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Never met my grandmother...

...well, my mother's mother (I knew my father's mother for decades!); she died of breast cancer in her 30's, when my mom was only 8. I wished I could've met her, but that was before the days of mammography. My mother's always been good about getting checked up herself because of that, and she's still going strong in her mid-80's! Hope I do as well when I'm that age!

Pasadena, CA

Survivor Story

I was diagnosed with DCIS in January, 2007 and in February, 2007 I was also diagnosed with Uterine cancer. I elected to have a lumpectomy and centinel node surgery and had 35 radiation treatments for the breast cancer and a hysterectomy for the uterine cancer. I have been taking Femara for two years and feel great. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I told my cancer team I was planning on taking a trip in 2009 with the class I advise at school. On March 28th, I am flying with my class to Orlando, Florida for a visit to Dysney World. Today, 2 years later I am a strong survior and back in my classroom teaching Health. I credit my excellent outcome to the yearly mammogram I began at age 39 when my older sister was diagnoised with invasive breast cancer. Also a strong faith in God and a strong support system helped me through. I also took the time during and after my treatment to bake goodies for my cancer team. I know they enjoyed their treats and baking gave me a focus and helped me keep a positive attitude.

Nancy Blohm
Adrian, MI


On November 2, 2006, my left breast was removed due to cancer. I want to warn every one who gets breast cancer, do not let your primary care physician direct you to the surgeon to remove your breast. Go immediately to a plastic surgeon, who will remove the breast and do the implant in one proceedure. In my case, the breast was removed, and then the expander was implanted, and then the implant was implanted. Three surgeries instead of one!!! WARNING - go to a plastic surgeon to get the breast removed and the implant done in ONE proceedure. Save further surgeries, and the way the removal was done. I want to shout this to the world. Learn from my mistake. Gladys

Gladys Meredith
North Las Vegas, Nevada, NV

Get your mammograms!

Thank God for mammograms. My yearly mammogram in 2001 showed a gray shadow of my left breast on the far left side. It was nothing that I could feel. In tears I followed up with a surgeon which revealed a lump. She felt it so I could find it. I had my lumpectomy surgery on the morning of 9-11-01 (yes, during those terroist plane attacks). A day I'll never forget where I was.

After the surgery the surgeon told my husband and I that what she removed looked very suspicious. My husband would have fainted if he weren't sitting on the bed next to me. He felt sick. I took it as

well, it's gone and I feel fine.

Lab tests confirmed the next day that I had a cancerous tumor the size of a pea. It was caught early!!!!! Healing from surgery I then went on within 2 weeks to have a lymph node mapping. Thank God for early detection. Results revealed no cancer cells in my lymph nodes. I continued with 6 weeks of daily radiation tiring me out and chose to dismiss chemotherapy. I am thoroughly grateful to my gynecologist, all exams and surgeons, hospitals and radiologists that took care of me. I was 42 years old then. I am now age 50, feeling fine and celebrating each mammogram test that comes out negative. I have 5 children, 3 grandchildren and wouldn't want to have missed another day. I'm very thankful.

Tamara Andersson
Caro, MI

The Women in My Family

Twenty three years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and was fine. Unfortunately, this was the start of my family's history with breast cancer.

In the last few years, both of my older sisters have gone through lumpectomies, chemo and radiation. Both are fine now but what a legacy!

I have been constantly on my guard since my mother's diagnosis and am happy to report that nothing has been found.

I have a very strong family and I know that if/when I am diagnosed, I will have the support of my sisters and daughter to get me through the stages.

I was there for my sisters and I know they will be there for me.

Elma, WA

A long, meaningful journey

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 1999. I was shocked as we had no history in the family but I've since learned that this is not that unusual. I went through a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation and thought I was saying goodbye. But in 2005 the cancer returned. I was not very happy but didn't realize at the time that this was stage four and my life was in danger. I've read all of the stories on the internet and in magazines and know that my time is supposed to be limited. I'm actually getting to the spot in time when I should be failing but I'm not! I'm feeling great and handling the chemo well. I keep myself busy - not working as that's too tough, but lots of other things to make me feel vital. I have my first grandchild and I'm loving that. I've decided that all the statistics can take a hike - I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. I'm loving life!!

Kandy Palmeri
Lancaster, NY

Not Always a Lump

Hi! I was 35 when I had my first mammogram. My gynecologist said I had dense breasts. Calcifications were found but not in an alarming way. At 37, I had DCIS and Intraductal. There was no lump. No tumor. Not enough people know that part - that is why the mammogram and ultrasound are so important! No family history. BRACA1 was negative. Estrogen negative. Herceptin+++. 5 out of 16 nodes were positive. I had a mastectomy and reconstruction. Chemo with CEF combination. Radiation. Lymphedema followed. So did 4 years of wonderful physical therapy! That was the payoff! Thank you Melissa Donaghy! Had my ovaries removed and no more PMS - another payoff! Herceptin treatment was given 2 1/2 years after original treatment.

I worry for my niece and my daughter. Both are 14. Now there is family history. I have hope because of all the research and develpoment. Maybe I won't need to worry at all in the next few years!!

Birthdays were a negative for me. Now, I relish everyone!

Had it not been for the best gynecologist, I would not be here. If 40 was my first mammogram, 41 would have been a gamble. My doctors thought my gynecologist had wonderful forethought. Me too - thank you Dr. Carolan!! I wish I had a more profound way of giving thanks.

It has been 6 years and I will always have my fingers crossed! Life is great!

Julie Reichner Oliva
N. White Plains, NY

Laughter defeated death

My name is Lynette Taylor and I was diagnosed in September 2005 with breast cancer right after my 45th birthday. After the second operation to remove the cancer my physician recommended that I have a masectomy. She stated that there was alot of cancer and explained that she had only one other cancer patient who had that much and that was 15 years ago. I had to ask the obvious question and she told me they died. I had looked up alot of information on breast cancer and a masectomy was recommended to hold off on such an operation. I agreed and added a tram flap. A tram flap and masectomy usually last about 8 hours. After the operation the physician told me that when that had pulled back the skin on my body they saw a fast moving very aggressive cancer they nicknamed helter skelter. She stated that it was heading for my liver and I would have been dead in 2 weeks. She further explained when they pulled back the skin all of the surgeons gasped. This cancer had avoided all radar. I was told in the next upcoming months the cancer had spread to my lungs, cervix and bones. I had several operations after the masectomy and I had not healed when I started the maximum amount of chemo. I cannot explain this but I laughed and cried through the whole experience. Ten operations later and I believe cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am stronger than I ever though possible. Most people didn't believe I was sick. When I would ask them why they would respond, "your always laughing and smiling. I explained I learned laughter can defeat death.

Lynette M. Taylor
Harrisburg, SC

The huge lesson

I was 39 years old, married with 3 kids ages 8, 5 and 2, when I got my diagnosis; stage 2b, estrogen negative breast cancer with lymph nodes involved. I was surprised when a deacon at my church asked that I make every effort to make it to church every week, regardless of how I am feeling. He pointed out that it is very important for people to see sick people serving, and he is the best example of that! All through my treatments I would continue my task of calling the children forward to the alter every other week to do a children's message. I surprised even myself that I was able to attend every single week! There were times when I had to leave a little early, and I knew I would be wiped out for the rest of the day, but I looked forward to it. Some weeks it was the only time I went out besides my Dr's appointments. After a while I grew tired of the wigs and scarves, and actually went in front of the congregation with nothing on my head but glitter.

After 4 months of chemo, a double mastectemy with reconstruction, and 6 weeks of radiation, I am so glad that the kids can look at me and know that cancer is something that you can, indeed, go through and come out the other side. I really pray that the next time that someone they know gets the diagnosis of cancer, they will have the hope that they will come through a long, hard journey and still be here to love them and not jump to the conclusion that it is a death sentence.

Now I know that it is important for sick people to serve. We need to be seen.

Maura Bivens
Las Vegas, NV

Life goes on

Hello, my name is Daniel, and I would like to tell my wife's story. Her name is Cindy. When Cindy was 7, her mother got breast cancer. Eight years later she lost the battle. For years we had a dream about moving to Florida. We fianlly made the move in November of 1998. One year later we purchased our home. While we were having work done on our house Cindy found a lump in her breast. Concerned with family history, we wasted no time. After the mamogram, an appointment for a lumpectomy was made. It was the same day we were moving into our new house. On that first day in our new house we found out Cindy had breast cancer. We had a network of prayers, and Cindy was determined to beat this. Her attitude was so admirable. She loves to cook,and my Father, his wife, and son were in town. After we had invited them to dinner, we got a call and her first Chemo was scheduled for the same day. Cindy did not cancel dinner, but my Father was told it may be cancelled depending on how she felt after the Chemo. Dinner was exellent. Her courage was so admired. I went with her to most of her appointments, and could hear laughter between her and the staff during radiation. We both know the Good Lord heard all the prayers, and help Cindy keep the fabulous attitude she had through it all. Cindy has since help others thru the shock of getting the news. Her advise has been, get treatment and life will go on. She understand how hard the shock is when one is first diagnosed, but assures them life will go on. And it does. Cindy is unaware I am sending this. Daniel

Cindy Belliveau
Indialantic, FL
Midnight Garden Socks
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