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My Inspiration - My Mom and My Best Friend

My Mother, Margaret “Peg” Stanton, was truly an inspiration to many. Peg was a school teacher for 35 years, however outside of the classroom she taught many the value of friendship, strength, and courage. Peg's life was a series of lessons to her beloved children, to her devoted husband, to her numerous friends and family and to herself. Her classroom was never confined to 4 walls as she taught many to "think outside of the box". In 1999, Peg was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of breast cancer, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, or IBC. Her treatments included a radical mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and a grueling bone marrow stem cell transplant. Peg tried chemo after chemo, but to no avail, the cancer kept spreading. She faced head on each treatment option and never questioned why she was chosen to suffer. Instead she began a journey to help her find an inner peace. In Sedona, Arizona, a butterfly landed on her shoulder and became her "symbol". Peg found many correlations between herself and the butterfly, so fragile yet so strong at the same time. During her journey she started writing poetry to help her make sense of it all and of her life. She hoped that her poems would inspire others experiencing this same struggle. As one of her final wishes I published a book of her poems after she passed. Peg lost her battle on January 23, 2005. Here is part of one of my favorite Poems entitled The Butterfly Is Me (Which is also what I titled her book). Wrapped in the chrysalis safe and warm, There is a life being nurtured, about to transform. Wintering away on the branch of a tree, A miracle of nature is waiting for me. She was a true inspiration!

Kris Mellinger
Indiana, PA

telling niece Kim about my cancer I wastold I had

my niece Kim was 5 years old when I was told I had breast cancer stage two she is now in her 40's she asked me at that time what happened to my right breast since I really didn't know what to say to her at that time I just told her my breast was being bad so I had it removed. the day of my surgery to have my right breast removed my niece Kim came to see me and bought me a stuffed cat which I named Lucy.

Donna Schiro
Merryville, LA

survivor

I had breast cancer in 2012, in remission now. My advice is positivity 100%...keep telling yourself it won't beat me...and then the light at the end of the tunnel will appear and you like me will have kicked cancers butt ! I had chemotherapy and when my hair started to fall out I had a sponsored headshave and raised £1000 for breast cancer. .I also sent away my hair to make wigs for children with cancer. I had a mastectomy in September 2012 with immediate reconstruction I was very lucky...now living life to the full x

yvonne
west yorkshire, United Kingdom

Kicking Butt and Surviving at 36

On February 27, 2014 I received the call from my doctor that literally changed my life. My biopsy results were in- you have Breast Cancer. At that moment it was like someone had punched me in the gut and I fell to the floor crying. I kept saying " it can't be. I'm 36, I'm healthy, and there's no family history. How can this be"? I gathered up enough strength to call my mom and my aunt to tell the news.

As I was on the phone with my aunt, she (in her calmest voice) reminded me of the mighty God we serve and our faith in Him. Upon that moment I began up feel strength build up inside of me that I never knew I had. I was ready to fight! I began chemo shortly after I had my eggs frozen through a fertility specialist because as a single woman, my greatest desire is up become a wife and mom somebody.

I give credit all to God because my chemo rounds were not as bad. The support I received from family and friends was overwhelming! I knew it was faith in Him that kept me going. I was kicking this cancer's butt!! As I prepare for my lumpectomy, I know I'm going to be ok. I AM A SURVIVOR!!

Vatesha Bouler
Laurel, MD

Fight on Warrors! Celebrating 11 years cancer free!

I was 41, diagnosed with breast cancer. I was shocked having no breast cancer in my family. Lumpectomy and lymph nodes, 4 months of chemo, 33 visits of radiation and a 7 year regiment of drugs, and a hysterectomy. My toughest battle would come later in the year, I lost my husband of 19 years to suicide. Mary Babb tended to me during the worst time in my life. Ladies I can tell you that having a good team is so very important. They not only tend to your physical needs, a good team sees that you get any additional help, in my case therapy. I can tell you it wasn't easy, but I will tell you that I fought the fight and raised two beautiful children during that time, my son, who was 10 and my daughter 13. I can tell you that it is as much a family disease as well as a personal one I remember losing my hair and the first big haircut I got, which I might add, I swore I'd never be strong enough to do was very emotional for me, as the hair fell into my lap, I relived losing my hair. I remembered feeling like an "it", during that time. I remember laying in the pet scans. What got me through, was my conversations with God. That brought me peace. Ladies when you are in the thick of it, remember its the hard battles that make you into the person who can reach out and help others. While tears fill my eyes and my heart swells with emotion typing this, while it brings sadness because I miss my husband terribly everyday, it also has taught me strength. You can do this. You can fight. You can become stronger when you feel like you can't go on. You are beautiful, when you feel like an "it"! You are a survivor. I am you and you are me. I carry you in my heart fellow survivors, ones fighting the battle, my team, Dr. Abraham, my family, my friends and my God. Fight on warriors!!!!!

Anonymous
Salem, WV

It wasn't my time

I am 57 years old, so breast screening is part of my life checks.

I went for the usual check as you do, on the 7th May 2014, you don't think any more of it, until you get a phone call from home asking you to call the BSU. Total meltdown, heart beating faster, stomach churning over, cold sweats, terrified your life is about to end, but the journey had only just begun.

The phone call was the hardest one ever I had to make, they said they were not happy with my results, so could I go in next week, 8 days later for another screening. That was like a bombshell, and emotions took over. They fitted me in 2 days later. This was a very difficult and emotional visit but had to be done. I had another screening, examination and 3 biopsies. I had to wait longer than normal for my results, my appointment was cancelled & re-scheduled, because of the bank holiday, this wasn't easy, but it was the old waiting game that had to be played.

My appointment at last came around, only to be told the worst, that they still were not happy, so the next stage was to see The Consultant.

Another appointment was made, and I spent 4 hours at the hospital, seeing various medical staff, and completing important paperwork. My last person to see was The Consultant, and to my amazement I was told that I would be having surgery in 11 days time for my Ductal Carsonoma.

The day arrived and I was at hospital by 7.15am, and home by 4.30p.m. I have been in recovery for 3 weeks and went for my appointment today 11th July, and got my ALL CLEAR.

What a journey... Tears, emotions, fear all hit me. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. It wasnt my time, I feel so LUCKY.. My journey was 8 weeks long, which seemed forever.

Enjoy your life, no-one knows when it's your time, mine isn't just yet.

maxine chubb
Ferndown, United Kingdom

Mom's cancer, our Battle.<3

Early May we got the dreadful news it was cancer. My mom has been my hero and inspiration my whole life and now she is more than ever. I have never in my life met a woman as strong as she is, i hope one day i am half as strong as she is. Her name is Cindy Beyer and she has raised my sister and as a single parent for the last 16 years, now it is just mom and i living at home so i take care of her when she isn't feeling well. I do my best to do what ever i can to help in any way possible for my mom. When i found out mom had cancer and was going to go through Chemo treatments i knew i had to do something to make sure to keep her spirits high through this battle. That something turned out to be miss Harmony, the kitten i got for mom for comfort and to watch her grow play and learn. Mom and Harmony take naps everyday together and not a day goes by that Harmony fails to make us smile and bring our spirits and hopes up. Just remember every woman out their fighting their own battle, Chemo pains are temporary, so is cancer. Hope, love, and family are forever.<3

Kaylee Frazer
plover, WI

Not A Joke

It was April Fools Day 2011...I was sitting in the Doctor's Office, when the Doctor came in to say...YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER! I knew life would NEVER be the same again. I knew that was the first day of the rest of my life. What I didn't know, at the time, was it was a new beginning to the BEST days of my life! Yes, I had to go through five surgeries...lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, reconstruction and partial hysterectomy! I underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. As one of my medical team said...'you have just given yourself the best possible breast cancer insurance policy'. Most of my decisions were preventative. I had been diagnosed with a Stage 2, Grade 1 Estrogen/Progesterone positive cancer. I was 46 years old and the Mother of a six year old son. I was going to do whatever it took to be alive and well to see my only child grow up. There was never any question about that! What started out as the scariest thing in my life, turned into the most positive thing in my life! I get a second chance! I like to say...I got a first class ticket in the second chance club! I believe with every ounce of my being that attitude plays THE BIGGEST role in cancer survival! I started out by thinking it was half the battle. I now believe it is 95% of the battle! Three years later...I have NEVER felt better...I have NEVER felt more ALIVE! I am filled with gratitude and treat EVERY day like a GIFT. NONE of us know when 'our gig is up'. Something I DO KNOW is life is great...life is beautiful... and life is made up of a million little wonderful things that we get to share, love and experience EVERY day. I am SO grateful for THAT!

Sue Kempton
Whitby, ON, Canada

My story

I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and non Hodgkin's lymphoma in December and had three surgeries to remove the lump in February. I am currently going through chemotherapy and will be done in August. I then have to have 6 weeks of radiation which will start in September.

I never thought I would be going through anything like this but I am very grateful I have the support of my friends and family. I wouldn't be able to do this without them.

If anyone out there has noticed a lump and is undecided about whether or not to have it checked. Please don't hesitate!

I almost didn't go in but I'm glad I did! I have an aggressive form of breast cancer and my story might have been an entirely different story if I would have decided to ignore it.

Janee
Kent, WA

One Day At a Time

There is a lot of discussion about breast cancer, but very little is said about the women's cancer I endured. I have been told that not many women live to tell their story after they encounter uterine cancer, as it can be hard to detect.

My journey began in June of 2006. I was 56 years old and diagnosed with third stage uterine cancer. There was no pain, but a small amount of vaginal bleeding. I had been through menopause for five years. At first I thought I had been handed a death sentence and then the reality of a fight from my life began to set in. With the support of my immediate family (husband, daughter and son) I built up the courage to deal with it head-on. Surgery for a total hysterectomy, plus removal of lymph nodes, was performed by specialists in the field. After a lengthy operation, I underwent 5 weeks of external radiation and 2 weeks of internal radiation. The process seemed slow, but I was told that I had a 95% chance of full recovery. It was at this time that I realized how lucky I had been to have the wonderful team of professionals, volunteers, friends and family to help me through my darkest days. Their enthusiasm helped me keep a positive attitude in managing my road to recovery. There have been bumps in the road along the way, but I was determined to make the best of my new lease-on-life. Presently, I am eight years cancer free and counting. Although I cannot work, I do fatigue easily and there are a few other health issues, I am still alive to enjoy the better things in life.

If I were asked what advice I would give to someone who was newly diagnosed with cancer, I would tell them to stay positive and live each day as though it was their last. Negativity breeds negativity. It is all about attitude and the will to live life the way YOU want to! You WILL get through it one day at a time. I did!

Donna L. Martin
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
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