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The otherside of the coin

In May 1999 my wife & i were given thoese awful words. We then went through the hell of the treatment that we all know too well,the hair loss, which hert me very much as well as Carol. We got each other through it all as we had done the past 31 yrs of ups & downs, TOGETHER . On the 8th April 2000 @ 11.45am i lost the love of my life to breast cancer. I have now got used to life without Carol although we will never be apart and i talk with her every night. So come on all you men out there chin up your ladies need you! I will give the breast cancer site my full support for as long i am able too.

Yours in support

Brian Williams

Brian Williams
Havant, United Kingdom

Self Breast Exams Work!

I'm a TEN YEAR Breast Cancer Survivor because I found my tumor myself. I was having Mammograms every 6 mo. on the advice of my Dr. & had a clean one in JUNE, 1998. At the time of our only daughter's wedding in Sept. I discovered a lump in my right breast. After the great weekend of celebration I went to my Dr. She said she hadn't felt it in June & that the Mammogram hadn't shown one. So,I had another Mammogram THAT DAY & it was CLEAR/FINE/POSITIVE!! But the lump was there & felt quite big!! SO I had an Ultra Sound & IT WAS SEEN, of course! From there I was sent

to a Surgeon who biopsied it & a week later I was told I had stage II Breast Cancer. My husband & I were then VERY QUICKLY meeting with an Oncologist, Radiologist, & Surgeons to consider different treatment options. I was advised to have a Lumpectomy with the "NEW" Sentinel Node Biopsy that was then being used @ Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. That is what I chose to do. The results of the node biopsy came back that the nodes had been invaded, so I had to return for the removal of ALL nodes under my right arm. I firmly believe that my Oncologist saved my life with the 8 Hellish Chemo treatments I took losing "EVERY" hair on my body. Following that I had 32 Radiation treatments, which seemed like a "Cake Walk" after Chemo!!

I have great faith & believe in the power of prayer & a positive attitude!! I always believed from the moment of hearing my diagnosis that "I WOULD

LIVE" & was not going to die! Praise God!! By the way, My New Grown-in White Hair is now RED!

Judy Eggerling
Odessa, FL

My Story

I found the lump during a self-exam in June, 2007, right before my 40th birthday. After a mammogram, ultra sound and lumpectomy, it was confirmed in July that I had Stage I invasive ductal carcinoma. Luckily it did not spread to lymph nodes or other organs. I had a partial mastectomy with chemo, radiation and Herception treatments to follow. I have been very blessed with the support of my family. My 14 year old daughter made me homemade chicken soup to make sure I was eating during my chemo treatments and gave me friendly reminders about taking my meds prior to treatments. She was my nurse maid. My brother, who had hair longer than mine (down to his waist), shaved my head when my hair started falling out and then had me shave his!! He said we were in this together all the way! My mom and sister-in-law went to every treatment with me. My son and daughter-in-law were always giving me moral support and encouragement. I am now on Tamoxifen for the next 5 years and have been cancer free for almost 2 years!

My message for everyone: do regular self-exams and get mammograms. I wasn't supposed to start mammograms for almost another year. It would have been too late for me had I not done a self-exam.

Paula
Wellington, OH

Guess I'm one of the lucky ones

July 18th 2006, while in the shower, I felt a large (about the size of a walnut) lump in my left breast. I often wonder how I could have NOT felt it beforehand, but I didn't. (I had, had my mammogram in 2004, but skipped it in 2005...)

A week later I had a needle biopsy. Everyone, including the surgeon, said that I didn't have cancer; that it was just a cyst. I believed them in the end. Then the fateful day came; August 8th when the doctor told me I had "Mucinous Carcinoma". The lump was so large; I had the choice of "waiting it out with treatments", or a mastectomy. I opted for the latter out of fear. I asked everyone I knew and those I didn't know to pray for me. I was terrified; not knowing if I was living or dying.

It wasn't until I came to, after the surgery, did I find out that "they got it all". It wasn't in my lymph nodes or elsewhere. I closed my eyes and thanked all the angels here on earth and up above.

This type of breast cancer they say, accounts for no more than 3% of all breast cancer diagnoses, and occurs more frequently in women in their 60's. I was 47 at the time.

If I had to ask God for cancer; this was the best one to ask for...(The doctor told me this the day of my diagnosis).

Guess I'm one of the lucky ones. And yes, I am blessed!!!

Jules
San Diego, CA

I'm So Blessed!!

In September 2003, I had my routine mammogram. When I received my letter telling me the results, it was suggested that I have a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, and possibly a biopsy done on my left breast. While the technician was doing the ultrasound, a radiologist entered the room to do the biopsy. Before prepping me for the biopsy, he introduced himself and then said to me, "We are looking at cancer here". I was completely shocked. He then did a core biopsy and told me he would send the report to my doctor in order to get a referral for surgery. I thought that surely he was wrong, afterall, he had only seen the mammogram and the ultrasound. I just thought how unprofessional he was to tell me that before getting a pathology report and sending it to my doctor to tell me the results. I guess he had seen enough to know, because it was cancer.

I came home after seeing my doctor and having him tell me that it was indeed cancer. The night before my surgery, I went out on our deck after my husband went to bed and cried and prayed. I finally came inside and crept into bed. My husband hugged me and started praying aloud. I knew the moment he started praying that I would be ok. I had surgery in late September that year. I was very lucky. I had a lumpectomy and all the lymph nodes taken from under my left arm. The cancer was a stage 2-hormone receptive cancer. I had 35 radiation treatments, 3 years of Tamoxofin and still take Femara. I did a stereotactic byopsy 2 years ago due to some microcalifications, but all was fine. God has blessed me so, yet the fear of recurrence is always there.

Nancy Cumbee
Salem, SC

I survived

In January 2008 I found a lump. Convinced it was nothing to worry about I went for a check up, had a mammogram, scan and a core biopsy. Results came back and I was told that I had cells that maybe one day could turn into cancerous cells. For some unknown reason I didnt feel too sure about the results. I asked to be refered to another hospital. By this time it was March. I had another mammogram and an MRI scan. On March 13th I was told that I had breast cancer and needed a mastectomy urgently. Which I had on the 18th of March. I was so shocked afterwards to think I could have carried on regardless and ended up dead. I have since had reconstructive surgery and am now waiting for nipple reconstruction. I couldnt have done it without the support of my family and friends. In three weeks time I am going to Barbados with my husband and I will be able to wear bikinis. I am also planning on trying to renew our wedding vows while we are there. I still thank my gaurdian angel every day.

Julie
Lowestoft, United Kingdom

My Journey

When dressing for church one Sunday, I noticed that my right nipple was bleeding. The following Friday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. The hospital tumor board met the following Monday to inform me that my margins weren't clean--I then had a mastectomy.

Five days later I was admitted to the hospital, very ill with a bacterial and staff infection. When I did wake, my comfort was my husband, Dein, and the crucifix on the wall.

Eleven days later I was discharged, I was still very weak. After gaining strength, Dr. Ali, my plastic surgeon, constructed my breast using the fat and muscle from my stomach, which is called a Tram Flap. My body wouldn't reject itself.

In 2004, I felt the need to 'give back' to that hospital and began volunteering. With the help of Sue Yun, coordinator of breast health services, I began counseling other breast cancer patients.

Three years ago, I decided to 'pay back' the hospital by forming a group of volunteers to help other women in similar circumstances. In 2007 the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers became a non profit 501(c)3. Each year we have a "fun"draiser to enable uninsured women to receive a free mammogram regardless of their age. Our "stroll, walk, 5k run, or 20 mile bike ride" takes place in Oxford, Michigan, on the Polly Ann Trail.

Please look at our website: www.pinkribbontrailblazers.com to see the check presentation to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital's breast program, In two years we have enabled 230 women to receive a free mammogram!

Pat Nolf
Lake Orion, MI

Two Times Around

I had beast cancer in my left breast in 1998. After a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation, I appeared to be fine. I was never sick (I got very tired) and missed very few days of work. Then, in 2007, during a routine mammogram, another lump was discovered, this time on the right side. A needle biopsy confirmed my worst fears -- breast cancer again. This time the tumor was much more aggressive and several lymph nodes were involved. Since I knew I couldn't ever go through this three times, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, and radiation, but no reconstruction. Unfortunately, I was allergic to the chemo and was quite sick for most of the year. However, it is now 2009 and I am in remission and feeling great. I have regained weight from 105 to 130, gone back to teaching Sunday School and singing in my church choir, and pretty much living on my own. My choir began wearing pink ribbons in October 2007 and are still wearing them! I had three guardian angels who, with God's help, kept me alive during the worst times -- two dear, dear friends and a wonderful sister-in-law. With God's continued help, I'll survive this time also. I still have a lot of living to do! My message to newly diagnosed women? Keep the faith and never, never give up.

Patricia Motley
Keysville, VA

Love-Laugh-Live

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 25, 2006 at the age of 38. I'll never forget that quiet ride home with my best friend. All I could think about was how I was going to tell my husband and my children, who, at the tender ages of 6 and 8, lost their father to colon cancer. I knew my family was going to be afraid for me, and I was trying to pull myself together so I could put on a strong face for them. Surprisingly, even to me, somehow I managed to break the news and stay tear-free and upbeat. I calmly reassured them that everything was going to be fine, that we were going to get through this together. I decided the best option for me was a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. On June 20, 2006 I had my surgery. In August I started eight chemotherapy treatments and reconstruction. I had a treatment every two weeks, four treatments with the "red devil" and the last four with Taxitire. The love and support of family and friends helped me through this terrible ordeal. Time alone walking with nature and God did a lot to lift my spirits and kept me active and strong. Come June 2009 I will have been cancer-free for three years. I am doing great! My hair is back, along with an even stronger faith in the Lord and my family and friends than ever before. I am healthy and strong, and I am looking forward to many more years of love, laughter and living. All I can say to any of you going through this is to stay positive, believe in yourself, eat healthy, and maintain your faith in God. You have more strength inside you than you could ever imagine.

Vickey L Matthews
Talladega, AL

19-Year Survivor

Nineteen years ago, when I had metastatic breast cancer, it was not spoken about the way it is now. My options were few. I was lucky enough to find a research study at The Vince Lombardi Cancer Care Center at Georgetown University. After being given three years to live, I am alive and well after treatment, which included eleven months of chemo (one week on, three weeks off), twenty-eight days of radiation, and an autologous bone marrow transplant. Breast cancer is not the death sentence it once was. With the proper treatment and a good, positive attitude, it is possible to overcome just about anything. In the time that I underwent treatment, I never missed work except when I had to go to Washington D.C. for treatments. Work is one of the things that kept me going. I was a teacher (I'm now retired). One of my negative experiences was with the American Cancer Society. I asked only if they knew of any reasonable places to stay in the area. They said they couldn't help because their money was spent, even though I wasn't asking for money. I even asked if there were corporate plane flights from our area. They could only find flights from a distance. I had asked because I know the corporate flights would not have cost the Society anything and taking the train to D.C. was expensive, as was lodging. I am doing well and hope to be around for a long, long time.

Anonymous
Deerfield Beach, FL
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