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Tiki the Wonder Cat

In 1999, we rescued two feral kittens, Tiki and her sister, Garfi.

In 2013, I was reading a book and Tiki was sleeping on my lap. She woke up, and started to knead my left breast (which she had never done before). She was very gentle, and it didn't hurt, so I let her continue. This went on for about 15 minutes, and Tiki had this very intense look on her face.

Suddenly, I felt this sharp pain deep inside my breast. I scooted Tiki off, and looked inside my blouse. There wasn't any sign of scratches on the skin. I went back to reading my book, but as time passed, my breast began to ache, with occasional twinges of pain.

When I went to change clothes to go to bed, there was blood on the inside of my bra cup. As I moved my breast, a red viscous fluid was discharged from the nipple.

I saw my doctor the next day. I went immediately for a diagnostic mammogram. Then had a biopsy. I was diagnosed with DCIS - cancer of the milk duct. I was stage 0, so I had two lumpectomies. The tumor was very large, and on the chest wall. I eventually had a mastectomy.

Because the DCIS was at stage 0, I did NOT have to have chemotherapy; and because I had a mastectomy, I did NOT have to have chemotherapy.

My doctor's theory is that the fluid sac around the tumor had started to leak, and Tiki may have smelled that. Her breast massage caused the fluid sac to rupture, which caused the pain, and the fluid was discharged.

So ... my cancer was first diagnosed by a CAT scan!

I thanked Tiki by cooking her a baked chicken weekly to supplement her cat food. She lived until October 1, 2015, when she passed away from stomach cancer. I miss her very much.

Morjana Coffman
Sacramento, CA

My journey

My story began after I had a normal mammogram in May of 2014. I have been getting my yearly mammograms since I was 30 due to my family history. After having my mammogram I then felt a lump in the top of my right breast. I advised my gynecologist at my appointment about my concern. He stated he didn't feel anything abnormal and because I have highly dense breast tissue that is what he thought it was but he referred my to the breast center because of expertise. I had my appointment with them in Oct.of 2014 and they looked over my mammogram and did their breast exam and told me the same thing. I was given a 6 month followup appointment. When I went back in late March of 2015 they asked about the lump and I told them that was the same lump that was there in October. Right away they ordered me to have an MRI that showed a mass. Then it was time for the biopsy. It came back as cancer...it was 4.8 cm and very close to my chest wall, it was classified as Triple Negative. I was then given 16 rounds of chemo. The first 4 was the red devil two weeks. Then 12 weekly doses of the chemo Taxol. My last chemo was Sept.11, 2015. My surgery for a mastectomy was Oct.22, 2015. I had 8 physical therapy sessions due to some chest muscle had to be cut away. Then my radiation started Dec.8, 2015 everyday for 28 days then 5 days of boost radiation. I'm still healing from the burns. I'm waiting word now about a clinical trial for triple negative breast cancer. I am determined to beat this damn disease. I have a lot of support from family, friends, even strangers. My words of wisdom is always take charge of your health, we know our bodies better than any doctor. I believed I was ok because I had a normal mammogram and two very good doctors assured me it was just dense tissue.

julie taylor
williamsport, MD

Cancer free

I'm 49 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 1, 2015 at the age of 48. I had 4 rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy on June 14, 2015.

Today I had my first three month follow up and so far I'm cancer free I will be taking Tamoxifin for the next five years. Today I also got to ring the bell signifying the end of chemo! So exciting! Looking forward to the next three months of being cancer free!

Amanda
Santa Rosa, CA

Life Changing Moment

I was diagnosed with St II ductal carcinoma on July 27, 2015(My Life Changing Moment). It was like someone pulled the rug from underneath me!!! This could'nt be happening, I go to the doctor regularly, I self-check regularly!!!!!! I'm a nurse for God sake...I would know if i had cancer!!. Well after 2 unsuccessful lumpectomies, I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction on October15, 2015. I can say that this has been one of the most horrific experiences of my life, but my family and friends have actually managed to turn it into one of the best experiences if you can believe that!!! Everyone has rallied around me, and never let me feel alone!!!!My friends stepped in and took care of my family when I couldn't, and pushed me when I got tired! My husband NEVER left my side! This has brought me closer to family and some friends..To every woman who is diagnosed with this ugly monster, just know that you can beat this!, but you HAVE to fight...fight like a girl!!! I am back at work now, taking my Tamoxifen(5yrs), and loving life!

Allison
Duncanville, TX

Maine state troopers help fight the breast cancer foundation

Last year each Trooper from the Maine State Police ran these plates on their cruisers for breast cancer awareness month. At the end of the month the Troopers were able to keep one plate and the second was auctioned off. The proceeds were then donated to help fight the cause which around $40,000

This year Dane and I were honored to donate our plates to our dear friend Michelle Fortin, who kicked cancers ass!

I was diagnosed September 11, 2015 with Lobular carcinoma Cancer. On October 15,2015 I underwent a Bi Lateral mastectomy in Boston, Massachusetts. I never looked backed. From there I went back to work, coaching and spending value time with family and friends. It is such a privilege to be given this plague representing such a great cause. Though the battle may not be over, it's in my rear view mirror thanks to all my family, friends, and support I have received.

Thank you to our Maine state troopers for your support and generosity!

Sincerely and with Love

Michelle

Michelle Fortin
Winthrop, ME

My Cancer Battle in 2015

I had the battle of my life in 2015. I discovered a lump in my left breast on January 30, 2015. I had my 1st mammogram ever on February 9th, a biopsy on the 12th and was diagnosed with Stage 2 DCIS breast cancer on the 17th. Not the news I was expecting but I prepared myself physically and mentally to begin treatment. I was very focused, I kept my faith and I never gave up hope even when I didn't feel good. I began my 1st round of 6 chemotherapy treatments on March 10th. I responded very well to treatment and after only 2 chemotherapies, the lump was gone. I continued through with the next 4 chemotherapy and ended that chapter of my life on June 23, 2015. On July 21, 2015, I had a partial lumpectomy and 3 lymph nodes removed. The biopsy revealed NO more cancer. I began 33 rounds of radiation on August 18, 2015 and finished with my last radiation on October 2, 2015. This is the day I celebrated the end of my treatment and the beginning of my life CANCER FREE. My year was filled with needles, pain and fear but it was also full of love, compassion, hope and faith. I hope that anyone that is fighting any type of cancer believes that there is hope. It is one of the most powerful therapies for cancer.

April Williams
Ocala, FL

When my life changed

My name is Karla and I was 43 years old when my life changed forever.

I found a small lump in my right breast around the nipple area. I had be plagued with benign cysts all my life and in the past all the cysts had hurt to the touch. This didn't. I am a nurse and had heard all my career that cancer typically didn't hurt. Not to say that it can't but I new I needed to see a doctor. Went and was scheduled for biopsy. The biopsy turned out to be cancerous. The surgeon advised me to go to the cancer center to discuss the BRCA testing. Mine was positive. I was scared to death. We decided that a double mastectomy was the way to go. Surgery was scheduled within a day or so. That was a hard decision to make because I felt like I was loosing something that God had given me. When the breast tissue was sent to pathology there were 2 different types of cancer found one in the right and the other in the left. The Lord definitely had his hand in my decision as he does in everything after numerous surgeries with reconstruction and serious check ups I am now cancer free! I firmly believe that early detection is the key. It's better to be pro-active than re-active! I urge people that are going through this nasty dease now to NEVER GIVE UP!! Turn to our Lord to see you through. I know without him and the support of my family and friends I would not be here today. May God Bless!

Karla MmcDonald
East Bend, NC

Self checks make a difference!

I turned 40 in July and have been self breast checking for years. Until August when I found a lump in my left breast. I called my obgyn and immediately scheduled a mammogram. It confirmed a strong possibility of cancer. Shortly after, I had a biopsy which definitively proved cancer. A lumpectomy and node removal followed. 7 nodes were removed and we were given the great news that it luckily didn't spread to the nodes but it did come back Invasive ductal carcinoma - triple negative. Four rounds of Adriamycin & Cytoxan and four rounds of Taxol later I'm at my last chemo! After this 30 rounds of radiation await me but being over the chemo hurdle is a huge step. I have been blessed with amazing family and friends that have helped our family tremendously. My 5 & 8 year old never missed a beat thanks to their help! My advice to women... start breast checks as soon as you start to develop. The doctor said I was lucky to have found it before it spread. I hope the same for all women!

Megan Hughes
Clarks Summit, PA

Mother of 4

On June 10, 2015, I found a lump in my left breast while dressing for work. I got an appointment with my doctor that day thanks to a coworker that use to work for my OB/GYN. He felt it, thought it felt like a cyst but scheduled a mammogram to be safe. On June 19th I had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound and biopsy. It was Cancer. Here I was, a 34 year old wife and mother of 4, and now a cancer patient. I was scared, angry, sad, & depressed. My husband was there for me every step of the way, every appointment & treatment. I could not have done it without him. We held tight to our faith, we knew that we would get over this obstacle. I started Chemo on July 10th and had my last one on October 23rd, my husband's birthday, he said it was the greatest birthday gift ever. Two days later I was pushed in a wheelchair by my husband across the finish line for Making Strides against Breast Cancer, I was to weak to walk, but I showed up and completed it with friends & family by my side. I had a bilateral mastectomy on December 9th, my lymph nodes were clean and my pathology showed that no cancer remained in my breast. I had a complete response to Chemo. Our prayers were answered. We have an amazing Family, Church Family & work Family. During my treatment and surgery we had meals prepared for us, along with many cards and well wishes. I believe that it was a combination of Chemo and Prayers that healed me. My hair is starting to grow back and I am starting to feel my energy coming back, I no longer look sick through my eyes. I still have a long road with Herceptin, anti-estrogen pills for 10 years and reconstruction. But it is a small price to pay to have many more years watching my children become adults and growing old with my husband. I feel very blessed. Bring on the next 50 years.

Ann
LaGrange, KY

My warrior wife

July 2015 our lives changed forever when my wife Annalesha was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, a grade 3 tumour- Invasive ductal carcinoma. Since the day she was diagnosed I’ve admired her strength, will, determination and courage. Being diagnosed at only 30, with a 5 year old and an 11 month old child she's stayed positive and kept her spirits up despite entering the unknown. After much toing and froing it was decided that she would start chemotherapy before having surgery. My wife finished up her 6th chemo session on New Years eve and is now building her strength for surgery (bilateral mastectomy with node clearance) and pending radiotherapy. Although much of her journey is still unknown, she's keeping her faith and has always kept a smile on her face through it all. I'm inspired by her tenacity, courage and hope in the face of adversity and I’m so proud of her for fighting like the warrior she is.

Tarik
London, United Kingdom
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