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The Key is Early Detection

I had my yearly mammogram on 10-6-14 and received a letter to return for a magnified view. They found a .7 cyst and then did a sonogram, the doctor then ordered a biopsy. The results came back Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. A lumpectomy was scheduled on 12-10-14 and all went well. The surrounding area of the cyst came back clear. They did the Oncotype DX test to see if I would need to have chemo. The first two test were inconclusive, so they tested it a third time. Finally the results came back clear and I did not require chemo.

They did schedule 16 days of radiation, which in the end left me with a horrible burn on my chest. I tried all the recommended creams, but in the end nothing worked as well as just giving it time to heal. My cancer was hormone based, so my post op care includes taking a estrogen blocker. I go for check ups every three months with my oncology doctor and I go for a mammogram every six months.

I am proud to say that on 12-10-15, I reached one full year of being cancer free. I have to express to women how important it is to have your yearly mammograms. Early detection caught my cancer so early that it was not a danger to my life.

Brenda M. Crowder

Brenda M. Crowder
Unicoi County, TN

The best Christmas Gift EVER being told yesterday that I am Cancer Free!!

In April this year I was diagnosed with Stage III Ductal and Lobular Breast Cancer in my left breast. In May and June I had surgery to remove both breasts with 26 lymph nodes removed as 9 of those were infected. In 2005 I had LCIS Rt breast and 2008 LCIS Lt breast. I had the BRCA test and was negative. In my family other female relatives have also been diagnosed including my late mother, cousins, sister and nieces. The gene has not yet been identified.

The meaning of Christmas is about 'New Life'. As I look back over this year, I see how far I have come. Yesterday I was given the best Christmas gift anyone could ever ask for.. I was told that it seems that I am now Cancer 'FREE'!!! I still continue my radiotherapy for the next two and a half weeks... and I am to commence early January the tablet 'Anastrozole' (Arimidex) for 10yrs as my cancer had been aggressive and loved oestrogen. I have developed peripheral neuropathy due to the Taxol chemo med in my feet and finger tips, but hopefully that may go in time. The important fact though is that I have another chance on life, and I thank God for his help in my journey through the ups and downs emotionally and physically whilst going through surgery and treatments. So all I wish to now say is Merry Christmas everyone and peace and goodwill to all. Here's hoping for a positive new life in 2016!

Michelle
Cheshire, United Kingdom

Fight Like a Girl

Hi there, I completed my last chemotherapy on December 1st, 2015. I was diagnosed in June 2014. Since that date I have underwent 4 surgeries due to complications after the double mastectomies. I then went on to finish 20 rounds of chemotherapy every 3 weeks and 5 weeks of radiation, along with an oophorectomy, as well as two extended hospitalizations for infections and two small TIAs suspectedly brought on by chemotherapy. Prior to this diagnosis I was working full time, exercising and taking care of my family and dealing with daily struggles, then Wham. This disease does not discriminate. Anyone, anywhere at any time. Life does not stop when you are fighting cancer, you continue to lose loved ones, your family still needs helps and your friends still depend on you. All the previous struggles do not go away because you are sick they continue and are waiting for you when you are back. So never say we all have struggles as we do, but with cancer on top of them you must fight that much harder. You fight well you are dealing with your life as well. I fought this hard for my son and family, in particular my 68 year old father who was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic/gallbladder cancer one month after my diagnosis. the chemo. did not work for my Dad, however, he is fighting hard to see my to the end of my treatment and provide the best support he could given his circumstance. MY dad is my HERO!!! Today I can say I am Cancer Free! You can do it, just keep fighting!!!! Hugs and Love for all those out there fighting this domineering disease. Love Tracy

Tracy Procknow
Outlook, SK, Canada

All About the Boobs, No cancer!

Tuesday, December 1st, I underwent reconstructive surgery after a year of battling stage 3 breast cancer! I endured 6 rounds of chemo, 52 weeks of targeted therapy, 28 rounds of radiation, a double mastectomy with lymph node removal, as well as 10 rounds of expansion sessions and construction!! What a year!!!

I was 7 years away from my first mammogram when I found a lump & my son was just 9 months old when I heard those horrific words from my doctor,

"Kristen, it is cancer"... With the help of my friends and family I created a music video to help raise awareness and Stress the importance of early detection! I hope you enjoy and share with your loved ones! https://youtu.be/7sJ4YCD5uAI

Kristen Demeduk Amaral
Livermore, CA

Boobies for Christmas!

After going through chemo and a bilateral mastectomy (with immediate start of reconstruction), earlier this year, I am scheduled for my expander/implant switch for December 16th. Boobies for Christmas! I am singing this song to everyone:

"All I want for Christmas are my two front teats.

My new front teats, oh, my two front teats.

All I want for Christams is my two front teats,

So I get whistled at for Christmas!"

Where ever you are in your treatment process, know that it gets better. Have fun, enjoy everything and laugh when you can

Happy holidays to all my Breast Cancer sorority Sisters!

Carmen Severino
Naperville, IL

Finding Self-Compassion During & After Cancer

My Cancer journey began this summer when I was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer at age 27. I never thought cancer would strike me. I was young and healthy and happy. At the beginning, I never thought I would be strong enough to make it through this challenge, but each step of the way I have surprised myself. Cancer has not only brought new perspective to my life but it has allowed me to find more love for myself and for others than I ever knew was possible. I wouldn't wish this disease upon anyone, but I am so grateful for the opportunity my diagnosis has provided me. I started blogging about my experience and it has connected me with an amazing community of patients and survivors. With the support of my husband, family, friends and new blog community I know I can make it through and I hope to come out of this experience a better person.

Anna (MyCancerChic.com)
Apex, NC

Just me and my cancer(s)...

My story starts with a heartache that I consider greater than a cancer diagnosis. It begins the day my son died, August 27th, 2013. I was 35 years old and 36 weeks pregnant, and I had to hear the most awful words in the world, “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”. Nothing is worse than holding your dead child in your arms, nothing. A year later, I noticed I was gaining weight and having more unexplained symptoms. Several tests later, a mass, 22cm large tumor was found, ovarian cancer, November 2014. 3 weeks home from the hospital, I was in bed, recovering from surgery, I scratched my breast nonchalantly, and found my stage 2 breast cancer, er+/pr+ and her2+. Just 6 rounds of chemo, ending April 2015 and then 30 rads, ended August 2015, I had a radical hysterectomy November 2015 (to avoid further issues). I had the genetic test, BRCA1 and BRCA2, among others. All negative. I am a mystery so my doctors say.

There is an outcome to cancer. Live. Just live. Don’t let the ER visits, the bad tastes, the hair loss, the bowel problems, lack of hunger, etc, ...don’t let them get you. You have a reason to fight this, so find that reason and focus on it. My now 14 year old, she is my reason. I wrote a letter to her brother, I apologized to him, said I had to stick around for a while and take care of his sister. I have my reason to continue the fight, and so do you.

Jen
Parker, CO

Challenging Times

I would say that I am a happy person, love to smile and laugh and especially make anyone else feel the same. I am a single parent to 3 beautiful boys including 1 autistic son. We love to get involved in Special Olympics and different adventures when they are with me. I always have a smile on my face when I talk about them and warmth in my heart.

I recently returned to work in July 2015 after undergoing Major Extensive Brain Surgery back in April 2015 for Chiari Type 1 Malformation and Compression of my 7th Cranial Nerve. Recovery was extremely challenging but thankful for the help of my family and being able to see my boys. Now a Chiari Survivor!

Just 2 months returning and adjusting to work, I felt a rather large lump in my breast and was feeling like 'No this can't be'! I just healed from brain surgery and I am a very healthy person this is nothing. I went home and did a more thorough self exam and realized Oh My this is huge! Went through biopsy and was given the dreaded news "You have Breast Cancer"! I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma High Grade, Triple Negative and is aggressive growing. I started Chemotherapy on 10/20/15 for the next 5 months and then face multiple surgeries. I have never been so terrified in my life and am reminded from family and friends that I can do this!!! I tell myself that every day and just try to get through each day as it comes. I was honest with my boys about me having cancer which was hard and continue to encourage them and myself I will get through this.

Shara Jackson
Kent, WA

One more step, a road still ahead...

I am a mother and have a beautiful blended family with six children ranging in age from 15 years old to 2 years old, all of whom reside with us. I have been married going on 7 years to a very devoted husband and father, Matthew, who works as an active duty sailor in the US Navy.

In May 2015 I felt a lump in my right breast, but I thought because I was still breast-feeding my toddler that it was a clogged milk duct or possibly my third bout of mastitis this year. After it did not resolve itself on its own, I saw my primary care doctor and was referred to the Breast Heath clinic for further screening. On August 12 I had a mammogram which was immediately followed with an ultrasound of my right breast. They scheduled my biopsy for the next day. August 20 I received the results of my biopsy: positive for cancer, specifically Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. My cancer was diagnosed as grade 3, triple negative, and Stage 2. On September 29 I went in for my surgery. They removed the breast cancer which was about golf ball sized, three lymph nodes from my armpit to see if the cancer was spreading, and one lymph node from my neck. The results came back a week or so later: they got all the cancer and the margins were clear, the lymph nodes under my arm did not show signs of the cancer spreading. It has been a long journey already, and I still have 20 weeks of chemotherapy followed by 5 weeks of radiation left to go.

Today I started chemo off with a bang by taking the dose dense AC. My chemotherapy regimen is called AC/T. Currently I'm taking dose dense AC every two weeks for four rounds. In eight weeks I start the T every week for 12 weeks.Treatment took about two hours from start to finish. I'm told the T will take about 4 hours, but it will be much gentler on my system than the AC I'm having these next 8 weeks.

Snow Flowers
San Diego, CA

Having fun with chemo

On June 1, 2015 I was diagnosed with Invasive ductal carcinoma stage 2A.

At 48 years old I was in shock, I couldn't have breast cancer I'm to young, but it was true I did have breast cancer.

I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy which was performed on June 6, 2015.

I was then introduced to chemo on July 15, 2015, through continued chemo treatments I lost all of my hair and I thought let's have some fun with this. The picture above shows me as a baby and then what I look like now. Then and Now.

I still have a long road ahead of me on this journey and will fight my hardest as I move through it.

Amanda Rothchild
Santa Rosa, CA
Midnight Butterfly Long Sleeve Tunic
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