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Breast Cancer at 45

Went for my yearly check up May2013. Two days later got a call that i need to take another mammogram of the right breast,had that done. Doctor said will wait 6 month to do another mammogram ,that was dec 16th 2014. Was told i needed a biopsy and they recommend a bilateral MRI. The biopsy of the right breast was cancer. Had bilateral MRI and they found a spot in the left breast. Went for an Ultra Sound to locate the spot on the left, but do to my dense breast they could not locate the spot so i had to have a MRI stereotactic biopsy.That came back as stage 1 cancer. I already knew i was having a mastectomy on the right so i decided i would have a Bilateral Mastectomy which i got on March 7th 2014. My margins came back clean and my lymph nodes came back clear. Will have Breast reconstruction in Philly on April18th. There is no cancer in my family, i even did the genetic test and came back good. I was just the 1 in 8 women that happened to. I had no lumps. I can't stress enough to every woman to not miss their annual Mammogram cause that is the only reason they found my cancer. I believe the way everything happened to me was a Blessing because the stage 1 cancer on the left breast never showed up in the mammogram and the Ultra Sound could not locate it either. So who knows how long that could have grown before it would have been detected. I don't need any other treatment for the cancer just a 6month check up (Blood work & Chest X-rays) and 6month check up and then yearly. I also have a wonderful Husband and loving family that made this journey easier for me,also a loving church family that would check up on me bring us food and send get well cards. I was 45 when i was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our first grandchild will be born july 2014 and i want to be 100% good.

Petra King
Washington Boro, PA

In The Way Of Life

I lost my sister to breast cancer 4 years ago. She was 35. Her fight lasted 8 long years and those years were hard for us all but at least during those 8 long and painful years I still had my sister.

Every three weeks we would make the 150 mile round trip to Charring Cross Hospital for her treatment. I would drive us and to beat traffic for the 8:30 appointment we would be on the road at 5:30 in the morning. Those Mondays were incredibly demanding on the healthy people that made it so I cannot think what they were like for my sister. Her youngest son would often accompany us. He was aged between 7 and 11 and visiting the chemotherapy ward was a part of his growing up.

Between treatment and traffic we would sometimes not make it home until past midnight. These trips every three weeks were incredibly hard but they formed part of the fight my sister had with her illness. It was literally a battle she undertook to get herself to London (we live in North Essex) and this fight kept her going. In all the time she was ill she only missed one appointment and that was because she was in a hospice dying. It sounds strange but I miss those trips to the Chemotherapy ward as despite the terrible circumstances and the gruelling schedule of the day we actually had fun. The message my nephew has taken away from it is that life is making the here and now worth talking about later.

We saw her fight and we saw her struggle as we were with her every step of the way. She died on the 9th of May 2010 and a little over a month later my mother also discovered she had breast cancer. By this time she was looking after my sisters two boys. After treatment she is doing well. It is hard to call her a survivor as she just never had the time for cancer. It just got in the way of living.

clacton on sea, United Kingdom

Cancer Stinks but you gotta laugh

I found a lump in early Sept. 2013, 36 years old. Never missed a month doing my self exam. No family history of breast cancer. Exercising. Eating right. So to say I was surprised was an understatement. I bought a new house on Sept. 17 and got the call on Sept. 20 - "Its cancer". We threw everything in the house the best we could and started chemo on Oct. 28th. With the love and support of my wonderful friends and family I have made it through chemo! My last chemo session was on March 17th- St. Patrick's day!

To help my children understand the journey, we named my lump "ART". It was short for A Round Thing. Naming it gave us a focus for our fight! The kids have been wonderful and have learned about so many things on this journey! Things they shouldn't have to know about- like chemo, and ports. They have also learned about family, the meaning of TRUE friends as they see me with the chemo crew that comes every week to send us off in good spirits, and FAITH!

I have found that not only do I have the best husband in the world, but I have the best family and friends in the world too! I am blessed to have each and every one of them in my life! I am also blessed to have many praying for me constantly.

So, we now move on to bilateral mastectomies and lymph node surgery and then on to radiation! Always singing "Every little thing is gonna be alright", because I know it is! In the mean time, we laugh at everything from my bald head to funny hats we wear- because cancer stinks but you gotta laugh!

Heather Edmisten
Concord, NC

Friday the 13th - my unlucky day

I went for my annual mammogram in April of 2011. My Dr. sent me for a biopsy, and on Friday, May 13th the breast surgeon called to tell me I had breast cancer. I was shocked because I didn't have a lump. I had calcification. I had a lumpectomy without clear margins and underwent another. Still no clear margins so had a third lumpectomy. After three my Dr. told me a mascetomy on my right side was my only option, as the cancer was thru my whole breast. He said it would eventually be on the left side if it wasn't already. In August, 2011 I underwent a belateral mascetomy with reconstruction. One year later it came back - stage 4 in my lumph nodes. I underwent six months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, and one year of herceptin infusions.

My family, friends & co-workers were very supportive during my long journey. I couldn't have done it without them. I have been fighting for three years, and will continue to do so. There is life after cancer, and I am stronger than cancer.

Mary Murray
Quinnesec, MI

my story to warn others

i am 30 years old 4 months ago i went to the bathroom and seen i had blood on my nitedress so i had a look and seen i had blood coming out of my nipple so i went to the docs on the monday i thought i beter have it checked out as my aunt had it 3 years ago and my gran did years ago as well. So i seen the doc and sh sent me to hospital 24 dec 13 i had a ultarsound they couldnt c anything so i had a mammogam which i wasnt ment to as oh my age i waited for 20 mins and thats when they showed me the white spots and said it was pre cancer so ihad a bioposy and had to wait for 2 weeks on 2 jan 14 i went back and they told me i have to have a op and i lose my nipple and part of my breast so 27 jan 14 i had my op then waited again 2 weeks 6 jan 14 i had 16 lymph nodes and 1 was cancer and i was then told i need other op as there was still cancer int there so back in again i went 10 march14 so waited again 2 weeks and want back on 27 march and was told they got it all this time and now i got to go backon 17 april 14 talk bout my treatment and have op on my other breast so iwent from pre cancer to cancer grade 3 i like to warn others that it doesnt always have to be a lump to have cancer.

julie roberts
newquay, United Kingdom

The Waiting

About six years ago in my morning shower I discovered a small lump in my left breast. It was a few days before the first Christmas in our new home and we were having everybody over, so other than my husband I kept the news to myself. I went to my family doctor where she palpated and told me that it didn't feel sinister, most likely a fat globule. Every six months I have either a mammograms, ultrasound or both. They have all come back normal. I missed 2013 due to other illnesses and now, for the last two weeks I have been having pain in that area and tomorrow I see my family physician. So scared. Would just like it biopsied once and for all, is that too much to ask?

Toronto, ON, Canada

Little Pink Pillow

The Little Pink Pillow

I am a woman, like so many women who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.. When I reported to the hospital for my lumpectomy, a wonderful woman named Donna Jones visited me (she had called me prior to the hospital appointment to introduce herself as my advocate). She gave me a gift bag with various items in it, one of them being a soft, little pink pillow. She said it was designed to support my breast upon my release from the hospital so the seat belt and other surfaces wouldn’t hurt my poor, mangled booby, and it was mangled and bruised, and sore with three incisions. For the first 48 hours of my recovery from the lumpectomy, I used that pink pillow when I walked, sat, stood up, and lay down, and it was equivalent to a little pink miracle. Donna told me that a volunteer at the Cancer Center sewed every pillow; and that she and this woman had an arrangement that if Donna supplied the material, the volunteer would make them. I can’t begin to express how much relief and comfort that little pillow gave me, and my booby….such a little thing that made a big difference. Donna was kind and compassionate, and when I introduced her to my wife of 22 years, she didn’t raise an eyebrow, or display that look that some of us who are gay get; that looks that says, I have to tolerate you because it’s my job, but I really don’t like or approve of who you are. If you are someone who has to go through what I did, I highly recommend that you use a little pillow. Isn't it the little things that make a difference. I have no doubt if I lose my hair someone will have made a little pink scarf to match it. With people like Donna, and volunteers who care so much, I have no doubt that somewhere, someone makes little pink scarves. Thank you doesn’t begin to express the difference this made to me.

Warm Regards,

Denise Sassoon

Tucson, AZ

Mom Diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer @ 27

It all started in January 2011 around the time of my second child's first birthday. Little did I know my life was about to be turned upside down. I was 27, married with two kids age 3 and 1, working and also attending college full time. I discovered a lump which ended up being breast cancer. I finished all my college courses early so that I could get a double mastectomy in April.

I spent my summer between working, raising my kids and chemo. I often would try to raise the spirits of the doctors and nurses around me thinking how hard a job they must have. Since my immune system was down I did end up with pneumonia and shingles. Next up was about two months of radiation treatments. I would drive 30 minutes to drop the kids off at day care and go to work then at lunch drive the same distance to treatment and then back to work to finish my day before returning home. I met an older lady whom shared many stories of her childhood which were fascinating. She always spoke of her earrings so I bought her a pair and her face lit up so bright, it was a very touching moment.

I now am 3 years out and will be taking tamoxifen for another 7 years. Through this experience I have met so many amazing people. The support I received in various forms from family, friends, co-workers, daycare, church, stylists, and even strangers is truly overwhelming. It would be a lie to say that breast cancer recurrence doesn't come to mind on a daily basis but I push those thoughts away. Worrying about the future does not change the future it only takes away from the joy of today. Nobody knows when their time will be up we could step out the door and get into a car and that could be it.

This has taught me to enjoy every moment in your life. Everyone is fighting their own battle so be kind to one another.

(Photo by Lauren @ Lola Studios)

Sanford, ME

The day my heart sink!

In Dec 2011 I find out I had breast cancer my heart felt heavy, but I know cancer was not going to take my life. In Jan 2012 I had my right breast and some lymph nodes removed and in 2013 my left breast. I had chemo for four months, my son who is the best son in the whole world told me that I was going to live with him and his family or he was going to live with me after the surgery and the chemo, so he lived with me... they had cats and I have a dog. I lost all my hair but I looked pretty good with no hair :-)... radiation for 28 day. I was in lots of pain my dog knew this, when I would woke up in pain my dog was sitting by my side with his little paw on my shoulder and he would look down at me like he was saying I know your in pain but it's ok I'm here go back to sleep, it makes me cry a little as I write this. I was so blessed with family and great friends I am one of the lucky ones. Thank GOD!!! I am cancer free for almost 2 1/2 years now!!! May GOD be with all that are is still fighting hang in there! In the picture me and the best son in the whole world!!!

Gail Cortez Baadsgaard
Euless, TX

My Mother My Hero

My mother was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in April 2010 after being treated for mastitis for 11 days. She started chemo right away, and it was a tough fight from the beginning. She started off the fight very ill from massive doses of antibiotics that killed her stomach. She got through 5 months of chemo, and was able to have a bilateral mastectomy. Then after she healed from the surgery she started several weeks of radiation every day. After she finished the radiation she started chemo again for another 5 moths. In April 2012 she was cancer free. The after math of all the treatments took a toll on her. She had horrible swelling in her left arm that made it impossible for her to do every day things like laundry. She struggled with that badly, and was tired all of the time. She was very weak, and it made her very depressed. She was blessed with another grandbaby in Dec. 2012, and she was very excited. She wanted to be able to so many things with him, but was limited because of swelling and weakness. She traveled a far distance in March 2013 to undergo a surgery to minimize the swelling in her left arm. At the same time she got breast reconstruction, and a tummy tuck. She was so excited about going on with life. When she came home she was still very tired. She spent the summer babysitting her new grandbaby as well as her other grandchildren. She struggled with fatigue the whole time. Then she ended up with an infection in her left breast that scared us, but turned out not to be cancer. Just when we thought she was on the mend she got sick, again. She ended up in the hospital with a diagnoses of ALL leukemia. Almost 3 weeks later died from an infection Sept. 12, 2013. My mother was a fighter until the very end. She is truly my hero. Some of her last words (she sat up in bed to look at her grandchildren), "Grandma is so very blessed!"

Clinton, MO
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