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My story

I have always excerised and watched what I ate. People alway quessed my age to be 10-15 years younger than what I was. Three years ago I had an abnormal mammogram and thought no big deal; I was 50years old and nothing like this ran in my family. I had a biopsy a few months later and found I had DCIS stage 0 with a reccomended treatment of a mastectomy. I had never had anesthesia but I have worked as a nurse for 30 years with kids going to surgery all the time. Beside having kids I had never been in a hospital as a patient. This has taught me a valuable lession about family and friends. It also has taught me to live life and love life like there is no tomorrow because it is naive to think there will be a tomorrow. I have been cancer free now for 3 years. My daughter's Godmother had the same diagnosis a few years before me and she has just found out now she has lung cancer. I pray for all of us with this diagnosis that we remain cancer free. All I know to do is take care of my self the best way I can. I have an 11 year old daughter and I plan to dance at her wedding.

Mary Ash
Indianapolis, IN

Lessons From A Bald Chick

I was diagnosed with breast cancer during my yearly mammagram when I was 45 years old. My mother died from breast cancer and I have five sisters, so my diagnosis completely rocked our world. A friend immediately went out to look for a book to teach her how to help me through the ordeal. No such book existed.

I wrote a book, Lessons from a Bald Chick, to help the cancer patient through the cancer experience, as well as to teach others how to help the patient by what to say and not say and what to do and not do. The book is a humorous book about a serious topic. I decided to give the royalties from the book away to individulas and organizations battling cancer and started a business for this called Bald Chick Ministry.

Since the book's release I have been asked to speak to organizations for doctors, nurses, survivor support groups, book clubs, churches, women's groups, and ministries. I recently shared the book with our governor's wife!

The book is available through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble. com, Booklocker.com, and Target.com. Bookstores will order it using this ISBN: 978-1-60145-726-4.

When life hands you lemons...........write a book!

MaryBeth Hall
Covington, KY

Vivian's Story

I was 35 when I had a base line mamogram , my mother's sister had breast cancer in her left breast first then her right. So I had a mamogram and it show micro califications in my left breast. But no Dr. had told me this until I was 40 and had both sides mamogramed. Then they said they would watch it every 6 months for change. So I went back after 6 months, nothing had changed.

In Dec. 2001 I was due to have both sides done so I went in and I felt a lump on my left breat, but I didn't think much about it, I had very large breasts and they were fiberous. But then I kept feeling it and the next week they called and said I would have to have another mamogram and ultra sound. Then I focused on the lump and it was the day after christmas when I went back and I knew in my stomcah something was not right. The lump was changing and I could feel it. After that appointment they sent me straight to the surgeons office and there it was two areas ,one mass and the other micro califications. I had a sterotactic biopsy done and the test result were in that both areas were cancerous.So I had my left breast removed and 4 rounds of chemo, reconstuctive surgery, and breast reduction on the right side. I have had 3 different implants on my left side and it still is not right.

But through this journey I have learned a lot about myself ,my faith, my familly & friends. I have meet wonderful people and made new friends along the way. I discovered how strong I can be, to take charge of my health,to always count your blessings.

Vivian Ringold
Maple Grove, MN

Breast Cancer Survivor

I am 73 years old and I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with cancer in my left breast in June of 1997. My left breast was removed in July of 1997. Then in May of 2005 I had to have my right breast removed. I am doing great as I take my medication every day now.

Dora A. Murphy
Denton, TX

You Can Survive

I found a lump while having a shower. I had just returned to work after suffering post-natal depression. My little boy was 17 months old and my mum had died from cancer 10 weeks before he was born. I had a left-side mastectomy on the 17th of December 2003 and came home. 0n the 23rd of December, I still had my drains in, but as a single mum was adamant I would be home for Christmas. In 2004 it was decided I should have 8 chemotherapy sessions and 15 radiotherapy sessions. I have had no other problems and have even gone on to have another baby boy in September 2008. I was 32 years old when my cancer was diagnosed. I am now looking forward to my reconstruction and a breast reduction. The only way is forward and I'm enjoying life to the max. Roll on the big 40 --!

Nicola Rochelle
Rochdale, United Kingdom

Don't be afraid or Thanks to my 'sisters'!

In April 2008 , I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. My first reaction was tears and fears. Cancer is a nasty word, it is synonymous with all that is evil and out of control, that did not help my attitude any so I decided to refer to my cancer as crap. That I can handle! Thankfully, I was blessed with a wonderful team of medical experts who were instrumental in changing my attitude from one of fear to one of knowledge and empowerment to beat this crap.

I had a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The thought of chemotherapy had me scared witless, but you know what? It was not very bad. Chemotherapy has changed from what I remembered my father went through in 1980. Yes, I lost my hair, food tasted like cardboard and I had no energy but I did not get sick once! I want to thank everyone who works in the medical industry to improve the care for cancer patients.

I want to thank each survivor who went before me to give me courage; you are the sisters I always longed for when I was growing up. It surprised me that there were so many because they had been so quiet about their survivorship. Many survivors do not want to make a big deal out of their survival, but we need to be vocal, we need to celebrate life and show just how much breast cancer affects our lives.

Lynn Carlson
Des Moines, IA

3 months and counting...

Hi Everyone!

my name is Hannah. i am the mom of 5 wonderful boys, the wife of a pretty outstanding husband, and a breast cancer survivor! i was diagnosed April 04, 2008 with invasive ductal carcinoma. it was my very first mammogram. since then, i have had a spring full surgeries, a summer of chemotherapy,an entire fall season of radiation and now i'm on meds for the next five years. the important thing is that my oncologist told me at the end of November that i can now call myself a "breast cancer survivor" ! i try only the focus on that, the positive aspects of this whole ordeal. yes ladies, there are positive aspects! i no longer take things for granted and i dont sweat the small stuff. life is too darned short! i really listen to what my kids tell me, i tell all the people i love, "i love you" EVERYDAY!, and i try to help others who are in the same place i was a year ago.

i am walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this year. it will be my first walk. don't know how well i will do with the physical part of the walk, but i'm excited to be raising so much money for such a worthy cause. we sooooooo need a cure for this horrible disease which is effecting one in every eight women this year alone! the numbers are staggering....

anyway, i just wanted to share this little bit of my life with you all.... a positive attitude goes a really long way in this fight. so everyone effected by breast cancer, FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AND WE WILL PREVAIL!

thanks, Hannah

Hannah Hartman
Aurora, IL

My Grandmother "MOOM" the trooper

I lost my grandmother moom to breast cancer in september of 1994. She was strong throughout the entire 5 year battle. never complaining about how badly she felt. When given the option to have her breasts removed to prevent the cancer from spreading she refused because she thought my grandfather would find her less attractive. I wish she wouldn't have made that choice but whats done is done. She is missed each day and her strength and courage lives on forever in my heart. Also in July of 1998 my first child was born and was named partially after her. She is the tall blond girl in the picture and I pray that she grows to be as self- less and courageous as moom was more and more each day.

this is in memory of Emmaleen Genese Shelor- Campbell aka "Moom".

Rebekah Campbell
Pinellas Park, FL

Breast Cancer Changed My Life!

We were getting ready for a motorcycle trip and my 56th birthday - how exciting and what fun lay ahead. Except, for the lump I found - quickly, trip cancelled and all the test were run, lumpectomy, radiation and chemo.

Over the next 5 years I was the perfect cancer patient. That precious 5 year mark of being cancer free. My last visit to the oncologist, my last PET scan and ............. here we go again........cancer cells on the PET scan. This time a bilateral mastectomy and chemo (again)!

Cancer as my husband calls it is a "Club that no one wants to join, but when you do, you make the greatest friends." I have learned that I like "Tea Parties", we have a lovely tea once a month. Yes, most of the members met through breast cancer.

I have traveled the United States on a motorcycle (back seat), we saw all of the lower 48 except Washington and Oregon and some of Canada. All of this while carring two (one was for swiming) sets of prosthesis and being bald. Motorcycle people are very friendly, even more so when a woman gets off the bike, takes her helmet off and there is a shining scalp.

Yes, I only wore a wig once - at my granddaughter's wedding. She said "You do not look like my Mimi, just take the wig off and be yourself"

Being normally shy, I never would have had the friends I have made nor experienced so much,had it not been for breast cancer. Cancer made me appreciate life much more and enjoy each day to the fullest. I now know what is really important in life, what to appreciate, what to enjoy!

Roxie
Tampa, FL

Genetic testing, surgery, and cancer

My sis and I had the genetic testing done, this prompted me to go thru a prophyllactic double mastecotomy with tram flap reconstruction. I believed that this was the right thing I could do to prevent getting cancer. I was diagnosed with BC after the surgery. They tested the breast tissue and found a small tumor. ... even though I was diagnosed, I still believe that this was the BEST thing I did!

I needed no treatments because they found it early. I'm alive and happy and still a big supporter for mammograms and self-checkups...

Nancy Groth
West New York, NJ
Midnight Garden Socks
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