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Why Not Me?

At the age of 49, I was performing in a local production of "Nunsense" as Mother Superior - lots of singing and dancing. One day following a performance I felt very sore at my right upper chest wall - closer to the shoulder than breast, I thought. There was a small knot. I thought I had just pulled something, but after a couple of days of soreness I called my doctor who arranged for a mammogram and sonogram. Two days later I was in for a core biopsy of two tumors in the same breast - the one at the upper chest wall and another one deep under the nipple that I would have never found with self-examination.

Two completely separate cancers were diagnosed and I was told I needed to have immediate surgery. My only option was a mastectomy because of the size of the tumors. The sentinel node procedure was relatively new, and my surgeon had done many, but the cancer was so aggressive they felt it had already progressed past the lymph nodes and I would require further surgery.

I remember crying on my way home, not sure how I would tell my husband. But then I said to myself, "Why not me?" It was the last time I would cry about anything for the next five years. I was determined I would get through it with strength and grace, and although it was the most difficult time in my life, I never once entertained the thought that the cancer had progressed. Following surgery, my doctors were amazed and thrilled to tell me that the cancer had not spread. I had both chemo and radiation and it's been almost 10 years now. I am still cancer free.

Marilyn Kittelson
Dallas, TX

Have hope!

I had breast cancer 10 years ago. The surgeon who found out told me I should have a mastectomy. (immediately)

I went for a second opinion, to a surgeon who is tops in the field. He said there was NO need for a mastectomy, that all I needed was 6 weeks of radiation.

I followed his advice, happily.


Best of luck!

Gurnee, IL

The fight will continue in memory of Cindy Eubanks

My story begins back in 2004 when I lost one of my best friends to breast cancer. I had also fought the disease and won my fight. Cindy did not; in our final conversations prior to her death, Cindy asked that I do something to keep the awareness front and center of the importance of mammograms and early detection. It was a time that I needed to do something for her and in her fashion, she went to work preparing all of us for what was to come. As a member of Soroptimist International of Rockwall, our focus is assistance to women and children for health needs. That year we joined the international fundraising campaign called WomenAid, and decided to focus our efforts on offering mammograms to any woman that could not afford the procedure. Each year since 2005 we have supported the local Helping Hands Clinic and have gone from the first year of $5,000 to the current campaign goal of $75,000.

I am proud to say the promise I made to Cindy has grown into an annual event saving lives. This I am sure of.

I love this website and share it often. Cindy used to tell me when taking on volunteer work, "Just say yes and then find your way". I will continue living by this motto and "Saying yes" when I can make a difference. For photos, visit our website or our latest campaign, Karen Coughlin, Rockwall Texas

Karen Coughlin
Rockwall, TX

Going FullThrottle

My name is Charlotte, I am 50 years young. I have been married to my loving husband and best friend Joe for 33 years. We have a daughter, Melissa. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April 2008. I was devastated. Life was so good and I loved everything about my life. My daughter, was getting married in May and we absolutely adored our future son in law. This is something I had dreamt about and hoped for all my life. After I got over the initial shock I decided fight this thing with all my might. I was not going to let this control my life but I was going to remain in control. My tumor was quite large and I had some lymph nodes test positive also but with my wonderful team of doctors and my family by my side we chose what we felt would be the best treatment plan for me. I made the decision along with the standard treatment that I would take part in a Clinical Trial so that I may possibly help someone in the future facing this journey. My treatment plan called for chemo first to try and shrink the tumor followed by surgery and then radiation. After around 3 treatments I noticed that my tumor had began to shrink. I had my surgery on November 4th. When my surgeon went in she was amazed to no longer find any traces of the cancer in my lymph nodes and my tumor was no longer a tumor but a few scattered cells and almost too small to measure!! She had the biggest smile when she asked me if I knew what this meant. She said "this is big, really big" and that I had literally made medical history. Wow, image that me?

Charlotte Gomes
Salinas, CA

3 year survivor

In January 2006, I went for my annual mammo as I had done so for several years. Three days later, I received a phone call to come back for additional testing. This was the first time that this had happened so needless to say I was quite concerned. These tests included a spot compression mammo, ultrasound, biopsy and then the diagnosis of breast cancer in at least two places.. An MRI was scheduled which lead to more biopsies and further cancer was revealed. My diagnosis turned out to be Stage 3, Grade 1 ILC with node involvement. Treatment included a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, chemo, radiation, oophorectomy and follow up treatment with an Aromatase Inhibitor. This cancer was not found on self-exam, but on the mammogram. Without this annual mammorgram, my breast cancer would not have been detected at this point in time. It is scary to think if I was not getting annual mammograms, how much more the cancer would have progressed. I feel that it is of the utmost importance for women to have annual mammograms. It is what most probably saved my life. I am very happy to say that I am "dancing with NED" (no evidence of disease) since I finished treatment.

Denver, CO

no drugs for me!

I had a cancerous tumor removed from my right breast in December 2004. Three sentinel lymph nodes were removed & biopsied. One showed cancer cells. I was advised to undergo radiation and chemotherapy and have my axillary lymph nodes removed & biopsied. I chose instead to go completely drug free & toxin free, exercise and drink plenty of pure water. In the fall of 2008 I had my 4th clear mammogram & I feel fine.

independence, MO


My wife's family is a family that has lots of cancer and her mother lost a breast to cancer. We have several friends that also have cancer problems in their families and we are all in need of support when it comes to cancer concerns.

Thank you for your support our families do apprecitate it

Mesa, AZ

May 2009 marks anniversary of 8 year survivor

May will mark the 8th year of being a breast cancer survivor...I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2001..I had a masectomy on the right side, chem, radiation and i am still on tamoxifen..At first when i had the initial diagnosis, i cried and i just could not believe it, i was only 43 years old and being diagnosed with breast cancer, it was like a bad nightmare..After a the news 2 weeks later i had the masectomy..You finally realize, i wil be ok..You have to be positive, talk to others about it and it will help a lot...Well, after all of the treatments were over, i was able to help others diagnosed with any type of cancer, i would always tell them to try to stay positive and try no to be negative at all...I know at first that is very hard to do, but with prayer, family and friends it is really an easy task..I would just like to say the same to all of you stay positive..Prayers, family and friends will get you thru this traumatic illness.You will be a survivor too..

Mary Cuti

Amite, LA

Blessed in Raleigh, NC

On Thanksgiving morning 2007, as I was applying lotion following a shower and prior to a house full of guests arriving, I found a lump in my right breast. Being a holiday weekend meant waiting until Monday to see my doctor. It was a whirlwind that next week seeing my primary physician, the surgeon, the oncologists, having additional tests, etc. Within two weeks I had opted to undergo bilateral mastectomies. I had cancer involvement in the sentinel node only, and opted for aggressive treatment and am most grateful for the compassionate care I received at Rex Cancer Center in Raleigh.

I work for the United Methodist Conference and am convinced that the prayers of 700 congregations, family and friends made this journey with cancer so much easier than it might have been. Following surgery, I had six sessions of chemo and a year of Herceptin treatment, finishing the end of January 2009. Would I have chosen this journey - of course not, but it does not mean a death sentence, nor does it have to take our quality of life or our womanhood. Did I lose my hair - yes - and it grew back gray! Did I have a few days during treatment when I was not feeling terrific - yes, but not many!

I encourage everyone to click on the breast cancer site daily to help those who are under-insuranced or not insured receive regular mammograms. I was not well informed and did not have mammograms because there was no family history of breast cancer - not knowing that my age (60) and weight were creating significant risks for breast cancer. I encourage all women to continue regular personal manual checks, have your doctor check you yearly and get your mammongrams! And click, click, click on the website!

Linda Bourey
Raleigh, NC

The Day My Life Changed

Jan of 2007, I went for my yearly Mamo I was told that I had Breast Cancer. I went to my Gen Surgeon, the next step was for a breast tissue biopsy.

Everything was explained, the next step would be a sentinel lymph node biopsy.The removal of 3 node's one had a very small speck of cancer. And my Oncologist felt the tiny speck wasn't concern enough to have Chemo it would only improve my chances by 3 or 4 percent which we both felt wasn't enough to endure the side effects of chemo.

After my healing time about 3 weeks or so I started my radiation setup, and daily treatments 5 day's a week.A total of 33 treatments.

All went well and at times I didn't even feel like I was having any side affects by the last two weeks things changed quickly. I was so burned and raw and then the fatigue set in the side affects took awhile for me to heal and return to my normal self which for me took longer than I thought it would be.

But, 2 years later at 58 I am doing wonderful and due my continued 6 month check up in April and for my now yearly mamo.

I take a daily Arimidex to help keep my hormones controlled since my cancer was a hormone positive cancer.

I do see life much differently now! I am a Breast Cancer Survior! And I am stronger now than I was before. A yearly Mamo is how my breast cancer was caught, earlier enough to save my life so I can have more precious time with my loved ones,family and friends and even my doggies.


kansas city, MO
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