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Feeling Blessed

My story begins November 30, 2010 with going to my yearly well visit appt. My doctor was examining me when she press and her hurt. I saw stars! She thought nothing of it but said she would order a ultrasound for me when I went to my mammogram appt. the following week. The mammogram showed nothing, feeling relieved. The dr. then did the ultrasound and that's when he saw the small tumor, followed by a biopsy. I was terrified! Went home and waited for 24 hrs. The call came and I heard the word "Cancer" there was nothing else I heard after those words. I was completely numb. I called my sister immediately to tell my parents. I knew I couldn't do it. I decided to wait on telling my boys who were away at school. My family and friends were by my side that night I was diagnosed. I so needed them there. On December 5, 2010 I met with my surgeon who told us in detail what type of cancer it was and then proceeded to go over options. Before, he said another word I said " doctor I want a bilateral mastectomy" he then called the reconstruction surgeon and I saw him that Monday. Surgery was scheduled for December 22, 2010. My surgery went very well, lymph nodes were clean. Now recovery time. My mom(also a survivor of 14 years) did everything for me from cooking, to bringing meds in the middle of the night to making sure I exercised. Dad, he was walking me outside everyday.(God Bless them both) They are amazing. I also had to have the BRCA gene test done. "Negative" WooHoo!!! The next appointment a week later after surgery it was back to the surgeon to hear the results. It was all good news! Went to the oncologist received more good news, no meds to take. My very last appt. April 1, 2010 received my breast implants. I feel truly blessed, and love helping woman who are going through it. Staying Positive, Family and Friends...That's the best medicine!

Sandy Damelio-McGillicuddy
Rochester, NY

cancer came knockin

I went for my annual mammogram in January 2014, then received a call that they wanted to do an ultrasound for a closer look. Somehoq, I knew, then came the call for a biopsy....I will never forget the day I got the call, February 4th 2014 standing in our kitchen with my husband , Joey. The words, you have breast cancer just rang in my ears, everything just stopped, my world stopped. Then my amazing husband took me in his arms and said, we got this. I am the mother of four grown children, grandmother of five beautiful grand kids and married to my best friend, so I decided to fight, fast and hard. By that afternoon I was in my doctors office saying book an OR and get me a surgeon. She did and on February 26th (my son Matt's birthday) I had a double mastectomy. I was diagnosed with IDC grade 3 and was her2+ (no lymph nodes involved) I made the immediate choice to have double mastectomy as I wanted to give myself the best chance. I went through 6 rounds of chemo. I had a party to shave my head after the second chemo because I refused to allow cancer or chemo dictate when my hair came out. I was the one with the power. I finished chemo July 11th 2014. I had amother party to celebrate. This journey never stole my joy, I have laughed and smiled more than I ever have. I still get herceptin treatments once every 3 weeks until March of 2015 and then I will have another party. I choose to celebrate life not allow doubt or worry take control. I am a survivor, I am thankful for the journey as it has given me purpose. I have met people I would never have met had I not been on this path. The glass my friends is half full.

Deonna Hampton
Labelle, FL

I fought it twice

I was scheduled for a mammography in 2004 and when I got there I was told I was 2 months early. I had just started a new job and I didn't want to have to leave early again so I told the technician to just do it. Two days later my gynecologist called, I needed to see a breast surgeon asap.

A biopsy was performed, it was breast cancer. I was 47, no history of breast cancer in my family, shock and despair followed. I had a lumpectomy on my left breast and was told that it was invasive ductal carcinoma, Her 2 and 11 positive lymph nodes. 6 rounds of AC, 6 rounds of Taxol, 30 rounds of radiation followed and I was placed on a clinical trial for Herceptin for 1 year which was approved while I was receiving it. I had 2 children 10 and 12 and a very supportive husband, family, friends and co-workers.

I was cancer free for 9 years. My beloved dad died August 2013 and November 2013 during a routine mammography the radiologist found an enlarged lymph node. After a battery of tests and biopsies they located the tumor which was 2cm in my right breast. I'd had enough and opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction from my abdominal area "flap". The surgery took 12 hours and I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and 1 positive lymph node. My physicians were pleased that this second breast cancer was unrelated to the first and could be treated as a "new " cancer. 6 rounds of Chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation again. Chemotherapy was tough as had an allergic reaction during my 5th round, and there were times I just wanted to die. I made it through 33% of my last round of chemotherapy and went through the darkest time of my life. I'm done, and so happy to be alive. I thank my husband, family friends and co-workers. I could never fight this alone, they gave me the strength to go on when I needed it most. Thank you

Anonymous
Orangeburg, NY

My Story

Hi I am a 49 year old male. One day while showering get ready for my day, I discovered and felt a lump in my left breast. Being a guy I did not think too much of it.Not thinking about it much I put off telling anyone about it. After about a month or so I showed it to my Mom. She is a Ex-Nurse. She looked at and felt the lump. Upon examination, she said I needed to have it looked at by a Doctor. We went to a Patient First Clinic and had a Sonogram. The Tech there said I needed to make an appointment with a Doctor as soon as possible. They even called back that afternoon to ensure that I had made an appointment. I had. I went to a local Hospital where I had a Biopsy. The Dr. came back and announced it was Cancer. It was scary to hear. My Parents were took it even harder than I, I am their only child.I told the Dr. thank you,but that I wanted any further treatments and so on to be done at Johns Hopkins. I know that they are rated as one of the Top Hospitals to deal with Cancer patients. I ended up with a Lumpectomy,a Mastectomy,Chemo and Radiation. I was fortunate to have a Loving,caring family,extended family and Good friends in my corner for Support. I also joined a on-line Breast Cancer Support group.What better people to talk to then someone going through it also. I am Happy to say I am now a 6yr Survivor !!! I also when I can join in Cancer Walks and buy products from sites and retailers that support Cancer research.

Walter Gmurek
Bel Air, MD

Don't Put It Off

I know you are supposed to have mammograms every year. I try but you know how it is, you think about it but don't make the appointment and then you forget about it. Well, I finally remembered to make that appointment. It had probablly been a year or two since my last one, I don't remember, but I scheduled mine the last part of August 2013. A few days later they called and said they saw a small shadow, thought it might just be a calcum deposit but needed another mammogram to check for sure. I went in and they told me they would look at it while I was still there but if they weren't absolutely positive I would have to have a biopsy done. They weren't positive so I scheduled the biopsy with the Breast Cancer Center. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know anyone who had gone through any of this. I had the biopsy one morning before work. A few days later the doctor called with the results, pre-cancer. I went in to talk to her, she explained everything and said she wanted to biopsy the other end of the duct. That came back as non invasive cancer. She said I also had LCIS cells, high risk cancer cells. That part went right over my head. I was dealing with the "C" word. Then she said the tests showed I could have something in the other breast. So I had an MRI of the breasts. Result: invasive cancer and LCIS cells on other breast. From the beginning I only wanted a lumpecotomy. After talking to oncologist and plactic surgeon and letting information sink in for a few weeks I finally decided on a bilaterial mastectomy. For me that was a very hard decision. After surgery results were in, lymphnodes were clear and even though another cancer was found behind one of the others, none were large and oncologist said I did not need chemotherapy. Early detection make a big difference. I will be 1 year cancer free October 22, 2014

Connie Butts
Greenwood, IN

Truly a blessing

My story starts 3 years ago this month, I started having an amber color discharge in my left breast , I went to my gyn , and she said I really don't think it is anything but a clogged duct , she sent me to c a surgion , the surgion said the same thing and also said it was up to me to have surgery to have it removed if it bothered me or just let it go , well I let it go and it stopped leaking , until last march and the amber discharge came back ,but for 1 week it was bloody , went back to gyn ,she sent me back to same surgion and thay both said 95%sure not cancer and all mamo's and all ultra sounds came back normal for last 3 yrs , on July 18 th I had surgery to remove duct and she remove some tissue also . One week later I found out I had non invasive ductal carcinoma stage 0 , I am telling my story because I want all women to know just because your mamo's come back clear there could still b something in there so if there is abnormal leaking or itching or dempling please have it checked out , trust your gut , I start my radiation treatment at the end of oct 6 weeks , I feel so blessed that this was finally found so I can watch my 3 grandkids grow up , i am only 53 yrs old ,it has been a very long summer but I can c the end coming soon ,, Debbie

Debbie Wagner
Springfield, OH

I fought a giant and won!

I was a 45 yr old mother of 2 who never had any health problems and no family history of cancer . It was Halloween 2 yrs ago and I was getting ready to take the kids trick or treating. While getting dressed I felt a lump on my left breast. The next few months were a world wind of tests, doctors appointments, a biopsy and a lumpectomy. I found out on January 9th, my 45 birthday that it was cancer and I would need chemotherapy. My world felt like it had caved in on me. If not for the love and support of my husband, friends and family, I don't think I could have stayed positive long enough to get through it. I had 8 treatments of chemotherapy ahead of me. While going through the chemotherapy I found out that the margins of my lumpectomy were not clear and I would have to have more surgery so I made the choice to have a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries. I could not live with the fear of that cancer monkey hanging over my head. The choices I made were mine and what was best for me. It has been a very long hard path that I have traveled, but after 2 yrs I am finally starting to feel like my old self again but with a bonus, I now know what's truly important in life and I don't sweat the small stuff anymore. I am the hero of this story because I fought a giant and won!

Dawn Marie Puckett
Telford, TN

My Mom and I survived

In Oct. 2008 I Went For My Routine Mammogram. Several Days Later I Got A Call To Come Back They wanted To Get Another Look At My Right Breast. They Showed Me A Small Tumur On The Upper Righ Breast. Panic Set In, But I Tried To Be Positive. So I Saw The Surgeon, Had A Biopsy. Came Back Positive For Stage 2 Hormone Positive Breast Cancer. I, WE Were Devastated. I Went Thru 2 Surgeries. First To Remove The Right Breast To Send To Pathology For Testing. Several Weeks Later The Surgeon Told Me They Found Two Lump Nodes That Tested Positive For Cancer Cells. 2ND Surgery To Remove Lymph Nodes Under My Right Arm And Implant A Port For Chemotherapy. Had 6 Rounds Of 2 Chemo Drugs, Then 6 Rounds Of Another Chemo Drug. It Was Horrible. But I Have The Best Husband. He And My Family Got Me Through This Trying Time. November 2009 My Mom Found Out She Has Aggressive Breast Cancer In Her Left Breast. It Was A Repeat Of What I Went Thru All Over Again. I Knew I Had Survived for My Mom To Help Her Go Thru Her Treatments For A Full Year. She Did Great.

Survived 5 Years And Counting.

Lynette
Soso, MS

Health Issues.

I was having health problems and needed a knee replacement 7/2014.

I have my Mamo's each year. A couple of times a Cyst was found and nothing to worry about.

This year with all the health issues I had going on it seem like a good idea to put this one time off.

While I was talking to my regular Dr about test results from other problems she asked about did I have my Mamo for this year? I told her not yet on the mamo. She advised to go ahead and set it up and one less thing for me to deal with. We thought.

Then the same as always Mamogram, Compression and another call for me to have a ultasound of the breast, something showed the Dr did not like. Okay here we go again. Had the ultasound followed by biopsy and a chip placed in breast.

Next day Dr called with pathology report, Cancer. Now understand I had no pain, could feel nothing wrong and no idea there was a problem. It was stated as an invasive and in the duct. Referred to surgeon and due to the type and size I could have a lumpectomy.

I had that scheduled along with two lymph nodes removed. Was referered to the Oncologist and due to having 2 negative and one positive show on my pathology reports he suggest a DNA study on pathology report. This will tell if there is a chance of it returning and if so the percent of that result, if not high number I can have 7 to 9 weeks radiology.

Then a pill for each day for 5 years and no Chemo.

I have noticed in all this that what i have is nothing compared to others out there. Ladies I admire you for being so strong with what you have going on.

There has been no breast cancer on any side of my family.

So before you rule out having that same old mamogram or not do your self a favor and have it.

Thanks and God Bless..

Laverne

Anonymous
Columbia, LA

Breast Cancer: Take 2 and Done

After being diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ of the left breast in October of 2008 and having a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, here I was 5 1/2 cancer-free years later, preparing for a hysterectomy and oophorectomy because I had tested positive as a carrier of the gene that causes breast and/or ovarian cancer...my General Surgeon suggested a routine mammogram since it was time for it anyway, so I complied. A new pair of eyes belonging to a new Radiologist at our facility saw something she wasn't comfortable with, so a biopsy of the right breast was ordered and performed. Several days later, I was hit with the news AGAIN. (I couldn't wait the whole weekend to see the surgeon the following Monday, so I went to Medical Records and got a copy of my pathology report and reviewed it with the physician that I work with.) This time it was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Very small, very new, very cancer. By this time, I decided that I'd had enough. Over the next month, preparations were made to align both my General Surgeon and Gynecologist to have both a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy/oophorectomy during one surgical event on July 1st, 2014. 6 weeks of medical leave from work ensued, which I could not afford, but I have such an AMAZING army of family and friends, this was not going to stop us! My army has rallied and fought beside me, made sure that no bill would go unpaid, that no need would be unmet, and that I would never feel alone. On October 10th, 2014, I completed 12 weeks of chemotherapy again, and cannot express the gratitude I feel, how loved and supported I have been during this second journey! It has helped tremendously to share every step with those that I love, my family and friends, MY ARMY.

Angie
Santa Fe, TX
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