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Mom's long journey

My mom was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2008.. She did a self test and found a small lump in her milk duct. She had a mastectomy the day after I graduated high school and did 4 rounds of chemo. In 2009 she was declared cancer free. Almost 5 years clear, in January 2013 she found another lump on the same side and found out she had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. It spread to her lungs, liver, and bones. I was devastated because I thought we were done with this but here it was trying to take us down again. She went through 6 rounds of chemo and was put in herceptin and tamoxifen. Just when we thought we were in the clear she started to get headaches and couldn't even stand up or walk without help. My worst fear was about to come true when we took her to the ER and they said she had a brain tumor. The week before thanksgiving she had 5 rounds of radiation and the worst part was hearing her throw up at night. In August 2015, she caught pneumonia and went into the hospital for complications of that and the cancer spreading to her heart in September. On October 1, 2015 my mom lost her battle with breast cancer. She fought so hard for 7 years and I saw her go through everything. Please find a cure! I don't want to see someone go through what I went through.

Lauren Butler
Hesperia, CA

In 1999 my sister died of Breast Cancer at the age of 43

I am a Breast Cancer Survival. On 2009 I had my first Biopsy and in 2011 I had an excisional biopsy both were benign, but after the excisional biopsy I started feeling something in my left breast so I got a sonomamagraphy, mamography, spot compression,it said probably benign, evaluation in 6 months, I told the doctor no, that I had something there so he checked me and sent me to get an MRI. The MRI came back highly suspicious for malignancy. On august 2012 my results were infiltrating Duct Cell carcinoma Grade II and Ductal Carcinoma in-situ Grade III, ER and PR negative and HER-2 positive. I had a bilateral Mastectomy which was going to be with reconstruction, I even got the expanders in, but after the surgery I got a blood clot in my leg which they put me on blood thinners and had a stent put in, then I got necrosis in my nipple and aereola so they had to operate a second time to take out my nipples and aereolas. Once I was recuperating they sent me home, but I didn't last a day because my chest started getting black so I had to go back to the hospital, which they found out I had a hemorragh in my chest. Since they had to operate on me a third time to clean me I told my doctor to take out the expanders, because I wasn't going to do reconstruction and thank God I did because the expanders had blood clots in them. I was in the hospital for almost 2 months because of all the complications. I went to the oncologist and I got 12 Taxols, 4 red quimos and 18 herceptins, I finished my quimos on May 2014. I did the Brac analysis test and came out positive for the Brac 2 mutation, my cancer is hereditary and is an invasive cancer. In february of 2014 my father died of breast and kidney cancer which metastisized. I thank God and my family and friends for praying for me and that I am alive and in remission.

Irma Rivera
Lares, PR

In 1995 my sister dies of Breast cancer at the age of 43

I am a Breast Cancer Survival. On 2009 I had my first Biopsy and in 2011 I had an excisional biopsy both were benign, but after the excisional biopsy I started feeling something in my left breast so I got a sonomamagraphy, mamography, spot compression,it said probably benign, evaluation in 6 months, I told the doctor no, that I had something there so he checked me and sent me to get an MRI. The MRI came back highly suspicious for malignancy. On august 2012 my results were infiltrating Duct Cell carcinoma Grade II and Ductal Carcinoma in-situ Grade III, ER and PR negative and HER-2 positive. I had a bilateral Mastectomy which was going to be with reconstruction, I even got the expanders in, but after the surgery I got a blood clot in my leg which they put me on blood thinners and had a stent put in, then I got necrosis in my nipple and aereola so they had to operate a second time to take out my nipples and aereolas. Once I was recuperating they sent me home, but I didn't last a day because my chest started getting black so I had to go back to the hospital, which they found out I had a hemorragh in my chest. Since they had to operate on me a third time to clean me I told my doctor to take out the expanders, because I wasn't going to do reconstruction and thank God I did because the expanders had blood clots in them. I was in the hospital for almost 2 months because of all the complications. I went to the oncologist and I got 12 Taxols, 4 red quimos and 18 herceptins, I finished my quimos on May 2014. I did the Brac analysis test and came out positive for the Brac 2 mutation, my cancer is hereditary and is an invasive cancer. In february of 2014 my father died of breast and kidney cancer which metastisized. I thank God and my family and friends for praying for me and that I am alive and in remission.

Irma Rivera
Lares, PR

Last day of chemo!

On Feb 2015 I woke up a painful lump in my armpit. Couple months prior I had gotten one near my armpit but over time disappeared. I admit it I cancelled my doctors appointment because I was cheap. I got scared when I got another very painful lump so this time my cheap/impatient side of me decided to go to a walking clinic. They told me by just looking at it and feeling it that it was just a skin infection so they gave me antibiotics and pain meds and if it didn't get better in a week to come back or just go to emergency room. A week later I was still in a lot of pain and my husband just said to just go to the hospital asap. That next morning I went to hospital and got ultrasound they said it might be an infection but it's too deep in my armpit that I must consult with the hospital surgeon. Two days later the surgeon is arranging surgery to remove what was there. A week after that he is giving me the news the worst news ever that I had breast cancer. By 8:30 am the following day I am with the oncologist going over the treatments. Now today October 23, 2015 I have finished my chemo treatment (16 rounds). Now I get to start 28 rounds of radiation treatments and hopefully by next summer get my final reconstruction surgery since I also got a double bilateral mastectomy. My families and friends patience, support, and many prayers it's what has given me the strength. I share this because I want peole not to ignore your bodies warnings pay attention to your body and consult a doctor ASAP if you feel something wrong instead of procrastinating or being cheap.

Ludy Campbell
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Breaking up with Cancer

I wanted to share my video that I have titled Breaking up with Cancer. I was diagnosed 4.5 years ago at the age of 27. I wanted to share how I feel and have heard from others feeling the same way. The mental after affects of cancer. It seems to sometimes be dismissed or swept under the rug. The fear of cancer still looming but others not understanding why we can't just get over it. I hope this help others feel like they are not alone! Please feel free to share, and LiveLifeLarge!

Here is the link to my video, I put it on you tube. https://youtu.be/1HbNVCK8nNs

Pamela Meads
Sanford, ME

Fight like a Mother

I was a 33 year old single mom with a 5 and 8 year old. I was in the midst of rebuilding my life so I could truly enjoy life with my children. Busier than ever, I finally found myself on my obgyn’s exam table where I heard the words “You have a lump right here" and that’s when I knew my own battle with cancer was here whether I was ready or not.

I was diagnosed on December 8, 2014 with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I realized how much I did not know about cancer. I learned that TNBC accounts for 10-15% of all types of Breast Cancer. My doctors suspected that I had a gene mutation due to my extensive family history with cancer and had me tested. I moved forward with a bilateral mastectomy. A few weeks later, my gene testing results confirmed I have the BRCA 1 gene mutation which means I have been at an significantly increased risk of Breast and Ovarian cancer… it also means my children may have inherited it.

I’ve endured 5 surgeries, my lung collapsed twice, 3 blood transfusions, a blood clot, 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation. I’ve lost body hair, toenails, and skin, had mouth sores, neuropathy, chemopause and more. Next, I’ll have a prophylactic hysterectomy but as long as I’m alive, it’s all worth it.

It would have been impossible to come this far without love and support from my family and friends. I’ve been blessed with prayers, meals, clean laundry, rides to appointments, childcare and more. Words of encouragement continue to flood in from near and far.

I share all of this to remind you that fighting cancer isn’t pretty, it isn’t easy, and it cannot be done alone. We need a cure. We need to spread awareness & educate. We need to fundraise for research and to provide services to those battling. Let’s honor and remember those who have bravely fought for their lives and let’s fight for a cure for those who are in the fight of their life.

Diana Price
Hollister, CA

2nd opinion can lead to early detection!

My breast cancer story began in March 2015 with an abnormal finding on my routine annual mammogram. Three days later I was having an ultra sound. The radiologist could see something, but suggested I return in 3 months for a follow up ultra sound to see if this was a quick changer. My husband and I did not like those words and the next day my husband had arranged a 2nd opinion appointment at another larger facility in downtown Chicago. After an appointment with a surgeon, more mammograms, another ultra sound & numerous core needle biopsies I was told on 4/29 that I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. With all the ultra sounds and needle biopsies I’ve had the past 10 years, there was no doubt in my mind that my first course of treatment would be a double mastectomy. I want the cancer out of my body asap. I was schedule for skin & nipple sparing surgery on 5/26. My cancer is Stage 2A and is ER+, PR+ & HER2+ and no lymph node involvement. I began chemo therapy, Taxol & Herceptin on 7/27. Fast forward 12 weeks and I had my last chemo 10/14. I will continue with Herceptin treatments once every 3 weeks until July 2016 and will have my reconstruction surgery in Feb. 2016. The stress in the early weeks, waiting to hear the news is almost unbearable. I do not wish that stress on anyone! My husband has been amazing and I couldn’t have survived those weeks without him & his support. Also my family and friends have been a great support during recovery from surgery and my chemo treatments! No one should go through this alone! My recovery is still not over and my life is far from normal, but I am cancer free! I am a breast cancer survivor! I had been diagnosed and had my surgery before the "come back in 3 months" suggestion from the first facility. Early detection and a 2nd opinion is very important.

Gerie Meier
Spring Grove, IL

Winning!

"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game,"

I'm here to tell you, whatever life throws at you (and it my case, it has been breast cancer at age 41) be sure to take everything by the horns and do it your way. Be determined to live life your way, as much as it is possible. Misery will come, but suffering to a certain degree is optional. With God, my family and friends, I have more things to be blessed about than cancer could ever take from me.

Jennifer Claudy
Hudson, IN

Last day of chemo 10/5/2015

Early detection saved my life! I have never missed a mammogram since turning 40 and my April 1 mammogram was my first time using the 3D machine. On April 23 I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. June 18 I had a lumpectomy followed by four rounds of chemo. October 5 was my last chemo! I begin radiation in in mid-November and by January, cancer will be in my rear view mirror. My loving husband, Rob has been with me every step of the way. We've only been married a year and did not expect "in sickness..." to be tested so soon, but we are stronger than ever.

Hollie Coates-Seamster
Puyallup, WA

42 & HER2+

I had my first mammogram at age 40. I had no family history of cancer but I did what my Dr. Told me to do. On my 3rd mammogram at age 42 they thought they saw something. They did an ultra sound and determined it "probably wasn't cancer and I had dense breasts." I was asked to come back in 6 months. In 6 months what probably wasn't cancer was now 3.4cm. I didn't even know it was there. Yet there it was...you could easily feel it...if you were looking. But I wasn't bcs " it probably wasn't cancer" and I had no history. The day they found it I almost left and rescheduled bcs the Dr. was backed up and I was busy at work. I would be dead had I done that. I was diagnosed with Stage 2A invasive ductal carcinoma HER2+. I was told it was aggressive and I needed chemo and a mastectomy right away. The first Dr. I went to made me feel like I would die. Then I went to Duke. They gave me hope and told me I was a survivor. I just finished 6 chemos, had reconstructive surgery and will continue with Herceptin until April 2015. I will survive and thrive! My attitude is cancer only takes what you let it take. I have gained much more than I have lost. I'm stronger than I ever knew I could be. I proudly wear my bald head everywhere I go. If just one person looks at me and gets a mammogram it's enough. My fellow survivors ...they are looking TO us not at us. Give them the message...cancer doesn't care who you are. Fight on!

Kelly Bergenstock
Kill Devil Hills, NC
Butterflies at Play Tunic
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