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My Difficult Winter

I was scheduled to go to UAB Medical Center to be evaluated as a kidney transplant recipient on 12/2/08. My beloved daughter was going to be tested as a live donor. On Friday 11/28/08 I received the phone call confirming that I definitely did have cancer. To back up a little, I have polycystic kidney disease and it was at my June 08 checkup that my kidney function had dropped and as it was monitored, continued to drop to the point tht I was told "we have to talk about transplant and dialysis options. In August 08 I had surgery on my arm to create an AV fistula in the event that dialysis is needed. A cut on the wrist, but the vein and artery were too small, so the fistula was created just above the bend of my arm. After my rountine mamogram and GYN visit, I received a letter by the end of that week stating that I needed to do a special view mammogram and ultrasound. I was told I had to have a biopsy (needle into the breast). I had a lumpectomy with lymph node dissection. Complete pathology reports, found cancer in the sentinel node, therefore, in addition to 5 weeks of radiation, chemo. Day of 1st oncologist vist, I received call from the nursing home in the evening that my Mother, who had Alzheimer's, had passed away. It was my birthday. I had another surgery for my chemo port. I see my oncologist April 2 and am anxious to start radiation! I have a wonderful husband who has been there every step of the way, two grown children and three faublous grandchildren to keep me motivated. I beat cancer in 1999 and I'm going to do it this time too! Let's get on with life!

Sue Webb
Oxford, MS

my cancer

i have been cancer free for 6 years;lost my left breast; its very inportant to get a mag each year; i am happy i am alive i am almost 68 years old and excited to see my g children grown up; thanks so much

evelyn
sandy, UT

Every Bit Helps

I lost both my mother and grandmother to breast cancer. Both were diagnosed at age 54. I believed I would have to deal with it but was surprised to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 at age 40. I went through a full mastectomy and six months chemotherapy followed by a year of herceptin. Sadly in 2007 it spread to my spine. I went through radiation and chemo again as well as a spinal fusion surgery. I am still here today - fighting each day. I cherish every moment I have with my young children and my husband. Even with this terrible disease I know I am fortunate to be dealing with it in Canada where our health care pays much of the cost of my treatments. So I encourage all of my friends and family to click on your site and to purchase items - we know we are lucky to have free mamograms here and it is terrible to think that someone might have caught the disease in early stages but did not because they could not afford a mamogram. Mamograms should be free for all women - so until then I will click as often as I can and buy items from your site.

Ellen G
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Breast Cancer

I lost my husband to NH lymphoma in November of 2007. In March of 2008, I felt like I needed to have my mammogram done due to the fact that I had not taken care of myself while taking care of him. Much to my surprise, they found 2 malignant tumors in my right breast in stage 1. Due to the type of tumors, I had to have surgery, chemo and radiation. Hopefully I have beaten this monster called cancer. I'm still having some problems with my memory and some pain due to the radiation, but I feel so much better now. This photo was taken right before I lost all of my hair due to the chemo. I am a 52 year old woman and I urge all women to get a mammogram each year. I never felt a lump or any signs. The mammogram saved my life. Wanda Hamby from Kentucky

Wanda Hamby
Marion, KY

Blessings from a cat

I was diagnosed with Stage 1B breast cancer at age 37. The lump was discovered when I felt a sharp pain when my loving cat Heysoos walked across my chest as I was resting in bed. Before I could catch my breath again, it seemed, I was into the doctor's office, had a lumpectomy, and was sititng in a chair receiving chemotherapy treatment. The blur of those days between being diagnosed, having surgery, having bone scans, having sentinal node dianostics and surgery, before finally having the "luxury" of sitting for the chemo drip, is something unlike any other experience.

I honor my friend Betsy, who was diagnosed at 37 a year before me, and my friend Marjo, who was diagnosed at age 29. If you are under 40 and have not had a mammogram, please do it. You are important to the people and animals in your world.

I have been cancer free for 6 years, and I lost my loving Heysoos to his own cancer 2 years ago, but I still bless him for finding my lump so I can rescue more cats in his memory.

Lea
Takoma Park, MD

2nd Stage of Breast Cancer

At the age of 28 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer stage 2. As a young single woman I cannot take to under go mastectomy operation and It took me months to accept the reality. Since then I have undergone Chemotheraphy because I have seen worriness inside the home in which I will not suppose to have it becaue poeple told im going get bald, etc.

With the help of some friends from the charismatic organization I was able to accept things or reality that have happened in me then I submit myself to GOD from that moment. It was the most painful experience I've ever had in my entire life, emotionally and physically but with prayers I was able to surpass 4 sessions in my Chemotheraphy out of six. Now I am working in a call center company for a living.

Thank you,

Queenie

Anonymous
Cebu City, Philippines, Philippines

Fi ve-Time Survivor - Whew What A Journey!

I am a five-time breast cancer survivor. First diagnosed in 1983 at age 32 -- it was unheard of to have breast cancer at 32. I was a single mom of a 2 year old son. I found a phenomenal doctor to take my case and treat me as a person -- not a number. After much consultation, I elected to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation & chemotherapy (protocol at the time). In 1984 -- I found a lump in my other breast. Chose another lumpectomy followed by radiation. In 1990 and 1993 -- two more occurrences and I chose to have a lumpectomy both times since they were found very early. In 1998 -- my last occurrence -- I chose a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. Whew -- what a journey!

I work the the ACS Reach to Recovery Program, counseling newly diagnosed women, sharing my experiences, pointing them in the right direction to arm themselves with as much information as possible so that they can make an informed decision on their treatment. I have talked with them, laughed with them and cried with them. There is nothing more rewarding than a phone call saying "thanks so much for your help, you got me thru this nightmare". Now they are in the sisterhood and I ask them to "Pay It Forward" and help someone else.

My question has never been "why me" but rather "why not me"? I have been truly blessed so that I can offer hope to those newly diagnosed -- this is not a death sentence. I am also blessed with a fantastic group of friends who supported me by raising money & walking with me for the "Making Stridesr" in Baltimore -- that is the picture I posted. Aren't we just too cute??

Anonymous
Greensburg, PA

MY BREAST CANCER STORY

I found a lump on my breast i wouldnt go to the doctor afraid of what he might tell me i was very scared.I waited a year before i went to the doctor.A woman at work was going through the same thing she talk me in to go to the doctor on July17 2007 four days after my birthday i found out i had breast cancer.I thought my life was over but i was wrong the chemo nearly kill me i couldnt eat i lost so much weight in and out of the hosptial.There was one man that was always with me and never left me and that was GOD he got me through all that sickness.Nearly two years later i am doing great. I support breast cancer everyone should.Women can beat breast cancer i did and thats the most aweful thing to go through.I pray and help those with cancer.

MAY GOD BLESS EVERY WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER.

karen clark
guntersville, AL

A more radical approach that actually saved my life!

I was diagnosed with DCIS in my left breast in July, 2008. I wanted a double mastectomy and reconstruction from the outset. I saw three different breast doctors, and one thought that anything more than a lumpectomy and radiation was overkill.

The doctor whom I chose to do my surgery asked me why I wanted a bilateral mastectomy. I gave him my reasons: (1) I was in good health and very strong right now, and there was no guarantee that if I had a recurrence after a lumpectomy or a single mastectomy, that I would be as strong as I am now, (2) I didn't want radiation, which would be required with a lumpectomy, (3) I did not want to take tamoxifen, which I was told I would need to take if I had any breast tissue, since my tumors were estrogen and progesterone receptive (I have no ovaries so that was not an issue), (4) if I had a single mastectomy, the reconstruction process would involve cutting into the other breast to make them symmetrical, and (5) I was currently employed and had health insurance. He thought they were all good reasons and he agreed to do the double mastectomy.

The pathology came back and we were all shocked to find out that they found invasive lobular cancer (.07 cm) in my prophylactic breast (in addition to lobular cancer in-situ in both breasts that was undetected), which never showed in any of the mammograms or sonograms. My doctor says that this is rare, but I tell this story because it was such an amazing validation on my insistence for the double mastectomy which basically saved my life. My sentinel nodes were clean (both sides were biopsied).

Follow your gut and your heart. I did and it saved my life.

Kathy Ornstein
Madison, NJ

My story

I have always excerised and watched what I ate. People alway quessed my age to be 10-15 years younger than what I was. Three years ago I had an abnormal mammogram and thought no big deal; I was 50years old and nothing like this ran in my family. I had a biopsy a few months later and found I had DCIS stage 0 with a reccomended treatment of a mastectomy. I had never had anesthesia but I have worked as a nurse for 30 years with kids going to surgery all the time. Beside having kids I had never been in a hospital as a patient. This has taught me a valuable lession about family and friends. It also has taught me to live life and love life like there is no tomorrow because it is naive to think there will be a tomorrow. I have been cancer free now for 3 years. My daughter's Godmother had the same diagnosis a few years before me and she has just found out now she has lung cancer. I pray for all of us with this diagnosis that we remain cancer free. All I know to do is take care of my self the best way I can. I have an 11 year old daughter and I plan to dance at her wedding.

Mary Ash
Indianapolis, IN
California Casual Shorts
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