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How will I tell My Babygirl

When you go in for your yearly womanly check up you never think that they will find breast cancer. They did all I could think of how am I going to tell my 10 yr old babygirl. I am a single Mom and She and I have been through so much. Even though I have a Family history of it Mom, Aunts, Grandma, 2 out of 3 sisters. My oldest sister and I went to My Mom's to tell my daughter she took it pretty well or so I thought when we were alone she cried and said I don't want you to die. I told her that God knows how much we need each other and he will not let that happen. So we talked and I made my decision I would take them both off and reconstruct just get rid of it they are not important what is important is being her for my daughter. I personally was very lucky I had a wonderful Mom and Daughter to be with me after all my surgery's and wonderful family and friends. My lil girl washed me, helped me get dressed, measured and drained my tubes she was a God send. She is truely my Angel Baby.I have had four surgery's the last yr. But I have had wonderful doctors. Because of the way I did this whole process and because I did the Oncotype test I did not have to have chemo or radiation. This test show from your cancer what your changes are of it coming back I am at 9% so my Doctor said even with giving me chemo or Radiation it would bring me to a 7% or take Tamoxifen for five yrs and monitor you. Have a Super Fantastic Day ! Thanks Family and Friends

Littlerock, CA

Almost One Year

It all started on a November afternoon when I received that call saying the words that no one wants to hear, "you have cancer". At that point my life changed forever. I went through 3 surgeries, and finally had to have a masectomy on my left breast. I am one of the lucky ones. My cancer level was very low so I did not have to go through chemo or radiation. I am on Tamoxifin for 5 years and will be cancer-free for one year on April 3. I have learned so much through this ordeal. Do not give up. Do not give in to this disease. Be strong. Fight and live your life to the fullest. I now look at life from a very different angle. God gave you life and he can take it away. Luckily He wants me on this earth for a purpose. I am enjoying life to its fullest with my husband of 23 years, my daughter, son-in-law and son.

Reisterstown, MD

Never would have thought I would be the one!!!!

Hello I am 35 years old three year survivor of breast cancer. I never would have thought of having a mammogram at my age so lucky me, my Dr. found a lump on one side but the cancer was on the other side. I had a choice to have a lumpectomy but why take the chance so I just had a mastectomy to lesson my chances of the cancer coming back. I have taken this as a blessing from god and have been supporting others like me who don't have the support that is needed for this life long process. My prayers are with all of my sister's and brother's of cancer may the lord bless you!

I would like to say thank you to the wonderful Dr Wanda Simmons-Clemons for saving my life and pushing me to know that I could deal with this and to live on also to Dr. Schultz and Dr Sued of St Joseph for all of there support.

I am available for anyone who has any questions or just in the need of a friend to deal with the day to day feeling.

Baltimore, MD

Mammograms save lives!

Four years ago I went to have my routine mammogram and the radiologist noticed a shadow on the films. He compared them to the mammogram I had the year before (at the same facility) and sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound along with a biopsy confirmed the fact that there was cancer there. Since that day I have had a lumpectomy with a sentinel node biopsy, radiation and a hysterectomy to improve my chances of remaining cancer free. I am a survivor all because I made it a point to have an annual mammogram. I believe strongly that mammograms save lives!

Tommi Jones
Lincoln, NE

Breast Cancer and Personal Growth

While I would never recommend that someone get breast cancer, I found that it was growth and learning experience for me. I am fiercely independent rarely asking or accepting help. But breast cancer changed that. People really wanted to help. I found that it was okay to say yes. It opened my eyes to possibilities I didn't dare think before.

A brief story about this exprience: I remember walking the survivor lap around the reflecting pool at Celebration on the Hill. There were all these people around the pool cheering us on, high fiving and congratulating us. I wish anyone reading this has an experience (the walking, not the cancer) such as this once in their lifetime. The absolute sense of community and love was almost overwhelming.

I would be remiss if I didn't recognize a very good friend who came with me to my chemotherapy appointments. We laughed and talked and the time passed.

Another part of the story is another kind of message about caring. We survivors are a luck bunch. I think we have an obligation to advocate for anyone suffering or in need, particularly it it looks like their are doing so in silence. Not only are there other cancers, but there are a lot of serious illness and neediness that we should be aware of as well. Fund raising or awareness campagins should not be in competition for scarce dollars, diabetes or poverty are equally worthy causes.

So, let us stand up for humanity.

Roberta Bernstein
Concord, MA

Breast Cancer Survivor

In November of 2006, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Fortunately, I was blessed to have this discovered at an early stage as a result of my yearly mammogram. Even after knowing exactly where it was, I was unable to feel it during a self-exam due to its small size and location.

My treatments began with having a partial mascectomy also known as a lumpectomy. This was followed by 33 radiation treatments. I then began a five-year daily treatment with Femara, which is a medication classified as an aromatose inhibitor to minimize the estrogen that is naturally produced in my body as my cancer was estrogen positive. Although each treatment has had its own side effects, each one has been well worth going through to increase my odds of survival. Test results every three months show no signs of the cancer.

Yes, I am a survivor! I thank God each day for helping me through this fight. The fight is a hard one but it can be won. Please get your mammograms and do your self-exams! The earlier cancer can be detected the better your chances of winning the fight.

Nancy Capp
Visalia, CA

I am surviving the survival of breast cancer

1 year after a "clean" mamogram I learned I had 3 types of breast cancer. A double mastectomy, the cancer had spread. So, 7 months of chemo and 3 months radiation. The strength that I had seems surreal then and now. 6 surgeries since March 15, 2006 to today March 23, 2009. This disease has taken a toll on my financial pocket. All my medical bills paid in full... with the exception of the deductibles of my last surgery - November 17, 2008. I have asked for payment plans from everyone. I am the rock of support to my family and friends.

A mortgage officer, past 2 years business is thin. All financial resourses--exhausted. Always the one to lend money. So close to decent income ... But close will not cover my expenses next month.

It just doesn't seem fair, to survive with dignity the treatments of breast cancer... and halted... when you believe... it is all behind you. I do not yet have a "clean" bill of health. I feel though, It may be behind me. The radiation was too much .. and it continues to visit my body. I have several side effects from the chemo....

So... here I am wanting to pat myself on the back... and wondering if next month.. I will be able to keep the shirt on it!

Leslie Garber
Washington, DC

Breast cancer is a sisterhood

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. I was taken totally by surprise because I had only 1 relative with breast cancer, I don't drink or smoke, and I breast-fed 3 babies. Luckily, I was referred to 3 outstanding doctors: my oncologist, surgeon, and plastic surgeon. I also had a wonderful support group who believe in the power of prayer. Not only did my Christian family and friends pray, but a Jewish friend prayed, and a mass was said in my name in Catherine, Italy. After having chemotherapy and a mastectomy, I am in remission. I take Evista every day and don't see my oncologist again until this summer.

Breast cancer is a sisterhood that you don't necessarily want to be a part of, but I'm happy to say that even though the membership is growing, our longivity is also growing thanks to good doctors, research, and the good Lord.

Beckie Taulbee
Las Cruces, NM

My winning battle

In December 1992, at the age of 55, my gynecologist discovered a lump in my right breast. I had had a mammography in August but it hadn't shown up. I went through the entire slash-poison-burn routine which certainly saved my life even if it was somewhat torturous. With the exception of 2 weeks after my lymph node disection, I continued to work through all my treatments.. I had extraordinary support from my son, my sister, my co workers and my friends and the most incredible doctors who were always available for my questions and for caring. I joined a SHARE support group where I met a woman who has become like a member of my family. Out of the darkest of days came something special.

Ethel Schwartz Bock
New York, NY

It's a Family Affair

When I was a little girl, we'd go to north Texas to visit our grandparents. Big Daddy and Big Mama shared their home with Grannie Dearmore, Big Mama's mother. I noticed that both Grannie and Big Mama had only one breast, so in my infinite 4-year-old wisdom I believed that at a certain age one of them fell off!

I shortly learned the truth, but wasn't prepared for the devastation that breast cancer would continue to bring my family. At age 36, my sister and only sibling had bilateral mastectomy--losing both breasts to cancer. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and died at age 74.

I have had genetic testing, which shows that I don't have a gene mutation.

However, breast cancer is definitely an ugly reality in our family. So, for the sake of my daughter and granddaughter, I work diligently with all available groups to develop prevention methods, increase early detection, and find better, quicker and less invasive treatments.

My biggest dream is to stomp out breast cancer in my lifetime!

Deann Owen Lewis
Crescent, OK
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