twin daughters for us. I asked her if it was the flu, she said she thought so, and that she would go see the doctor after supper. When I got back home she didn't look so good. She went to the clinic and they said that she had bordeau, from stress. So we gave her the rest of the week off. The next week she said she was feeling better but just looking at her I knew she wasn't. The next day we had a call that the ambulance came and took her to the hospital, she was weak and vomiting. She spent two days at the hospital they told her it wasn't bordeau she had, it was breast cancer. Also she had two tumors in her head. The news was devastating but she said, "Don't worry about me, I will beat this." About two months after she died. I miss her so much. My twin girls still ask for her, it breaks me and my wife's hearts. Please keep up the good work of searching for a cure and don't give up hope.

Grande-Digue, NB, Canada

Tribulation or Blessing?--Both!

My Tribulation by Cynthia S. Groff

Cancer, the tribulation I now must face

One day my God will completely erase

A perfect body awaiting me

In which no disease or pain shall be

Glory to Him

and victory to us both so sweet

Through complete healing here

Or streets of gold beneath my feet

After 3 rounds of antibiotics, steroid taper, no improvement, & 2 chest x-rays for walking pneumonia I had a CT scan to evaluate fluid on my right lung (2.5 liters!). The radiologist wanted to talk--that was not good. He showed the view of my fluid-filled lung then the true cause...a tennis-ball sized mass in my right breast. It was May 18, 2007--my 49th birthday.

How could that be there and me not know? Mammogram--coulda, woulda, shoulda, nada? Do you think I really wanted to be run over by a steam roller? Guess what?--Ever heard of soft-compression mammograms? No more fear of the "rack"! Go for it girls! Just ask!

Since my official diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer, June 2007, I now have ~14 sites involved. Scared? No. Complete, solid peace from day one. I have an Awesome Savior! I'm in a win-win situation. One way or the other (death/extended life) He'll get the glory and we'll both get the victory!

I'm blessed with the most wonderful hubby, family, extended family, church family, oncologist, chemo nurses, friends, and others (many I've never met) literally around the world praying for and cheering me on. The power of prayer is awesome!

Tribulation: Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer

Responsibility: II Corinthians 1:3&4 (King James Version)

Goal: No pity-woe-is-me parties; 20 more years-at least!

Blessings: Salvation, breaths, heartbeats, serving God, others' prayers, AND it's me with cancer--NOT those I love

Attitude: Keep a smile and keep going!

Cynthia Groff
Garner, NC

How to Save Your Own LIfe

On October 21, 2008, I had my yearly mammogram. I have been doing mammograms since 1995

The 10/21/08 mammo was clean. Yet, I felt something wasn't right. My spirit felt depleted, my life force drained. My intuition whispered over and over, "Something's wrong."

On March 12, 2009, less than FIVE months after my clean mammogram of October 21, 2008, during my monthly breast exam in the shower, I found a lump on my lower right breast in an obscure section, one hard to capture on mammogram. I will never know what made me be so thorough that day.

And right then, at that moment I KNEW. This was IT. This was THE BIG ONE. I KNEW I had breast cancer.

Saw my gyn on March 17 who told me--"Don't wait--make an appointment to see a breast surgeon as soon as you can." Saw my breast surgeon who found another, smaller lump during an ultrasound. Had both lumps biopsied, and learned that I have TRIPLE NEGATIVE, Grade THREE invasive ductal breast cancer in the bigger mass. The smaller tumor is benign.

Ladies, listen to your intuition. I am scheduled for a lumpectomy at which time I will have a port installed for chemo. The best case scenario I can hope for is a Grade Three tumor, which I have, with a Stage one diagnosis. This will mean my Triple Negative cancer, the most invasive and agressive, has NOT made it past my sentinel nodes into my lymph nodes and throughout my body. I hope and pray I have some tough sentinels who are kicking some serious cancer ass right now. I am also seeking a second opinion. I have had a good response from my medical community and my local breast cancer communities, but my journey is just starting.

Dawn A. Chuley
Brevard County, FL

She is alive in our hearts...

My Mother in law Rebecca Gutierrez had a mammogram in Dec of 97 it was clear, in Jan she got new health insurance. By the grace of God the new insurance required a physical exam performed by them. In a month a tumor had formed her breast they put her on heavy treatment. By Christmas of 98 she was in remission and my husband and I expecting the first grand daughter in the family. July 31, 06 she said something was wrong, the skin under her arm was pulling, she felt an indentation when she moved a certain way, one side of her body was tense. She was checked they found two small fat lumps "Calcifications" they said no worries, no biopsy needed. Her health deteriorated Doctors sent her to a Neurologist to get that tension looked at, 3 told her years of stress inflamed her Sciatica and put her into an induced coma which enabled the Cancer to take over. We told her to get checked here by Doctors she said she would see one last Dr. maybe he could find something. Mon 15, the dreaded phone call stage IV Tumor Metastases Cancer she had 7 tumors in her bones, one in her breast & her liver no chance of survival. She was approved for treatment at City of Hope arriving on the 29 very weak they told us the best thing to do is take her to the nearest emergency room. They gave her Morphine, sent her home. Feb 23, 10 days after my daughters 8th bday she was taken to Mexico where she passed on the 26 at 9:30am in her mothers home when her liver ruptured she was 53. Ladies after 5 years in remission you shouldn't worry I say you should

Maribel Carrillo
Mission Hills, CA
Springs A-Buzzz Bargains
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