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Aimee's Story

I was 29 years old. Casually having conversation when I had a dull pain just above my right breast. I reached up to rub out the pain. I then felt the lump. 2 days later I am in my OB/GYN's office. He wanted to make sure it wasn't swollen breast tissue, so off I went - told to come back in 2 weeks if it hadn't gone away. Upon my return, he wasted no time. Immediate referral to a general surgeon, who wouldn't even see me unless I had a mammogram first. Because it was so high on the breast, the mammogram was inconclusive. The next day I had an ultrasound. Once my surgeon received the results of the ultrasound, he told me that the tests showed that the mass needed to be removed. Had a scheduled lumpectomy and a week later got the C diagnosis. I chose to have a mastectomy when they went in to get the lymph nodes. Then came 4 cycles of AC, the loss of all my precious hair and feeling crappy for 2 months on and off. 6 months after treatment I decided to remove the healthy breast and begin reconstruction. Unfortunately the skin grafts used for the areola for the nipple reconstruction didn't take and I wasn't satisfied at how they appeared. I enjoy tattoos and body art in general so I designed a piece that would cover every scar I had. I found an amazing tattoo artist named KELLY McRAE of SKIN DIMENSIONS in Winnipeg. I presented him with my idea and said - "Sure, when do you want to start?" He brought my drawing to life and gave me my confidence back. It's been 8 years NED now, and looking forward to many more! I am proof early detection is key!

Aimee Horbul
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Aunts that can!

In 1977, my maternal Aunt Grace in Mobile, AL, had a radical. That's all that was done "back then". Well, 32 years later, she will turn 96 this coming December. Another courageous woman whose rich legacy lives on!!

Anonymous
Flagstaff, AZ

I can make a difference

This year, I finally did it. I lost 120 lbs and was able to walk in the AVON 2 day walk for Breast Cancer. It was the most gratifying experience that I have ever had. I have wanted to do this for the longest, but was never physically capable. The reason why: My Aunt was diagnosed about 18 years ago and given only months to live. She fought and has won her battle so far. My husband's Aunt lost her battle and a good friend, just this year lost her battle. So what am I doing about it. I'm walking again next year. Because I know I can make a difference. What am I asking from you. Well, in order to participate, you must fundraise, so I am going to try to put together a Tribute / Cookbook to those affected by breast cancer. If you are interested in contributing a story/tribute/recipe, please email me at booksforboobs@yahoo.com

I want to make a difference and I know together we can.

Lisa Zeigler
Cambridge, MD

My Cancer

Hi My name is Juanita

I have had some experiences with cancer. In Nov. around the week of Thanksgiving I had lost about 30lbs. I went to the emergency room and my sugars were really high. They put me on insulin and it got better. I was having trouble with my stomach, they did a CT Scan and found out that I had a mass on my pancreas. I was sent to a surgeon and he ordered another CT scan & biospy to see if he could do surgery because he was afraid it would be too close to my liver or arteries. I did have the surgery which he removed my spleen and half of my pancreas. There was cancer in the lymphnodes. When I was in the hospital for a week at Thanksgiving I felt a lump- around my breast. I didn't say anything until I went back for my check up for the pancreas. My dr. did a biospy and it was cancer but not in the lymphnodes. He removed the lump. I had a mammogram done in Dec. but it didn't pick up the lump because it wasn't close enough to detect it. Now I am getting ready to take radiation for both for 5 days a week for 6 wks. Chemo for 6 months for the pancreas which I am doing at home through a IV in a port. It's suppose to not make me sick I hope. I need everyones prayers. Pancreas cancer is very har to find and usually its too late but mine was only in the 2nd. stage and I feel good about the rest of my life.

This is my story.

Juanita Hardin
Louisville, KY

A Flame of Hope

I'm a 39 year old actress, living & working in Rome, Italy. Two years ago I felt a hard lump in my right breast as I was applying body lotion after a shower. I had a sonogram & a mammogram & was diagnosed with breast cancer, resulting in a mastectomy. Luckily my lymphnodes (which were all removed as a precaution) were all clear, which meant I skipped chemo & went straight to the hormone therapy, which I'm still taking. I'm an optimist by nature so I wish to encourage all women to test themselves regularly, making it part of their daily routine, whilst applying lotion for example...which is what has made me a cancer survivor.

We can draw some strength from the people nearest to us (just as I did & I will be eternally grateful to my boyfriend Stefano for being so amazingly supportive, loving & keeping my spirits high before, during & after), but ultimately the strength we need is within ourselves. And we don't know we have it, until we need it... even to deal with the occasional friend or family member who looks the other way, unable to cope with the "ugliness" of cancer.

Flaminia is an ancient roman name, meaning "little flame"... I therefore trust my flame will give someone hope & courage.

Flaminia Fegarotti
Rome, Italy

My Sister

Whenever our sister said she had breast cancer we were shocked. no-one in our family for generation ever had any type of cancer. All of the sister had been treated for fibroid tumors and we take 1000 units of Vitamin E for that, but never breast cancer. It seems we carry that gene. My sister is doing great even though she has other health problems. she never weakend or gave up hope and her husband was right by her side.

How many was can u say thank you, my small way is supporting this web site.

Anonymous
Rudy, AR

Don't hesitate to check out suspicious lumps

I was 43 years old and it was Christmas morning 2006 when my husband noticed a lump in my breast. Besides ruining the "mood", I was more concerned with my daughters getting up to see what great wonders this Christmas would bring. I have my annual Mammogram in the Spring (I use my birthday as a reminder) so didn't think much of it. After the "rush" of the Holiday Season, I called the doctor to check out this lump. It took the radiologist 7 different angles on a mammogram to find a 3.2cm mass deep in my right breast. A breast MRI and PET scan showed there was a second lump (2.8cm) behind it and all my lymph nodes were infected. The scan also showed a lump in my neck and speckles behind my breastbone that were sure signs of the cancer spreading. After the biopsy confirmed the worst, I was diagnosed as stage 3 breast cancer in mid January. My Oncologist said if I did not have the lump checked out right away, the cancer would have spread throughout my body by March and I would probably not survive much after June of that year. He also told me that 85% of all breast cancer can be cured, but, the women who don't react to a lump or unusual mammogram become unnecessary fatalities. So after 16 months of Chemo, 37 treatments of Radiation, a double Mastectomy and reconstruction, I am finally on my way to recovery. I now cherish each day God has given me with my family and friends, knowing they are truly blessings.

Traci Kluver
Pleasant Prairie, WI

Yearly Mamograms

Breast Cancer, runs in my family. My Mother, her sister, and now me.

After my yearly mamogram in August 1999, I received a call asking me to come back for a better look at something suspicious. As there was no noticeable tumor, but calcification looking like it was hanging, or being pulled down, a needle biopsy was done. In the portion of tissue removed, and under a microscope was a tiny tumor.

This tumor contained 3 types of cancer. One of the cancers, an insitsu, I was told, was not only in the right breast, but mostly likely in the left or would be. After a second opinion, and much research I opted to have a Bi-Lateral Mastectomy and reconstruction using a tram-flap.

After the removal of both breasts, the plastic surgeon used my stomach muscle, taking it up through my ribs to form my breast mounds, and the fat from my stomach filled my new mounds. I went into surgery with breasts, and I woke up with breasts. An amazing experience! It's almost ten years later, and I feel great!

My yearly mamogram and early detection saved my life. I urge every woman to be diligent about a yearly mamogram. I just shared with you how It makes a difference.

Patricia Rosenzweig
Philadelphia, PA

Supporting the Search for a Cure, One Mile at a Time

When I first decided to do the 3-Day for Breast Cancer walk in January 2008, I couldn't explain why I decided to participate except that it was something I just felt I needed to do. I did all the necessary training (up to 18 miles), did the fundraising, etc.

In July I went for my mammagram which came back abnormal. More tests were done and in August '08, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and it suddenly became clear, I was preparing for what was to come. I had a double mastectomy on September 23rd with tram flap to start the reconstruction. I do have to tell you to be careful what you wish for . . . One of my things was placing my hands on my hips/stomach and saying if they could just take this and move it up here (to my breasts) how cool would that be. Well they can and did. But you know what, It's not that cool after all.

All the training I had done had gotten me into the best shape I had been in in years, gave me a wonderful support group, and many new friends. Thank God! There were some complications with the stomach and I ended up with a staph infection and 3 more surgeries.

No matter, I am back to training and more determined more than ever to do the walk in October. The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days.

I'm walking in hopes that our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, family and friends will never have to deal with this cancer.

My new theme song . . . I Will Survive

Char Wells
Rockmart, GA

Be Thankful for the Little Things

Life has a way of slowing us down and helping us reflect on the important things. At the age of 33, I thought I had seen and been thru enough to know what life was about, but little did I know.

After being 6 months late for a routine physical, I decided to fit time into my schedule to visit my doctor. I was expecting a 30 minute visit with no problems to discuss. This was before my doctor found a mass on my left breast. I knew it was not my regular cystic problem by the look on his face. Before I knew what was happening, I had my first mammogram, ultrasound, and a lumpectomy.

I was diagnosed with stage 2 receptor positive breast cancer. It would be a month before I would know just how bad things could get.

I lost all of my hair from one chemotherapy visit, which resulted in wearing wigs for 9 months. For some reason, that was worse than the constant bone pain that chemo caused ! In many ways, it was like a punishment for having cancer. I later would undergo 7 weeks of radiation, followed by a total hysterectomy. Thankfully, cancer was not detected in my ovaries, as suspected. It was at that point I realized how to be thankful for the little things. I have been cancer free for a little over a year now. I've learned that I cannot save the world, but can definately do my part to let other young and older women know how important yearly physicals are. Please do not get too busy to take care of yourself!

God Bless!

Suzanne Usry
Americus, GA
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