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Praise the Lord!

62 yrs old. In Nov i found a lump. I had taken care of cancer patients 20 yrs ago and said if I ever had it I would just skip the chemo. What was the point? 2 yrs of pain and suffering to live 5 more? Not for me or my family. I went for mamogram through the cancer screening program at the health dept. I had no insurance. They are volunteers. My doctor told me she felt we caught it early and she felt , I was going to be ok. So I went for the mamogram and they found a tumor, then I had a biopsie and found more. Stage 2 invasive cancer is what it is. After the doctors told the breakthroughs they had I decided to tell my family and go for the chemo. I've been well no pain or sickness. I'm on my 4th chemo and it's shrinking everytime. My husband passed 13 yrs ago, he had cancer too. If it weren't for the strong support group I don't know what I would've done. God has truely blessed me. I thank Him in all things yes in all things not for all things. Even the cancer, I have cancer it doesn't have me. I meet others at the Moffitt Cancer Center and try to encourage them. I know how scarry it was in the beginning for me. I also thank God for my daughter and sons who are helping me through this too.

Pat Durfee
Largo, FL

My Mother, My Hero

My Mother found out she had breast cancer when I was in my 20's and she was in her 60's. She could have given up, but her faith in God and family made her strong enough to fight! In September 2006 she succumbed to diabetes and cancer. She is still an inspiration to me today. Whenever I feel like giving up on life, I remember that my Mother was strong and that she made me a stronger person by fighting this battle. I love and miss you very much Mom!

Xan (Tomlinson) Lawrence
Anderson, IN

34 yr. old with stage 3 breast cancer

I am 34 years old. In june 2008 I found a lump in my rt. breast. my doctor immediately sent me to a surgeon. A week later I had a lumpectomy. The next week, i received my diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer. I was very shocked, since i am the first one in my family to have breast cancer. less than two weeks after my diagnosis, I had a modified radical mastectomy and 11 lymph nodes removed; 10 of them were positive. I was devastated to hear the news and thought my life was hopeless. When I heard the words chemo & radiation, I wanted to pass out. I have a 4 year old daughter, and my husband had lost his mom 2 montths before to cancer. I felt bad for my family more than myself I think. Once I changed my attitude from hopeless to hopeful, I felt much better. I finished chemo last Dec., and radiation this Apr. And my hair is growing back. I was very lucky I didn't get sick from chemo, just tired. it's hard to hear the diagnosis at any age, Just try your best to keep a positive attitude. My family is the best, and prayer really does work! I'm so glad my daughter still "loves mommy with one boobie and a little bit of hair." we can all get through this!

Angie Malloy
Erie, MI

My survival

In 1988 a routine mammogram led to a biopsy which revealed 3 types of breast cancer! No lump was involved and no chemotherapy nor radiation were required after mastectomy; the first was in 1988, the second in 1991. Early detection and heads-up medical personnel saved my life.

Pat Chandler

Grants Pass, Oregon

Pat Chandler
Grant Pass, OR

My 65th Birthday

On May 10th, 2005 I was doing my regular breast check self exam and I found a lump.

I had no insurance yet because my birthday wasn't until the 24th of May.

I called my new doctor and explained what I found and she went right to work to get the insurance to start sooner.

When I had my biopsy they found 2 more tumers. I elected to have my breast removed, they took lymph nodes to check them also.

When I went to the surgeon to have the stitches removed he informed me the nodes came back with more cancer.

I had to undergo more surgery to remove 10 nodes. I went through chemo for 8 months and I am clean today.

Thanks to my new doctor and her attention to me I am cancer free for almost 4 years.

Peggy Richards
Pinellas Park, FL

Lola

"Remember, big girls don't cry." That was the last sentence I heard Lourdes' weak voice mumble through my sobs and sniffles. It was 1988, I was six years old, and little did I know that this once routine goodbye would be the last time I saw her. Just a year earlier she had been diagnosed with breast cancer; she was 30 years old.

For a single mother of two young daughters living in her mother's home, the news could not have been more devastating, and in her case, too late. With the benefits of early detection forgone she underwent a mastectomy. Several rounds of chemotherapy followed along with new hairstyles in the form of several short shag wigs. She tried desperately to retain a semblance of normalcy and to keep her little girls oblivious to the disease that was consuming her young life.

The ignorance of youth blessed me with only the best memories of my mother but, I remain haunted with tragic memories of the disease that claimed her life. As I grew older, my intense curiosity about this deadly killer was driven by a passion to help fix where I felt wronged. I have become a missionary against this disease; educating friends on early detection and awareness, telling my story to whomever will listen. To prevent another child from having to pick out their mother's tombstone instead of shopping for prom dresses together I have dedicated my life to cancer awareness.

As I tried to wipe the flowing tears from my eyes that day, I realized my mother's fight was not over; it had just begun within me. The most arduous experiences can create the greatest rewards as I hope that my passion for her life will give hope to others and perhaps save the life of another.

Jennifer
Orlando, FL

My Mom, The First

How do you take it all in? How do you comprehend the words Breast Cancer? I can't! I have worked in hospitals for years and I have seen the brilliant strides we have made in treated this disease. I know those who have survived and I know those who couldn't fight any longer. What I never knew, was a family member who had Breast Cancer, until now, until three weeks ago, my mom is the first in our family, not because of genetics, but hormone therapy the doctor told her. At 71 years old, my mom just had a Radical Mastectomy, now the fight begins, or not. This is her fight, our fight, your fight and I want my mom to win!

Jean Kester
Aberdeen, WA

Yearly Mammograms Essential

Hello, I am a ten year breast cancer survivor only because I got my yearly mammogram. My lump was not palpable (could not be felt) Thank God I went for my yearly mammograms. I have a history of breast cysts, having had two removed from my right breast, these were palpable. After a very tiny suspicious spot showed on a mammogram (left breast) the doctor said we will check it again in a year and see if it has grown, it had so I went in for a lumpectomy which proved to be cancer. Two days later I had a wide excision done, ( a larger portion of breast and lymph nodes removed), fortunately the lump was only the size of a quarter and the cancer cells were contained within that area. I was told radiation was a given but chemo was an option I could also have. After hearing the statistics of possible reoccurance with and without chemo I opted for the chemo, I had ten grandchildren I wanted to see grow up. I praise God everyday that I made that decision for I am alive to see my grandchildren, now thirteen of them, grow and mature. I have three daughters, two of them get their mammo's yearly, the third one is a very stubborn woman and will not go, I Pray that she never gets breast cancer or the other ones or any of my ten grandaughters. I pray that they will find a cure for breast cancer so that no one ever has to suffer like so many of us has.

My faith in God has helped me through some very tough times, this being one of them. Keep your faith, pray and above all get your yearly MAMMOGRAM.

Happy & Healthy

Dorothy

Avoca, Penna.

CANCER FREE

Dorothy Welter
Avoca, PA

Never go againt your feelings

I was doing my monthy breast check when I discovered a small lump next to my rib cage. My mom had a radical mastectomy at 38. I was 42. I placed a call to my doctor she could not feel anything. I was so sure there was something there she sent me for a mamogram. Nothing showed up on the mamo. I insisted we go the next step. I was sent for an ultrasoud. Again, the test showed nothing. Next step was to have a biopsy. I went to see the surgon, she has learned to trust her clients know their bodies. On November 11, 1999 the area I indicated was removed. When she called with the results, she had tears in her voice and said to me " I can't believe I am telling you this, but you were right. we found cancer." I was not surprised. I returned for a lumpectomy and was given temoxiphen with no cemo or radiation. They felt due to the size of the cancer and the fact that I was only 42 I was better off not doing any additional treatment. I am now going on my ten year anniversary and am so grateful that I stuck to my guns and insisted in removing the lump. Had I not, who knows. It is quite possible I would not have been here to share in walking our daughter down the isle and any other wonderful things God has in store for me and my loved ones. No matter what, trust your gut and don't take no for an answer if you feel there is something that needs to be addressed concerning your health don't stop until you are satified of the results.

Angel Blessings to you all.

Anonymous
Beverly, MA

Whew! Cancer, Cure and Angels

Early in October I listened as my surgeon delivered the news to me. Cancer. Small. Stage 1. Lumpectomy and Radiation. No chemo. "We're not just looking at treatment, but Cure." All I zoned into was Cure, with a Capital C.

Start praying! Fortunately my Radiation Specialist clearly described options for radiation and with research before surgery, I was prepared to make the choice for brachytherapy with the Mammosite System. Finding no additional cancer in the sentinel node, my surgeon prepared the site for the Mammosite catheter at the same time.

The first week of October, cancer diagnosis delivered.

On Halloween, lumpectomy and sentinel node dissection.

On November 26th, the final radiation treatment. I spent the next day enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with friends, and I surely had a lot to be thankful for. Whew!

I was very lucky and never felt sick. Wasn't sure if I was really tired or enjoying being home and a little lazy.

My story isn't typical, but it can be. With a yearly mammogram allowed on my health care plan, I take advantage of it. No excuses! Absolutely follow up on any change since last year. Early detection led to what I believe is my Cure. And nothing can compare to having all of the Doctors and Facilities working together to my goal of Cure.

I know I had angels walking with me. God put one in the hospital hallways as I went to a biopsy alone. And He put one in the doctor's office when I needed someone to learn to dress my catheter and a friend said "I'll be there for you" then saw my left breast ten minutes later. I know my sister-in-law is my angel who flew 800 miles so I wouldn't go through surgery alone. Oh, those angels are everywhere!

Ellen Edwartoski
Lincoln, RI
Winter Apparel Blowout
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