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Why I come here everyday.

Women like Felicia Wilkes and my wife Lois Kauffman are why I click on this site every day without fail! I’m retired and don’t have a large income, so this is a way I can donate each day. I hope all you Lady Warriors will adopt an attitude like Felicia. Continue the fight! For everyone of you who survives even one more day, it is a major defeat for cancer.

Dan Kauffman
OIL CITY, PA

My cancer journey

I went in for my first mammogram in February 2016 at age 43. My mother had passed from breast cancer, so my doctor suggested I go. I was going to wait until I was 45, but decided to go anyway. They found 3 tumors, one was stage II. I had been doing self exams, but not regularly. I had a right side mastectomy and 4 rounds of chemo. There was no cancer in the lymph nodes. All of the cancer was removed with the mastectomy, so things were good and I just needed to have mammograms on my left side going forward. In October 2018, I was at a doctors appointment for something unrelated and had 3 seizures. I ended up in the hospital and was given the news that the breast cancer had metastasized to my brain and lungs. One small tumor on my right frontal lobe that was bleeding, which caused the seizure, and 6 tumors on my left lung. I was in shock. I had no idea metastasis was a possibility. My oncologist had never discussed it with me, and I had not done research until after the diagnosis. I had brain surgery to remove the tumor, and then radiation at that site. I take Ibrance and Letrozole for the lung tumors. My last PET scan was a few weeks ago and it showed no new cancer and the lung tumors are shrinking. It has taken a while to accept that I have stage IV cancer and will be on chemo for the rest of my life. Today I am staying positive and doing what I can to take care of myself. I am a single mother of an 11 and 9-year-old, so I have a lot to live for. I'm convinced a positive attitude is what got me through before, and I know it will now. I hope they will do more research on MBC, as they currently focus more on cancer in the breast. I also hope more doctors discuss metastasis with younger patients, like myself, as there is a fairly large possibility it can happen. Take care of yourselves and carpe diem.

Kendra
WILSONVILLE, OR

FIRST SHOCK WAS BAD! SECOND SHOCK WAS DEVASTATING!

FIRST SHOCK WAS BAD! SECOND SHOCK WAS DEVASTATING!

Was diagnosed in 2010 with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma! Had Chemo & Radiation 3 times over period of 8 years. Aug. of 2018 discovered a painful lump in right breast. Saw my Oncologist, sent me for mammogram & ultrasound. Mammogram showed nothing; tech could not find the lump on the ultrasound. Told her where to look and to press hard even though it would hurt me. She finally saw it. Biopsy was taken, said Stage 1, 1/2cm . Went in to have it removed, found out that it was Stage 3 and 7cm in size. Surgeon recommended radical mastectomy. Had it done, Radiologist said was all over wall of chest, so they had to go deeper, but still evidence of cancer present. Ended up with 6 weeks of radiation treatments twice a day. Am still in recovery, but upset that over the years of mammograms, they have not caught it. My oncologist went back to review all my past PET scans & CT scans, purposely was looking at my breast rather than the lymph node areas....he then told me that he did see evidence of something showing and progressing. Unfortunately, the Radiologists that read all my scans did not bring that detail to the attention of my oncologist. Had this been done, I may very well still have my right breast and I would not be so disfigured. My advice to all women, is....PLEASE examine yourself EVERY DAY!!! If a mammogram shows any little thing, no matter how little of an abnormality..go see your doctor and request a PET or CT Scan to be sure. God be with you all. I am a fighter! I am Woman! If you find you have cancer, a good attitude helps you heal. Be a survivor.

Molly Reiser, Ferndale, MI
FERNDALE, MI

My short story

After my husband and I got home from celebrating with some dear friends regarding her clean bill of health after chemotherapy, I noticed a large lump in my breast. I had it checked that day and then went in right away for mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. The surgeon called to tell me it was cancer and so the road has begun. This was 3 months ago. After much testing it was determined that I do not need chemotherapy but will start radiation in a week. The support, love and kindness I have received has been overwhelming. As everyone knows, cancer changes your life from the inside out. God is good and has been watching over me since before my diagnosis. It is a journey of faith, hope and love. Be strong, we are courageous and God is there for me and for you!

Sherri
KENOSHA, WI

June 2006

I had a rare triple neg. cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I just want to let all of you who have or have had this type of cancer that it's not a death sentence. I'm over 11 out and am fine. When I told people my diagnosis they thought I was on borrowed time, of course that is not the case. So if you get this diagnosis don't despair. If any of you live in southern California I recommend Dr. James Waisman. He's at Loma Linda University Medical Center, He saved my life. When you research him you will find that he is extremely knowledgeable in this field. God bless all of you. You all have a special place in my heart. Michele Forbes

michele forbes
vancouver, WA

I'm still here!

I’m still alive. Today, July 28 – twenty years ago - I went into the operating room late. I had been scheduled for 9 am but they didn’t take me until nearly noon. Now, those that know me know that I get hungry, that I don’t like to miss meals and that at the best I start getting grouchy so you can only imagine how hungry I was when I awoke in the observation room after my tumorectomy. I finally managed to convince the attending nurse that yes, I was hungry, that, no I wasn’t feeling queasy or any other aftereffect from the narcosis. She finally gave me a yogurt, which although it tasted like ambrosia came back up as quickly as it hit my stomach. So much for not feeling the effects of surgery or the anesthesia. I got out of the hospital 2 days before my 50th birthday. It’s now 20 years since that first cancer, which, by the way, I discovered inadvertently by feeling it - it never did show up on a mammography. Meanwhile both of my parents have passed away – my dad whilst I was undergoing chemo; my little sister lost her battle with cancer. My husband died and there have been other challenges as well, including a mastectomy on the same breast 5 years ago. On the plus side: my sister-in-law in the USA just passed her 10-year mark and my German sister-in-law is headed for 85 in spite of hers. Both of my sons have turned into fine young men, interesting, entertaining, they lead lives that as their mother make me proud, but that would have also been highly satisfactory to their father. I have even managed to hit the 5-year mark since the second bout of breast cancer - this time found during my yearly mammography. My husband called me his pioneer woman – a survivor. I’m indeed still here and enjoying every moment of life.

Anonymous
Corsier/GE, Switzerland

A Chance to Reinvent Myself

My son was nine at the time of my first diagnosis and eighteen at my second. That first time I was told that, regardless of the surgery I selected (lumpectomy or mastectomy), the survival rate after five years was 80%. I translated this into, “I have a one in five chance of dying before my son is fourteen.” Praise God, my lymph nodes were clear, greatly im-proving my prognosis. When the cancer returned over nine years later, I told my son that if it killed me this time at least I knew he could go on without me, and he told me that he wasn't ready for me to go anywhere. Again I survived all my treatments with flying colors. The American Cancer Society boasts of being the "official sponsor of birthdays." I love that, but I tend to think more in terms of graduations. Since my first diagnosis, I've seen my precious son graduate from elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and, in May of 2011, law school. Time for me is measured in semesters. I followed in my son's footsteps by entering law school myself in 2009 after completing a paralegal certificate. I tell people that law school was harder to survive than cancer! After three years of my four-year program, I learned that I have the BRCA gene mutation. I stepped up by having two pre-emptive surgeries to remove the at-risk organs between my Summer term and my final Fall semester. I graduated, passed the bar on my first try (as my son had), and became an attorney in 2013—two years after he had. Since then I have been securing justice at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County for seniors without the finances to hire an attorney. I can think of no better way to spend the remaining years that God may grant to me.

P. Melanie Vliet
La Mirada, CA

my mom

my mom katie easton is 98 years old and breast cancer and she lives by herself goes out with her friends drives i have to ask her every day were she is going and when will she get home i look up to her i wish i could be like her she is the best person i have i know

Sue Easton
las vegas, NV

A Roaring River

A Roaring River

As cancer survivors, we all have a worry that lingers in the back of our minds waiting for bad news. Most of the time we're told things are good, keep moving forward. We feel a sigh of relief and move on until the next test or scan or weird symptom. Then we have those moments, the ones where results indicate something's wrong. I had that moment recently. I honestly forgot about the GYN. My appointment was standard, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, I had a transvaginal ultrasound to check my endometrium lining since Tamoxifen is known to cause cancer after long term use. Afterwards I was told I needed to see the doctor. Now all cancer patients know this feeling, it's the - wait, no, that's not normal - the sinking feeling you know something's wrong. You're put in that room... the room you never really go into. The one away from the others... stuffed with information sheets. Immediately the doctor had the head shaking, dang-it, let's rip the band-aid off, "well, it isn't good news" talk. She talked about how my endometrium lining had grown significantly, it should be less than 4 to 5 mm... mine was over 18 mm. There was other talk, but I only heard... potential endometrial cancer. I left the appointment feeling frustrated, angry, confused, bewildered, worried, heartbroken, and afraid. However, I still held on to hope and the knowledge that the worst-case scenario of cancer was something I'd just have to deal with if I had to deal with it. I could only take it one step at a time, and there was no room to worry until I was told to worry. Like most cancer survivors will say, we always live with hearing-cancer-again-worry forever after we're first diagnosed. For some, it is like a constant blaring red warning sign that rages and roars in front of them, always present. For some, it is a lingering trickle of noise that can occasionally become a roaring river when reminded of. I live with the lingering trickle, who that day had a roaring river.

Amy Brock
Huntsville, AL

we are stronger together

I was 9 when my mum was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. I had no idea what to think at such a young age and I was so scared. I only visited her once in hospital as I couldn't bare to see her the way she was. Eventually she got better and I thought that was that. last year (6 years on from the first diagnosis) she was re-diagnosed with breast cancer , this time in her other breast. this time I was older and so understood more the dangers of it all. I didn't let it get to me. I took the experience and decided to make best of the situation I set up a JustGiving page and ran some charity runs in order to raise money for cancer research. finally when my mum was better and had won her second battle I showed her the page. I only made it through both diagnosis due to the support from those around and I think we all need to be there for those who are affected by the cancer not just directly but also those affected by a family members diagnosis because I believe that often we neglect tot think about how it affects those closely linked with those diagnosed. I want to help everyone to make the word 'cancer' become less of a taboo and for people to realise that the word doesn't have to have negative connotations. people fight it and can survive. it not pleasant but in the end it will make us stronger as long as we don't let it consume us and weaken us. we are all stronger than it will ever be if we stick together and support each other.

Abi
London, United Kingdom