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Each Day is a Celebration of Life!

As I walked into the hospital room for my biopsy in May 2013, I knew the cancer had returned with a vengeance. I thought that breast cancer was something that I dealt with 10 years ago, and I was done. My mammograms and ultra sounds always came back with good results. I just knew that I had passed the 5 year window, and I was truly a "Survivor." Cancer has been a part of my family's life for 13 years, both my mother and father battled cancer. My mother forced, I mean "encouraged" my sister and I to get mammograms after she was diagnosed in 2002. Her love saved my life.

Well, August 2011, I moved across the world from Texas to the Middle East to begin a new adventure of travel and self growth. I met and married my soul mate in November 2012, we wanted to start our family and live happily ever after. Well, Mr. Cancer decided to test our love for better or worse. My scar tissue from my lumpectomy surgery site in 2013 started getting larger. My ob/gyn doctor recommended that I get a biopsy. Since that day my life has never been the same, the diagnoses of breast cancer for the second time around has been life changing. This time around, my doctors and I agreed to be as aggressive as my Stage 3 Her2+ tumor, my treatment plan was 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 17 rounds of Herceptin, and a bilateral mastectomy. My soul mate, my man, and my rock never left my side, he said, "We didn't need the breast anyway!" I am currently finished with my treatments, but I live a much healthier lifestyle. The old me focused on what I looked like on the outside, but the new me values what I put on the inside. I am so grateful to wake up each day and celebrate life.

Regina
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

My Breast Cancer Blog

I captured my whole breast cancer journey by writing a blog. You can read this blog at:

danceofawarrior.wordpress.com

Thanks - Journey on Warriors!!

Melissa
Colbert, GA

things happen for a reason

I kept feeling a lump. Went to my doctor a couple days later they told me I have breast cancer I had a double mastectomy I was scared but knowing I had the best doctor in the world I was ok. Just finished my Chemo on September-26-2014 I am doing great now I will start Radiation October-27-2014 for 5- days a week for 5 week thank God for my childern Nicole-Michael all the help they gave me and family for being there . Will up date after Radiation WISH meluck

Anonymous
waterbury, CT

My Story of Hope

I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time about a year after having my oldest son who is now 28 years old. That cancer was in the cervix. Divorced 3 more children later, including a pair of beautiful twin daughters and another son cancer raised its ugly head about 20 years later , during a regular mammogram at age 40 years old in 2006 then came along breast cancer.

My former Pastor R.I.P a wonderful man of God and his wife and my one and only Sis accompanied me for surgery, he told them I have to pray over my child before the doctors do anything and he did. I bless the LORD for that great man of God I had a biopsy, a partial removal, many checkups and doctors opinion, and.decided NO MORE PARTIAL, I decided a mastectomy of the right breast as I had to see my children become the best they could be, I had to finish mothering them. Eleven lymph nodes were removed with no evidence of cancer spreading any further. When I we got home, thanks to my church sis Marquita who came to pick me up and helped my sister dress me there were stairs to climb which of course I could not, my oldest baby lifted me to my bed, I bless the Lord for my first born, a great man he is today and a greater husband he will make someones daughter when he chooses.

I bless the Lord for my health and strength, I bless Him for my hope and faith, for the word of God declares that FAITH as small as a mustard seed WILL move mountains. So I say to Cancer, that my FAITH makes me WHOLE! Everyone going through, to ALL that have survived, I SAY PRESS YOUR WAY THROUGH YOU CANNOT GIVE UP NOW YOU HAVE TO PRESS YOUR WAY THROUGH! No matter how bad you may feel, no matter how rough it may seem, find that mustard seed faith and hold on, this is a battle YOU CAN WIN!

Ella Morris
Manatee, FL

Young mother's are not supposed to get cancer!

In 1993 I was 26 when I heard those ugly words "you have cancer" I was a young mother of a 2 year old and 5 year old. I remember I just wanted to talk to a long time survivor that was diagnosed when she was young. I had a lumpectomy, 6 months of chemo and radiation, lost all my hair, had days that I couldn't get up off the couch. I got through it then 6 years later at 32 I got a 2nd cancer, this time the other breast. Went through it all over again surgery, chemo and radiation. In 2004 at age 38 I took the BRCA test and tested positive and it was recommended that I have a hysterectomy and a double mastectomy. Along with my oncologist, I decided to have a hysterectomy but decided not to have a mastectomy. In 2008 I was 42 and received a 3rd diagnosis. I knew at this point I had to have the mastectomy. In May I turned 48 so now I am that woman that I wanted to talk to when I was first diagnosed.

LORRIE
CLOVIS, CA

This is what BLESSED looks like....

My mind heard the news on March 10, 2014 but my spirit would not accept it. I was driving home in the car and heard the news, "You have breast cancer." I had waited a week for the results of the biopsy and although I was hoping there was nothing to worry about, somehow I already knew. Within the hour, I was at the hospital to meet with the best breast care coordinator in the state.

One Saturday while at work, I was in a dazed depressed state. I had not shared the news with anyone but my husband. I was waiting for surgery in a few days. I looked up and said to God, "I am so afraid, I need to see a survivor to know that I can win this fight." I turned my head towards the front door and immediately in walked a lady wearing a pink breast cancer shirt. I found the courage to ask her if she was a supporter or a survivor. Indeed she was a survivor. She was just passing through. She was from another country visiting a local arcade with her kids and just stopped by to get some change. She could have stopped anyplace else. But at that very moment, it was divine intervention that she walked in and saw me. She cried with me, hugged me, and gave me her information. On the day of my surgery, she came to the hospital and loved on me again. She is a strong angel and I am blessed that she is still in my life.

I had lumpectomy but because the margins were not clear had to have a second surgery. On April 9, 2014, I had a mastectomy and was thankful that no lymph nodes were involved. The cancer was CANCELED! My therapy included six rounds of chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery. Through the hair loss, fatigue, tears, and other health challenges, I persevered. Although not completely reconstructed yet, I can say when I look in the mirror, "This is what BLESSED looks like. I will continue to win this fight!"

Tenisha Jenkins
West Bloomfield, MI

It Wasn't supposed to Happen

39 years old, and I lost my mom just 30 days before my diagnosis. Fibroids, they said......its nothing to worry about, but did the mammogram anyway, which led to the ultrasound. The next thing I know, the Radiologist is telling me that they can't be sure, and the surgeon was waiting to do the biopsies. Atypical cells. I knew. As a chemotherapy Infusion nurse, I KNEW. Still struggling with the emotion of losing my mom, I now faced surgery and chemo. My son left for Marine Corps boot camp, and I left for the hospital. 8 surgeries, and chemo is now done, and I am 7 years cansur free. Neuropathy, pain, weak bones, weak joints, chronic nausea, and abdominal pain is now my life, thanks to those three little words, "you have cancer". People I thought were my friends quickly disappeared, but I faced it all, head on. My daughter was my strength, and still is. My son served his country, while wearing a pink bracelet, and anything else he could display in my honor. I still face more surgeries, and the hospital has become my second home, but I am grateful for the love that surrounds me, and the blessings that arrive often. Its a path I wouldn't want to wish on anyone, but I am most definitely a better person because of it.

Gail Lashley
Mount Vernon, OH

I'm in the middle of nowhere!

Summers in Alaska are always bright. The sun shines nearly 24 hours! It's always beautiful! That fateful morning...August 1, 2011. I did a CBE. I discovered a lump on the outer part of my left breast, I immediately called the village clinic. The HA referred me to the regional hospital a week out. After the mammogram and u/s were done, I KNEW what the results were. August 14 had me flying 460 miles SW to Anchorage, AK, leaving my young family behind. My husband stayed home until the 18th to care for my three youngest, with the help of my dad and brothers. I met with the surgeon on August 15, a brief meeting, she explained I would have a biopsy on 17th and results would be revealed on August 19; that day she told me I had breast cancer! My husband burst into tears, I looked at him and said "I'm still here!" Once I was diagnosed, I had appointments here, appointments there, all the while scared and nervous about EVERYTHING! I battled through bilateral mastectomies, 4 rounds of chemotherapy, 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, a hysterectomy, tooth extractions, hair loss, and loss of confidence in being "a woman" to my husband. All these treatments meant I traveled back and forth by air, leaving my kids at home with friends and family offering their loving, and heartwarming help. As I'm typing this, I'm flooded with the memories of my experiences. I remember a few conversations with a dear friend who helped see me through that difficult part of my life. During our regular steam bath, she encouraged me to talk the cancer in my body and laugh and make fun of it, so I did! I also swept my body from head to toe toward the stove and kindly asked the cancer to leave, that I am too strong for it. I am a three year survivor, and I plan on being around this place, my home, out in the middle of nowhere for many more years.

Charlotte Tikiun
Mountain Village, AK

Cancer sux!

“Cancer Sux! There is just no nicer way to say it.I thought I was prepared for this journey, I read everything I could, I talk to different people and it really didn’t seem like it was going to be that bad. I had no idea what I was really in for. There are days when I can hardly drag myself out of bed. The throwing up, the nausea, the body pain, and everything else that goes with it, its to much for one person to go through. It’s also not only physically, it’s emotionally. There are so many emotions that go into play with this. Some of the worst part of this too is trying to tell people about it, unless you have been in this position, it’s really hard for someone to understand what you are going through. It’s like I tell people, this is a hell I never knew existed. BUT, there is one person that has been with me through this whole thing, that knows exactly what I have gone through and continue to go through, and that is GOD. He has been with me every step of this journey and he will continue to be there with me. I have cried out to him so many times and each and every time he has heard my prayer.

There’s a saying that goes, “I’m a strong person, but every once and a while I would like someone to take my hand and tell me everything’s going to be alright.” I have an amazing family and friends that tell me that on a regular basis, but most of all, God reassures me that I will get through this!

Kristin West
Bismarck, ND

Two Time Survivor

During those months of studying for the Bar Exam I wasn't feeling well. I went to the doctor. During that appointment the Doctor felt a lump on my breast and recommended a breast ultrasound. I went to multiple doctor's appointments and after I took the Bar Exam I underwent a breast biopsy. A few days later at 8:00 am in the morning my doctor told me I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Next to my mother on that office I cried because I couldn’t believe that at 29 years old I was facing cancer for the second time in my life.

On my first visit with the oncologist I found out: first that my cancer was really aggressive because from the time I had the ultrasound the mass measure 1 cm in size and by the doctors visit it measure 4.5 cm. The second thing that destroyed me was the fact that I'd to start chemotherapy right away; that chemotherapy causes infertility and that there was a possibility that I never could bear a child. Not every woman wants to be a mother but I do, so this news destroyed me. I cried for days. I still do. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a mother but I have faith that God will hear my prayers and concede me this wish. Now after 18 rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy I'm cancer free. I want to thank my mother and father for never leaving my side. I want to thank my husband for taking care of me, for loving me unconditionally even when I looked like a corpse. I want to thank those real friends of mine that called me, gave me support, visited me, prayed for me, and with their actions never let me give up. Thank you my friends for helping fight this battle, I couldn’t have done it alone. Thank you family for having my back, for helping me fight, for supporting me and praying for me. You guys were my strength. I love you. For all of you fighters NEVER GIVE UP & FIGHT HARD

Dory De Jesus
Beltsville, MD
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