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Gracie's Story - a Success Story

Despite the fact that breast cancer has a better survival rate than many other forms of the disease, being diagnosed with it is utterly terrifying. There are no guarantees for what lies ahead in the short or long term, aside from the fact that it will be painful and difficult. "Gracie’s Story: Fighting to Survive Breast Cancer" is the story of one woman’s survival from the shock of diagnosis to the joy and relief of becoming a cancer survivor.

Gracie was used to taking care of everything herself. A single mother of three, she was not easily scared. But learning she had Stage Three breast cancer was frightening. Facing the year-long road ahead of surgery and radiation was frightening. But Gracie was determined not to let that fear control her. She resolved to seek out happiness and laughter through every step of the long, painful road ahead. Now she is sharing how she did it and the difference it made to her in this newly published book. Living and Laughing through Treatment and Recovery. Three cornerstones held Gracie up through her experience of diagnosis, a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments: love, support and a positive attitude. For Gracie, staying positive became part of staying alive. She credits her ability to focus on things that brought happiness and laughter into her life with helping her come through cancer.

Support from loved ones is important, but reading the words of someone else who has been through the diagnosis and treatment and come out the other side as a survivor offers a deep sense of hope and encouragement. "Gracie’s Story: Fighting to Survive Breast Cancer" is not just optimistic get well wishes; it is one woman’s real life survival guide. In other words, it is an important read for anyone who has been recently diagnosed with cancer and those close to them.

"Gracie’s Story: Fighting to Survive Breast Cancer" available now on Amazon worldwide in paperback and electronic form.

Gracie
Phoenix, AZ

Radiation done!

My name is Ronnie and I was diagnosed with DCIS in October. I had a partial mastectomy and fought with infection for a long time. I started radiation in January and finished on February 25th. Now I will take Anastrozole for the next 5 years. My cancer was discovered through a routine mammogram and caught early. My word of wisdom is ladies get your mammograms scheduled!

Ronnell Holida
Brookings, SD

My Worst Nightmare

Just before thanksgiving i was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. It started out with what was gonna be a simple lumptectomy ended up being a double masectomy. And that's exactly what I did a month ago. I still have a long road ahead of me. Chemo, radiation and reconstructive surgery. But more than anything I did not want my 25 year old son to bury his mother. At least not yet. And even though Im still in pain I know I will get through this. In the beginning I swore I would not let cancer take over my life but as we all know it does. Keep fighting ladies and know that you are not alone.

Barbara
torrington, CT

My amazing Mummy!

This is my amazing Mum. She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in November 2014.

She had to stop working and basically everything, but she never stopped smiling. She had 8 months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy. She was back at work within 7 weeks of her operation.

She is the strongest, most inspirational person I've met. Even her hair has grown back a different colour and curly! She doesn't know how much she has overcome and even supported so many other women throughout her cancer journey! Here's to her massive smile on her first birthday being in remission!

Love you Mum like you would never imagine ❤️❤️❤️🎉🎉🎉

Olivia Emmerson
Isle of Man, United Kingdom

My Journey

This was my summer of control, running every day, losing 20 pounds, meeting my 45th birthday with pride. My general checkup showed amazing blood work and kudos for the weight loss. Then I went for my mammogram. Having dense breasts, a return visit was a familiar experience. Then I was asked to wait for the radiologist. What?? It was likely a radial scar, but it would not hurt to check in with a breast care specialist.

So, my nurse navigator chose one within the amazing group, and the consult was set up. After an ultrasound, biopsy, genetic testing (which came up negative), and several sleepless nights, it was discovered that I had Stage 1 IDC. Very small, very early.....Next was the plastic surgeon consult - I opted for a double mastectomy. The cancer was only on the left side, but I was not taking any chances. Fast forward, I had my double on January 5. My lymph nodes were clear and there was such a small amount of cancer, all found and removed during the surgery. No chemo, no radiation, and about to begin Tamoxifen. Recovery has been tough - expanders are crazy and strange! Reconstruction will be soon, and I am ready to get back to work in between. I have been fortunate to have an amazing team of doctors and nurses around me who have answered every question and led me through this journey. Most of all, my family and friends really showed me what love and friendship are all about. I am finally feeling like I am recovering - relieved to not have to go through chemo or radiation - sending strength, prayers and positive thoughts to those who do. We are stronger than we think we are. Don't be afraid to ask for help, whether it is for yourself or for your loved ones. Get your kids the help they need in order to navigate through the uncertainty of it all, no matter how much they protest! Allow yourself to feel....talk to your significant other....listen to what they have to say as well!

Jacqui Gross
Fanwood, NJ

five years free then bang

Hi I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in Febuary 2010, After trying to breast feed my daughter I noticed my nipple had retracted. Doctors had told me it was just blocked milk ducts so i left it but overtime it started to worry me so I got them to check it out deeper. I had an ultrasound and mamogram but nothing showed up but they did a biopsy to be sure. The results come back positive stage 3 breast cancer with lympth nodes involved. I had a lumpectomy and a node clearance, then followed up with chemotherapy and radiation.

I was disease free 2 years after treatment. In July 2015 i developed pneumonia for the first time and got it 4 times within 6 months. Then they decided to do a ct scan where they found tumors on both my lungs. I now have stage IV cancer with no cure. I have had chemo and radiation again and will continue to fight this with all I have. I just am going to think positive and live everyday to its fullest.

tracey everingham
Ingleburn, Australia

Tiki the Wonder Cat

In 1999, we rescued two feral kittens, Tiki and her sister, Garfi.

In 2013, I was reading a book and Tiki was sleeping on my lap. She woke up, and started to knead my left breast (which she had never done before). She was very gentle, and it didn't hurt, so I let her continue. This went on for about 15 minutes, and Tiki had this very intense look on her face.

Suddenly, I felt this sharp pain deep inside my breast. I scooted Tiki off, and looked inside my blouse. There wasn't any sign of scratches on the skin. I went back to reading my book, but as time passed, my breast began to ache, with occasional twinges of pain.

When I went to change clothes to go to bed, there was blood on the inside of my bra cup. As I moved my breast, a red viscous fluid was discharged from the nipple.

I saw my doctor the next day. I went immediately for a diagnostic mammogram. Then had a biopsy. I was diagnosed with DCIS - cancer of the milk duct. I was stage 0, so I had two lumpectomies. The tumor was very large, and on the chest wall. I eventually had a mastectomy.

Because the DCIS was at stage 0, I did NOT have to have chemotherapy; and because I had a mastectomy, I did NOT have to have chemotherapy.

My doctor's theory is that the fluid sac around the tumor had started to leak, and Tiki may have smelled that. Her breast massage caused the fluid sac to rupture, which caused the pain, and the fluid was discharged.

So ... my cancer was first diagnosed by a CAT scan!

I thanked Tiki by cooking her a baked chicken weekly to supplement her cat food. She lived until October 1, 2015, when she passed away from stomach cancer. I miss her very much.

Morjana Coffman
Sacramento, CA

My journey

My story began after I had a normal mammogram in May of 2014. I have been getting my yearly mammograms since I was 30 due to my family history. After having my mammogram I then felt a lump in the top of my right breast. I advised my gynecologist at my appointment about my concern. He stated he didn't feel anything abnormal and because I have highly dense breast tissue that is what he thought it was but he referred my to the breast center because of expertise. I had my appointment with them in Oct.of 2014 and they looked over my mammogram and did their breast exam and told me the same thing. I was given a 6 month followup appointment. When I went back in late March of 2015 they asked about the lump and I told them that was the same lump that was there in October. Right away they ordered me to have an MRI that showed a mass. Then it was time for the biopsy. It came back as cancer...it was 4.8 cm and very close to my chest wall, it was classified as Triple Negative. I was then given 16 rounds of chemo. The first 4 was the red devil two weeks. Then 12 weekly doses of the chemo Taxol. My last chemo was Sept.11, 2015. My surgery for a mastectomy was Oct.22, 2015. I had 8 physical therapy sessions due to some chest muscle had to be cut away. Then my radiation started Dec.8, 2015 everyday for 28 days then 5 days of boost radiation. I'm still healing from the burns. I'm waiting word now about a clinical trial for triple negative breast cancer. I am determined to beat this damn disease. I have a lot of support from family, friends, even strangers. My words of wisdom is always take charge of your health, we know our bodies better than any doctor. I believed I was ok because I had a normal mammogram and two very good doctors assured me it was just dense tissue.

julie taylor
williamsport, MD

Cancer free

I'm 49 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 1, 2015 at the age of 48. I had 4 rounds of chemo and a bilateral mastectomy on June 14, 2015.

Today I had my first three month follow up and so far I'm cancer free I will be taking Tamoxifin for the next five years. Today I also got to ring the bell signifying the end of chemo! So exciting! Looking forward to the next three months of being cancer free!

Amanda
Santa Rosa, CA

Life Changing Moment

I was diagnosed with St II ductal carcinoma on July 27, 2015(My Life Changing Moment). It was like someone pulled the rug from underneath me!!! This could'nt be happening, I go to the doctor regularly, I self-check regularly!!!!!! I'm a nurse for God sake...I would know if i had cancer!!. Well after 2 unsuccessful lumpectomies, I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction on October15, 2015. I can say that this has been one of the most horrific experiences of my life, but my family and friends have actually managed to turn it into one of the best experiences if you can believe that!!! Everyone has rallied around me, and never let me feel alone!!!!My friends stepped in and took care of my family when I couldn't, and pushed me when I got tired! My husband NEVER left my side! This has brought me closer to family and some friends..To every woman who is diagnosed with this ugly monster, just know that you can beat this!, but you HAVE to fight...fight like a girl!!! I am back at work now, taking my Tamoxifen(5yrs), and loving life!

Allison
Duncanville, TX
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