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16 years a survivor and going strong!

I had my 43rd birthday party in July 1993 and by August, I had breast cancer. I had my checkups, but found the lump myself. (Keep up with those self-exams.) Went through a mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. I went through quite a few reconstructions with the last one two years ago. But my story isn't about myself. I am a survivor, but my family, friends, and my husband are my heroes. I've never really been able to express to these people how important they were in my life. My son helped me change the tubes, and my girlfriends from work and the theatre were there when I needed them the most for moral support and to keep me laughing. They came to my house one morning and surprised me with mimosas and wonderful friendship (I so love them for that day). My husband Ken (my boyfriend at the time) was my life support. He never once made me feel less of a woman. When my hair fell out, he came over at midnight when I called crying. He brought his clippers and shaved my head. We laughed so hard that night. So, now it's 16 years later, I'm a grandmother, and I couldn't be happier. My life is a book with many chapters with this one entitled, "I have survived!" I have survived because of people like you who took the time to read my little story. Now, take another step, and give your support to those in need. Thank you so much my friends.

Leilani Tillis Loos
St. Augustine, FL

Mom and Mary

My mother and little sister are breast cancer survivors, 10+ years, and I have yearly screenings, and twice yearly exams. When I visit a site like this I see lots of new words that patients learn and share, that weren't necessarily part of the jargon over 10 years ago. I hope not to know these words so intimately but I am impressed, and grateful, that there has been so much progress in the field of breast cancer. This comprehensive site is pretty awesome, not unlike the women sharing their stories here. Keep on keeping on...

Westchester County, NY

The Pink Ribbon Square Dancers

When my Dear Late Wife Jane came down with cancer I formed a group called the "Pink Ribbon Square Dancers". Each year I run a dance with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Everything is donated to us, a hall to hold 300 people, some of the finest square dance callers & round dance cuers, as well as all the refreshments and door prizes. My Square dance Association pays for four reams of paper and our local Staples prints our copies at no charge. Last year was our 9th dance - we raised over $6500! October 18th will be our next dance. Ribbons are $6.00, and any one can contribute.

Emil Welden
Laguna Woods, CA

I feel Blessed

My name is Lanita J. Borjas and I am a survivor of one year as of March 12th of 2009. I feel very blessed because we were able to find my cancer in its first stage. I was a firm believer in going and having my Mammograms every year and found that is the only way to really be sure to catch it in time. I didn't have to go through any radiation or hormones etc. I decided for myself to feel somewhat safer that I have both of my breasts removed and I am very happy that I did. I don't have a husband any longer and if I had I still would have done it this way. I wanted to feel better about my future and do so now because of it. Anyway, I just wanted to let someone else know that I feel that I am doing so well because I have such a wonderful family and my daughter has stood by me through everything and supported my feelings in every way. Thank you to everyone that does so much.

Lanita J. Borjas
Orland, CA

MammoSite treatment

How fortunate I am that I live where I do so that I could participate in the mammosite treatment. My cancer was found early so that I qualified for this type of treatment. Five days of radiation, twice daily and I was finished. No side effects, at least for me. If you would like more information go to I am truly blessed as I am cancer free thanks to the radiologist that did my biopsy, my surgeon and the staff at the Ireland Cancer Center where I received treatment.

Joy Roof
Mentor, OH

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.

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.

Palo Pinto, TX
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