Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dealing with reoccurence...


You have so much courage. We wish you a speedy recovery to your recent surgery. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your testimony will save lives.


I was told back in 2002 that I had breast cancer (ductal) and had a lumpectomy done at that time. This was followed by mamo's every 3 months for a year. Then they told me that all was fine and I should have a mamo done once a year. Well this year In February 2010 I found a lump in my left breast and went in for a mamo, this lead to a digital mamo followed by a surgical bio. After all of this they said my cancer was back. I was told I could do nothing and wait it out or I could have a total bilateral mastectomy. And put an end to this cancer business. So on March 24th, I had both of my breast removed. My path report stated that in fact I had ductal cancer in both breast not just the left side. I feel very lucky! Now I must make the choice or rather to have reconstructive surgery or not. I'm still healing from my surgery but have to say I'm glad that my fight has been won.


Friday, April 23, 2010

My hero, My mother


It is so hard to see people we love go through cancer. You are an amazing woman who made many sacrifices for your mom. You have a servant's heart. God is working through you.


My name is Jessica,

My mother and hero was a cancer survivor. It was the hardest thing I ever went through in my life. Even though I didn't personally didn't have breast cancer I felt as if I did because of how much I loved here, I love her so much I would have took this horrible cancer that is killing and putting people through hell into me so she wouldn't have had to go through that torture. Every day I saw the most important person in my life getting sicker, weaker, and less hopeful. I actually even got divorced because my husband couldn't take me always caring for my mother so I eventually moved in with her so I couldn't take care of her full-time. My job even had to let me go. but none of all that mattered to me. All I cared about was the life of my mother and I was determined to get her to survive this. I believe if I wasn't there for my mother the way I was she probably would have died. I took her to every doctors appt., I waited on her hand and foot and thankfully she survived it. If I had to go through that all again I would in a heart beat. As long as I had her I was happy and grateful. Nobody means as much to me in my life as she does. So to everyone who knows someone with breast cancer I highly advise you to do your best to help them and give them the hope I gave my mother. She still to this day tells everyone I saved her life. I never let her give up hope. I hope my story inspires those who are in mine or similar situations.
All it takes is positive thinking and having GOD by your side.

Early Detection Does Save Lives


You are living proof that mammograms really do save lives. We wish you many healthy years ahead. May God bless you on your journey and congratualtions on completing your treatments.


Hello, my name is Sara and I am a breast cancer survivor. On Dec 15, 2009 I was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer stage 0. I realize I am very blessed. I had my yearly mammogram in Nov of 2009 and then a biopsy. I had my lumpectomy Jan 7, 2010. All went well they removed the cancer and two lymph nodes. I started radiation treatment on Feb 11, 2010 and finished March 31, 2010. I started the tamoxifen pill on April 1, 2010. At the end of radiation is when my breast began to burn. I am a black female and the radiation turned my breast really dark. I'm told the color will come back in time. Through all of this my support group has been great, from the time I told them and now. My job was and still is fantastic. I had just started there in July 2009, but the way they stood by me you would have thought that I had been there for a very long time. I thank God for allowing this to be caught in a timely manner. I thank my daughter for her caring, love and support. I thank my friends old and new for being with me, caring for me and always showing concern for me. Mammograms can and do help save lives.

My Mother's Story


Thank you for sharing your mother's story with us. It is so interesting to hear about breast cancer from a son's perspective. You have such a deep love for her and the fight against breast cancer.


My mother is a wonderful woman, shes raised me and my 3 siblings and has been a huge help to my sister in raising my niece. She cooks she cleans, and shes worked herself to the bone since she came to this country from Portugal thirty years ago. Despite all she does for my family and others, so much goes wrong. From a bad gal bladder too high blood pressure and numerous other health conditions, my moms been through a lot. But late last spring, she started her trial through something scarier then anything 50 years of life could throw at her; breast cancer. I overheard my mom crying as she walked through the door coming home from the hospital. I almost never see her cry, she's tough. I didn't have to ask her why she was crying, I already knew. It took a while for what was really happening to hit me. Because though of course scary to hear at first, I realize I am lucky. A mammogram found cancerous cells developing. They found it so early that it hadn't had enough time to develop into the stealer of life that breast cancer is. My mother had surgery to remove the cells, and then a few months of radiation, and then it was over. This breast cancer which I hear about everyday, this malevolent force that has taken the lives of so many wives, daughters, mothers and aunts, had spared my mother so quickly. It hit me when it was all over months and months after, and I cried myself to sleep. I was a fifteen year old boy at the time. I listened to Metallica and i thought I was the baddest and coolest guy around, but I cried, and I cried and cried. I cried because I thought "What if I wasn't so lucky to have a mother that survived breast cancer?, What if this luck wasn't there? What would I have done?". I couldn't answer those questions and I still can't, because no one can know what it is to lose their mother until it happens. As much as I cried at the thought of losing her, those tears paled in comparison to the tears that I would have shed if i really did. I love my mother, and I hate cancer. I hate cancer for the emotional pain it caused my mother and for the pain it has caused to all those who weren't as lucky as I. I do as much as I can to help increase awareness of breast cancer because I want what happened to my mom to happy to every person who has cancer, find it early, and do away with it. I want people to know that cancer is not all powerful, it can be beat, do NOT let it own your life.My mother didn't and she's still here. I am thankful for that everyday of my life and from time to time I cry tears of joy because she is still with me. The pain of losing a parent at a young age is a horrible one. So do self examinations regularly, especially if you have a family history of any type of cancer, and don't skimp out on doctor appointments. Do not fear cancer, make cancer fear the joint movement of a million bodies working against it in unison. For one day, though many doubt, I do not doubt, that cancer, will be gone from this earth.

Strength in the family


Your family shows such strength and courage. What a blessing that your mother did not have a diagnosis of cancer. You being strong for your family and giving your grandmother,aunt, and cousin support and encouragement is such a blessing. They are fortunate to have you in the family. You are right. We have to be strong for all surivors out there that might need our strength to get them through the day.


In 2008, my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was detected very early, so we knew she had a chance. She had a lumpectomy, and they discovered that they didn't get it all. So she went in for another lumpectomy. After that one they discovered once again, that they didn't get it all. They then gave her the option to try another lumpectomy, or to just have a mastectomy of her left breast. It was a long, difficult, decision for her, but she decided to go through with the mastectomy. Her surgery was 14 hours; it was the longest day of my life. It was hard to see all of my family there and just hoping that everything went OK. We got the news that she was OK, and we went back to see her in recovery. She was still waking up from the anesthesia, so she was a little groggy. I was talking to her and she seemed to be aware of what was going on. She then asked her nurse for some crackers and iced tea. She didn't have to go through chemo, or radiation afterwards. To this day, she still tells me that I am the first one she remembers seeing when she woke up from her surgery, and that makes me feel so good. Three months to the day, after my grandma was diagnoses, her daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was about to go through what my grandmother, her mom just went through. My aunt had a lumpectomy, and she also had to have chemo and radiation. She lost all of her hair, so she bought 2 wigs. She was afraid to show us her bald head and she didn't want her little grand babies to see her without hair either. One day we were at my grandma’s house for a visit and my aunt took off her wig, and I just looked at her in awe. She barely had any hair, but she was still as beautiful as ever. I knew that she took that wig off, not because she wanted to, but because she knew her hair was coming back; she was getting better. My cousin just had a breast cancer scare. She hadn't been in for a mammogram in a few years, but now that 2 women of our family had been diagnosed, she decided to go get one. All was clear. About 2 months ago I get a phone call from my dad, he tells me my mom has to go get checked for breast cancer because they found a lump. I am up at school, and my dad told me not to worry, that everything would be fine, but naturally, I was a wreck. That was all I could think about, and I couldn't wait to get home to see her. I went with her to the hospital they day she got re-checked, and they found that it wasn't cancer, it was just a mass and they are going to keep it under close watch. In all of the sadness, and devastating diagnoses in the past year or so, I would just like to say that I am strong. I am strong for my family, my loved ones, and also I am strong for every woman out there. This can come up on you when you least expect it, but if you just have hope, and believe that everything will be OK, then it will. You have to be strong, ALWAYS, because you never know who is watching and who might need a little bit of your strength to get them through the day.

Story of Survival


It sounds like you have so much support. What a true blessing! Cancer really teaches us to appreciate life and live everyday to its fullest. Thank you so much for sharing your story will us.


Hi, my name is Marci and I am 63 years old. My story started in 2002, two short years after my husband of almost 27 years passed away at the age of 58. I lived in Texas for almost 16 years when my husband died and I hung on there for about two more years before I decided to move to Colorado where several of my sisters lived. Two months after I moved here, I discovered a lump in my left breast and since I had lost a sister to breast cancer in 1992, I immediately knew it was cancer. I went for a mammogram and then a needle biopsy where I was told it was definitely malignant breast cancer. Luckily, after the mastectomy of my left breast, I was told that the cancer was estrogen receptor. My nephew, who is in cancer research, told me that estrogen receptor breast cancer was the most treatable. My surgery was in late October followed by four months of chemo therapy. Of course I lost my hair which didn't really upset me. As long as the chemo was going to get rid of my cancer, hair loss was no big deal. Then two more of my sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer. They were lucky that their breast cancer was in the very early stages and they both had lumpectomies and had radiation therapy every day for nine weeks. When I went back to my regular doctor in Aug of 2003 for a colonoscopy they found cancer in the polyps they removed. When I went to my surgeon for a colon resection, they found that my breast cancer had metastasized to my liver. At that point they put me on Tamoxifen. In November of 2003 my brother was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer. We buried him on Jan 31st of 2004. For the next 5 years and many trips to radiology for CT scans, PET scans and bone scans my cancer stayed hidden then suddenly decided to give me more trouble. It metastasized to my adrenal glands. They actually had trouble deciding if breast cancer was really the kind of cancer they found in one of the two adrenal glands and since they were afraid to wait too long in getting the results of the lab back, they thought the best move was to remove both adrenal glands and in July of 2008 I underwent a double adrenalectomy. That meant a new doctor in my forever future, an endocrinologist to monitor my body with drugs to take the place of my adrenal glands. Luckily for all my doctors that I have a great sense of humor because after it was discovered that it was metastasized breast cancer in both glands and had my oncologist known that, she would not have recommended the surgery but doused me with more chemo. I did undergo more chemo anyway from Oct of that year to Feb of the following year, 2009. More CT and PET scans and things were looking pretty good until Aug of 2009. My cancer had metastasized again to my right kidney and showing up more prevalently in my liver again. It had also grown from 5.2 centimeters to 8.9 centimeters. Though up until this time I had continued to work, my doctors all agreed that it was time for me to go on SS disability. I was getting sick more, more trips to the hospital and I felt that my employer deserved someone who is going to give the job their all and I was unable to do that any longer. I have been on a regular schedule of chemo since that time and it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon. I've been fortunate that I have a very large family and they have been my support group through all of this. My husband and I were never able to have children but coming from a family of ten, I have lots of nieces and nephews who have taken the place of the children I never had. My husbands family have also been a big part of my drive to keep going and not letting the cancer win. Yes, I am bald once again and again it is in the winter months of Northern Colorado. My family, friends and co-workers have commented over the 7 years that I have been fighting this cancer that they are awed by my indomitable spirit and sense of humor. I just knew that I had a mission and that mission was to fight this and take one day at a time. This cancer is going to have to fight harder to get me but I won't let it. In the past, my attitude was, "I got sick by myself, I'll get well by myself." Now, if any little thing doesn't seem normal, off to the doctor I go. I've almost become a hypochondriac. I don't take anything for granted anymore. I especially don't take life for granted. Every day I am thankful that I saw the sun come up. I'm still alive and I plan to stay that way until God says otherwise.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Get Outta the Way


Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. Your mother is very courageous and brave. She is a role model for all of us.


I am 5’4 and always considered myself a tomboy, trying to keep up with my much taller, older brother. I started my period very early, so it wasn’t long before I started developing breasts as well. It was so frustrating - they just kept growing, doubling in size seemingly overnight. When I would get dressed for third grade - I would cup my hands over them and pull them to the side, sighing, “if only you’d just get outta the way.” Sure, both my sister and I were made fun of for developing before other girls - our brother and his friends tormented us mercilessly. But, shopping for our “training” bras was the worst - there weren’t large enough cup sizes in that section. So, we had to find something in the ladies department. It was too late - there would be no “training” involved.
Through my teenage years, I attained kind of a love-hate relationship with them. I still felt like they were in the way, but had to admit that they filled out a shirt rather nicely. On occasion, I would still push them to the side and mumble under my breath, “if only you’d just get outta the way.”
The first time I had ever heard of breast cancer is when I was quite young. My mother’s Uncle had a mastectomy to remove first one breast and then the other, but he died anyway in the mid-1970s. In my early 20s, my mom and I can created a new sort of bond, with me as her caretaker after she sustained a brain injury and had to regain her independence. We were together day and night and talked about everything under the sun, repeatedly, because she didn’t have the ability anymore to remember beyond a few minutes or hours. With this new closeness and intimacy because I was responsible for bathing and dressing her - we may have talked about body image, but I really don’t remember.
A few years later, the dreaded “C” word of my mom’s generation reared it’s ugly head in our lives. She had regained sufficient independence to live on her own and was responsible for getting herself to her own doctor’s appointments at that point in her life. So, she was by herself when she was told after her annual exam that she had breast cancer. In her typical self-reliant manner, she didn’t tell any of us. I used my key and came to visit her at her house one day when she wasn’t expecting me. I found her in her bedroom, undressed from the waist up, with her well-worn hands cupping her breasts. Her head was bowed, as though to whisper to them and I heard her say, “you WILL get outta my way.” Shocked that she knew my secret wish from my childhood, I felt comfortable asking her why she was saying that to her own body. She shared that she was sick, but that her breasts weren’t going to stand in the way of her growing older.
She fought and won that battle with stage IIIC breast cancer and her breasts did end up getting out of the way. She decided that her body, although sick, was willing to listen to her. So, she developed a “get outta the way” attitude in other aspects of her life. A hill in the middle of a breast cancer awareness walk - “that hill isn’t going to get outta the way - I am going to beat it too.“ She trudged forward. A concerned daughter or doctor telling her to limit her activities, “get outta my way, I’ve got lots more living to do.” And she has, this is year six of her Surviving, Overcoming and Winning against breast cancer.
So, for me - she serves as a role model and inspiration. She is a little older, a lot wiser and has a new and unique way of doing things. She grocery shops by pink label, making meals out of strange combinations of foods bearing the pink ribbon. Most of her exercise is about getting ready for Walk for the Cure, Awareness or Relay and her vacation destinations are to join walks in other cities. Her wardrobe mainly consists of t-shirts from these events and comfortable shoes for going the distance. And she does… so obstacles be warned, “Get Outta The Way!”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Big week next week!

It's been a long 3 months waiting for my next round of tests/scans! Next week, I will spend 3 days at MD Anderson. Monday, I'll have my femur issues re-evaluated with a repeat MRI and plain x-ray, then I'll see my orthopedist to get the results and his recommendations for me and my activity level. Tuesday, I'll have my usual slew of tests: bloodwork, bone scan, chest x-ray, and CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis. Thursday I will see Dr. Green to get the results of Tuesday's tests, then I will have my "treatment" (Zometa infusion and Zolodex injection.) Whew!

It turns out that the recent development of stress fracture vs. progression of bone metastasis of/on my left femur has affected me the most since I was first diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in 2006. It took me a while to really GET IT, that I had to SLOW DOWN, and NOT DO ANYTHING that would put any strain on my leg. Okay, no running. I got that right away. So I joined the Y, hoping to take up swimming, planning to get some workouts in doing anything but running. I treadmilled, walking, and regretted it the next day. I went through an orientation on the weight machines. Low weight, not many reps, easy day, but I felt it the next day -- oops, did too much. Surely I could attend my weekly dance class, which is mostly stretching and strengthening exercises. For a few weeks, I did attend and tried to "take it easy" on my left leg. Yet I still had some mild discomfort 1-2 days later. Recently I walked, evidently too briskly, the 2 blocks to my kids' school for a meeting ... and felt it the next day. Finally, in a big DUH realization, I stopped doing any kind of workout (even took a few weeks off from dance class) and I started feeling better, leg-wise. Of course now I'm not fitting into my cute clothes and have gained 5+ pounds ... ugggh!

I've begun dance class again, yet still taking it very very slow. I just this week took a deep water exercise class (that kicked my butt, by the way) and had no problem with my leg afterward. So I think it's showing improvement overall. I am anxiously awaiting the test results of next week. Want to see nothing "light up" the bone scan on my left femur. Want to see a DECREASE in size of the previously enlarged lymph nodes in my chest and the left lung nodule. Want to see the tumor marker levels go DOWN. Don't want to see any more progression of this disease!

If you are reading this, you are obviously at least a little interested in my story. Please say a prayer for me. I would appreciate it. Thanks!

My mom and sister are coming to visit this weekend, and my daughter's 13th birthday party is this weekend. Must stay busy!