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Infinite Hope for Sandra

Diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer at the young age of 38, my wife has been winning this battle. After enduring chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, removal of lymph nodes and now suffering through radiation, Our battle still continues and we are hopeful that she will emerge victorious. She is a brave, strong woman. An inspiration to all, especially me. We thank everyone for the love, support and encouragement we have received. We are faithful that God will help us, no matter what this journey brings our way.

Jason Frank
Brooklyn, OH

Incredible Journey

I know there are others out there like me, but I have not had the privilege of meeting one. You see I was not diagnosed 5 years ago or ten years ago, but 27 years ago! At the time, I was a young 33 year old woman with a four year old daughter. I was horrified to learn that I was Stage 3 and had a large tumor and 4 lymph nodes. I did everything I could: mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy and years of tamoxifen.

I then experienced an unexpected remission of 18 years. When my cancer returned in my ribs, I had a difficult time getting a diagnosis. We knew there were broken ribs, but all of my scans were unclear as to the cause and it had been so long since my original diagnosis.... Finally, in 2009, I had a bone biopsy. My original breast cancer was back and had metastasized to my right ribs and lung.

Treatment again and then remission again. In 2012, my cancer once again reared its ugly head; this time in my liver. Another biopsy and, for the first time, my cancer tested her2neu positive,

Now, I am back in remission again. Recently, my four year old daughter turned 32 and was married. I would never have believed her mom would be there. But there I was, so happy and proud.

My message is one of hope and determination. Determination to stay the course with treatments and keep fighting. Cancer is the sneakiest, meanest enemy we have - keep fighting!

Eileen P Swords
Slidell, LA

A Teacher's Journey of Hope

His small clenched hand thrust into mine and released a few small coins. I stare down at a nickel, a dime, and few pennies, "This is to help you beat cancer Mrs. Greer", he says excitedly. I give him a hug and a thank you with my heart so full of love, it spills out in tears. I'm greeted at the office with a child's prized piggy bank full of coins. "She wants you to have this Mrs. Greer How can I accept such sacrifice?

I am overwhelmed with emotion as I bring my treasures back to my classroom. I set the piggy bank on my shelf and the coins in a cedar box on my window sill along with a green lifesaver, a small broken candy cane, a couple of quarters, a dollar bill...all sacrificial gifts from the heart to help Mrs. Greer "beat cancer". I feel their hugs, see their sparking eyes, hear their well wishes, and I know I have to beat this cancer...and I will.

Every time I think of this even today, two years later, my heart is filled with tears. Three years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic HER 2 Breast Cancer.

I'm a teacher in a small community with limited resources. Due to finances I needed to continue to work and trust the doctors here at home rather than pursue answers in other places. Throughout chemo, bi-lateral mastectomy, radiation and reconstruction I continued to trust my God and my doctors.

I believe the key to recovery was trust in my doctors, my faith, support and prayers from family and friends, and continuing to pour out my life to my school children. To this day I receive hugs, smiles, and love from my students who bring such delight to my life. Keep the hope!

ladydigreer

Diane Greer
Prescott, AZ

My Journey

My name is Michelle...I was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer at age 31, April 11th 2014! I say it was a blessing! My family and I were laying in bed in a Sunday morning...I have a 7 year old daughter & a 4 year old son! My daughter kneed me in the breast and it swelled.......I went in a couple of weeks later since the size would not go down! No symptoms.......healthy....thinking it was a cyst! And my world fell apart On the spot! Appointment after appointment. Till I heard my diagnois! Had she not have bumped me......who knows when I would have found out.....or were I would stand today!! I have gone thru 8 chemo treatments & have 8 more to go! I will also have the double mastectomy! My journey has been a great one! With a positive attitude all things are possible! And with God & prayer by my side

Michelle
green bay, WI

Too blessed to be stressed!

My journey actually began on July 5, 2014 when I found a lump on my right breast. It was a walnut texture that hurt to the touch. Right then, I said I think this is cancer! I was given a referral to have a mammogram but kept putting it off because of upcoming events that we're going to be taking place with my daughter and son that I didn't want to miss if my hunch was correct. When I finally went to have my exam in December , I had the feeling something was wrong because of the number of people coming in to give me my mammogram. I had a biopsy the same day and waited for my call. December 3, 2014 my doctor called me and gave me the news that I did have breast cancer. My bilateral mastectomy was December 17,2014. January 26, 2015 I began my journey of 6 months of chemotherapy and herceptin 12 month treatment. I am thankful for my life and the people that stuck by me. Yes some have left and others probably feel there isn't anything wrong with me. I have my good days and bad days. I am still in pain from my reconstruction and deal with that pain every day. I smile through it all because I know there are many that did not make it where I am today. I live each day knowing God has blessed me to be thankful and praise Him at all times! God has been good to me!

Terri Jones
Jacksonville, FL

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

pat
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

Strength

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.

Pam
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
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