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my moms journey with cancer

I'm writing for my mother back in march of 2014 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to have 3 different surgeries 2 on her lymph nodes she had to have a bunch removed then she had the breast operated on she didn't opt for the mastectomy she's doing chemo n radiation. She has alot going for her she has 7 wonderful grandchildren who love her dearly. She has about 6 more chemo treatments to do n she's off of that for a few weeks n then starts her radiation. My mom did the breast cancer walk this yr after she was diagnosed. She wasn't to thrilled bout losing her hair on her head n having to wear a wig but she got used to it but now her hair is staring to come back n she's happy. But this is just another step she will pull thru in her life n she's doing very well. Way to go mom I knew we could this...

Kristen haney
pittsburgh, PA

My New Life

At 42 I discovered a lump in my breast in the shower. I was advised to have a mammogram and biopsy to diagnose the status of the lump. I had concerns about the safety of both the mammogram and biopsy on the grounds that I didn’t want to increase the risk of cancer by exposure to ionising radiation, or spread the cancer under compression, or even seeding from the biopsy.

I then discovered Thermography - no ionising radiation, no compression and it ruled out the need for biopsy. My first thermogram showed a 96% risk of malignancy (high risk) and Angiogenesis was detected. I embarked on a total lifestyle change including regular exercise and a natural dairy-free diet, and I used thermal imaging to monitor my progress every 3 months until the scan showed my breast health had reduced to low risk!

Rosa Hughes
Liverpool, United Kingdom

Early detection is very important

Earlier this year (2014) my life was changed. I woke up feeling sore & instantly felt a mass. I made an appt that day. At the appt she told me because it was sore and the way it felt, there was nothing to worry, it would disappear, go away. But given I was 35 (a few months awat from 36)she said "lets check just in case". 3 days later the mass did disappear. But kept my mammo appt I wanted to hear "all clear nothing was found". The day of the mammo, I was told there was no mass however they found suspicious calcification & a biopsy was needed. 3 days after the biopsy I got the "call"  we found DCIS ( ductal carsinoma insitu) My doctors recommended a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy.

I did not have a family history at this time but tested positive for BRCA 2 (hereditary breast cancer gene) I now have an 87% chance of having invasive breast in my lifetime. I scheduled my surgery (bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy) .

After surgery:the pathology report stated I was actually Stage 1. Not only did they find DCIS, IDS (invasive ductal carcinoma) and invasive cancer was found. On the left side they found LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ) and ADH (atypical ductal hyperplasia).  "WOW" I made the right surgery decision. Had I not found it, had I not moved forward with the mammo and the surgery I could have been fighting for my life within a few years time.

Because I found it early. Because the invasive cancer was so small I did not need chemo or radiation. I needed tamoxifen, I felt blessed that was all I needed. I still have a battle ahead because i am at high risk but I am blessed to have found it early. I get to see my children grow which is most important in my life. I am only 5 weeks post op, I can't call myself a surviver but I will be.

Early detection is key. Please be aware of your body. Don't put off what you should do today.

Sabrina Z
brooklyn, NY

Suffering followed by freedom from endocrine treatments!

Hi ! My mother had breast cancer, so I knew I was at risk... every time I went for my mammogram I would wait in trepidation. Well! in 2011 I had the terrible news come to me .. I got through the painful surgery and chemo relatively quickly, in large part because I had a very supportive family during the crisis. Problem what I was not really ready for the painful long-term endocrine treatment that followed!

I put on 35 pounds, I felt old and slow.. the hot flashes were horrific.. my oncologists even tried to switch me from Tamoxifen to one of the other agents (Femara I think), and that was even worse. Plus I was told that these drugs can cause endometrial cancer, osteoporosis/fractures, uterine sarcoma. Yuck!

7 months ago after one of those horrific nights of hot flash, I started to do some reasearch and found out a company in San Diego had a new gene based test (Breast Cancer Index) that told me if I was even benefitting from the treatment and how high was my risk. The results came back and I was thrilled to find out I was in the category of women who were

- at low risk of recurrence (2.1% is what my score was)

- would gain no benefit from more treatment (doctor said trials had found no difference for untreated and treated patients!)

This was the freedom I was waiting for! The doctor told me that given my situation, he recommended I stop treatment. It is absolutely the best thing that happened to me. I started to workout again.. I have mostly lost all the extra weight, my relationships have improved and I feel like myself again!!

Thankful for the freedom, which is all the more precious after the suffering I have been through.

Lori

Lori Anders
Ann Arbor, MI

Blessed Beyond Measure

The same day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I learned that I was losing my job...a career job, the best one ever, and one I enjoyed. After sharing the news with my family that evening and having my cry, together with personal friends we prayed and my life was placed in the Lord's hands. I had had 5 previous breast biopsies, somewhat expecting any one to be positive, because my family history was filled with multiple cases of cancer, including my Mother who died from liver cancer. Four weeks after that phone call, my Stage 1 breast cancer was removed and I was given a clean bill of health. When I returned to work, the job was closing down and I only had to work part-time, with full pay and benefits. The Lord truly provided for my needs...both medically and financially. While I did not go through any treatment, I still had the wonderful support of my precious husband and our two sons during that time of recovery and the five years of testing/medication that followed. One son wanted to know that I was going to be OK, and he was fine. The other son had some medical background, and he wanted to see/touch/ know all there was to know. One major event was the get well card our youngest son gave me on the day of surgery. Don't remember what that card said, but I will never forget his personal note. He had written... "Mom, it doesn't matter that they do in surgery today...whether you come out with one breast, two, or none. You are who you are from the inside out and nothing they can do to you today will ever change that. You are a wonderful, loving, caring Mom and you will always be that to me.' Today I am a 17 years breast cancer survivor. The only reminder of the breast cancer is the lymphedema in my arm which I control with a compression garment. That in itself is my witness of how the Lord blessed me then and still does to tis day.

Carolyn Kooch
Knoxville, TN

Life changing

In 2010, 29 years old, I found a lump in my left breast one night and I feared the worst - breast cancer but I saw 2 doctors the next day and they examined me and shook their heads saying it cannot be cancer because I'm too young. I was referred to an Oncologist and after a couple of mammograms, ultrasounds, blood tests and biopsies it was revealed that I had Stage 3 invasive aggressive breast cancer. I was immediately scheduled for breast removal then chemotherapy; the worst one that they could give me and for around seven months, it was hell. Radiotherapy was next for eight weeks and had radiotherapy everyday on the left side of my chest. Meanwhile I also had genetic testing done and I found out that my BRCA gene had been inherited from my FATHERS side, my grandmother.

In 2012 I was back for a CT scan and some bad news - the cancer had returned in my bones and liver. My immediate thoughts were I didn't have much time to live. I went through a few chemo's because some would work for only months at a time. Currently I am receiving chemo intravenously and so far it is working; my cancers have shrunk. I believe that finding the right chemo is like trying to find the right little black dress that will fit; I just have to keep trying. I'm not terminally ill but I have a shortened life span. I accept that I am living WITH cancer, it is not taking over my life. I will not accept that the cancers will take my life any time soon. I remain positive, depression gets no one anywhere, I don't sweat the small stuff plus there are worse people out there than me.

Cancer does not discriminate no matter who you are - race, religion, sex or age. You have to be aware of your body and listen to your instincts. Take care of yourself and live your life, don't let anything hold you from your dreams because you won't get a second chance.

Kylie Monaghan
Port Pirie, Australia

Men Can Get Breast Cancer Too !

“Men can get Breast Cancer too"

As the third week in October is “Male Breast Cancer awareness week”. I’d like to re post a blog I wrote while in the middle of my own horrible experience!

However a little update I’d like to report since then. I’m doing great, Cancer free for the past two years, a “Survivor” I've continued living my life to the fullest having new experiences along this journey. The picture posted with this blog was taken this August of 2014 with my Granddaughter Addison Tula Kypreos, making the best of all situation living life to its fullest.

I am 51 years old, I was diagnosed with stage II Breast and lymph node cancer in 2012 of November on the 21st, the day before Thanksgiving! I've been through surgery having left breast removed, I am how midway through my Chemo treatments with Radiation to follow. As for my prognoses it looks positive, from what my Oncologist reports, however there's always that “voice” in the back of my head. For those of you that know what I'm talking about, it's not a place you like to go!

Hoping my post will bring attention to all. Men's breast Cancer is very rare, only 1% of people diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year are Men!

I'm thankful for my Mother and Grandmother, who are and were, Breast Cancer survivors. My Mother for over the past 6 years now with a clean bill of health, Grandmother has since past on but lived for 16 or so more years after diagnosed. My mother was the one who told me that "Men can get Breast Cancer Too". Because of this when I noticed a small lump,the size of a small pea, on my left Beast I made an appointment. So here I am full circle,sitting in the Chemo Chair, working hard in beating this ugly disease!

So ladies,please pass this information on, especially if you are a survivor of Breast Cancer. Pass it on to your Male children, Husband,Nephews. You might just save a life!

Be strong,fight the good fight!

Mark R. Bein

Mark Bein
Oakdale, CA

Best birthday present

My yearly physical would be in November but for some reason it was put off. I decided to go on my birthday, March 24, of the following year. I took the day off from work and decided to also have a mammogram the same day. All the nurses gave me praise for selecting my birthday and what a good thing to do for yourself. I was diagnosed almost a month later with breast cancer. On May 9th I had a lumpectomy and followed up with radiation therapy twice a day for five days. I think if I had my regular appointment in November maybe there wouldn't have been any detection of the cancer with the possibility of it growing over the next year. I truly feel blessed and hope that if I inspire any women it would be for early detection. There weren't any signs and no family history. I admire and support all of my "sisters" in the fight against breast cancer. Be strong, have faith, and fight on!

Julie Schunter
Flint, MI

MY JOURNEY FOR 1,000

How did I turn that dreaded phone call telling me I had invasive ductal carcinoma into the non-profit Sparkle Caps Project during my first year of treatment?

How can I say that I was blessed to have breast cancer?

How did I go from an employer who tried to fire me once I told the firm I had breast cancer to working for the best boss ever?

February 2010 - I was at my office when I heard the angel whisper, “Get your mammogram.” When I got home that evening, key in the front door lock, I again heard the angel whisper, “Get your mammogram.” I put my bags down in the open doorway and went to my den, where I retrieved the order for my nine-month OVERDUE mammogram.

I called Baptist Breast Center the next day and received an appointment for that Thursday, February 4th, which was my birthday. What a birthday present!

When I returned to work on Monday, the breast center called. On my lunch hour that day, I had a repeat mammogram, two ultrasounds and three needle biopsies. Now that was a long lunch hour! Wednesday at work, I got that dreaded phone call. Two weeks later, I had a lumpectomy. Five weeks following surgery, I started the first of 6 chemos, followed by 33 radiation treatments and a year of Herceptin infusions.

During treatment, I asked God to use my breast cancer journey to help others. Using that trial, He allowed me to start The Sparkle Caps Project. We have given over 1,000 gift bags to date to women in treatment for any type of cancer. Over 1,000 Sparkle Caps Gift Bags: These are more than just words on paper. Sparkle Caps reaches into women’s lives, offering them support, love and hope—a soft touch on a difficult journey. We leave the rest up to God.

My boss and I, we didn't turn lemons into lemonade. We turned my lemons into CHAMPAGNE. I am truly blessed because I had breast cancer!

Susan "Victorious" - Victorious over cancer! Victorious in God!

Susan "Victorious" Heimbigner
Sumter, SC

My journey my walk and my story

I am a 9 years breast cancer survivor..I was diagnosed as a stage 3....I had to have my breasts removed I went through 7 or 8 months of chemo therapy....the chemo started messing with my heart causing congestive heart failure ...so they took me off...trying to give my heart a chance to correct itself..... I had radiation everyday for 13 weeks after radiation I went through lymphedema... which is a chronic swelling of a limb..which ended my career as a letter carrier. ..I did end up with congestive heart failure. The chemotherapy caused my heart muscle to weaken and caused problems with two valves...this lead to open heart surgery to repair the two leaky valve heart....I thought surgery would fix my heart problems caused by chemo....I was broken hearted to find out that my heart is still weak... so I had the open heart surgery in January of 2014....I was given 6 months to rebuild my heart on my own with exercise and cardiovascular activities ..if it's not build up then I will get a pacemaker.. I suffer from bradycardia which is slow heart beat...so the pacemaker will correct the problem....I'll find out next Friday, October 31, 2014, if I need more surgery....I'm staying prayerful...Thanks you for allowing me to share my story.

Betty Jones
Cleveland, OH
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