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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

Alive and Kicking

My story begins with a diagnoses of breast cancer in 2006. I was 42 years old with a 7 year-old little boy who is the light of my life. It's been three years and I'm still cancer-free. A week before my diagnosis, my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed three months later, on my birthday. Then, two months later, I lost my other brother. I must say it was the most difficult time in my life. My mother also passed of cancer 20 years ago. Life has truly been a challenge for my family. I have two sisters whom I know are afraid, and an 87 year-old father who has fought two wars and buried two children, and despite all this, we are still here and stronger than ever. Life can be very short and harsh. My advice to all going through cancer of some kind: a strong mind and a strong heart with lots of love and faith can help get you through what this kind world can throw your way. Take it from someone who's been there -- live life to the fullest it will allow you to, and enjoy every minute. My name is Heather and this is my story.

Heather Bourgeois
Brantford, Canada

Proud of My Brave Mother & My Aunts

My mother and all four of her sisters are breast cancer survivors. Her second oldest sister has had a double mastectomy. This is why I am vigilant against the disease. I have been getting mammograms every year since I turned thirty. I am proud of my mother and my aunts for bravely fighting this disease.

Teresa Hart
Fort Myers, FL

I Feel Safe Now

After 30 years of having mammograms regularly, and with no family history of the disease, I was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago. I had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation. Twice more, "suspicious cells" were seen on my mammograms. I had two more biopsies, and the cells removed were deemed pre-cancerous. When more of these suspicious cells appeared in the breast that had had the radiation, I decided I couldn't do this for the next 20 years. With my husband's total support, and my surgeon's agreement, I had a double mastectomy and began reconstruction while on the operating table. It's been a 6-month project and has required 3 surgeries to complete, but I feel safe now. I've beaten breast cancer, and although it was by no means easy, it is a viable alternative to continued biopsies and the uncertainty of repeated findings and biopsies. This may not be for everyone, but it has given me a new lease on life. Everyone needs to be aware of the possibilities in treatment for this disease, and those possibilities begin with regularly-scheduled mammograms.

Betty Houle
Bristol, CT

Honoring Cindy

I want to honor Cindy, the mother of my thirteen year old twin grandsons. Her cancer was discovered at the age of forty-one thanks to a mammogram and early detection. Last October, Cindy, her sister, and I participated together in the Philadelphia 3-Day to raise money for breast cancer awareness, detection, treatment, and research. Just thirteen months after a bilateral mastectomy, Cindy walked sixty miles and raised $20,000. She raised the fourth largest amount of money out of 3,500 participants. She is an amazing mother and daughter! Our family is blessed to have her.

Brenda VanAmburgh
Fort Worth, TX