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My Mom

I have a story to tell. My Mom, Rose Ciochon. Written by Marie Basara, one of her daughters.

In 1970, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and they did a radical. It is not fun sneaking into the hospital and hearing that you mom didn't want to live disfigured. She only did the surgery for us 3 kids. She cried. My dad was sick for years with Emphysema and she was a caregiver, she lost him in 84 and I cry with her. We never knew she had breast cancer as kids, but we found out as teens.

My mom, she strives and survives and is 84 and wild. She's had some hard times this year with autoimmune issues, but she strives to beat the odds every day.

There was no support then, but now, there is. We do the Knauz drive every year and have fun. They make her feel good, she puts on her pink hard hat and we drive. She is recognized as a long time survivor. She is so amazed that there are the support groups, surgeons and openess about this disease. She was disfigured after a surgeon tried reconstruction, lost jobs from being sick from the infections, she cried. MY MOM IS MY HERO and a 39 year survivor for us and deserves all the happiness in the world. She is our world and we love her and we are greatful for every day we have with her.

Her family that love her so much: Frank/Carol, Brent/Marie, Janee/Dave/Grandson Jakey; Grandpets; Hannie, Brandy, Tivo, Summer, Black-Jack, Peanut, Fauna.

Mom deserves the world of happiness............ We love you mom.

Marie Basara
Salem, WI

My Cancer Garden

I lived a quiet life, tended my garden and then one day...I had Breast Cancer. Diagnosis Stage I, triple negative (the hardest kind to beat) and I opted to survive it all.

The Chemo (6) was tolerable but I had horrible shin/leg pain but never a moment of nauseau. The hair disappeared and I learned fun ways to tie scarves. The Radiation (37) was not bad, a little burning, a little infection but that passed quickly.

What kept me going, besides my precious granddaughters Audrianna (4) and Makayla (1-1/2), was my online friends who sent prayers, love, gifts, and 2 of them even flew to be with me for part of it all.

My neighbors cooked for me, took me to Dr visits and I was surrounded by such a "family" that I never knew I had. I had to get up each day, I had company. I had to get out of bed..someone was at the door. They gave me strength to fight!!

On the days I was able, I tended my garden. I communed with the Earth and planted seeds that I just felt I would live to see become flowers. Most of all I took laughter with me. Each Dr visit ended with one of us in tears...usually the Dr or nurses. I wore Halloween masks, they called "here comes trouble" at the UNM Cancer Center and I joked with one and all. Let me tell you, it was much more fun laughing than it was crying and I tried to look forward to each day with a blank slate. I made "to-do" lists and I did them. I had a plan. :>)

Until a few weeks latest MRI found 2 spots. Can I do this again? I am a SURVIVOR! What do you think?

Debbe Ringoi
Albuquerque, NM

Invasive Ductal Carsinoma

It was January 2009 when I scheduled my routine mammogram. Coming from a large family from upstate New York, I have 4 sisters with one being an identical twin. It never crossed my mind that I would get a call saying that my mammo was suspicious as no one in my family had ever been diagnosed with breast cancer. Two weeks after my first mammo I was in for my second one. After my second one was completed the drs office wanted me to stay and have an ultrasound done on my left breast. I left the office and returned to work and that was when I started to think that maybe something was indeed wrong. This was on a Friday. The following Monday I received a call from my drs office stating that she wanted me to have a MRI done but would have to have it approved through my insurance first. Finally the first week of February I was approved for the MRI. It was Monday and my dr told me if I didn't hear anything by Thursday to give her a call. The very next morning, she confirmed that the MRI showed a small maliginant lump in my left breast. The following week I had an appt for a core needle biopsy which confirmed that I had Invasive Ductal Carsinoma. My surgeon informed me it was stage one, said he would do a lumpectomy which he performed later that week. I completed 3 1/2 weeks of partial breast radiation in April and I will take Femara for at least 5 years. The good news is I am doing fine with the support of my boyfriend and family and that I became a member to a bigger family..breast cancer survivor.

Albany, NY

I Made It

My journey began early Nov 2007 I had my annual Mammogram. One week later the report said all is fine, see you next year. Thanksgiving night, I did my own breast exam and found a lump in the nipple. Fortunately I had my annual GYN appointment the following Monday. She was not concerned but ordered an ultra sound, that came back inconclusive, recommended a biopsy. Had that done, came back cancer. It was invasive but my tumor was only .08 cm and no Lymph Nodes had been affected. In Feb 2008 I had a bi-lateral Mastectomy, late Feb discovered I had contracted MRSA at the hospital. Spent six weeks with a PICC line in my arm receiving Vancomicin treatments for 2 hours every single day. March 2008, had my expanders removed, MRSA contaminated them. Waited until July 2008, had the expanders put back in, with another PICC line for one week of treatment before, during and after this surgery. Late July began expanding. Nov 08, had my implants. April 2009, had nipple reconstruction done and left implant readjusted as it had fallen. Will have Areola tattooed in 4-6 months. I did not have to have Chemo or Radiation. No family history. Always had regular Mammogram's, I do take Femara daily for 5 years, 4 to go. Prayer, my great support team, great team of doctors, and a whole lot of Faith got me through this journey. Praise be to God for healing me . The journey is almost over and I'm ready to have my life back free of surgeries and disease. DO THOSE SELF EXAMS ! ! ! ! !. It SAVED my life.

Cocoa, FL

By the Grace of God

My daughter Stephanie, has survived Breast Cancer twice. She was 29 years old when she find a lump. After alot of test, they said she had Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It had spread to her Liver and Spine. No surgery this time. She had her 30th birthday not to long after that. Then she started 15 mouths of chemo. One week she would have chemo, the next week Herceptin. That went on for 15 mouths. Then she had a PET scan. It was clear! Only for 3 mouths. A mammogram / ultrasound showed a small lump. This time she had a lumpectomy, and 6 weeks of radiation treatments. She has a PET scan every 6 mo. now. She's 35 years old, and has been in remission for 3 years. By the Grace of God my daughter is still with us today.

Lewisport, KY

I Thank God and His Angels Every Day

In June 2002 I started a diet to lose weight for my daughter's wedding and my son's graduation. I started to take fat blockers to lose weight fast, but thanks to the pills a lump popped up on my right breast. On September 11, 2002 I had a lump removed and was diagnosed with breast cancer, what a blow, but through my faith in God I got through, just the taught with no hair, we are so vain. I started chemotherapy on December 16, 2002 on our 30th Wedding Anniversary, at lease my husband and I were together, and radiation started in June 2003. I didn't lose the weight, but that didn't matter anymore, I lost my hair, but I was still able to attend my son Marc's graduation that year and Monique's wedding on June 28, what a busy year. I just felt bad as I couldn't be there for them, in helping them out as I should, but only when I could.

Thanks to God and all the friends (angels) in my life, they made it a lot easier to face treatment, and all the new friends I made in Moncton, hospitals and L'Auberge Mgr-Henri-Cormier, it was like a home away from home. I think that through the years my faith has become stronger. I am a survivor, as on Feburary 25, 2009, and on March 22, 2009 I became a grandmother to two boys. We have to be thankful for all we have in our lives , because there are a lot others, worse off than we are.

Miramichi, NB, Canada

I Survivied!!

I was putting on my seat belt one day and it hurt my breast. I thought that was strange. I put it off for a while, not too long though because it just started hurting so bad I could hardly stand the pain. I new a doctor (very good surgeon) who worked at the clinic. I new him from working at the hospital. I went to him and asked for a mammogram. From that they did an ultra-sound and found a lump. Then they did the biopsy. Then the lumpectomy. I was in a fog. I was only around 30 yrs old and going through radiation and chemo. Lost all of my hair and felt "green" half of the time. Luckily, I am single and didn't have to put any one real close through that with me. I've been cancer free now for about 8 yrs. and it feels GREAT TO BE ALIVE!!

Kathleen Jordan
Madison, WI

What A Difference A Year Makes

Exactly one year ago on June 20, 2008, I had my first chemo treatment for breast cancer. At Age 61, I was ready to retire from the school district and enjoy some time off with my family and friends. We have a "Health Fair" at our district every year in April, where we can take advantage of health tests offered at a reduced rate. So, I thought that I should have my routine mammogram (which I did every year) to make sure everhthing was okay before "officially" giving notice of my retirement. A few days after the mammogram, I received a call that I needed to come back in for a "closer" look at a dense area.

After another mammogram, a sonogram, and a biopsy on my left breast, I received the dreaded call that comfirmed that I had "Invasive Ductal Carcinoma" (Breast Cancer). There were no words to describe my feelings at that moment. I was numb! Devastated! What about all of my plans?

Now one year later, after 6 rounds of chemo, 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, and a year of herceptin treatments (because my tumor was HER2+, not Estrogen+), I feel great! I can now make those plans, or any other plans that I want!

I thank God everyday for that mammogram. It literally saved my life.

Debby Benner
Carrollton, TX

Medical miracle

My grandmother was the most stubborn person you would have ever met.. When I was 11 and i remember this clearly, my mother noticed the discomfort she was in. (Nobody was aware of this- but she has gone undiagnosed for 4 years prior to that) After all the stuffing in her shirt, her breast were shriviled and had open sores. Agaist her will she was taken to the doctor. She refused all treatment and doctors gave her a year at most. 10 years later, she hurt her back cleaning under her sofa. She was hospitalized and doctors said the cancer has spread to her bones. Again, doctors told us to start making funeral arrangements that it would be any time now. As a medical miracle once again, 2 years after that she moved in with us clearly in bad shape. Hospice came every day for the next year until she peacefully passed away in her sleep. She lived 14 years with out treatment- her determination to live kept her alive.

I love and miss you grandma.

Rahway, NJ


I canceled my mammogram appointment in December until Jan. I was tempted to move the appointment again but something said don't do that you have always gone faithfully every year, I was 58 at this time. I went for my mammogram in Jan 1998 they thought every thing was ok but I had two phone calls from my doctor to call them about my mammogram. I knew there was a problem as they had never called before when I had a mammogram. I went to see the doctor that afternoon and was told that the small bead like calcium had changed shape and I needed to see a surgeon to have a biopsy done. I went that week to see a lady surgeon my doctor recommended. The doctor told me she only did biopsies with surgery not needles. They did two more mammograms on me inserting a wire where the surgery needed to be done. The surgeon did a lumpectomy removing the area and while waiting for the report to come back the surgeon felt all under the breast and found a hard spot which was a tumor which was ready to burst, she removed the tumor (lumpectomy) After having seven weeks radiation I have been cancer free for ten years. My pastor told me it was ok not to want to die as God put us on earth to live not to die.

I can tell you at the time I would have gladly given up a breast in order to have life. I thank God he has allowed me to be cancer free for all this time as I have had 3 precious grandchildren I would have never known.

Oklahoma City, OK
Emerald Peacock Shower Curtain
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