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Being a blessing!

October 2013 I came home from work, got my boxers ready for their walk. I had my big male with me when he lunged for a squirrel and I felt and heard a pop come from my chest area. Pain was instant and I assumed I had sprained my pectoral or ripped the muscle. December came and I was still in pain and made the decision to go back to my doctor as it wasn't healing and the pain wasn't going away. So after Christmas I went in for an ultrasound on Jan 16. My appointment was at 7:30 and at 7:45 they were calling my husband and parents. At 10:00 I was having a mammogram done and at 2:30 was having a biopsy and was told they were putting a rush on the results and that I would know by 1 the next day, but I already knew. I knew it wasn't going to be good just from the expression on the radiologists face. 11:30 the next day my doctor called with the news. I met with my cousin, who is a surgeon, and I opted for a lumpectomy to start and we would go from there. Once out of surgery I was ecstatic that they got it all and felt the margins were good, but the popping I heard way back in October was my tumor being ripped off of my muscle wall and it was 4cm long and tubular which wasn't normal, but it did allow me to keep my breast. Once I met with my oncology team, I started 20 weeks of chemo and got to enjoy all that comes with that. I also had 37 radiation treatments and I've just started my 10 year hormone plan with two different drugs. Since I had estrogen positive and endometriosis it was imperative to stop all estrogen in my body. I'm very grateful for my amazing teams of doctors and for an amazing husband and family. I promised myself that I would be a blessing through this and I hope that's how I was perceived.

stefanie medawar
lynden, WA

A thousand mile walk to the dressing room

Immidately following the byopsy, I got brave and asked the doctor,

"I know you see this every day doc, what do you think?"

"There is a very good chance this IS cancer, we will confirm it on a few days."

The silence was awkward and intimidating, too shocked by his response to cry, I hung my head like a pouting 2 year in trouble. it was like walking 1000 miles back to the dressing room.

The days following confirmed the initial thought... Yes my dear, YOU have breast cancer.

CANCER??? I am only 30, how does this happen? 30 year olds don't get cancer, I am a mom, I have to work, I don't have time for cancer. I don't have the strength to fight and win, and I certainly do not know what I did to get it.

Surgery in late February confirmed everyone's worse fears, this had spread to the lymph nodes, fortunately out of 34 removed only 1 was confirmed cancerous. The oncologist his team and i decieded we would take any and ever measure to prevent a recurrence and kill this with the first shot.

In April 2014, I began chemotherapy, 6 rounds. I took a week off of work after each chemo treatment to recover. It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

Im currently on radiation treatment 22 of 29. I go to treatment once a day Monday through Friday on my lunch break.

I am 7 week days and one final surgery from my finish line. Personal victory.

Life is still coming full force at me, the things I have to do haven't changed, I am still a mom, I am still an employee, I am still a daughter, sister, and friend. My cancer doesn't define who I am, it doesn't limit my ability, it hasn't completely broken me It is just a part of what's made me who I am.

katie
denvet, CO

one bad year

In 2009 i had just had shouler surgery was mending when my mother passed away im March. In May i lost my job, because of the factory moving to Mexico. July 2009 i went to the dr because of pains through my breast. At first the dr thought it was to much caffeine from soda i was drinking. I quit soda and all caffeine. Six weeks later the pain was still there so my dr sent me for a mammogram. It showed i had a abnormal reading so they had me do an ultrasound. It showed i had breast cancer. I was scheduled for a biopsy which proved i had cancer. Went in for surgery on September 18, 2009. They got it all and I'm 5 years plus cancer free. I'm still on the chemo pill till the end of this year. Its according what kind of cancer you have they may ask you if you want the six week chemo or the five year pill. They don't tell you when you choose the pill that you will gain alot of weight but you do. But I'm so blessed that i have beat cancer. I think God gave me a sign that something was wrong and that saved my life.

Anonymous
Eldon, MO

My mom

Her name was Sylvia. She was funny, loud, energetic, always had some joke to crack. She had more friends that became her family after so many years together. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 17, stage 4 aggressive cancer, she was then on chemotherapy and radiation within a blink of an eye. She lost weight then gained weight with all the medication she was on, they had to take her breast and she lost all her hair, her cancer then spread to her brain, and she started having seizures that ended up paralyzingly part of her body, she could no longer walk, or work or do any of the normal things we do in our daily routines, something so simple as brushing her teeth became the most difficult thing to do. My mother was a lot of things to everyone, to me, she was my rock. My person, my mom and my best friend, she endured it all and even when she left us, she left fighting. Everyday it's a little easier, I am more aware of the many women who go through so much, and the families that feel the pain. They are so strong, like my mom. my mother died within 2 years of being diagnosed, and even at her weakest, she never lost hope.

elizabeth villa
San Antonio, TX

Thanks Mom and Dad!

October 2013 I got a call from the mammogram center stating they have a script for me from my family doctor to come get my mammo. Thinking this was odd because I didn't recognize the doctors name who sent it in(I just go to whatever doctor is available so possible just don't remember her).I decided to go because I was now 43.About a month before the appointment I started feeling around and felt a lump. Thinking Its all in my mind because I knew the appointment was coming up I just ignored it, after all there was no history of it in my family. Went for my mammogram and got a call back stating they had seen something in my right breast right where I had felt the lump. In disbelief I figured it must be a cyst. Biopsy told otherwise, it was cancer with lymph node involvement. While I was going through chemo my son became sick so I had called the family doctor and the only one available was the doctor who sent in the script. Great, that ment I could personally thank her. Got to the office to find a doctor I had never seen but proceeded to thank her for sending in the script. As she looked confused she told he how strange that was because they never just put out scripts on their own unless a patient asks them to. All along I felt my mom and dad who passed away 16 years ago must have had something to do with it, now I am certain! I probable would have put off that mammogram for a few more years and who knows what would have been. I had a lumpectomy, and as my breast surgeon told me, I pulled up my big girl pants(love her!!) and made it through 8 chemo treatments and have now completed 20 of 33 radiation treatments and am cancer free! Thanks mom and dad for saving my life!

Debbie
Glenside, PA

Jesus said "You will go through this with me" and He did

In April of 2013 I felt a lump on my right breast and immediately became concerned. Without letting anyone knew I went to the doctor and had mammorgram and USG test. The next day, at the age of 39, I was diagnosed with stage IIB breast cancer. My world fall apart. I have a boy who is still 11 years old and I want to see him grow and see my grandchildren. At first I frustated and questioning God, "why me?" but Jesus come to me and hold my hand and said "You will go through this with me. I will never leave you". Jesus's word strengthen me and I stopped blaming God and start to give Him thanks. A month later I had a partial mastectomy and started chemotherapy a month later. I received 6 treatments of chemotherapy, 30 treatments of radiation and continue with hormonal therapy for the next 5 years. My mom, sister and brother in law was by my side for every doctors visit, every chemotherapy treatment, and more importantly taking good care of me! When I lost my hair from chemotherapy, my mom cried but she told me that it is fine because it means the medicine worked. During the journey I witnessed how God's worked in amazing ways and He answered prays. I never feel pain during my cemotherapy session or my radiation. Even my doctor told me that I didn't look like other cancer patient, she said my face was glowing. I told her that it is because of Jesus who strengthen me. April 2014, I went through the body scan and Praise Jesus, the result show that there is no cancer in my body. Halleluya. I have faith that there will be no more cancer in me. I survived cancer because of God and the support I received from my family and I promised God to tell everyone about His amazing work and this is my story.

Euis C
DKI Jakarta, Indonesia

I, no longer, have the right to remain silent!!!

Growing up in a home riddled with domestic violence, I was always told to keep quiet about personal matters. Even though my family grew out of that phase, keeping quiet still remained a huge part of my life. The last few days, I have been encouraged to be open because it will help someone else.

I felt a lump in my breast a while ago. I pushed it off. I didn't think too much about it. After all...ALL my yearly mammograms came back clear. I had a breast reduction 10 years ago and I believed it was scar tissue. As I became engulfed with other things in life, I didn't pay attention to my body like I should have. I went to my OBGYN for a routine visit and mentioned the lump casually. She was quite concerned. I still wasn't and wondered why she was. She referred me to a surgeon who ordered a mammogram and sonogram. They didn't know what the lump was. I still believed it was scar tissue. So, finally a biopsy was ordered. Last week, it came back positive for breast cancer. As the doctor/surgeon reviewed my records...I was floored. I am scheduled for a double mastectomy on October 16th. I am nervous but I know this is for a greater good. Not just for myself, but to tell the story to help someone else. I already have spoken to women that have had concerns about themselves. I encouraged them to see their doctors, and not to second guess, to make sure they are in the clear. I want to be a positive example of a woman who has had the courage to no longer keep silent but to encourage others to act proactively. Information only helps when it is told.

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Patricia T
Kansas City, KS

Stage 4 at 23

I was limping for a sprained quadricep for a while, moved to the crutches and one day at work on the crutches I had fallen. I ended up breaking my hip on my other side, later finding out the "strained quadricep" was 3 fractures from a disgusting cancer eating my bones. News to me considering I was only 22!!! Prior to the accident I had found a lump in the breast but with no cancer history and my age I figured it was a cyst. Completely wrong, Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Well I figured I'd live out my 5-10 years they gave me in pity, no I changed my entire attitude and stopped thinking why me and started thinking how am I going to kick this things butt? Doing a targeted treatment and radiation before any mastectomies and chemo I was a little nervous. The news I got today after my mammogram was amazing, the doctors cant find the lump nor the mass's that traveled to the lymph nodes. Now all I have left to do is finish up my chemo and to get rid of the rest of the buggers (mass's) in my body!!! I know God works in a mysterious way and I know I was CHOSEN for this for a reason. We aren't dealt a hand we cant handle!

Molly Waller
FORT WORTH, TX

Follow your instincts!!!

It wasn't my regular time for a mammogram, I was actually 6 months overdue, yet I felt an urging to make an appointment for a physical. There were no lumps, bumps or symptoms of anything suspicious, just an urging which I believe was God's interventio n in my life!. The mammogram should some "calcium" spots, but nothing of great concern, as did the ultrasound. Yet as a precaution a needle biopsy was ordered "just to make sure." Two weeks later I received a phone call from the physician. "You have DCIS cancer and we are scheduling surgery in one week." What? Cancer? I had repeatedly been assured it was probably nothing, yet the diagnosis was cancer! It was very small so only a lumpectomy was performed. DCIS is Ductal Carcinoma In Suto...which means we caught it early--Thank God! The cancer was very small, in a milk duct which is double walled. It had eaten through the inner wall, but not the outer wall of the duct. DCIS was explained as a very aggressive cancer, yet when caught early is only 3-5% likely to reoccur. The surgery was followed with 36 radiation treatments. Again the radiologist reiterated the importance of mammograms--"it saved your life!" Now, praise God, I am 2+ years cancer free and yes, I most definitely get my regularly scheduled mammograms and check ups! PLEASE ladies, get your mammos. They may save your life!!!

Deb
Stromsburg, NE

My Mother Lyndell The Two Time Breast Cancer Survivor

In 1995 My mother Lyndell Taylor was diagnosed over 20 years ago with her first breast cancer diagnosis.She had about 5 - 6 rounds of chemotherapy and a lumpectomy done on the left breast.Before that, she had the surgery and radiation treatment for around 6 weeks and it burned like nothing before. Several years have passed and we were faced with a recurrance of the breast cancer,in 2002, but it showed up in the right breast. She again had surgery a lumpectomy again and just radiation treatment and taking tamoxifen for the next five years.

In New Zealand we have Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the whole month of October which makes women aware of the need to have mammograms and to check your breasts for any changes.I have mammograms every year since the age of 40 and always never miss out having them and are grateful for the opportunity to have them for free.

My mothers birthday is on October the 15th 2014 and she will be 67 years old. I am amazed that she has survived that long and she will always be cherished by me her daughter Joanne.

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Joanne
Napier, New Zealand
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