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Assume Kindness...

Treatment for Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer was a humbling experience. I was diagnosed 2 years ago at the age of 42. I had recently returned to teaching & was the Mother of 7 and 9 year old sons. There was no history of breast cancer in family.

Yearly mammograms did not identify the tumor. I had only missed 2 months of self breast exams, resulting in a 3.5 cm tumor. I count myself lucky, since I had an aggressive form of cancer.

Surgery for a bilateral mastectomy, complications of lymphodemia and 5 months of weekly chemo (sparing you all the complications) soon followed. If women only knew that the side effects of treatment far outweigh the minimal inconvenience of a monthly breast exam. When cancer is caught in it's early stage, chemo can be avoided.

One of the graces of chemo is that you get to be on the outside, looking in. Observant to life's lessons. During this time I lost a new friend to a 10 year cancer fight. Visiting Joyce on her last day made me realize that the little worries just aren't worth the effort.

Surviving cancer isn't about you, it's about the people around you. You have the power to set the tone and teach people how to handle adversity. Assume kindness every day. You just don't know what others are experiencing in their own lives.

Kitty Opatz
Maple Grove, MN

my mom lost her fight

My mom Debra Elizabeth Brown lost her fight with Breast Cancer on 3/21/07, at the age of 46. We all knew she had cancer, and expected her to win her fight.

She found out she only had months to live, and kept that away from everyone, no one knew. She wanted to spare everyone's feelings, yet she suffered all alone, by knowing she was dying!!!!!!

The last two weeks of her life, I was by her side, and never knew she was dying! We were all in such shock, that she died. We all continue to mourn our loss, and miss her so much..

We love, and miss you so much mom........R-I-P

Lisa Brown
Detroit, MI

Changed a Wrong to a Right

After all the misdiagnosed reports, delayed treaments and the bad advice,

I was alone and desperate for help after I found out I had breast cancer.

I had no where to turn. Alone and weeping I asked God what am I going to do. And in the quiet moment of prayers, God began to answer all my questions and lead me to all the right people and the right choices.

Barbara Newmark
Woodridge, NY


Angela My friend , My Oncology Nurse

Our story is in two parts, the treatment and the things that take place after.

Angela and I came together as a team when my Breast Cancer was discovered, through a Mammogram and ultrasound. The results were sent to my Doctor who made arrangement to have this taken care of. A Core Needle Biopsy was done . I was told that I had stage 1 Breast Cancer , a lump was removed along with 3 lymph nodes were moved. The Cancer was found early I was able to receive a treatment called Mammosite. This procedure was something new to me, there were questions that I needed answered . She explained how long the treatment would last and what they would be doing. 5 days 2 times a day and that I would be good to go. Knowing what was to take place made me comfortable. She was there each time making me comfortable.

She is a single Mom of 2 , holds a Certificate in Clinical Administration Medical Assistant

an Associate of Arts-Health Care Management and Technology Specialization. Now is lead

Radiation Oncology Medical assistant. Even though she holds many titles, she does each job as needed.

The Second part of this story takes place 6 months later when I went for my follow up. Here she was in a my new Doctor office . Each time I see the Doctor she continues to love and support me. I

It takes a special person to spend their life loving and caring for people that have to go through

this pain and stressful time in their life.

Angela is my sister and my friend.

Sharon Lewis
Queen Valley, AZ

My Cancer Trip

My cancer trip all started with the yearly exam, had the mammogram done. Went home and the phone was ringing telling me I needed to go back for an ultrasound as there was a spot in the right breast. My answer yes I know has been there for years and a biospy was done and all was negative. The person stated no this is different. Well had that done and biospy and this came back postive for breat cancer. Then surgery with lympectomy and sentinal node removed, then more surgery as the cancer had spread, then radiation internal and now we are doing chemotherapy for a year as the test revealed HER2 postive. This hasn't been fun or easy as I knew, I work in the medical field and have work in oncology, this will be a fight, I am just glad that my doctors are good and at the top of the field as far as I am concerned.

Thanks for reading this.


Diana E. Boudjouk
Surprise, AZ



I'm writing from StoryCorps, America's largest nonprofit national oral history project. I thought you and your blog readers would be interested in listening to StoryCorps' latest story to broadcast on NPR this morning. Dottie Copeland, who discovered that she had breast cancer 10 years ago, talks with her daughter Tina Nelson about living with the disease and learning to fight for her life. You can take a listen here (about 4 minutes):

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening. Since 2003, tens of thousands of people from across the country have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share and is also archived for generations to come at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. Select stories have also been published in the New York Times bestselling book, Listening Is an Act of Love.

I hope you take the time to listen and share.


Amber Leigh

Amber Leigh
Brooklyn, NY

40th Birthday Present

In April 2006, I turned 40 years old and my doctor decided that it was time to schedule my first mammogram. In late June 2006, I went in for what I thought at the time would be a routine scan. Little did I expect in the following weeks I would face a core biopsy, mastectomy, and lumpectomy. I was diagnosed with Stage IIB breast cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, and herceptin followed. I can say that this was the hardest 18 months of my life but also the most eye opening. I took being healthy for granted. I took everything for granted. Going through treatment and being in constant contact with cancer patients, made me realize how lucky I was. I was one of the fortunate patients whose cancer was caught early. Having my mammogram, saved my life!

I am 2 1/2 years out of major treatment waiting patiently for that 5 year mark. I take tamoxifen daily and see the doctor every six months. I still get scared everytime there is blood work or a scan, but I don't live my life in constant fear. I am a fighter and a survivor.

I have read many stories on this website as well as other breast cancer sites and those stories pulled me through some very rough days. Knowing that others felt the same way I did gave me comfort, some sense of normal.

I have been very lucky to have such great support from my family, my best friend, Debbie (also a breast cancer survivor), my co-workers/friends, and the entire Cancer Care staff. Always remember, it is the people in your life that is important, so please take care of yourself and the people close to your heart.

Live, Laugh, Love

Jackie Reynolds
Decatur, IL


My loving mother had breast cancer. She was so caring and so craftsy I dont really remember much about her because i was young but she loved scrapbooking and sewing and JUST EVERYTHING!!! she was so nice to me and my 5 other siblings. She had the strength to pick us up almost everyday from the bus stop on her scooter. One time she went to go get the mail and she fell. she had to get a hip replacement. She is just so nice. There aren't enough words to describe the love she shared with everyone. She was also a clown she just loved to make people happy. Two years after I was born she was diagnosed with breast cancer. i hope you know this is just a kid writing this story. My brothers dont like to talk about her but I love to. It just makes me feel so good to remember the fun times. I can't tell you much but I can tell you that mommy died of cancer. It was so sad. I lost my BEST FRIEND in the WHOLE world. But I will always remember her. Especially when people call me a little Barbara. That just makes my day.

Lexington, KY


I had a wonderful sister Julie, she was 3 years older than I. Two weeks after her 50th birthday she found a lump in her left breast, it was quite large, she underwent a radical mastectomy and lymph clearance. She also had polycystic kidney disease which meant treatment was not a real option in her opinion. She died just after her 51st birthday. I went along to have a mammogram a couple of months after she died. I was 48, had never found any lumps on breast self examination and was totally stunned when the results came back abnormal. I had a wide local excision to remove the atypical columnar hyperplastic cells. Every year I have my check up and so far so good. I owe my life to my sister. Her death made me go and have the test that showed up abnormal. Julie left behind three beautiful children, two of whom have since her death had beautiful babies that unfortunately she will never know. There was no family history of breast cancer as far as I can determine and even with breast self examination I still had no idea that I had a potential problem.

Julie will live on in the hearts and the memories of all those who she came in contact with, she was a very special lady.

ali reeve
Keyneton, Australia

Early detection

I had routine mamograms every 6 months becaue they were watching a calcium deposit. however it wasn;t calcium and I was diagnosed with breast caner at 55. I was in the early stages and my cancer was a little less than 1/8". I never felt a lump, but they found it on my mamogram. I had 4 chemo tratments (last one May 27th) and I am getting ready to have 6 weeks of radiation. My treatments included a Nulasta shot which was suppose to help my cell count. The side effects from the shot were far worse than the side effects from the chemo. But I made it through with the help of alot of family and friends. I thank G-d that I had those mamograms becasue they saved my life. My wigs came from "alternative crowining". They were wonderful. They came to my house and cut my hair. They fitted me with my wigs (I have 8) and helped me through losing my hair. I never asked "Why me" becaue breast cancer doesn't discriminate. But I am alive and a survivor. I feel good, I am back to exercising and I am ready to contiue to live my life as full as I did before. I never considered myself a victim, I considered my cancer as a little inconvience.

Cheryl Linn
Woodstock, MD
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