Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The right support will get you through...learn to accept help.

Thank you for your honesty and sharing your story with us. Learning to accept help can be difficult, but it is a time in your life when you really need support.

It was a routine trip for a mammogram procedure. The radiologist found a white spot that looked concerning so off I went for a biopsy. That was pretty scary, as I was not really sure what to expect. The doctor had done his best to prepare me but nothing can actually prepare someone unless they are going through it. After the biopsy I went home and waited for the results. 3 days later the call came it was DCIS, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, the physician assistant went on talking about what it was, where it was and that we need to get a surgery date set up right now, the more she talked the faster her words came. I told her to wait, that I was not going to do anything for 2 weeks, I needed time to digest everything and that I had a zillion questions and I had people I needed to talk to. My sister, mother and a very good friend are breast cancer survivors so I got on the phone with them and explained what was happening. They were very supportive and gave me advice and the types of questions I need to ask and also told me to look on the Internet for more information and also call a cancer center near me and talk to them. I did all this and the more I searched the more information I found the more confusing I became. Not sure what to do next, I called my primary care physician and set up an appointment with her and shared with her what I knew. She was encouraging and let me know that it was OK to take some time. And that I need to keep a notebook and write down my questions and the answers I received, she also advised me to either take a friend or a tape recorder and let it record the entire time I am visiting with the doctor because later I will have questions and I need to remind myself what the answer was.

After the 2 weeks I set up my appointment for surgery, once the surgery was done and I got home, I did what I felt like I could do. If I couldn’t do it or didn’t feel up to it I didn’t do it. The hardest part was asking for help and then letting them do it. I sit here now, the night before my doctor’s appointment to check to make sure all is healing well and then in 2 days I go and visit with the oncologist to set up my radiation treatments. They want me to go everyday Monday through Friday for 6 weeks.

During and up to this point in time, my emotions have run amuck. Thoughts of suicide, thoughts of not going to the radiation treatments, thoughts of going back to work and then taking on a 2nd full time job, thoughts of my body is deformed and that I am no longer attractive not even to my husband, thoughts of what did I do in my life that caused God to hate me so much that He allowed this to happen to me. And thoughts of if I survived this, what is going to hit me next. And then let’s talk about the tears; at first they never came, I had to help my husband deal with this so I had to be strong. Once he got over the initial shock then it was my turn to fall apart, I have actually cried twice. I didn’t have anyone that I could call and talk to at that moment so I had to let the tears flow and then pull myself together. I feel better after letting the tears out, but feel worse because I cried you know the headache and puffy eyes that follows.

Cancer is a word that scares the bejebers out of people but with the improvements in modern medicine it doesn’t have to scare us. The best advice I can give you is to gather people around you who you trust and know will be supportive and let them help you. Either make meals, clean the house, or cry on their shoulders. We need the release and love that women can give each other.

I know that men need it too, but I am not sure where they can turn to, I wish I had some answers for them.

Love your fellow cancer survivor
Kim F.

My cup is 1/2 full!


You have such a positive attitude and this is good medicine! You inspire others with your story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!


My motto has always been "my glass is half full". April 27th I discovered my lump it’s the size of a golf ball. May 12, I saw my OBGYN and June 1, I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductile carcinoma. I am 34 years old. Tuesday July 6, I had my surgery to remove my lump, (who I have named Elvis) and I meet with my Oncologist on Monday. Now my motto is " my cup is 1/2 full". LOL! I started a site on caringbridge.org so that my friends and family could see that cancer was not something to be sad about. it was not going to ruin my day. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and life is filled with reasons to smile. Dr. Brown told me I would lose my long hair, that was the only time I cried. I had donated my hair 4 times to locks of love. Now I will get to do a fifth and final time. hair will grow back it will take 4-5 years to get this long, but it will grow back. I have received tremendous support from my co-workers up and down the east coast. As far away as Baltimore to Greensboro North Carolina. The boss even bought me a new touch pad for my computer when she heard I couldn't use my right hand for the mouse. I have gone to the ACS relay for life every year for 4 years with my friend Jen. My husband the manly construction worker pretended to be an Italian hairstylist while he washed my hair in the sink because I couldn't do it. He makes me laugh randomly and often. My Best friend Joy has gone to every appointment, stood by my side for my biopsy, bought me anything she could find that was pink and cleaned my house. Both my sister-in-laws took care of my beloved dog, sent me literature in the mail, and found beautiful jewelry that had pink ribbons on it. My estranged father now wants to be friends on SKYPE. So I ask. Why be sad? Why cry? Why waste a beautiful day worrying about something that I did not cause to happen? I have a wonderful support group, even the children of my friends have brought me pink flowers, made pink candy, and plan on participating in the race for the cure in October. I have no reason to be sad, no reason to cry, because my life is surrounded by love, friendship, hope and support. Cancer will not ruin my day, because this is the only July 17th, 2010 that I will ever have, and I plan on enjoying it! Remember laughter is the Breast medicine, and Elvis has left the building! Live each day with no regrets, smile at a stranger. have faith in humanity. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Save your energy for something fun don’t waste it on little things. I may live for 30 days I may live for 15 years, but I plan on living, laughing and loving as much as I can, while I can, because my cup is 1/2 full!
Thank you for letting me share my abbreviated story and I hope it will encourage others to look on the bright side.

God bless my mom...

Thank you for sharing the story about your mom. Early detection does saves lives! Listen to your body.


I would like to share the story of my mom, Yolanda.

My beloved mom felt a lump in her left breast, she did not pay much attention and a couple of months later it became a little harder and her skin became like a little hard black and blue. She went to Mt. Sinai Hospital, Miami Beach, Florida to see Dr. Juan Paramo (God bless him) and in a matter of three weeks, we sadly found out she had breast cancer in her left breast (where the little hard black and blue was), also in her right breast (noticeable through mammogram only) and in both glands under her arms.

It has been such a horrific roller coaster ride: in less than a month! My mom is so in shape and so active that she was still working from 7am to 12pm a part-time job in a beautiful restaurant in the heart of South Beach, after work she will work on Lincoln Road (beautiful outdoors mall in South Beach) and almost everyday she will run from the South Beach heat by entering Macy's and as feminine and girlie as she is, she would always find something pretty on sale to buy.

My mom is loved and care by my dad Luis, my son and her only grandson Richard(Richie) and myself. My son is on vacation and my dad is retired and I returned to work Tuesday July 20. She has a nurse that comes every day to cure her wounds and her drains (she has four).

My mom is so brave, so courageous, so beautiful. We love her and we pray for her speedy recovery.

Her doctor, Dr. Juan Paramo, tells us that since it was total amputation of both breast and all cancerous tissue, she will not need radiation nor chemotherapy, so she is happy.

For now on, I will help as much as I can for cancer research because we need to find a cure.

Cancer is an ugly thing and I have faith in God that we will find a cure soon.

Thank you very much and God bless my mom.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cancer has made me fight for what I want!


Thank you for reminding us that sometimes a "lump is just a lump". Yet other times it is not. It sounds like you have a great group of doctors that treated you, but also a great group of friends that supported you as well. It is what gets us through.


My name is Cindy, I am 48 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer October of 2004. In 2003 I had a lump in my breast, I had a lumpectomy, and it was not cancer. Almost one year later, I had another lump, I did not think anything of it, because I had a lump a year ago, and that was nothing, the lump was getting bigger, I went to see the ARNP, she sent me for a mammogram, and then for a ultra sound, they did not think it was cancer, I went to my surgeon, Dr. Renz, he looked at everything, and did not think it was cancer, he took a biopsy, and gave me some antibiotics. That next week they called me and told me that it was cancer, Dr. Renz wanted to see me that day, that was Wednesday, we were going on Vacation on Friday, we had to cancel, I was having surgery.

I had surgery on Friday, and 2 weeks later, I went to see Dr. Ghosh, and started Chemo the next week, I wanted to get this done, and get back to the “new normal”! I had chemo treatments every other week, 8 treatments in all. I started radiation before my last chemo treatment was over, I went to radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks.

The American Cancer Society is great, a volunteer came to see my in the hospital, she brought me information, and sat and talked to me, I knew that I was not alone, there was someone there to help support me, when I need it. I went to Look Good Feel Better, and the American Cancer Society helped me with a wig, this is a great program, I try to volunteer when I can, I want to give others the hope I was given by everyone I met

I knew that I could not let this beat me, my husband and I had only been married 3 years, and we really enjoy being together, and I was not going to miss out on any of our time together. I can say that I never thought my husband would have to shave my head, and I know it was not what he signed up for!

My daughter and son are my everything, and to this day, I can still see their faces when I told them, it brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it. I have 2 step-children that I want to see grow up.

Seeing how it hurt my parents, I can not imagine your only child telling you that she has cancer.

My Granddaughter turned 1, the week after I had surgery, I want her to know me, and to have a close relationship with her, like I had with my Grandpa.

Cancer has made me fight for what I want, and I want to enjoy my family and friends!

I have been touched by so many friends, my girlfriends from High School (Zelda , Connie, Cecilia and Alicia) the day I had surgery, and came over when I got home, Zelda had Kolaches for me, she knows that they are my favorite! Debbie and Lisa would come over to see me, and call, Debbie would send me a card every time I had a treatment. Lisa started the Schlitter Sister’s, we walk every year at the Especially for you Breast Cancer Walk. My co-workers at Paetec were GREAT, they had a plant waiting for me when I got home from my first appointment. They would send me get well cards, phone calls, and gift cards just out of the blue. They are very special friends. I have a scrapbook with cards, and pictures of my “adventure”, they are very special to me.

Special Thanks to Dr. Renz for taking time to care, and take a biopsy, Dr. Ghosh, Dr. Merfeld for answering all of my questions, every nurse and staff member that was there for me, to Leza for being able to get that IV in there! To My husband has been to every chemo treatment with me, he would let me squeeze his poor hand , while they were trying to put the IV in me. He would do anything for me, he was always there for me. My kids and Granddaughter made me want to go on to the next day. My parents and in-laws for calling and seeing how things were going. There are so many that have cared, and made a difference, they are all special to me.

It has now been over 5 years and I have seen my son get married to a great girl and they adopted the sweetest little boy! My daughter is doing great raising her daughter on her own and she is going in to first grade. I sometimes cry when I realize that I could have missed this!

I cannot imagine going through this without everyone that has been there for me.

Cancer has made me realize what is important in life, we need to realize this before it is too late, and we cannot make up for it later!

Cruise for the Cure


I understand your feeling of wanting to do something. Big or small we all can do something to promote breast cancer. Thank you for organizing an event in your area that promotes awareness.

Amy A.

When I was younger, I remember my grandmother going through her 2nd chemotherapy treatment back in 1991, and later lost both of her breasts due to Stage 3 breast cancer. Not only was she going through it herself, so was her younger sister who is now a survivor of 50 years as well as her cousins on her mother’s side.

While receiving tremendous support from both family members and friends, I decided to organize "Cruise for the Cure” in South Florida after I had a mini scare with breast cancer in February of 2008. Over these past decades, a few of my family members, and friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. I know the feeling when you know that there is nothing you can do, but go to the doctors, do treatments, and wait to see how you’re feeling days later after you get treated. It’s very hard to watch someone go through this for many years, and watch them suffer from this awful disease that attacks both women and men of every age group.
I finally decided to do something to help support both Women and Men with this disease. Last year, “Cruise for the Cure” was held at WAHOO’S of Lighthouse Point, Florida. Together we raised over a thousand dollars with a total of eighty-seven cars that entered this event, and was escorted by Broward Sheriff’s Office down A1A, 14th Street Causeway, and then met our final destination down Federal Highway at WAHOO’S in less than a month notice. With this event, my goal is to raise three times as much as I did last year. For our 2nd Annual “Cruise for the Cure”, on behalf of the Pink Piston’s - We would like to share this exciting memory with HOOTERS of Boca Raton on Sunday, October 10th, 2010 in memory of some of our families and friends, as well as one of the HOOTERS Calendar Girl’s that fought this disease; some winning the battle, and some not. Together we can help support Breast Cancer Awareness for the one’s we love around us, the women and men of our community, and to show HOPE, COURAGE, and FAITH for them.