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Coping with & conquering breast cancer

I was thirty eight when I discovered a lump whilst under going I.V.F treatment in 1987. It was completely unexpected & meant my husband & I had to forgo the I.V.F & I had to go through two operations & six weeks of radiotherapy. With the help of John & all my friends & relatives I got through it all. All progressed well until April 1989 when the Cancer returned & I had to have a Mastectomy,and Chemotherapy which at the age of forty I was devastated & gave a lot of clothes away especially any thing low cut. It took me much longer to recover from the cancer this time, but thanks to my network of friends & professionals I coped and though we could never have children, my life restarted again & I have made the most of every day since. Also I was very fortunate to have a top Oncologist in a top London hospital. I am now nearly sixty & have been free from Cancer since & continue with regular check up.

Lynne Swallow
Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom

My Mum - always First to Me

2008 will always be remembered as the worst year for my family as it was the year my Mum, Margaret was told at the age of 80 that she had Breast Cancer. A death sentence - no, a story of courage, strength and determination. The options were to have the entire breast removed, major surgury at her age, Mum went right ahead, had the surgery and despite several set backs along the way, 12 months on has gotten on with her very busy social life, extolls the greatness of her Doctors, the home nurses and her blessings.

The sad thing about this is that after 75 years of age she was told she did not require screening anymore. This was untrue and all women should continue being screened every year to ensure the cancer is found early enough to allow them to have more of a chance for survival.

To all women who have suffered from Breast cancer, I applaud your courage and wish you a speedy recovery to a full like.

Chris Steele

Daughter of Surviver.

Christine Steele
Greystanes, Australia

In Loving Memory

In April 2006, we found out that Mom had inflammatory breast cancer as well as a tumor. The next few months were a very long hard struggle for Mom and the rest of the family. She had all the necessary tests done before starting her treatment. Then she began her chemo regimen. Mom's chemo was very intense with a combination of drugs. Unfortunately, Mom became very ill from her treatments, and after each session, she ended up in the hospital. After the second session, the doctors did not think she would make it through the night. We said our prayers, decided to take her home, and called Hospice for help. The next two to three months were touch and go; we lived hour by hour for the next eight weeks but she came through it. As Mom got a little stronger, the doctors decided that chemo was not the answer. We were told there were other treatments that she could do. Mom decided not to start any other treatment. This was very painful decision that she made and we as her family had to stand behind her 110%. She had a fighting spirit and a battle that she was determined to WIN. My mom lost her fight and her battle on May 7, 2008.

Always keep a positive attitude, always stand beside your family, give them all the support and never give up. They will draw positive energy from your positive thoughts.

Lisa
Lusby, MD

My little Miracle and Me

I found a lump when I was 16 weeks pregnant. Back in April 2008. I knew from the beginning it wasn't something to ignore. Some doctors said to get a mastectomy and terminate the pregnancy. After two other opinions and wiggling starting from within we decided to have a lumpectomy and keep the baby. My angel wiggling was her way of telling me she was ready for the journey. My baby and I went thru surgeries and a round of chemo (chemo that does not go thru the placenta). I had stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. My margins were clear and my nodes were negative. I delivered my beautiful baby at 37 weeks with no problems. She is just perfect. She was born with a full head of hair unlike her mommy. :-) I then started a 2nd round of weekly chemo. Then 7 weeks of radiation and now I am on Tamoxifen. Here we are one year later from finding the lump with a very happy 7 month old. Though I have my moments and I am always scared it will come back, I have a lot to be thankful for. I truly believe that my daughter helped me find the cancer and helped me get thru the nightmare. I wish I could help other women and get the word out to never ever ignore a lump especially when you are pregnant.

Dina Gillis
Doylestown, PA

Not What We Wish For

I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer August 20th of 2008. I chose to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy. The breast surgeon I was referred to was an angel. I am uninsured and I was very concerned with all the medical expenses. She sensed my concerns and told me she would not charge me for her services. I had been in the medical field previously for 10 years. I didn't think there were Dr.'s out there that still cared about the patient more than the money. My surgery was originally scheduled on September 23rd. I went the day before surgery and got my bloodwork and x-rays done. When I got to the hospital the next day for surgery I was told that it was postponed, they told me they could reschedule it in 4 weeks. I told my husband I couldn't wait another month. We talked to the Dr.'s and they agreed to do it the next tuesday which was the 30th of September. One thing I hadn't wanted was to have the surgery on anyone's birthday. As it turned out the 30th of September was my husband's. After the surgery, my husband was the ideal caretaker. He helped me drain the tube that was still in my chest cavity. I have never gone to a Dr.'s appointment by myself. He was and still is my rock. He was there for 3-5 hours of chemo every 3 weeks and bloodwork every week. I am now done with chemo and am in the reconstruction stage. I am feeling stronger everyday. I do believe that there is a reason this happened to me and even though I don't know why, I am anxious to see what God has in store for me. My prayers and thoughts to all other survivors.

Anonymous
Palo Pinto, TX

My Journey Through Grace And Mercy!

Hello,

My name is Ruth Smith and I was diagnosed with Carcinoma of left breast with possible axillary metastases on June 6, 2003 the month of my birthday. That is a moment that I will always remember and will never forget how traumatized I was after hearing the news from my pathology report.

I immediately underwent a mastectomy of right breast with frequent office visits and chemotheraphy for six months and required a flexible work schedule to accommodate my appointments.

During this time I suffered side effects of hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and temporarily lowered blood count because systemic treatments treats the whole body. I was told by my oncologist that my resistance was very low and I should not be under stress or duress but I never missed a day of caring for my husband who had a stroke in 2000 and I help my oldest daughter who is bed ridden with rheumatoid arthritis as I speak. Sadly my husband went home to be with the Lord on July 10, 2008.

I have an excellent medical team that promised to get me through to the other side which was strengthen by my trust in God and the support of my immediate family, church family and friends which includes members of Camp Bluebird (An Adult Cancer Camp).

I am now a survivor of five years and I just began to feel the weight and heavy load that I carried for all those years and I have finally slowed down and advise you to realize that you are not superwomen and invite you to join me as I hold on, if you are in a similar situation.

Ruth Newsome Smith
Jackson, MS

My Friend Annie

To My Friend Annie

My friend Annie had breast cancer. Her hair was long and beautiful. When she told me I was very upset because I knew someone that had died of breast cancer. Annie has 2 young children. I knew this was hard for her. Having cancer is hard for anyone. She had the tumor removed. The tumor was so big that the doctors said she should have had her breast removed but she was under and hadn't given consent to remove her breast so the doctors only removed the tumor. She is having all the treatments that a person with breast cancer normally has and has lost her beautiful hair. What keeps her going is the lady from her church that is over 60. Both women get their cancer treatments, stay very positive, and give the glory to God. Annie is an inspiration to all she meets. When she told me she had breast cancer she said. "This is something that God wants me to experience." I was working with Annie until I found out that I had cancer in my leg and had to quit my second job. My cancer was just a small thing compared to Annie's cancer but whenever I have a problem I just think of her. I know she gets sick every time she has a treatment and never complains so I won't complain either. Annie, you are great and I pray you live a long life, cancer free, and enjoy your children. (I changed the name of my friend because she doesn't know I am sending this)

Sincerely,

Your friend Terri

Terri
Riley, KS

BE A "SELF" ADVOCATE

I am delighted to boast 11 years cancer free! I went for a mammogram with an innate feeling that something was wrong. No lumps but a "funny feeling" in the right breast nipple area. I experienced a "pulling or drawing" dull aching sensation of the right breast. The mammogram showed "normal" no disease. Being a nurse, I was persistent, and asked for an ultrasound. BINGO. Ductal cancer insitu after a "core" biopsy completed. All of the milk ducts were involved. The lumpectomy would have been too disfiguring since it involved all of the milk ducts. I had a mastectomy/reconstructive OR the same day (11 hr surg.) Today I am fine and most grateful to all those who helped in my care....YOU KNOW YOUR BODY THE BEST, SO SPEAK UP. If you are in error, SO BE IT. You have every thing to gain.....LIFE.

Sally Hudson
Wilmette, IL

My Father is a survivor!

My father is a 75yr old african american male, diagnoised with stage 1 breast cancer at 72yrs old. He noticed a lump in his left breast that he said had been there for a while and has began to bother him. When he went for his regular checkup, we mentioned it to his physician. His physician ordered a biospy, the results came back. He was told that he has breast cancer, his sister who is 90yrs old, is a breast cancer survivor and has had a masectomy. My father had a left breast masectomy also. He did not do any radiation therapy or chemo. My father is on the poster for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure poster for 2008. He is the father of 4 girls and we make sure we get our mammograms on time because we know that breast cancer runs in our gens. My father is proud to speak out about his cancer to let other males know that it could happen to them. My father, Donald Dennis is a real trooper!

JENNITA PRICE
KANSAS CITY, MO

Glad to be a Survivor

In 1961 my mother died of breast cancer aged 42. 37 yrs later after my 2nd mammogram a small mass was dicovered in my breast. This did not require treatment. At my next mammogram in 2002 another small lump was found. I then had an ultrasond scan and 3 needle bi-opsies to confirm that this time it was cancer.

I had a lumpectomy and sentinal nodes removed. Fortunately the nodes were clear. I had grade 3 cancer. After consultation with the consutants I made an informed choice about my treatment. I opted not to have chemotherapy but did proceed with 26 radiotherapy treatments. I took Tamoxiphen for 4yrs. I then developed pre-cancer cells in my cervix and skin. These were successfully treated. I was then given a new cancer drug for 1yr.

In 2006 I had a lump on my neck, which started alarm bells ringing. My GP fearing cancer, started me immediately on strong antibiotics and sent me for biopsies. 5 needle biopsies were taken and were, thankfully, cancer free. 6 wks later I danced at my sons wedding. In 2007 I was given the all clear.

I do self examination and go for routine mammograms. Neither of the lumps that I have had could be detected by physical examination and were only discovered by having mammograms. I'm so grateful for this. Where would I be without them. I am also delighted to 'click' daily so that others may benefit as I have done. Keep up the good work.

Lyn Mason
Glasgow, United Kingdom
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