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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

My Aunt

My Aunt Gerry was a big part of my life. She was my mothers sister and a second mom to me. She was there for me when my children were born, so I had to be there for her when she got sick. She is a testament to getting early breast exams and mammograms. If we had found her lumps sooner, she would have survived. Her doctors were great and did all they knew how to do. Many advances have been made since her passing, and I hope this will encourage just one person to get checked. I am sure that is what she would want too.

Lynn
Pinon Hills, CA

Mammograms Make All the Difference

I am a breast cancer survivor! When I first received the news that I had breast cancer two years ago, I was devastated, and felt like I had just been handed a death sentence. I was fortunate that it had been caught early during a mammogram, and was non-invasive. After having a lumpectomy and 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, I thought I was done with cancer.

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with cancer in my other breast 8 months later during my follow-up mammogram. This time there was a small section (4mm) that was invasive. In addition to my lumpectomy and 6 1/2 weeks of radiation, I needed to have my lymph node removed. Once again, I was very fortunate as the cancer hadn't spread to the lymph nodes.

I just had my second follow-up mammogram after my two 'bad' ones, and am very happy to say that I was cancer free both times. If it hadn't have been for my mammograms, I think I'd be telling a much different story.

Pat Lohn
Orlando, FL

Angel Wings

My breast cancer returned after 7 years in 2006. I had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy and I am now a 3 year survivor. My friends and family were my "Angel Wings" during the treatment and after--their support litterly "carried me through". Our hospital Cancer Treatment Center is also one of the best--they have a Navigator Program which pairs you with a cancer survivor and helps you to walk through all the decisions, questions and procedures. The blessing of all these wonderful people in my life during this time (and following) has truly been one of God's greatest gifts to me.

Karol Gribskov
Bend, OR

MY Cacner Story Estrogen Positive Cancer

I have had mammo's since I was 40. No one in my family had ever had breast cancer. I always had my yearly mammo's on my birthday. Easy way to remember to take care of self. In 2000 had to redo a mammo, all came back well. In 2004 was told that I had calcification in breast tissue of left breast, but after the radiologist studied all the prior X Rays saw no change, was given an OK, but was told to do my self exams and to be aware of the calcifications, they were a precursor to cancer. In 2007 my mammo came back suspicious. A second mammo was done. Next a sonogram on the right breast. There was a very small cancer inside the milk duct. Then a needle biopsy was done to determine it was indeed a malignant cancer. This was done in Nov. 07. I was then scheduled for a lumpectomy, then a second lumpectomy. Each procedure had to be done in order locate the good and bad cells inside the breast. By the 21st of December I was on my way to the hospital and had gone ahead and opted to have the bilateral mastectomy. With the doctor doing an Oncotype DX test on me finding I had estrogen positive cancer, I knew that this was the only way I could have peace of mind with my breasts milk ducts being removed. I now have two wonderfully happy healthy breasts and that is the main thing. I am no longer a Rachel Welsh, the DD's are gone but I have my life and no backaches or neck issues. God is good and my Doctors were Angels.

Sandy West
Bedford, TX

I am a survivor

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer which had progressed to my lymph nodes Aug 2006. I had chemo before the surgery to shrink the tumours and then surgery and had my right breast removed. I then had radiation daily for 6 weeks..... I then had my ovaries and tubes removed and then March 2008 I had reconstruction and at that time had my left breast removed and muscle and tissue taken from my stomach and both breasts reconstructed. Surgery was 9 hours.... I was off work at that time for 3 months and have gradually increased my work days and am now working 4 days a week and in April I will be at 5 days a week. I am now taking Exemestane after I had tried all other of the 3 medications, tomoxifen, arimidex and femara which all did not agree with me. Although I had not said anything to my surgeons I have one breast that is lower than the other.....I thought how could I complain when they saved my life and I am so grateful I did not say anything until just the other day. I will be seeing the surgeons and see if there is anything that they can do to correct this before I have the nipple tatooing done.

I found that I was very strong emotionally throughout all of this but my crash was when I was all finished and then I had a very difficult time .....

I would like to hear from others that have gone through some of the things that I have. It would be nice to email back and forth to compare our experience.

Cathy ---- staying strong and very determined to continue to beat this cancer in hopes it never comes back.

Cathy Dunleavy
London, ON, Canada

Welcome to the Pink Side

I am a 2 time breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed the first time in 2003. At that time, I had a lumpectomy with radiation treatments. Every day after was one step closer to that magic 5 year mark that would mean I was considered cured.

But, in 2006 I was diagnosed a second time, and I decided I wasn't going to go through that again. So I had bilateral mastectomies. I went through reconstruction surgery, and had breast implants inserted. Then four months later I developed a staph infection and had to have the implants removed.

I got some prosthesis, but I don't wear them much. I discovered I don't mind not having breasts. I'm still me, and I'm happy to still be around.

When you hear the word cancer, it seems as if your life comes to a screeching halt. You don't know what to do or which way to go. The fear is overwhelming. You're frozen in that one single moment. Eventually you will move past that moment. How and when depends on you. For awhile you will live there and wallow in self pity and fear, and that's ok, because you need that time. And you can choose to stay there and live there, or you can choose to move forward and live your life.

A friend encouraged me to write my story after my surgery, and as a result I wrote and published a book. Writing helped me to deal with my fear, and I discovered a strength I didn't know I had. Life goes on, and I hope it's going to be a long one.

Sherry Wheeler
Huntsville, AL

A Killer in the Family

We were always a close family. Nobody would ever have suspected that there would be a cold-blooded killer among us.

My mom, Rose Christopherson was an intended victim. So was my sister, Mabel, my Aunt Fern , and several of my cousins. My beloved sister, Mary Ann, wasn't able to escape its grasp and died a few years ago after fighting valiantly for her life.

The killer that stalks us is breast cancer. Although I have dodged breast cancer so far, I am also a cancer survivor. I am always aware that my life depends on being alert, proactive, and always on the lookout for our enemy. As my family felt its savage presence, I became more and more angry. Finally, when my sweet old dog Pokey died from breast cancer, I began to fight back with everything I have in me. Cancer is a worthy opponent, but I truly believe that if we band together to battle it, we will beat it.

I have channeled my anger and my energy into an effort that began as a grassroots movement. Bowling 4 the Cure was founded eight years ago as an organization dedicated to raising money for cancer research. Over the years, we have grown, and our annual Bowl-a-Thon -- held the first Sunday of October at Lakeview Lanes in Sun City -- is an event that is supported enthusiastically by the public. This year we raised $10,000 that was matched by A Greater Good, for a total impact of $20,000 of research at Mayo's.

There are many, many families in the community trying to rid themselves of a deadly foe. Bowling 4 the Cure is devoted to doing whatever it can to helping find the right weapon to bring it down once and for all.

Peggy@bowling4thecure.com

Peggy Bowers Founder of Bowling 4 The Cure
Glendale, AZ

JUST MY LUCK!

I WAS CURRENTLY WORKING FOR A SMALL TOWN PHYSICIAN AT THE TIME OF MY DIAGNOSIS. HE WAS A MAN WHO DID NOT MINCE WORDS ABOUT MUCH. ON THE DAY THAT HE RETURNED TO THE OFFICE WITH MY MAMMOGRAM RESULTS, I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO ASK. HE JUST SAID"YOU NEED TO CALL ALLAN(DR ALLAN LIEFER, A LOCAL SURGEON.) IT WAS JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, AND MY QUESTION WAS " DO I HAVE TO DO IT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, AND HE SAID "NO, BUT MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENT NOW. ON JANUARY 8, 1995, I HAD MY FIRST NEEDLE BIOPSY, FOLLOWED THE NEXT MONDAY BY A LUMPECTOMY. MY END RESULTS WERE EXTREMELY GOOD. I RECEIVED 36 RADIATION TREATMENTS AND NO CHEMOTHERAPY WAS REQUIRED. I CREDIT PART OF THIS WITH MY DOCTOR'S QUICK RECOGNITION OF THE SITUATION., PLUS ANSWERED PRAYERS. AT THIS TIME, MY OLDER SISTER WAS CURRENTLY UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR BREAST CANCER WHICH HAD SPREAD TO OTHER PARTS OF HER BODY. SHE ULTIMATELY GAVE UP HER FIGHT IN 2000. AS A PRECAUTION, MY YOUNGER SISTER HAD THE NECESSARY TESTS TO DETERMINE HER LIKELYHOOD OF DEVELOPING BREAST CANCER AND SUBSEQUENTLY HAD A PROPHLATIC DOUB LE MASTECTOMY TO PREVENT HAVING TO DEAL WITH BREAST CANCER. WHILE SHE WAS RECUPERATING, SHE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. SO NOW WE ARE JUST FIGHTING ANOTHER BATTLE. BUT WITH PRAYER AND HELP FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY, WE WILL SURVIVE. THE MUELLER GIRLS ALWAYS DO!

SUE MUELLER REITZ

14 YEAR SURVIVOR

P O BOX 68

COULTERVILLE IL 62237

618-758-3044

SUE REITZ
COULTERVILLE, IL
Elephant Parade Socks
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