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a long ten years

My story......My story ten years ago I lost my brother to cancer two weeks later my mom was told I was most likely not going to live through the night as my bowels had ruptured and I was septic and on a respirator well I made it 6 weeks in hospital and two years to get better, I went back to school at age 45 i did it that was 2009 I became a nurse then 2011 I found a lump in my right breast stage 2 I wondered y back then did my brother die and not me but I know realize it's for me to be able to give back through life experience I am now a palliative care resource nurse I love my job and understand the little green guy sitting on my shoulder wondering if it will come back not only am I there for my clients but they are for me xxx be strong fight like a girl

hat's the good oft story the bad is my ex moved in with my brothers widow I ended up with a blood clot to my lungs and a colostomy on the left the half a breast on the right and already overweight an extra fifty pounds thanks to tamoxifen But I have survived ten years this way still have my home now a nurse and not gonna let my weight stop me or cancer this group is amazing in knowing none of is are alone. We all have a story that makes us strong and who we are

oakville, ON, Canada

Grateful Every Day

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 weeks before my 31st birthday and 3 months after having given birth to my first and only child, Monica. This month, I celebrated 19 years since that diagnosis, and I am still grateful for every day here.

I found a lump while nursing and had it checked out. A quick, 20-minute appointment with my infant in tow turned into hours, my first and worst mammogram as a nursing mother, an ultrasound, and then a biopsy a few days later. They told me there was a 98% chance it was nothing. I was diagnosed with DCIS on July 3, 1995. My first thoughts, as scenes from "Terms of Endearment" played in my head, were, "How long do I have?" and "Who's going to raise my baby?" After the initial shock wore off, I adopted Tigger as my talisman and vowed to bounce back and to raise my daughter.

While we didn't have much of a support network having just moved to New England, I was blessed to have my friend, Blanca, fly across the country to be by my side the day after diagnosis, to have my rock of a husband, Ricardo, and to have family and friends arrive soon after to help me through mastectomy surgery and months of chemotherapy. I am still in awe, overwhelmed and grateful for the kindness, prayers and love that surrounded and supported me, and I'm convinced it's why I'm still here today.

Life is sweeter since that diagnosis, and I live differently. I am grateful for the wake-up call early in life. I followed my passion and made more music, played with children, laughed and found joy. I say, "YES!" to life more often, have travelled the world and lived abroad, have celebrated victories and learned from setbacks. I cry every time I get to witness one more milestone with my beautiful daughter. I am grateful every day. I hope to be a source of inspiration to other young survivors. Each journey is different, and there are no guarantees. Stay positive. Carpe diem. Pay it forward. LIVE!

Pam Espinosa
Chelmsford, MA


It was Think Pink Day 2012 and I found myself in the office of a breast surgeon undergoing a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. It also happened to be 2 day before my 34 birthday. The following morning, the doctor's office called and asked me to come in, they have the results. With my best friend by my side, i am told that I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer, a very aggressive cancer and it is likely stage 3. After the room stoped spinning, I put on my brave face and sad, "Let's do this." The one hard part, would be telling my 9 year old son. He took it well, probably helped when I said he could draw on my head when I lost my hair, and to this day he is my hero. He has persevered and accelled through and at everything put before him during this difficult stretch.

I had to do chemo first, 4 rounds of AC and 12 of Taxol combined with Herceptin. Then came the mastectomy, followed by 38 radiation treatments. I heard the word remission in August of 2013. Great news!! However, that was tempered with the news of serious cardiac side effects from the Herceptin. What I can say, is at least I'm still here to deal with the side effects, much better than the alternative. I started reconstruction with DIEP flap in February 2014, now just working on the finishing touches. I don't know what the future holds for me, if/when it will come back. But, what I do know is that my life has been forever changed, mostly for the good. I cherish the little things, hug more often, make every day a memory, and try to make sure everyone in my life knows just how important they are.

Laura Klima
Redding, CA

Everything will be okay

I was 20 weeks’ pregnant when I first heard the words that took my breath away – “You have cancer.” My husband and I tried for 6 years before conceiving and now I had Hodgkin’s – cancer of the lymph nodes. We looked at each other and whispered “It’ll be okay,” and it was. Samantha was born at 34 weeks and I had 5 weeks of radiation to my neck and chest and was clear. Fifteen years flew by and when I was 45 I had my first mammogram; see, I figured I’d done the cancer thing, so why worry? It turned out that was the last mammogram I needed. Again I heard those words that took my breath away, “You have cancer.” It is definitely not easier hearing those words a second time. I had bilateral infiltrating lobular breast carcinoma. They said it was from the radiation that I had for Hodgkin’s. My husband took my hand and said “It’ll be okay. We’ll make it through.” My daughter hugged me and said “I love you mom. It’ll be okay,” and it was. I had bilateral mastectomy and 6 rounds of chemo. They wouldn't do radiation because of the radiation I had. I started a new job the day before my 2nd chemo, I carried on with life because that’s what I do. I didn't have reconstruction at the time of mastectomy because I needed to prove to myself that I was still me without breasts. It wasn't anything that was ever said to me, it was in my head alone that I was proving a point. After 4 years I decided I didn't want to prove a point anymore and wanted reconstruction, and my husband and daughter said “okay, we can do this,” and we did. I am almost a 6-year survivor of breast cancer now, and it has not made me who I am, but life has, all the good and bad together and I am right where I’m supposed to be.

Three Lakes, WI

"An Awakening"

When I was diagnosed with Breast cancer a few years back, I reacted like most who receive a cancer diagnose; first thing came to mind was a “death sentence”. However, I found out later that it was truly “an awakening” for me, even after being diagnosed with another (colon) cancer a few years later. I began questioning God, why would you do this to me? What had I done in life so bad to have this placed upon me? But instead of bemoaning my fate, I decided to look for the positive side of it.

I also realized that I was about to face a new beginning, new hope, do and see more with a whole new prospective on life. I also knew that I would develop and gain strength from all my experiences. For a while, I wasn't happy with the way I looked, nor the pain I had to endure each day, but I decided to snap out of it; because even with the pain I had to endure through each diagnose, I still feel truly blessed. I think about the individuals that are no longer among us. I also realized that there will always be someone worse off than I am, so who am I to complain.

Writing had become therapy for me, where I composed many poems during my breast cancer period and placed them into book form. I was blessed enough to have that book published, along with another, and now working on my third. With my inspirational writing, I wish to make a positive impact on someone who's ill or otherwise, where they could develop the strength to embrace life in a whole new way. I truly believe when you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease as cancer, it's for a reason, “you have a purpose”. I'm a true example that you can survive cancer not once, but twice, providing you catch it in time, have faith and allow that faith to direct your path.

Karen Rice

x2 Cancer Survivor/Author

Karen Rice
Houston, TX

Listen to your instinct

After delivering my 4th child my OBGYN joked with me and said if you intend on nursing her you'll never have to worry about breast cancer. For years I thought the same thing. I nursed four children, had no generic history and was only 39 when I felt a nagging suspicion that something was wrong. I even googled breast cancer symptoms and being as I didn't have any of them I didn't think anything about it.

A couple of months later I was still experiencing this thought that wouldn't go away that something was wrong. All of my attention kept being drawn back to my left breast. I had some passing tenderness but nothing that was consistent and no lump. I called my doctor the next month and they asked me if I was having symptoms and when I said no, they said being as I'm almost 40 they would schedule a mammogram. But I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy. The mammographer and ultrasound technician couldn't feel a lump either but the mammogram did show a small cycst. I did a core guided biopsy and the results came back a few days later as malignant.

I wasn't surprised because I felt like there was something wrong. I was stunned though of coarse that it was happening at such a young age. I was given options by a surgeon and for many factors I chose to be aggressive and have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I am just now four days post surgery and at home recovering. The future looks good as it was not in my lymph nodes and will not need further treatment.

The hardest part for me was telling my 4 daughters. And now the waiting is hard as I will soon find out the results of the BRCA test to see if my girls will be more at risk someday.

What I'm trying to teach my girls, and others, to listen to their gut feeling. It ultimately saved my life.

Melissa Hazlett
Lawson, MO


My name is Whitney Payne. March 11,2011 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer . That the doctor said spread to my lymph nodes. It was only the left breast. Before when I was 19 had cancer in my left hand so through many tests they said it was not connected with the first one . But both on the left I had many questions why cancer once and why again after 20 some years. I was lucky to get wonderful treatment at Mass General Hospital . I had a extensive treatment with chemo lasting over a year and 3 months of radiation each and every day and I had mastectomy and reconstruction surgery as well. In October of 2011 while going through treatment was getting really bad headache that never seem to go away so made doctor do tests and it showed through a MRI I had a brain tumor . For now they would just watch it.every 6 months with a MRI to see if any changes well in January of 2014 through a regular MRI found out the tumor grew so in March 18,2014 had yet another surgery to remove the brain tumor . The outcome of that was it was a benign tumor thank god and recovered well . I finished my chemo in May of 2012 and this was a happy day. I did all this fighting for my life as a single parent and never gave up the fight even when some days were easier than others. I have certainly been through so much but having cancer a second time has really given me a new perceptive on life . I encourage everyone to follow up with a simple mammogram it could save your life.

Whitney Payne
Marblehead, MA

My Breast Cancer Story

I went for my annual mammogram June 2014. Two days later, I received a call to come back for extensive testing. I had a more extensive mammogram and the radiologist informed me he found calcifications. Had a needle biopsy on 6/23/14. I expected the worse but was hoping for the best since breast cancer runs in my immediate family. Received a call from the radiologist on June 24th. My oldest daughters 40th birthday and my late mothers birthday. I had LCIS breast cancer. I was sent to a surgeon on July 1st. Set up for a MRI on July 7th. Everything is happening so fast I haven't had time to absorb it all. Per my surgeon, he feels confident I will only need a lumpectomy with no follow up treatment. But now my chances are so high of cancer returning. I am researching a complete double masectomy. This may be the best solution for me. My whole life has been changed in less than a month. Wish me luck!!!!!

Rita Kidd
Louisville, KY

Second time around

In Januar of 2004, I had a baseline mammogram done at the insistence of my OB/GYN. With no history of breast cancer in family I was not so sure but I made the call & went in. To my surprise they called me to come back in for magnified mammo since they found something but it was real small. After another mammo & a biopsy, I was diagnosed with stage 1 DCIS. I then had a mastectomy followed by reconstruction. Told everything was good & didn't have to have left breast mammoed again. Forward to August of 2012. I went on a weekend camping trip to the beach. Came home and discovered my left breast was red, so I assumed it was a bug bite. 2 weeks later still red but now swollen & hot to the touch, I went to doctor told it was mastitis & given 2 antibiotics. After the 10 days no better, so went to a different doctor. He sent me for a biopsy that afternoon. On September 13, 2012, just 3 days later and the day after I saw the Stanley Cup, I got the news. I had stage 3 Inflammatory breast cancer. How could I have breast cancer in a reconstructed breast, was my firsf question. After getting all my questiona answered & lots of tears, I kicked into fighting mode. Went to oncologist the next week & started weekly chemo the next week. On January 14, 213, I had my second mastectomy, this time no reconstruction. A month later went back to chemo since cancer was found in my lymph nodes. On July 31, 2013, I had my last round of chemo. Here I am, almost a year later, cancer free, enjoying life and a second Stanley Cup win by my beloved Los Angeles Kings.

Denise FitzGerald
Los Angeles, CA

My story

I was diagnosed in Feb 2014 with stage 3 breast cancer..Not at all something I was ready to hear..I have had a bi

Lateral double mastectomy 10 rounds of chemo with 6 more to go then 25 rounds of radiation...and of all things I found another lump....I go in for a biopsy sometime this week..:( I really don't know what to write not very good at this...I pray for all those who are dealing or have dealt with cancer in any way shape or form....

Hannibal, MO
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