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Support all the way!

September of 2008, my favorite person in the whole world was diagnosed with breast cancer. This person was my Nana. She is the best grandmother anyone would want. I can remeber the day she found out, coming downstairs and saying, "Mushka, I love you more than you will ever know". I thought she was saying she was gonna die. I cried. Then she went for chemo for a year. She fought hard. And with my dad there helping her with his sarcasm towards her kept her spirits up. She never thaught negative about having cancer, or at least not aroubd me and my 3-year-old sister (who just turned 4 in May). My sister and I each went once to one of her chemo treatments. She had a mastectomy done in September. My dad's new joke was that now she was lop-sided. I think the joking arround and having support is what kept her alive and survive the cancer.

Port Jervis, NY

Get help sooner rather than later ....

At 15 I discovered a lump in my right breast, I was quickly admitted to hospital to have a lumpectomy. Fortunately it was benign. That was in the 1960's - and we didn't have mammograms or breast-screening programmes where I lived at that time. I can vividly remember the embarrassment of having a lop-sided chest at school, because the surgeons who performed the operation told my mother that I was young enough to have my breast "refill itself" naturally. I am still "naturally" lop sided (but not so severely). I count myself lucky that it was caught in time.

30-odd years later one of my sister-in-laws discovered a lump in her breast and was too worried and scared to do anything about it, in case it was cancer. I was able to tell her all about my experiences as a teenager. My reassurances worked, she sought help, had a mammogram and luckily her lump turned out to be a cyst that was easily drained without any invasive surgery.

So I feel that my embarrassment as a teenager, stuffing socks and cotton wool in one side of my bra to try and balance out my chest so no one noticed (especially the boys), has served to help at least one person get help sooner, rather than later. That makes it all worth while.

Christine Thomas
Isle of Man, United Kingdom

Osteoporosis Warning

I returned from living overseas for 15 years and had my first mammogram in that time at the age of 57. Stage 2 Breast cancer. Surgery, chemo and radiation followed. That was in 1999. I have now been cancer free for 10 years.

However, I want to post a warning . The estrogen inhibitor drugs I was given caused a severe osteoporosis and I have broken my hip twice, fractured 5 ribs and broken an arm. If your Dr. doesn't tell you, be sure to take lots of calcium and consider some of the bone building medications.

But I'm lucky I had the mammogram and caught it just in time.

Whitewater, CA

I love my mom

A few years ago my mother had an issue, so she went to the doctor and there was some kind of cyst. She had a few appointments within one week. We didn't know what the problem was. I cried for days. She did not have cancer. That couple weeks changed my life. She doesn't know this though. I'm very thankful she is here and everything is okay. I was only about 18 when this was going on, and since then I have been I have been an advocate for breast cancer research. Anything that I buy, I try to buy the pink ribbon version, I walk in the breast cancer walks, and I click at the breast cancer site everyday. I don't know if I will ever tell my mom how scared I was and how much I prayed that she was going to be okay.

Rockford, IL

Early Detection Saves Lives

Hi, I am a two-time breast cancer survivor and being surviving breast cancer for 25 years. I was first diagnosed at the age of 25 when I was first diagnosed and at the age of 50 when diagnosed the second time. In 1984 at M.D. Anderson Medical Center, I was diagnosed with stage 2 lobular carcinoma cancer with the lump being 2.0 centimeter in size in my left breast. I had a modified radical mastecomy and treated with chemotherphy. The chemo was a nightmare back in the 80's and was hospitalized after each treatment. At the time of my diagnosis, I had only been married for 3 years and had a daugther (age 2) and thought that nothing like breast cancer could happen to someone so young. I gave up on life in the middle of my chemo treatment but through prayers God granted my life to share my story for others to have hope. Then in 2007 I was diagnosed again with breast cancer (invasive ductual carcinoma, tumor siz 1.2 cm) in my right breast and then placed on hormonal theraphy replacement treatment for five years. So now I have had a double mastecomy. I just put in for retirement at the age of 51 and life is going great. I want you to notice the size of the tumor in my breast and due to early detection saved my life. So my message to you is get those mammograms, do your self breast exams, and get your breast examined by your physician. I am more than a CONQUEROR and a spokesperson, and advocate for breast cancer.

Rixie Thompson
Grambling, LA

I'm still here...

I found out that I had breast cancer in 2002, 9 months after my sister passed away from it..I felt this lum and went and had it checked and the Dr. did some test and told me it was cancer..Surgery was 3 days later..Thought I was done and then..I started to have more pain..The Dr. said that the cancer was moving to fast and had to have a double masectomy the next morning..Went through chemo, radition..The chemo make me so sick I had a ahrd time doing anything and to stop workng cuz of it..The day came and all the chemo & radition was over and I thought..YES..I can move on with my liife..Then in Jan 2009 I started feelling sick again and once again the cancer came back..So I am now doing chemo again..Radition & surgery are out of the question for me this time..I am going to beat this..I have a grandchild on the was & my dream is to move to Az to be close to my daughter and the baby..I already lost a 6 weeks of age..I never got to see him..So I am going to go at this FULL whatever it takes to beat this..All I have to say is I strongly say PLEASE get your regular check-ups and do your self exams..This is my 4th time with this and if i have made it this can all of you..I want my life back and my dream to come true..SO PLEASE KEEP ON TOP OF IT..

Thank you,& best wishes to all of you who are fighting cancer..I wish all of you the best of luck!!

Salt Lake City, UT

Sis and Me

When I was 60 years old I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and had to have my left breast removed. After the masectomy when I began to take chemotherapy, the doctors said that it was unlikely that I would lose my hair until after the second treatment. When I had only had one treatment and it literally began blowing out the window of the car as we rode down the street, I decided cut it all off. I figured me with a bald head would offend fewer people by than me shedding hair all over them. I called my son to bring his clippers over and do the honors.

As my son sheared my locks, my grandson snapped pictures. Before it was all gone, I had had a bowl cut and a Mohawk as well as some other really weird styles, and we had all laughed and laughed. Finally, it was all gone and we took a picture of my shiny bald head that I emailed to my daughter, my sister and several trusted friends and family members. I must say, I really had a pretty good looking cranium without all that hair to camouflage it.

The next day, I received a reply from my big sister and she included a picture of her own 64 year old BALD head! She had shaved her head in support of me! I had seen young men and women who shaved their head for various reasons but I couldn't imagine a woman older than myself doing it for any reason. How blessed I felt to be loved that much!

Now, I'm a survivor and she's still my biggest supporter!!

Julia Sugg
Suffolk, VA

Ready to Battle this Demonic Disease

My name is Cathy Gould, I am a 47 yr old woman who was just recently diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I haven't started any chemo or radiation, but will be in about 2 weeks. To everyone out there dealing with this disease and to those of you who have dealt with this, my hat goes off to you. Ya'll are my hero. After I have fought this disease, I'm going to have a mastecomy on both breasts and have them reconstructed with my own body fat and saline implants, so I plan on eating alot . I already have my wigs (very hot wigs) false eyelashes and stocking up on water, ensure, boost ,asparagus, vitamins and smoothies. Also my brother is a Radiation Oncologists who is overseeing all the procedures with my doctors. I am very lucky to have him and have complete trust in him. I WILL FIGHT THIS DISEASE WITH EVERY MEAN BONE IN MY BODY... I REFUSE TO HAVE ANY DISEASE TAKE OVER MY BODY!!! THIS IS MY BODY AND I DID NOT INVITE CANCER IN. SO EVERYONE BE STRONG BECAUSE WHEN GOD CREATED US-- HE MADE US ALL STRONG WOMEN WHO CAN HANDLE ANYTHING THAT CROSSES OUR PATHS. I WILL SURVIVE THIS, CONQUER THIS, AND LIVE FOR A VERY VERY LONG TIME..........READY TO BATTLE...CATHY

metairie, LA

"Don't wait 6 months!"

So... I was at my regular annual mammogram and the Dr noticed calcifications .. his recommendation was 'let's watch this and please come back in 6 months for another reading". As I was sitting there with the Dr and the radiologist and he gave me the news and walked out of the room, the radiologist turned and watched him leave the room and close the door and she turned to me and said ' If I were you honey, I wouldn't wait 6 months at all - it's easy enough to go get a biopsy done - painless and if nothing comes of it - fantastic, but then you will know". So I took her advice and well - that started my journey - 1 biopsy, 3 lumpectomies and 1 masectomy later and that was 5 years ago. I think of her often and wonder if she saved my life by contradicting the Dr's advice... I thank God for her daily!

Rhonda Baker
Charlotte, NC

Guardian Angels

Something told me to do a self-exam in the shower that night in Dec, 2007, and I felt a lump. The first thing I did was check the other breast, but there wasn't a matching lump. I shared the news with my husband, and then made an appointment with a gynecologist. It had been awhile since I'd been to the doctor, but I found a very compassionate one, and when he didn't feel the lump, he sent me to the hospital for tests. Well, fast forward a couple of months and it turns out that I had stage 2 breast cancer with one affected lymph node. Luckily, where the tumor was located, the surgeon was able to save a lot of the skin, and a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery took place the same day. I also underwent 6 chemo treatments, lost my hair, and am now taking tamoxifen for the next 5 years. When I first heard I had to have chemo, all I could think about was feeling sick and tired. However, I had no nausea, thanks to anti-nausea meds, and was only mildly tired for a couple of days after each treatment. My plans were to go to work between chemo treatments, but a fractured foot sidelined my plans; luckily, I was able to work from home during my chemo treatments. I don't care what I have to take, and for how long; as long as it keeps the cancer from returning, I'm game. I've met many wonderful people on my 'survival' journey, and have had the opportunity to mentor a newly-diagnosed breast cancer patient recently. Plus, after 50+ years of having straight hair, my mom got her wish, and I have a head of curly hair. Thanks to my guardian angels for looking out for me.

Peekskill, NY
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