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Regular Mammograms are SO Important!

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, and had a mastectomy and several weeks of chemo. I had regular mammograms prior to that, but after her experience, had them yearly. I've had a couple of biopsies that turned out to be nothing, but last fall, I was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). After an MRI to see if there were more areas of involvement (and there were, some of which were microinvasive), I decided on bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. I am 53 years old, and although the recovery process has not been a breeze, I have been extremely lucky and blessed to have loving family and friends beside me for support. The cancer was caught very early and had not spread to the sentinel nodes, so no chemo or radiation was necessary. Mammograms are not the horrible experiences they once were (and I've been having them for over 30 years, so I know!) so don't let anybody's horror stories stop you from regular screening. Had I not gone for my regular mammogram, what was for the most part non-invasive cancer could have been a different case entirely. Early detection and aggressive treatment is key. They are only boobs, and they can be replaced, but a life is much more important and irreplaceable--get those mammogams early and as often as recommended for your medical and family history. I am one of the lucky ones--and blessed beyond measure! :)

Karen F. Ellis
Frankfort, KY

I did it my way

Like most of us it was when I took a bath and was drying off that I happened to look in the huge mirror over our sinks and noticed a small proturshion on the right breast, It looked like something small as a pea had been inserted in it.

I decided to make an appt. and also decided which hospital I would go to, I called the hospital first to ask which women doctors operated there.

She did the biopsy and gave me the results,advised me to go home and make an appt.later, if I wanted to, I said,no I won't come back if I do that. I asked to be put into the hospital right away.

The right breast was removed. I asked for an implant but was advised to wait to see what treatment would be given. I took Chemo. from the doctor that prescribed the combination. I notice warts growing on one hand on the thumb and finger, and along the way at about nine months my feet were beginning to swell. and I was gaining weight fast. I mentioned this to the doctor,and was not satisfied by the way he handled my questions on this. So I told my husband thats it! I won't go back for more of the chemo. I was told I needed to do it one year!

During my recovery I had the usual visit from supporters,but the one they sent to me only depressed me! So I didn't want anyone to come. I took myself to the mall many times and walked and walked until I was used to the "new breast" as it felt like a ton! I walked a lot with friends and strangers.

I have been free of cancer for 25 years now.

Joan Hintzke
Vancouver, WA

I am a survivor!

I am a survivor of stage 2 breast cancer and I have so many people to thank for their support, prayers and for hanging in there when I had a bad day. At age 45 in May 2007 I found a lump while going through a knee replacement rehab, I felt something on my left breast. I called my doctor and was seen a couple weeks later. The core biopsy pathology came back as "atypical ductal hyplasia" and I was encouraged to follow up with a surgeon. I went into surgery to have a biopsy and it turned into a lumpectomy in July 2007, I was diagnosed at that time with stage II aggressive invasive cancer with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). I had sentinel node surgery in August 2007 and had not spread to my lymph nodes! I started chemo in September 2007 and had 8 sessions that was the most difficult thing I have ever been through. My parents were there for me at each session and stayed with me to be sure I was able to rest so I could work. I started 6 weeks of Radiation in January 2008 and that went pretty well. I suffered sunburn type side effects.

I am getting stronger now and more active and feel great. I have a positive attitude and that has made a difference. I have so many people in my life that prayed for me and their prayers have been answered. I will continue to see my doctors on a regular basis for follow-ups for the rest of my life. If you suspect something is wrong, see your doctor! Get a mammogram and follow up. It is best to know what is happening, it may or may not be cancer and I pray it is not.

Kathy W.
Belchertown, MA

Youll make it through this with the help of god

My mom is a breast cancer survivor and recently we found out my mom had breast cancer in the other boob she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 they were able to remove it with out removing her boob this time they have to remove both boobs in three more days the doctor has mentioned that she may have more cancer then what we think.She was examined january 12 2009 and they said she had a hernia and siste that maybe cancers so they still havent given a time period on how long she has to live but its pretty short I know we all will get through this espeacialy her i am the oldest(15) of her 4 kids she has me my sister April (14) my brother Rudy (9) and my little sister Allyssa (7) so were all going through it we have no family no friends so its hard to determine were we will be if something is to happen I am looking to find a support group to help my mom get through this she means the world to me shes all i have besides my brother and sister im hopping something good will come out of this but so far its just pain we dont have much but we get by god has gotten us this far she is to young to die she is only 45 years old same age as my mothers mom when she died of cancer so its a big worry and scare let me cut this short im getting all teary eyed writing this so god bless and take care of your selfs plz pray

ashley
adelanto, CA

my sisters and me

I am a ten yr. survivor, my two younger sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer and I took care of them, until it was time to leave me and go on to a better place, I almost did not survivor their loss. Two yrs. later I was diagnosed with stage 3, my husband and 3 survivors have been my support group, we only have this moment and embrace it well, I do the 5 mile walk in Denver every year, and my friends and husband walk with me. Both of my sisters had chemo and drugs, I chose to do nothing other then travel and enjoy everyday that I have. Please feel free to email me. josezhi1944@yahoo.com My name is Jo Ann. Bless all of you, and my thoughts are with you every day.

Jo Ann McCumiskey
denver, CO

Three time breast cancer and lymphoma survivor

I am a 3 time breast cancer and lympohma survivor. First time 1981, I was 31 years old with two children 3 months and 14 months, given 2 years to live. Wonderful doctor and nurses, am 56 years old and still going strong health wise, have had a double mastectomy finally but have had wonderful care and wonderful support. My two children are now 24 and 25 and if I die tomorrow I was able to see them grow. I am very happy to share more of my story and encourage first time cancer patients..How can I help

Sharon Thompson

Montreal, Quebec

email: shathompson@gmail.com

sharon thompson
montreal, QC, Canada

Not only was the weather Hot, so were the sites...

This picture was taken last summer during the 60 kilometer Weekend to End Breast Cancer walk in Edmonton. This was my 3rd walk and my daughter Leah's 2nd. It was very hot outside but the sites were even hotter as we encountered some very handsome men from Grey's Anatomy who offered to let us take their picture. The Weekend to End Breast Cancer is a 2 day 60 kilometer walk throught the streets of Edmonton. It is amazing and rewarding. This summer "2009" I will walk my 4th walk alongside of my team, "The Radiant Ladies" I look forward to once again raising funds to help find a cure for all women cancers...

BREAST CANCER IS HARD. WALKING ISN'T.

Please visit www.endcancer.ca

Peggy S. Brown

(Team Capitain-"Radiant Ladies)

Peggy S. Brown
Edmonton, AB, Canada

Praise the Lord!

62 yrs old. In Nov i found a lump. I had taken care of cancer patients 20 yrs ago and said if I ever had it I would just skip the chemo. What was the point? 2 yrs of pain and suffering to live 5 more? Not for me or my family. I went for mamogram through the cancer screening program at the health dept. I had no insurance. They are volunteers. My doctor told me she felt we caught it early and she felt , I was going to be ok. So I went for the mamogram and they found a tumor, then I had a biopsie and found more. Stage 2 invasive cancer is what it is. After the doctors told the breakthroughs they had I decided to tell my family and go for the chemo. I've been well no pain or sickness. I'm on my 4th chemo and it's shrinking everytime. My husband passed 13 yrs ago, he had cancer too. If it weren't for the strong support group I don't know what I would've done. God has truely blessed me. I thank Him in all things yes in all things not for all things. Even the cancer, I have cancer it doesn't have me. I meet others at the Moffitt Cancer Center and try to encourage them. I know how scarry it was in the beginning for me. I also thank God for my daughter and sons who are helping me through this too.

Pat Durfee
Largo, FL

My Mother, My Hero

My Mother found out she had breast cancer when I was in my 20's and she was in her 60's. She could have given up, but her faith in God and family made her strong enough to fight! In September 2006 she succumbed to diabetes and cancer. She is still an inspiration to me today. Whenever I feel like giving up on life, I remember that my Mother was strong and that she made me a stronger person by fighting this battle. I love and miss you very much Mom!

Xan (Tomlinson) Lawrence
Anderson, IN

34 yr. old with stage 3 breast cancer

I am 34 years old. In june 2008 I found a lump in my rt. breast. my doctor immediately sent me to a surgeon. A week later I had a lumpectomy. The next week, i received my diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer. I was very shocked, since i am the first one in my family to have breast cancer. less than two weeks after my diagnosis, I had a modified radical mastectomy and 11 lymph nodes removed; 10 of them were positive. I was devastated to hear the news and thought my life was hopeless. When I heard the words chemo & radiation, I wanted to pass out. I have a 4 year old daughter, and my husband had lost his mom 2 montths before to cancer. I felt bad for my family more than myself I think. Once I changed my attitude from hopeless to hopeful, I felt much better. I finished chemo last Dec., and radiation this Apr. And my hair is growing back. I was very lucky I didn't get sick from chemo, just tired. it's hard to hear the diagnosis at any age, Just try your best to keep a positive attitude. My family is the best, and prayer really does work! I'm so glad my daughter still "loves mommy with one boobie and a little bit of hair." we can all get through this!

Angie Malloy
Erie, MI
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