Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relay for Life...a way to give back!


Congratulations on being a 6 year survivor! Relay for Life is a wonderful way to give back. As a survivor myself, I also feel the need to give back and create awareness for all kinds of cancer. I hope that your team had a great time at the relay. You are blessed to have so much support from your co-workers. What a blessing that your brother was able to receive a kidney afterall. I wish you many years ahead as a survivor.


In 2003, my brother was dying from a kidney disease and needed a transplant. I tested for him and was found to be a complete match! With much hope in our hearts, we were scheduled for surgery on a Tuesday morning in January. That Wednesday before, the transplant team called me and said I had not had a mammogram that year and would have to have one before surgery. So I rushed up to the hospital, had it and went home to prepare for the transplant. That Friday I received yet another call……they had found cancer. So, I did indeed have surgery, but not what I had planned. I had a partial mastectomy, then six weeks later, radiation treatments for more eight weeks, and finally, SIX YEARS later, I am still cancer free! Even tho I summed this up in a short paragraph, it in no way explains the pain, the heart-break, the worry, and the feelings that one goes thru when you hear that terrible word “cancer”. I am a strong Christian, tho, and I know God has a plan for my life, so I am trying to give back to those who have not been as lucky as I have been. That’s why Relay for Life means so much and I will be walking this year on October 17th in Belton, Texas! I also have 41 of my fellow employees who will be walking with me! Oh, by the way, my brother? Well, that August at 4AM in the morning, we received a call that they had a donor for him and he received his kidney afterall! GOD IS GOOD!!

Friends and Survivors!


Sharing stories of these strong women is an inspiration to us all. We never know what kind of struggles that we might have to deal with in our lives. Cancer makes us dig deep and find out our true character. Your wife was fortunate to have you by her side.


It's always a pleasure reading about survivors. My story is of two close friends that have battled and won. I lost my wife Paulette to this horrid disease, which she fought for 3-1/2 years. Paulette and my two friends, Sue and Rose Marie, are my heroes.

Rose Marie has fought breast and vaginal cancer for many years. Untold number of surgeries and she has not lost the strength to fight. Chemo and radiation are the toughest fights anyone has to endure. She also has other health issues but is there for others at the drop of a hat, always putting them ahead of her problems. Rose Marie is a great friend and widow of my late cousin Jerry.

Sue, a close friend of mine and my late wife has endured additional stress. The day my wife died, October 22, 1998, was Sue's 50th birthday. Not only dealing with the loss of her friend, she also was diagnosed with MS. Sue always joked about what she would get on her 60th. Well, breast cancer is what she got. Sue just finished nearly a year of chemo and radiation and got a clean bill of health. I hope Rose & Sue live long happy lives.

Unfortunately, I have too many friends and relatives that have struggled with cancer. These two women are outstanding examples of people that are always looking to do for others and quietly fight their fight. They truly are heroes.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kindness and love are good medicine!


As a fellow breast cancer survivor myself, I completely agree with you that medicine is not the only important part of treating cancer. The acts of kindness,love, and support that are shown to us also provide healing to our souls. You are blessed to have such a supportive and caring husband walking beside you on this journey. We will be praying for your healing!


April 2009 I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Shock set in immediately after my doctor told me what it was, and what my options were and what he suggested. I am lucky to have a very passionate husband even at our age of 63 and he was with me 100% of the time while we decided what was to be done. I had my right breast removed and several lymph nodes removed with the results of no cancer in the nodes. My doctor was told by my husband that he was to do what ever it took to remove all the cancer and if it meant me loosing my breast, well, he could only play with one at a time and he would rather have me sitting in my chair next to him complaining about it than not there at all. He has cared for me everyday with changing my bandages, bathing me, cooking , cleaning, all of it. I feel my recovery from surgery was faster due to his loving care.
Now the chemo has started and that’s a whole new recovery. The first one was really rough on me but I made it through with my husband making me eat when I didn't want to and making sure I ate what was needed. The second one went a lot easier and the recovery from it was much faster. Being petrified of needles my husband is right there with me when I have to go each week for the blood, for my chemo, for the shot the next day, and making sure that any questions that need to be asked gets an answer. I have four more treatments to go and knowing that he is there with me every step of the way has made it so much easier that the stories I have heard from other people that are there with me.
I was told they have all the cancer, but being that it is Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, they have to give you chemo as it will surly return with it. With the help and love of my husband , being a survivor has been a smoother transition than most I am sure and I am proud to tell anyone. I think sometime that not only the medicine is what helps you survive.

Devoted Sister and Survivor!!!


Thank you so much for sharing your surivor story as well as your sister's. It's hard sometimes to think that cancer is a blessing, but you are teaches us so many things...especially how to live. You are a living legacy of your sister. It sounds like you had a great support system, just like your sister did. May God bless you on your journey with cancer. You are a survivor and an inspiration to us all!!!


My story starts with on a road trip to Calgary with my older sister, it was Oct, 1996. She was twelve years older then me, at the time she was 48, and she was my mom, my sister and my best friend all rolled into one. We had the best time together, we could laugh untill we cried and we always managed to get lost on the road somewhere and have to phone someone to find us. We had a wonderful weekend and on the way home she casually said, I have to go to the hospital tomorrow, I have a syst that the doctors need to remove from my know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something really bad is going to happen? Thats how I felt. Two years before she had found a lump and the drs said it was just a syst. I think I knew the moment she told me, she was going to die. I cried all night in my husbands arms and he kept saying Breast Cancer is the most cureable cancer there is, she is going to be fine. I went to the hosptial at 6:30 am the next day and I sat with my sister untill she went for her surgery, and I was waiting for her at 9pm that evening when she came out of surgery. The Doctors removed her left Breast, he came into her room and told her that he removed twenty lymphnoids and in his opinion she would have at least a stage III cancer. That day my sister started a courageous battle. We were a team against cancer, but nothing we did changed the outcome. Chemo was so hard on her, from the minute they hooked the IV into her arm she started throwing up and I was right beside her holding the pail and gaging with her, sometimes we could laugh about it most times we just got threw it. Within the year she had two more surgeries on the same side and her cancer matisized to her bones and she died early in 1998. I was her caregiver, I moved into her house and took care of her and yes we both had families but we needed each other. Her death left me angery, and in some ways bitter, extremely lonely and so sad. I started working two jobs and I did that for seven years, untill I was so physically exhausted and sick I had to slow down. I almost removed myself from my own families life. And I have to say I lived with alot of guilt because she was so sick and I couldn't help her. There were many times I used to think I wish I could die because I missed her so much. I was so angery after she died I removed myself from all contact with my other siblings. I had very few friends, not because I'm unlikeable but because I just didn't want to be around anyone. If someone did something I didn't like, I just cut them out of my life and I could do that with no remorse, if you can imagine.

Then on the Labour Day weekend 2008, I was doing my monthly breast exam and I found a lump in my left breast...that same sick feeling, I knew just touching it, it was going to be cancer. Sept 02nd my 48th birthday! I went to my Doctors office and said I think I might have found a lump. And he verified it, and reached under my arm and then said get dressed and come to my office. He told me I would need an emergency mamogram, and he contacted a surgeon for me. It was like walking under water the next day waiting for the mamogram place to call for an appointment. I told the ladies I coffeed with and the amazing thing was, I had coffee with seven women I was the baby of the group, the oldest one being 55, and Everyone of those women had found a lump at one time or another and they all told me their stories and I actually thought maybe it might not be cancer. I got called for my mamogram, the appointment was Sept 04th! I though holy someone must think this is bad. I went for my mamogram at 11am on Sept 04th they never asked me to stay for a biopsy so I took that as a good sign. I went back to work and was in meetings for the rest of the day. At 4pm I went back to my office and there were messages on both my cell and work phone. My Dr's office called and said we are waiting her for you please come right after work, so I called my husband and we went in. The Dr said there is no easy way to say this so I'm just going to tell you. The mass is coming back cancer. I said how can they tell without a biopsy? He said because of the shape, it consistant with a cancer because it has tenticles. My husband was crying, I said ok we need to get this breast off fast! my sister died within fourteen months of being diagnosed, this cancer is going to move fast! I took my husbands hand I couldn't say that it was going to be ok because in my mind if they could spot this on the mamogram and it had tenticles it was huge! And I thought I'm going to die, and in that split second I thought what in hell! I don't want to die! I want to live. That was my first change!
I have to say there must have been an angel on my shoulder, because Sept 04th I was diagnosed, Sept 09th I met my surgeon, and was told it would be up to 3 month wait to get the next tests I need to have done before surgery. I was back in my Surgeon's office by Sept 15th all tests complete! My surgery was scheduled for Oct 09th and I had a full mastecomy of my left breast. It all happened so very fast! I have three daughters, and I was so scared but I couldn't let them know how scared I was, I needed them to know that I was really ok with everything. My youngest daughter came to me with forms for the CIBC Run for a Cure and asked me to walk with her for this fundraiser. Of course I agreed right away and then we planned a fundraiser for Oct 03rd the night before the run. We had a Bye Bye Boobie Party, and I invited seventy ladies to a little hall had appetizers and we sang songs, read poems and told dirty jokes. We wore fake boobies and had a boobie tree. We had a wonderful lunch and lots of drinks. I was amazed they were all there for me! The owner of that restaurant said to me after the evening was over, that she had never felt so much love in a room. It was wonderful, those ladies laughed and cried with me. They roasted me and wrote songs about me and they toasted my courage in the face of this storm, and I was amazed. Because I didn't see the courage they saw I only seen the war I had to fight, and that night gave me the strength to do it. And without a doubt I knew I wanted to Live!

The days passed very quickly and it was the day before my surgery, I had been putting one thing off long enough. That afternoon I called siblings. My oldest sister and I cried together she told me she loved me and she wasn't angry with me at all. She was just glad I had called. My brother was the same he just wanted to be part of my life and was so releaved that I wanted him to be. I had made my amends with all the people I truely loved but was too afraid to get close to, because I don't think I could stand to loose anyone else.

The surgery was successful, however I had a fall the night of the surgery and a large blood clot formed under the insision. The surgeon had to open the insision and rinse the clott out, that left a gapping hole that was 11.5 centimeters across my chest, and 4 cm deep! It took 7 months to heal that insision. Everytime I had chemo it broke open, I had to go and get it packed everyday. Finally when the chemo was over I went back to the surgeon had another operation and she closed it up for good. My chemo was ok I had 4 rounds and although I wouldn't wish that on my enemies, it wasn't as bad as what my sister went through. I was diagnosed with Invisive Ductal Carsinoma, it was a stage one cancer, but it was a grade three cancer, and I am HER2 positive, which means I continue treatments for a year after the chemo is over. I go every three weeks to the cancer clinic and I get a drug called Herceptin that works agains the cloning cell HER2. Unfortunately I am alergic to this drug! So it is harder on me then the chemo was. What is supposed to be a walk in the park has turned out to be a bit of a crawl. But the good news is I only have 11 more treatments!

So after this lengthy story, I have come full circle. Cancer started off taking away someone so important to me, changing my personailty and my outlook on life. It filled me with fear and loss, in my mind it took my family away from me. I became lonely and angry and in ways I had stopped living. Cancer ended up giving me back my life. Once I was diagnosed I realized how important life is. How much I wanted live, how much I loved my imediate family as well as how much my extended family means to me. It made me realize that harboring anger and remorse gets you no where. You get back what we put out in life. I now am greatful for everyday that is given to me. I take the present I open it each day and I enjoy it to the fullest. I'm so Thankful that I found my cancer early and I'm so amazed at how much people care for me, and how supportive they have all been. Most importantly, the guilt I felt about my sister is gone. I have now walked in her shoes, I know that its just the grace of god if you get to stay a little longer or go home a little sooner. Now don't get me wrong! I'm not glad I had cancer or anything like that, I've just learned from the experience I've had.

Thank you


ps please forgive my spelling I can't get spell check to work!

Early detection does save lives!!!


Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You have so much courage! The message that this sends to us all is that early detection does save lives! Praise God that your cancer was caught at an early stage. Congratulations on your upcoming 50th birthday! Birthdays are so special to everyone, but especially to the cancer survivor community!


My journey started while recovering from back and shoulder surgery. I had already been on the table 5 times,which included 3 lumber epidurals. remembering I still needed to see my annual ob/gyn,eye,dentist, and of course my
favorite, mammogram. Getting everything done, I saved the best for last. To my surprise they found a mass. After the biopsy,tests doctors, MRI's I had a lumpectomy and waited for the best. My surgeon tried to get it all, and
found a larger mass the MRI didn't see.With my heart in my throat, the words bilateral mastectomy. I couldn't see going through this again, and had both breast removed. Bless with unbelievable doctors, and the best plastic surgeon, and two more surgeries,(removal of both breast, with expander's put
in and the third permanent silicone implants) I was healed. I am a two yea
r survivor! Getting checked and find the cancer early saved my life. I was
stage 1, and didn't need radiation or chemo. Next year I'll be 50,
take care of you, Carolyn

Even after reconstruction...get your mammograms


Thank you so much for sharing this information with the other survivors out there that might be thinking they no long need a mammogram. No matter your age or what type of reconstruction you've had, yearly mammograms and visits to your doctor are so important. I hope and pray that your mother is feeling better. I'm sure that this has been very difficult for her and your family. We'll be keeping you all in our prayers.


My mother had a double mastectomy 30 years ago. She never really thought about herself, she was always taking care of everyone else. So she hasn't had a mammogram in 8 years. Well, she has been feeling sick for a while. She aches and has no energy, it's just hard to get up and go. She thought since she's going to be sixty this year it was her age. Last week she went to the Doctor and found out that both implants have busted open (who knows when) and now she has polyps all over her insides and will have to go through at least one surgery to remove the implants (which will not be replaced) and clean the mess in side of her. So everyone please keep your appointments for your mammogram's.

For the love of my grandmother


It is so touching to hear you talk about your grandmother. The best news of all is that she is doing so well. It is also so encouraging that at your age you are bringing awareness to the fight against breast cancer. I hope and pray that there is a cure in our lifetime.

May your grandmother continue to have many healthy, happy years ahead of her.


My grandmother, Elizabeth, had breast cancer and was a breast cancer suvivor.

When she first got it, it was shocking. It's one of them moments where you don't expect something that drastic to happen to you or to someone you love. But it did, she had breast cancer on both sides. She had to go through chemotherapy and radiation. It was scary at first. We weren't sure that the treatments were working, it was already bad enough that we caught it at a bad stage. But all of our prayers went through and my grandmother survived. My grandmother is now 72 years old and very healthy..

My name is Stevey and I am 17 years old. I wanted to post this blog to let anyone with breast cancer know there is hope. And for females who don't have breast cancer, get interested about the situation it's serious. Go to the doctor for regular check-ups and even if you can't get to a doctor do regular self check ups. Be IN THE KNOW.

-Thank You For Letting Me Share.

Looking up to mom


It is so great to hear that your mother is doing so well. I can't help but think about my own story. It's also been three years for me as well. My girls were 2 and 4 at the time of my diagnosis, so there wasn't a true understanding of the big picture. It's good to hear the perspective of a daughter, especially one that looks up to her mother. She is so blessed to have you in her life. May she have many more years ahead as a survivor!!!


My name is Kate. My Mother, Ann, was diagnoised with Breast Cancer about 3 years ago. It all started with a regular visit to the Dr. where She had a mamogram done. We were all shocked when The Dr. told m Mom that She had Breast Cancer. After that came surgery to remove the mass from Her breast, and to remove Her Lympth nods that may cause the cancer to come back. After She had recovered from Her surgery, there were many months of Radiation to ensure that the cancer was completley rid of Her body. I cant not even begin to describe the fear of possibly loosing your mom, which I had felt from the day I found out that She had cancer, all the way through Her radiation treatments, and until She was told that the cancer was in remission.
She has been cancer free for 3 years now and We coulldnt be more thrilled. She goes in for regular mamograms and has been doing great ever since. This experience has made Her such a stronger person, and has made me really appreciate my mom more and cherish the time I get to spend with Her. My mother is a Breast Cancer Survivor, and If I happen to get Breast Cancer someday, I hope to have the inner strengh and courage that my Mother had while facing such a difficult challenge. If You or someone You know has Breast Cancer, Please dont give up hope. You can beat this!
Thank You

Sister-in-law and friend


Thank you so much for sharing your story about your sister-in-law. I also had my right breast removed and I remember what it was like trying to do all of the things that I used to do. She will get her strength back. She sounds like such a strong woman. You are fortunate to have each other to support and lift up. Keep having your mammograms each year. Early detection saves lives!


I have a sister inlaw who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the year 1999 and recently she had to have her right breast removed about a year ago.and is now doing chemo and so far she is doing real well. She had lost her hair but it is growing back real well.She can't really do anyrhing like lifting up heavy things so I try to help her when she needs it. She is a real fighter. She is the only sister inlaw I have and hope to stay for awhile.She has a brother who I am married to. Both of their parents both passed away and most of her relatives.Her brother is the only one she has left. She is strong and is fighting to beat this cancer and I hope that oneday they can find a cure for breast cancer and for other cancers as well.It is so sad to see people who are stricken with cancer and die from it is heartbreaking. I get my mamograms every year and count my blessings that I don't have it. So far they have been normal. She is my best friend and sister inlaw. Kimberly A.

Glad to be here...

Thank you Kim for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog. My name is Amy. I am 34 years old and a 3 year breast cancer survivor. I have been married for 11 years and have two little girls, 5 and 7. I work part time here at the Pink Ribbon Shop and do a little bit of everything. I started working at here December 13, 2006. Why do I know the exact date? It was the day before I found out that I too was about to be a breast cancer survivor.

I had an appointment scheduled after my first day of work. I had found a lump over the weekend in my right breast and wanted to get it checked out by my doctor. I remember asking Kim to share her survivor story with me and then told her that I would be seeing the doctor that afternoon. She was very concerned. I was really not that worried. I thought it was just a cyst. I had no family history. At my appointment, my doctor was not very concerned but thought that we should schedule a mammogram for the next morning. So, I went by myself that morning for the mammogram and waited to get dressed and go home. The nurse called me back and said that the radiologist wanted to talk to me. I walked in and looked at the films on the wall and saw a golf ball size lump on the film. He held my hand and told me that I needed to meet with a surgeon as soon as possible and get this taken out of my body. I went upstairs to my OBGYN's office to get a referral to a surgeon. I walked into her office and she was crying. The radiologist had called her and told her my news. I asked her if he thought it was cancer. She said, "Unfortunately, he is almost never wrong." I had her call my husband and I met him at the surgeon's office. A mastectomy was recommended because of the size of the tumor. December 22, 2006 I had my mastectomy. I had DCIS and invasive cancer in my right breast. I was Stage2B. Praise God that I did not have lymph node involvement. I did have 4 rounds of chemo and did reconstructive surgery about a year after that. I am doing well now and I am on Tamoxifen Therapy. I have 2 1/2 more years of that.

I truly believe that I was meant to meet Kim. She was so supportive of me and was a blessing to me during my treatment. She provided me with so much hope. God had this all in his plans. Kim and I began a local support group for women with cancer a few years ago. We meet once a month and want people to know that they are not alone in their journey with cancer.

I would have never imagined that cancer would be a blessing in my life, but it has been. It has taught me how to live and appreciate everyday that I have with my family and friends. I look forward to hearing all of your stories. I believe that is hope we cope, heal and have hope!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Hello all! Can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post.

The 5K "Walk by Faith" benefiting Addi's Faith Foundation went really well. Christa (my 12-year-old daughter) and I finished it together and it was a lot of fun. I felt good and my knee has been fine.

BUT I have a new problem now! My left hip is hurting me, intermittently. Only when I walk ... but not every time I walk. Sometimes it's bad enough that I limp, sometimes it's really fine and I don't feel anything at all. It's weird. I'm trying to figure it out. Wish someone could tell me exactly what is happening. Even though I fulfilled my commitment to myself to do my during-the-week training runs, because of this new issue, I had to miss my long Saturday run this week. I think I'm going to take a week off from running and see what happens, which I HATE to do ... it's not looking good, at this point in my training, that I will be able to resume training and be ready for a half-marathon in January if I take off for too long. It's really depressing! As I said before, I'm trying to figure it out. What could it be (besides the cancer returning!)? What have I done differently lately? Well I got a treadmill ($50 at a garage sale -- woohoo!) and used it once. That went fine. I did do one different workout while watching tv the other night. Laid on my back and simultaneously lifted my left leg and right arm, keeping both straight, until they touched. It didn't seem too hard. I felt nothing pop and it wasn't too painful. Hmm. It's interesting. Hope it goes away soon!

OK ya know I'm getting old when I have two totally different ailments to discuss in the same blog post! Going back to my previously discussed "problem." Let me say that the mystery treatment that I found online and was too embarrassed to share on this blog did not work in the least bit, which I thought was a last-ditch effort anyway. Soooo, finally went to see a new gyn this past week. Last year's new gyn was the one who prescribed a hormone cream for decreased libido ... which my oncologist gave a quick thumbs-down to. At that time, I also complained of painful sexual intercourse, but it was somewhat tolerable then -- nothing like it has been of late -- and she basically told me that it was due to the lack of estrogen and there was really nothing that could be done, and to more or less just do it to make my husband happy and deal with it ... hence the beginning of my feelings of hopelessness about the situation. This year's new doctor was very caring and professional, and she actually had a LOT to offer in the way of thoroughly explaining my problem and ways to help: Prescription, over-the-counter and some internet-only products. She gave me HOPE when I was feeling hopeLESS! Can't wait to start using these items and maybe get my marriage back to some semblance of normalcy. I miss it!

Skipped my dance class this week (on purpose) to attend my "Cancer Caring Group" that Amy and I started a couple of years ago but that I've not attended regularly in over a year since I started my dance class that meets on the same night. It (the cancer group) has really grown, and I felt like I didn't want to completely lose touch with these ladies. One gal in our group (33 yr old sweetie with triple negative bc) was recently diagnosed with a stage IV recurrence to brain, lungs, bones, and liver. Horribly sad, but Wow is she ever positive and encouraging! It's amazing. What an inspiration to us all! I vowed that night that I would try to attend at least every other month.

As I vow to do even more, I want to take this opportunity to officially "throw in the towel" or "wave the white flag" on handling all of the survivor stories that are being submitted to my blog. I simply can't do it, and my inability to keep up is just not nice to all the ladies who have taken the time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to tell their story. It's wrong. So although I'd love to personally respond to everyone, I must admit defeat and ask for help! Fellow breast cancer survivor and good friend Amy has offered to field the survivor stories and "guest blog" for a while. I'll continue to blog, but I won't always be the one who's posting the new stories and responding to them. I am sure everyone will be understanding about this. Look for Amy's first post to appear in the next week or so. I'll ask that she introduce herself and post her own story. I trust that her perspective and comments will be informative and valuable to our blog's readers.

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Long time no blog!

Hello all!

Although October is a time that our blog should be kickin' with activity, as you can see I have not made a single entry since mid September! Cearly I do not have time to blog during breast cancer awareness month, The Pink Ribbon Shop's busiest time of year. (I've also accepted the fact that neither do I have the time to decorate the house for Halloween, but that's another matter!) We've been working day and night to get the orders out in a timely manner, and whew, things are finally slowing down a bit!

Another aspect of my life that has suffered during this crazy busy time is my half-marathon training. I am hanging on to my endurance by a mere thread, only running ONE day a week, and that's just my weekend long run. Not cutting it! Consequently my knee has been bothering me. Really pushing myself on Saturday mornings (9 miles this past Saturday) without adequate training during the week is not good on the body. Must ... run ... more ... during the week! I can do it, I will, I will!! Running a 5K this weekend: Addi's Walk by Faith, benefitting Addi's Faith Foundation. It's for a great cause, check it out and donate.

On Saturday's run, I got acquainted with another half-marathon trainee and we got on the subject of breast cancer ... I always wear my New Balance pink ribbon items, including my pink running shoes, so the subject tends to comes up a lot. She asked "How do you know when you have it?" Great question! I am always more than willing to tell my story to whoever will listen! Sadly, I was NOT a regular checker of my breasts. In fact I hardly EVER did breast self-exams. Thankfully God made my "lump" hurt so that I would feel for it. My advice is to KNOW YOUR BREASTS! The more you know what your breasts normally feel like, the more likely you are to recognize when something is not right. Plain and simple. So here I am, living with stage IV breast cancer at age 40-something. One can only wonder where I would be now if I had regularly checked myself and had found the lump earlier, before it had spread to the lymph nodes ... it's something to think about!