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My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer in 1987. She underwent an immediate double mastectomy and removal of numerous lymph nodes, followed by 6 months of chemotherapy. After that came great news: SHE WAS IN REMISSION! That was a true miracle because from the onset her prognosis hadn't been very good. For the next 6 years she lived a normal, happy life. She continued to get regular screenings and scans but remained cancer free. That magic "7-year Mark" was getting closer and we were confident that she'd managed to beat cancer.

We were wrong. In 1993 she started to complain of pain in her legs. At first we all thought it was arthritis...but a bone scan and CT scan proved otherwise. It was the Breast Cancer again. It had metastasized to her bones, liver and lungs. Once again she underwent months of drastic chemo. Her hip and thigh bones were riddled with Cancer and it was feared she'd eventually end up in a wheelchair. Voluntarily, she opted for hip-replacement and the insertion of rods in her femurs to prevent the bones from breaking. It was a long, painful healing process but she never lost her ability to walk. For 5 years she led a relatively normal and pain-free life. She still needed chemo every month but she wasn't having horrible side-effects. She used to think it wasn't much different than living with Diabetes. Every 6 months or so her body would become resistant to the chemo so other drugs needed to be tried... but as long as there were other drugs available she would keep Cancer at bay. In 1998 they ran out of drugs to try and on January 14, 1999 my mother lost her 12-year battle against Breast Cancer. She was 56 years old.

Daniela Troiani
New Rochelle, NY

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