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I am a five-time breast cancer survivor. First diagnosed in 1983 at age 32 -- it was unheard of to have breast cancer at 32. I was a single mom of a 2 year old son. I found a phenomenal doctor to take my case and treat me as a person -- not a number. After much consultation, I elected to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation & chemotherapy (protocol at the time). In 1984 -- I found a lump in my other breast. Chose another lumpectomy followed by radiation. In 1990 and 1993 -- two more occurrences and I chose to have a lumpectomy both times since they were found very early. In 1998 -- my last occurrence -- I chose a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. Whew -- what a journey!

I work the the ACS Reach to Recovery Program, counseling newly diagnosed women, sharing my experiences, pointing them in the right direction to arm themselves with as much information as possible so that they can make an informed decision on their treatment. I have talked with them, laughed with them and cried with them. There is nothing more rewarding than a phone call saying "thanks so much for your help, you got me thru this nightmare". Now they are in the sisterhood and I ask them to "Pay It Forward" and help someone else.

My question has never been "why me" but rather "why not me"? I have been truly blessed so that I can offer hope to those newly diagnosed -- this is not a death sentence. I am also blessed with a fantastic group of friends who supported me by raising money & walking with me for the "Making Stridesr" in Baltimore -- that is the picture I posted. Aren't we just too cute??

Anonymous
Greensburg, PA

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