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I survived

In January 2008 I found a lump. Convinced it was nothing to worry about I went for a check up, had a mammogram, scan and a core biopsy. Results came back and I was told that I had cells that maybe one day could turn into cancerous cells. For some unknown reason I didnt feel too sure about the results. I asked to be refered to another hospital. By this time it was March. I had another mammogram and an MRI scan. On March 13th I was told that I had breast cancer and needed a mastectomy urgently. Which I had on the 18th of March. I was so shocked afterwards to think I could have carried on regardless and ended up dead. I have since had reconstructive surgery and am now waiting for nipple reconstruction. I couldnt have done it without the support of my family and friends. In three weeks time I am going to Barbados with my husband and I will be able to wear bikinis. I am also planning on trying to renew our wedding vows while we are there. I still thank my gaurdian angel every day.

Lowestoft, United Kingdom

My Journey

My Journey

When dressing for church one Sunday, I noticed that my right nipple was bleeding. The following Friday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. The hospital tumor board met the following Monday to inform me that my margins weren't clean--I then had a mastectomy.

Five days later I was admitted to the hospital, very ill with a bacterial and staff infection. When I did wake, my comfort was my husband, Dein, and the crucifix on the wall.

Eleven days later I was discharged, I was still very weak. After gaining strength, Dr. Ali, my plastic surgeon, constructed my breast using the fat and muscle from my stomach, which is called a Tram Flap. My body wouldn't reject itself.

In 2004, I felt the need to 'give back' to that hospital and began volunteering. With the help of Sue Yun, coordinator of breast health services, I began counseling other breast cancer patients.

Three years ago, I decided to 'pay back' the hospital by forming a group of volunteers to help other women in similar circumstances. In 2007 the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers became a non profit 501(c)3. Each year we have a "fun"draiser to enable uninsured women to receive a free mammogram regardless of their age. Our "stroll, walk, 5k run, or 20 mile bike ride" takes place in Oxford, Michigan, on the Polly Ann Trail.

Please look at our website: to see the check presentation to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital's breast program, In two years we have enabled 230 women to receive a free mammogram!

Pat Nolf
Lake Orion, MI


I was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 25, 2006 at the age of 38. I'll never forget that quiet ride home with my best friend. All I could think about was how I was going to tell my husband and my children, who, at the tender ages of 6 and 8, lost their father to colon cancer. I knew my family was going to be afraid for me, and I was trying to pull myself together so I could put on a strong face for them. Surprisingly, even to me, somehow I managed to break the news and stay tear-free and upbeat. I calmly reassured them that everything was going to be fine, that we were going to get through this together. I decided the best option for me was a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. On June 20, 2006 I had my surgery. In August I started eight chemotherapy treatments and reconstruction. I had a treatment every two weeks, four treatments with the "red devil" and the last four with Taxitire. The love and support of family and friends helped me through this terrible ordeal. Time alone walking with nature and God did a lot to lift my spirits and kept me active and strong. Come June 2009 I will have been cancer-free for three years. I am doing great! My hair is back, along with an even stronger faith in the Lord and my family and friends than ever before. I am healthy and strong, and I am looking forward to many more years of love, laughter and living. All I can say to any of you going through this is to stay positive, believe in yourself, eat healthy, and maintain your faith in God. You have more strength inside you than you could ever imagine.

Vickey L Matthews
Talladega, AL

19-Year Survivor

Nineteen years ago, when I had metastatic breast cancer, it was not spoken about the way it is now. My options were few. I was lucky enough to find a research study at The Vince Lombardi Cancer Care Center at Georgetown University. After being given three years to live, I am alive and well after treatment, which included eleven months of chemo (one week on, three weeks off), twenty-eight days of radiation, and an autologous bone marrow transplant. Breast cancer is not the death sentence it once was. With the proper treatment and a good, positive attitude, it is possible to overcome just about anything. In the time that I underwent treatment, I never missed work except when I had to go to Washington D.C. for treatments. Work is one of the things that kept me going. I was a teacher (I'm now retired). One of my negative experiences was with the American Cancer Society. I asked only if they knew of any reasonable places to stay in the area. They said they couldn't help because their money was spent, even though I wasn't asking for money. I even asked if there were corporate plane flights from our area. They could only find flights from a distance. I had asked because I know the corporate flights would not have cost the Society anything and taking the train to D.C. was expensive, as was lodging. I am doing well and hope to be around for a long, long time.

Deerfield Beach, FL

Two Times Around

I had beast cancer in my left breast in 1998. After a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation, I appeared to be fine. I was never sick (I got very tired) and missed very few days of work. Then, in 2007, during a routine mammogram, another lump was discovered, this time on the right side. A needle biopsy confirmed my worst fears -- breast cancer again. This time the tumor was much more aggressive and several lymph nodes were involved. Since I knew I couldn't ever go through this three times, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, and radiation, but no reconstruction. Unfortunately, I was allergic to the chemo and was quite sick for most of the year. However, it is now 2009 and I am in remission and feeling great. I have regained weight from 105 to 130, gone back to teaching Sunday School and singing in my church choir, and pretty much living on my own. My choir began wearing pink ribbons in October 2007 and are still wearing them! I had three guardian angels who, with God's help, kept me alive during the worst times -- two dear, dear friends and a wonderful sister-in-law. With God's continued help, I'll survive this time also. I still have a lot of living to do! My message to newly diagnosed women? Keep the faith and never, never give up.

Patricia Motley
Keysville, VA

Keep The Faith

In July 2000, we found out that Mom, who was 60 at the time, had inflammatory breast cancer as well as a tumor. Her doctor and surgeon moved very quickly and she had a mastectomy immediately. The next few months were a very long hard struggle for Mom and the rest of the family. She had all the necessary tests done before you can start your treatment. Then she began her chemo regimen. Mom's chemo was very intense (it has been referred to as the red devil). Unfortunately, Mom became very ill from her treatments, and after three sessions ended up in the hospital on December 4th. The doctors did not think she would make it through the night. We said our prayers, and God must have been listening. The next two to three months were touch and go; we lived hour by hour for the next six weeks but she came through it. As Mom got a little stronger, the doctors decided that chemo was maybe not the answer for her, so in April 2001 she started her six weeks of radiation. This was very painful but I would say pretty effective, because as of July 2009, my mom will be cancer-free for 9 years. The best advice I can give is: never say never and keep a positive attitude, even when things look bleak and hopeless. And never give up on your loved ones. They will draw positive energy from your positive thoughts.

Marilyn Whitfield
Wingham, Canada

I Just Knew

I am a 35 year old single working mom of an amazing 6 year old little angel boy. I am also a cancer survivor. In September 2008, while I was getting ready for work, I noticed a lump in my left breast. I panicked and called my doctor, who sent me for my first mammogram on Friday, September 12th. The following Tuesday I got a call from my doctor's nurse, who then sent me for a biopsy on September 19th. I knew from the moment I found the lump that I had breast cancer, so I was prepared for the diagnosis. On September 24th, my worst fear was confirmed, and I have to admit, although I was prepared, it still took the air right out of me. My doctor told me all my options and I elected to have a double mastectomy. He asked me if I was sure, and I said "Yes, I can buy new boobs!" On October 1st, I had both breasts removed. My God blessed me with wonderful doctors and nurses and results. The cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes and I didn't need chemo. My Oncologist did recommend that I have a hysterectomy since my cancer was ER and PR positive. God has blessed me with a beautiful son so I had the hysterectomy on December 15th. I go on April 1st for my last surgery in reconstruction and to get my implants. It has been a long road, but not as long as some ladies have to travel. My faith, family and friends have supported me through all of this, and without them I couldn't have stayed so positive. God is Great!

Sandersville, MS

Can I Be Pretty In Pink

Can I Be Pretty In Pink

In October of 2006, my mammogram came back fine. In October of 2007, a lump was detected. My luck, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. It was in my bones, spine, adrenal glands, had metastasized to my brain, AND I was HER2Nu+. After a mastectomy, chemotherapy, chest radiation, Gamma Knife Surgery and Whole Brain Radiation, my body (not my brain yet) has been declared cancer free. I have great doctors, and more and more is being developed to help us live longer lives. What miracles we can hope for!!

Deena Warner
Chillicothe, IL

Hooray for Mammograms

After my dear mom passed from breast cancer in 1988, I have diligently had mammograms each year. This past year I kept being called back to the Imaging Center every 3-4 months for another mammogram on my right breast. In December I was notified that I needed to have my left breast examined also before the year ended. While there, the technician decided to take a picture of the right side again. I'm so thankful that she did. The following week I received a call stating I needed to come in for a biopsy. Since we were going away for three weeks over Christmas, when I returned I went in for the biopsy. Several days later, my primary doctor called to tell me it was cancer, and that she would make an appointment for me with a surgeon. The end result was that, on February 17th of this year, I had a lumpectomy. A small estrogen-fed tumor was found in my right breast, plus cancer in two of my lymph nodes. I have healed very nicely and will see the radiologist tomorrow. He will then determine the amount of radiation I will need for treatments. When those treatments are finished, I will be taking a cancer pill probably for rest of my life! As I am now 80 years of age, there will be no chemotherapy, for which I am grateful! A N D, I have become a very enthusiastic spokesperson for yearly mammograms! Just ask my family - daughters, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters as well. Because of the mammograms, my cancer was found before it became more invasive, and for that I am truly thankful!

Muriel Haedike
Dunnellon, FL

My Family

My Family

Last year, my sister told my mom and me at the same time that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was history repeating mom had already been diagnosed and gone through a lumpectomy and radiation.

We thought the same would be true with Sabrina, until the middle of the surgery. Her cancer had spread to two of her lymph nodes. Throughout the summer my sister underwent chemotherapy. We watched my skinny, hairdresser sister get thinner and lose her hair. Yet, she had a lot of family and friends rallying around her. She, like my mom, stood strong through it all. Then she found out that she tested positive for the (breast cancer) gene. She started her double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Her husband drove her three hours to Nashville about once a week throughout all of this, and my dad went to take care of my nephew. She has one surgery left for her reconstruction to be done. It will happen almost a year to the day of when she found out. I know that I have to be tested too. I'm preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. I have two amazing examples before me.

Owensboro, KY