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God's got a sense of humor . . . who knew?

God must have a sense of humor. My sister had passed away in 2000 after a six-year battle with ovarian cancer. I decided at her funeral that I was not about to get cancer! So I had a full hysterectomy. Nope, I wasn't going to get cancer now! I am sure God must have decided, "Oh yes you are; there are LOTS of other places you can have cancer." So, there I sat in my surgeon's office with my new husband by my side, having just been diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2001.

"Ok, God. You obviously have a plan. What am I supposed to learn from this? I am not that strong, not like Kathy was. I am not a fighter."

There was a 40% chance I would get cancer again even after chemo and radiation. Feeling scared and sorry for myself, I called my daughter at college. When I told her this statistic, she said, "That's great mom!" Perhaps she hadn't heard me so I repeated what I had said. "No, that is AWESOME! There is a 60% chance you will never get cancer again!" Ah - glass half full . . .

People ask me why wasn't I angry with God for giving me cancer; why I didn't ask, 'why me'. My reply is, "I never asked 'why me' when my life was good and I was healthy so why ask now?" God didn't give me cancer; he allowed me to have a disease that changed my life for the better in many ways. I wouldn't trade my post-cancer life for my pre-cancer life for anything. I like knowing that I am strong; I'm a fighter, just like my sister Kathy. And I am seven years cancer-free!

Debi Loofburrow
Chandler, AZ

My breast cancer experience

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2002. The lump was discovered at my yearly gyno appointment. Six different mammogram shots finally confirmed its presence. I had a lumpectomy and radiation which was followed by 6 years of Arimidex therapy. Thanks to the support of family, friends, great medical personnel, and a lot of prayer, it all went very well. I was blessed that it was caught at a very early stage. My only risk factor was having one cousin who had it. It's vital that we all be proactive and use all three weapons against this disease---self exams, yearly doctor's checks, and annual mammograms.

susan holowaty
ligonier, PA

A Story of Faith, Strength, and Hope

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on May 5, 2008. More specifically, stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I first suspected there was a problem a few weeks earlier when I started to notice that my breast had changed shape. I didn't feel a lump initially but my left breast had drawn up into a ball with a concave at the bottom. Something wasn't right. I made an appointment with my gynecologist. After the exam he asked "Is there a surgeon that you know and like?". I knew then it was cancer. The thing I had dreaded. But instead of freaking out, I felt this peace come over me. The Lord was letting me know that everything was going to be alright.

I went to see my surgeon who did a biopsy. A few days later I got the call we all dread-"The doctor needs you to come in for the results of your biopsy". "Cant you tell me over the phone?" Silence, unbearable silence. "I'm sorry, I can't". "Should I bring someone with me?" "Yes".

The tumor was 9 cm's long and at my chest wall. I went through chemo, radical mastectomy, more chemo, and radiation. It was hard. Some many days, I just didn't think I had the strength to fight this battle. Had alot of pajama days. But, the Lord gave me the peace, my incredible family gave me the strength, and I am writing this to give you hope-you can and will survive. It's a cliche' but cancer is a word, not a sentence. Don't give up!!! I'm here for my 9 year old, it doesn't get better than that. The chemo IS a pain but it works. My 9 cm tumor was 2.5 cm's when they removed it. Keep the faith, baby!

Jorjanne Hamilton
Pelahatchie, MS


I was only 38 when I found a lump myself in a self examine. I had a mammogram 1 year earlier and wasn't due for another one for 4 more years. Not being very good at making myself do monthly self examine, something told me to do it that day. I felt a lump but tried telling myself it was nothing. Tried again the next day, it was still there so went to the doctor. Tests found it was breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and then extreme chemo and radiation. Thankfully I went to the doctor and didn't wait the 4 years until my next mammogram or I probably wouldn't be here! I'm a firm believer in self examines and try to pass the word around. 18 years cancer free and still counting!!!!

Cathy Larson
Tyler, TX

Breast cancer scare

Last January I had a breast cancer scare. I had a breast MRI and a Sterotatic breast biopsy.Thank God it was benign. I urged everyone to get Mammograms .It saved my life I have to keep on top of it,but that is only a small price to pay. Better safe than sorry

Manahawkin, NJ


I was very lucky to have found my breast cancer before it was Stage 1. I had surgery and radiation and came through both well. I was 43 years old when the cancer was found and I am now 49. I credit my radiologist for finding the cancer, which could barely be seen even with the use of a magnifying glass.

Sheila M. Mattingly
Fairfax, VA

My ordeal as a single mom!

In 2002 I had felt this uncomfortable tenderness under my armpit which gradually became painful and developed into a lump. I first thought it was just that time of the month ( I had had a hysterectomy at 35 due to cervical cancer) so thought it was my body reacting to what should have been. I ended up going to my GP for a check-up only to have scans and mamograms done confirming the cancer. My GP was very blunt and told me it had to come off!!! I was devastated!. I had been staying with my sister and I was told that I must not expect everyone's life to come to a standstill because I had cancer!! I went to a specialist surgeon who gave me the various options available only to discover after the mastecomy and the regular biopsies that the cancer was very vigorous (8) and that 2 of the lymph nodes were affected. So a week later back to theatre to have the lymph nodes removed. This was followed by 9 months of chemotherapy (my white cell count took longer to recuperate than normal) and 6 weeks of radiation. Being a single mother with two very sporty boys I just had to carry on. With the love and support from my eldest sister and her family and all my work colleagues, I was motivated and encouraged right through my ordeal. Having a positive attitude and also placing your trust in God that he will get you through no matter what, just gave me strength from day to day. So to other cancer patients, dont give up!!! Be positive!!!! God has a plan with each of our lives!!!

Johannesburg, South Africa

A true "Angel" on Earth...My Mom!

My mom is a two time Breast Cancer Survivor, I have told her from the first day she was told she had breast cancer from that day forward she is a SURVIVOR! She had a double masectomy, has endured Chemotherapy, and is now is the phase of Reconstructive Surgery. Through all of her trials, she has remained strong she is a true Angel to me, she is MY strength, she has made me and my girls the women we are today, I am grateful and thankful to have such a wonderful woman as my Mom! Bringing recognition to this horrible disease and to bring HOPE to just one who is fighting the same battle, I know that HOPE is a very important part to recovery. What an amazing testament my mom is to "HOPE". She walks this road with courange and strength to carry all of us, not once worrying about herself. For that I am humbled. To my mom....You are my True Angel on Earth....I love you!

Sharon Fleming
Port St Lucie, FL

In Memory of : Maria Delgado -- Te Amo Con Todo Mi Corazon

I was in 7th grade when my grandma was 1st diagnosed with breast cancer, but it wasn't until my eigth grade year that it hit stage four. I could never forget those days in the hospital praying to God that she'd be okay. I hate the pain I saw in my mom's eyes; I can't even imagine the pain she goes through every day.

I strongly encourage for every single female to go get mammograms constantly because my grandma's breast cancer was detected to late, and leaded to a brian tumor, which is very common with any cancer. Every year we walk in a "Walk For Breast Cancer" in South Padre Island. I encourage all of you to join the walk and raise awareness.

I wish my kind-heated grandmother was here today, but I know she's watching over us. I hope she knows how much we love her and how much we miss her. And like she'd always says: GO TARPONS!!!!!! (Port Isabel Tarpons from Texas in The Rio Grande Valley)

biancha esquivel
los fresnos, TX

There is no "too young" for breast cancer

I'm 28 years old and I lost my Mom to Breast Cancer over 12 years ago. She was diagnosed at the age of 36 after having been told that she is "too young" to have Breast Cancer and the lump in her breast was "too small" to be Breast Cancer. Fortunately for her, she found a wonderful surgeon who agreed to do a biopsy and ultimately was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

She underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. She was declared to be in remission, but that was short lived. A year later, she was told that the cancer had spread. She tried more chemo and when she exhausted the options at our local hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY, she went to UMass/Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA and Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MA.

Nearly four years after she was diagnosed, she died on December 23, 1996 at the age of 39.

Each day, she is at the forefront of my thoughts and I can only hope that I am living life with a fraction of the grace that she carried throughout her entire life, for I know that I will never be able to live up to the same spirit that she did.

In addition, I take her life as an example, especially in regard to Breast Cancer. There isn't any such thing as being too young for Breast Cancer. As a result, from the age of 25 on, I have been getting yearly mammograms and have had the BRCA test done. It is unfortunate that this is a worry in my life at the age of 28, but I'd rather catch it early and beat it... and we all know it can happen to women of any age.

Kathy O'Brien
West Boylston, MA
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