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20 years

Twenty years ago today (June 29) I had a mastectomy. I was 34 years old. My son was barely 4 and my daughter wasn't even 2. Surgery, chemo, radiation,lots of prayers and a lot of laughing....here I am...healthy as ever. Please don't let anyone tell you to skip a self breast exam. PS. I prefer the term Victor as opposed to survivor.

Leslie Curtin
Harwich, MA

Don't skip the mammogram

In 2006 my parents moved to personal care in a nursing home. My brothers and I cleaned out and sold the house to pay for nursing home care. As my mother's dementia worsened, it took a toll on Dad. Mom died in August. Dad, who had broken a hip in a fall, was never the same and died just 6 days after she did. I thought 2006 had just about all it could hold, including my turning 60.

I skipped my annual doctor visit but kept my appointment for the annual mammogram, then got a call to come back for a second mammogram and ultrasound. I had breast cancer, luckily at Stage 1. After a lumpectomy and radiation, and the welcome support of the sisters, family and friends, life became a bit more normal. It's never a good idea to skip a doctor visit, but don't ever skip the mammogram.

Sr. Christa
Villa Hills, KY

Not going to let it get me down FIGHTING

On 03/19/09 my ob/gyn gave me the news that my yearly mammo

came back suspious. He then set me up with a surgeron to biopsy.

On 4/7/09 I was told I had a 2 cm tumor of right breast that was positive

for cancer. 9 days later I had the right modified radical mascectomy.

Tests showed that right now lymph nodes are clear, so I have stage 2

invasive ductual . I am getting ready for my second a/c treatment of

chemo in a couple of days. So far I am doing fine. Injection of Neulasta

caused a little joint pain, Still working every day since 3 weeks after

masectomy.

Family, friends, and God great support Team. Have been a great supporter since of research since late 70's mother died of breast cancer in 1966 when only colbalt and radiation was used. Breast cancer is no loner a death sentence, so ladies please get those mammograms regularly. Spread the word.

Paula Booth
Omar, WV

The people left behind are survivors too

Not only the people who have actually had cancer are cancer survivors. I lost my mother to breast cancer in August of 2005, and 4 months later lost my 'baby', our 10 yr old Maltese to liver cancer. In January of 2009, just 6 weeks after his diagnosis, the day before Thanksgiving, I lost my husband to stomach cancer. I feel like my whole world has gone crazy! Now I have to find the strength to go on by myself, and without our 5 yr old grandson to fill the void keeping me grounded, I don't think I could survive all these losses.

Karen Gonzales
Fallon, NV

So important to do self-exams

In the spring of 1999, I discovered a dimple on my right breast. I had had my mammogram earlier, which indicated calcifications that the doctor wanted to keep an eye on. Each day when I showered I checked to see if there was anything unusual to report to him. When this dimple appeared, I called the doctor immediately. He sent me for a biopsy and it came back positive. I had a lumpectomy the day after my 61st birthday and have been cancer-free for ten years now. I was one of the "lucky" ones because it was caught so early. What a lot of women do not take seriously is that it is very important to report anything unusual to your doctor immediately. If I had waited, who knows what might have been. I thank your organization for keeping women aware. Thank you.

Dorothy B
Sanford, FL

My Niece, My Hero

Exactly eight years ago yesterday (June 26th) my niece was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. She had been to the doctor the previous year because she had found a lump in her breast. He told her it was a cyst and to come back in a year. By then it was spread to her bones, spine and numerous other places. She went through a bone marrow transplant, hundreds of Chemo treatments, PET scans every 6 months and a masectomy. She was poked, prodded, had blood work done over and over again and in short went through hell and back. And she seldom ever complained or had a pity party. She lived ever day to the fullest while the rest of us watched in total amazement at her courage.

Yesterday she passed away. The cancer had reached her liver and nothing more could be done.

If she had been sent for a mammogram on her first visit I believe that she could have been saved.

To all other women - When you find a lump, insist on a mammogram right away or find another doctor who will order one. I cannot stess enough the importance of early detection. So click on the Pink button every day so that any women who needs a mammogram can get one.

Anonymous
Springfield, MO

Story of Hope..

In June 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast,I had a masectomy on that breast and 6 months of chemo, then radiation, A year later a had a masectomy on the right side for preventative purposes, And reconstruction with expanders, I still continue to take Tamoxifen.

I am truly greatful to God first of all ( he is amazing and awesome) He gives the doctors the wisdom they need to help us through these trials.

I hope all these stories will encourage other women, to Stay Strong, You can get thru this too...

(pictured above after treatment)

Hazel
Tampa, FL

1 year later

I found a lump in my breast while breast feeding my son. Thinking it was a clogged duct, I delayed seeing my doctor for a bit. After further delays for this and that, and almost not getting a biopsy because the techs didn't think it looked cancerous, I finally was told that I had breast cancer on New Years Eve 2007. I had a mastectomy in February followed by chemo and radiation, ending in mid-October 2008.

I took part in an exercise study during chemo. Doing aerobic exercise 3x/wk, chatting with others at the same stage as myself who were part of the study, plus the support of my moms' group who took turns watching my two kids, and family who flew across the country to be with me on chemo days and through radiation, really helped me get through the summer.

I'm so grateful for the support I've received, and try to give back whenever I can. (and I finally have hair again!)

Valerie
Ottawa, ON, Canada

How Important is a Mammogram

Over the last 3 years I have clicked everyday to help another women receive a mammogram. I did this because of the importance for all women to receive one. What I neglected to do was get one for myself and as a Canadian mine was free. After waiting for almost 3 years to have a mammogram I finally asked my doctor for the requisition to get one done in April of this year. When the first one was done I was called back for a repeat, then sent for a biopsy. On May 7th of this year it was confirmed that I had breast cancer. The Doctor's removed the mass and I am now starting my radiation treatment. I thank God everyday that I finally had the sense to go for the mammogram and belive me never again will I wait 3 years to have another one done.

Sharon McTamney
Ajax, ON, Canada

19 Years and I'm still here beating the odds

At the age of 36, I discovered I had breast cancer. I wasn't totally suprised as my mother had died of breast cancer at the age of 52, when I was 26 and her mother died of breast cancer at 52 when my mother was only 17. I grew up very aware of breast cancer but it was not a common occurance. Sadly this is not the case now.

My sister last year had breast cancer even though she was part of the tamoxifen blind study. It turned out she was on the drug. My sister-in-law and her sister died of breast cancer. That is just in my family circle and I know so many other women who have had to deal with breast cancer.

My place in this sad arena is to be a hope to anyone who has to deal with this horrible disease. I am not a survivor, I am a living example of hope. It does not matter how long we are here but how we fill that time up. It is the dash between the year you were born and the year our time is up.

Patti Rhodes
Pompano Beach, FL
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