Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Please Post your stories!!


  1. Breast Cancer Survivor story:
    When I was 33 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a 20 month old daughter and was nursing two (really) five month old twins. I had, what I thought was a breast infection (again -- nursing two boys!), but my doctor wanted to take no chances. After 48 hours with no change, she ordered a biopsy and my world turned upside down. I was diagnosed with breast cancer (my mom died from breast cancer at 47, when I was 21). I had to stop breast feeding (not fun), have a lumpectomy, 6 cycles of chemo and one month of daily radiation. I lost my hair, but not my sense of humor, not my love of and respect for life, not my family and not even my job. My 20 month daughter is now a sophmore in college and those 5 month old squishy babies are tall handsome 17 yr old guys who I literally look up to. And so, I am officially a 17 year breast cancer survivor who has seen birthdays my mother never saw....in April of this year, I learned I had a uterine cancer -- this was a new cancer, though it is related to breast cancer. Once again I underwent chemo and radiation, and, once again, I am rockin the short hair (pixies are back in, right?)...So, yes, it's scary and yes, it can be life changing and certainly is life challenging, but with good medical care (I have the best) and the self-respect to get thee to a doctor at the first sign something is wrong, it needn't be life ending. If I can do one helpful thing as a survivor, it's to get the message out that the best thing we women can do for ourselves is to remember all those to do's can't be done if we ain't here to do them....get proper screening and at the first sign of any unusual symptom, see a doctor. For me, even though both times, my cancer was aggressive, I had caught it early....and though the treatment isn't as fun as a day at the spa, it's miraculous that we have such treatments and here I sit, typing away (instead of working) very healty and very much alive!

  2. Breast Cancer Survivor Story:

    Hi, My name is Lida Rosle and I am a 22 year breast cancer survivor, initially diagnosed at age 40 with advanced Stage III breast cancer, large tumor, aggressive type, extensive lymph node involvement. I saw 3 different doctors and all had a different approach to how to treat me, two of them were not very optimistic about my chances for survival. There was one doctor who was the only one who told me that I would be fine and I ended up in his clinical trial at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia which consisted of 6 -7 months of chemo followed by a radical mastectomy (they don't do radical mastectomies anymore) and then again 6 more months of chemo so instead of surgery right away , they sandwiched it in between 12 months of chemo. The belief was that possbly, there are microscopic cells throughout the body so agressive chemo is aimed at treating the body systematically and shrink the large tumor, then do the surgery. Taking a breast does not always solve the problem. It took about 15 months for everything since some weeks I was not able to undergo chemo because of my low white counts. I also had my ovaries removed a number of years later which is another weapon against recurrence and I was on Tamoxifen for many years after the chemo ended. I have been heathy and fine since then!

    All in all, this treatment, mocked at the time by other doctors, is now the regular treatment for Stage III and sometimes Stage II patients.

    I started a support group back then in 1989 and we closed it after we had 12 members. 10 of us are still alive and well from the original group. I remember one member with the same diagnosis as myself who was still alive after 7 years at that time and she was the one I gained the most hope from. She is now 29 years after her diagnosis and doing great, never had a recurrence either. There are many of us like this. So these stories are the ones you would want to focus on.
    If you are recently diagnosed or in the middle of treatment and you can't see the end of the tunnel, please believe me, there comes a day when things get back to normal again! Wishing you the best on your journey through this!

    Lida Rosle



  3. I loved hearing the stories of Lida and Sally. You have no idea how good it feels to hear them! I too am a survivor although just two and a half years but hoping and believing I will be a long time survivor too. I was 38 years old whenI was diagnosed with Breast cancer in June 2008. I am a kick-boxing instructor here in ny and have always made fitness a part of my life. And I've always loved my life and felt like the luckiest girl in the world! So ironically after doing the Avon 40 mile Marathon in Chicago for a friend of mine who was diagnosed at 33 I learned two weeks later it was my turn. I felt a lump in my breast and had just had my 1st negative mamogram just 4 months prior. And the only reason I even had a mamogram in the first place was because I was getting the boobs done! Yeah so I enjoyed those babies for about 5 months, but its so ok, I chose to have a double mastectomy. The shock was unbelievable to me and everyone who knows me. SO there I was trying to wrap my head around all of this. My husband and I have 4 amazing daughters and at the time they were 1, 4, 6 and 8. I underwent a clinical trial at Rosewell Park Cancer Institute, which was 7 months of chemo,2 months of radiation. It was a total of a year from start to finish. We had to hire a live in nanny to help us get through everything. I have a huge support group all around me and now I am helping others. Its amazing 2 years ago I only knew 1 person with breast cancer now I know about 30! And many of them I already knew. All of these women are the healthiest ladies I know. It's so not a bad health disease but a very random one. I by the way have no cancer history of any kind in my family and many of the women who have been diagnosed don't have history either. There are definitely women who have history I know that. But, I feel great and I've been at the gym teaching in full force! It feels great to help others and to share my story. I listen to Molly and Christine so much while carting around my 4 little ladies! You guys really crack me up! Thanks for doing great things like this. Positive stories really go along way.....Kirsten

  4. I am a 4.5 yr survivor of stage 2B breast cancer. One doc told me it was a very "garden type variety" of cancer...nice. That actually lead me to believe that I had one of the most common types, so I feel there is Hope since this is one of the most researched cancers!

    I was 44-yrs old when diagnosed. Actually got the callback from the radiologist on the way to my father-in-law's funeral. My husband and I found the lump, which ended up in my lymph nodes as well. Had a lumpectomy then got the standard 8 weeks of "double-dosing" chemo on an every other week schedule. Had another lumpectomy to get better margins then the 33-day radiation. I bought three wigs: brunette, blond and curly red! Depending on how I was feeling, I chose a different color!!

    During my treatment there were just SO many people who wanted to ask me how I was doing and to tell me they were thinking about me (this last part made me cry a lot because I was so touched by the comments), but they did not know how or when to say anything. I decided to send out a mass email to everyone after each chemo treatment. I told them what it was like, what I was going through, how I was sleeping, how I was attitudinally, how the family was doing, etc. People were so touched by this and they actually looked forward to my emails. One reason they did, I think, is I portrayed a person handling her new reality. You can't be mopey about this disease when you have to fight it. One of my coworkers went through this at the same time. She said she stopped on the way home one night and cried. Then she realized that this really would not help her get better or help her out of the situation. And, from her experience, I also cried but I am a realist who just had to get through it and help others do the same!!

    I have tested negative for the BRAC gene, so I can feel comfortable that my two paternal and two maternal aunts who also had breast cancer did not hand it down genetically. I am the only one in my generation of 41 cousins to have encountered it so far. I have two daughters who now don't have to expect to be a breast cancer patient.

    I have had my own team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in WDC for three years now, Molly's Mob. We have raised close to $10,000 to help with the education and awareness of breast cancer. This past year,we raised over $6,200!!! Hoping to make it even better this year.

    There is hope! I love talking with people about my experiences and hope I can calm them into realizing they still have a future as a Survivor.

  5. Here is my 73 year old Mom’s breast cancer survival story that she and I would like to share:

    I've survived three Breast cancers in one breast over nine years (started in my 60s). One was not a recurrence but a completely different new one. But my story goes beyond the cancer itself. When it came back for the third time I knew that I no longer had options and so I agreed to have a bilateral mastectomy as I did not want to worry about a remaining healthy breast becoming cancerous. I arranged to have reconstruction started at the same time. But because of the earlier radiation the cancerous side did not accept the reconstruction. What helps at one time can hinder at another time. So I was left with one reconstructive breast and one awfully scared left side. I cannot describe how unhappy I was. But science is forever learning, improving, adapting, and growing. One year later while visiting my plastic surgeon, a wonderful Doctor as is all the Doctors who have and still are involved in my life. You do not have to travel to New York City, there are many wonderful doctors outside of NYC in my own Rockland County, NY. My plastic surgeon excitedly told me she had been to a conference about a new way to help radiation burns. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. They have been discovering that the treatment - infusions of new oxygen - helps heal diabetic wounds and now is also helping to heal radiation burns. I underwent 30 treatments. You lie in a chamber for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, five days a week. After five sessions we could actually see my skin improving. The bumps and lumps actually were smoothing out. A miracle was happening. After the 30 sessions, I again had reconstruction and then started at a very slow pace of inserting saline solution and it worked. I now have two normal looking breasts. I can not describe the joy I feel. Researchers and doctors are truly dedicated to improving cancer patients lives. Hopefully someday soon this awful disease can be a thing of the past.

    Evelyn Whalen
    Suffern, NY

    P.S. from Evelyn’s daughter Wendy who submitted this for her Mom. I remember that we asked my Mom’s plastic surgeon for names of people who would be open to talking to my Mom before the surgery. This was very helpful to my Mom and I highly recommend you ask your doctor for this. Only someone who has gone through this can really be open and honest with the patient, and share their experiences and recommendations.

  6. My name is Chris Bass and I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Last November, I felt a lump in my left breast. I wasn't overly concerned as I did not believe there could be anything to it as I had always had my annual mamograms like clockwork, and had just had a breat exam in conjunction with my OB-GYN appointment in September. I have to admit, I put it off for about a month and nothing changed, so I decided I'd better go see about it. On December 16th I had a mamogram which came up clear, but a follow up ultrasound indicated there was a mass in my breast. On December 21st I had a needle biopsy which indicated it was malignant,and on December 23rd, I was in surgery having a lumpectemy. Merry Christmas!!! The lump was approximately 2 centimeters in diameter and had affected one lymph node under my arm. In January, I had a medi-port put in and began 8 treatments of chemotherapy every other week. The first 4 treatments were with two drugs, cytoxin and adriomycen which are very potent, powerful chemo drugs. The last 4 treatments were tamoxifen which have a whole different set of side effects. I told my oncologist I was the "side-effect queen" as every side effect mentioned with either drug, I swear I got. I lost all facial hair, my fingernails, my taste for everything was skewed and I developed neuropathy in both my hands and feet. I was nauseas and sick, but have to say I am a Spinning instructor at a local health club and continued to show up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 a.m. through the entire process. There was about a month where I could not actually ride, as I was not able to take in enough calories for what is required to spin. I followed those treatments with 6 weeks of daily radiation. I am currently on a 5 year hormone follow up with Femara and I FEEL GREAT. I had a PET scan two weeks ago and it was completely clear and I have been declared cancer free. There is truly life after this exprience, and contrived as it sounds, it gives you a new perspective on life and what is important. I have a 19 year old son, a 17 year old daughter and a wonderful husband who, along with really good friends were my support system. One thing I want all the women out there to know is, my lump did not show up on my mamogram THE DAY OF SURGERY. So if I had not done my own breast exams and just waited for my annual mamogram to come back around, I may have had a much more dire situation as the cancer may have spread much more rapidly. It is so important to know your bodies and pay attention to what is going on within them. I feel very, very lucky today and plan on living a very long and enriched life.

  7. Hi Ladies,

    Thanks for this opportunity to tell my story.

    I am 53 years old and a 2 time breast cancer survivor. I found both my lumps myself. The 2nd one I found 2 months after a mammogram and exam by my oncologist!
    I was 32 (1989) when I found the first one on a fluke, just doing the normal activity of shaving my underarm. However, on this morning my knuckle slid over a little bump. I was….surprised I guess the word would be, then that turned into concern, then panic as I was leaving for a 10 day vacation that afternoon. I decided to go to the emergency clinic that morning. The doctor there assured me that even if it was cancer, 10 days would not make that much of a difference and I should relax and have a good vacation but make an appt. with an oncologist asap after returning. I went on vacation but it was not exactly relaxing. It did turn out to be cancer and I had a lumpectomy and chemo and radiation.
    I was cancer free for 13 years when I felt a lump in the same breast. I did not do anything right away because I had just had a mammogram and an exam by my oncologist 2 months before. I checked it every day and after about a month I went back to the oncologist. Again it turned out to be cancer, only it was not a recurrence of the first cancer, but was a 2nd primary. I had a mastectomy and chemo but no radiation since they can only do that once. I went through this whole process a lot better than the first time. I was not as sick, I had acupuncture to help support me, and the whole woman care system was a much better set up in 2002 than it was in 1989.

    So even though mammograms do catch cancers, they only do a small percentage (something like 10%). Check yourself diligently!!!!

    Diane Griest
    Warrenton, VA.

  8. Thanks for the opportunity...here is my story:

    Two years ago when I was 43 I was diagnosed with Type III Breast cancer. I had no risk factors. No family history, I breast fed my last daughter for 2 years. I was young. At the time my son was 15, and my two daughters - 13 & 3. My 3yr old hit me on my left breast by accident. It hurt. Another sign it was not cancer. I went to a cancer clinic and trusted evey docotor I encountered. In a whirlwind of doctors and appointments, I started 8 rounds of chemo. I had a lumpectomy and breast reduction. Then 33 rounds of radiation. I had my uterus removed as a precaution to the side effects of the drug.
    I tried to tackle everyday with some humor. I wasn't all that funny before, but I could find humor now. I knew I would loose my hair so I wanted a tacky Dolly Pardon wig - it didn't happen. But I did rock the bald look. I thought I would get perky new boobs - instead they are scarred and funky. I can have them fixed later. My husband says I am the most beautiful woman.
    We had lots of support from family, friends, and community. Cancer effects everyone not just the person diagnosed. It is a time to let other people step in and help. It was a very humble experience.

    So it has been two years. I AM A SURVIVIOR!!! My family has survived. My hair came back. My kids are much stronger. We laugh. We laugh lots. We appreciate every day. I take Femara for the next 5 years. My husband is staying bald for that time. This is our normal. We live each day. Life is good.

  9. I will be a 6 year Inflammatory Breast Cancer survivor in November! I was diagnosed when I was 42 year old and 22 weeks pregnant.

    In late October 2004, I noticed a red, bumpy rash on my left breast. It was very unusual looking, almost like a bruise or burn and it seemed to appear overnight. My OB-Gyn initially thought the condition might be mastitis. But after seeing the redness increase over 2 weeks, he immediately sent me to a breast surgeon. The breast surgeon ordered a mammogram which revealed a suspicious 3-centimeter lump. She tried to drain the reddened area but didn’t find any liquid. I then had a biopsy which revealed that I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). From start to finish, I was diagnosed within about 4 weeks. I was very fortunate in this regard because due to its rarity (less that 5% of all breast cancers), it often takes much longer to receive a correct diagnosis of IBC, and it is often too late, as this type of cancer grows very quickly.

    I was already in a high-risk pregnancy, and I wondered how I could keep my baby healthy until she was born. My oldest daughter was 3 ½ at the time. I knew that I had to beat this cancer. My doctor’s recommendation was to begin chemotherapy treatment as soon as possible. Starting in early December, I had four cycles of a drug that has been tested and used safely on pregnant women and their unborn babies, with the most notable effect being low birth weight for the baby. My daughter, Grace, was born at 36 weeks in March 2005, weighing 6 lbs. and 7 ounces and went home with us two days later. She had a full head of hair even though I had none!

    The day after Grace came home, I started a different chemotherapy drug. After four more chemotherapy treatment, I completed 5 ½ weeks of daily radiation treatments, and over the following 2 years, I had a completely hysterectomy, a prophylactic mastectomy on the right breast and reconstructive surgery. I continue to take medication daily to help prevent recurrence. I am extremely thankful for my current good health. I volunteer regularly at Georgetown University Hospital for SOS (Survivors Offering Support) which is an organization that trains breast cancer survivors to be mentors to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, Grace is a healthy, happy 5-year old broad and in the 98th percentile for height and weight for her age.

    My advice: Be aware of your body. Don’t ignore odd changes just because you are busy, scared, or unsure if it is a problem. Early detection is critical. You don’t need to have a family history to have IBC, and it can happen at a young age. Be persistent with any questions or concerns you have. You know your body better than anyone else. If you don’t get a diagnosis that makes sense, find another doctor. Trust your judgment.

    Tips for survival: Plant perennials and anticipate seeing them bloom each year. Look to nature for solace and inspiration. Knowing that winter hides spring blooms is a reminder that your body is healing. Dance! It’s great exercise and will help you get your groove back! Have faith! One woman wrote to me “visualize yourself as a grandmother”. I did. You can survive, and thrive.

  10. I am a 7 year breast cancer survivor. 2003 was a difficult year for more than one reason. In March my divorce was finalized after 16 years of marriage. It was a new start, I was learning to breath on my on again. After a few month I begin dating. I was enjoying my life. Late into the summer months I began to feel pain in my left breast I also felt a lump. At first I assumed it was from drinking to much caffine. This had happened before. So I stopped drinking caffine & the pain & lump did not go away. I knew I needed to get this looked at. My doctor showed signs of concern & sent my to have a mammogram. One week later I was told that I had
    ductal carcinoma in situ. I could not believe my ears. How could this be? Cancer did not run in my immediate family. I was only 35 years old.
    How was I going to tell my family? What was I going to say to this guy I had been dating. It was overwhelming. I did sit down to tell Kerry, the guy I was dating. I told him I understood completely if he wanted to wish me well but it was more than he could handle right now. He looked me in the eyes & said he was not going anywhere, he would be right there to see me through this, and besides how can I leave now when I am starting to fall in love with you. And he did what he said he would do he was with me through everything. I did not want to take one doctors word so I visited with several doctors to make sure they were all on the same page. After consultanting with the doctors I choose to have a double masectomy with reconstructive surgery. The week of my 36 birthday I was undergoing a major surgery. It was a long road but with the help & support of my family & friends I made it through. After healing & several surgeries, Kerry & I married. We have been together for 5 years!
    My advice is to know your body. Listen to your body. Ask questions & do what you feel is right for yourself. Surround yourself with people who love you & let them help you. And don't forget to laugh. Laughter can go a long way in healing the body & spirit.

  11. Hey all, it's no longer breast cancer awareness month because it's March--but last October, while you were all posting your amazing stories of survival, I was being told by my doctor that my cancer had come back. Which is taking breast cancer awareness month a little too far, I know. I made it 6 years but now I'm at the battle again. But like you, I'm not taking it lying down. I run my breast cancer non-profit www.projectpinkdiary.com, I blog, I write, I show my film The Breast Cancer Diaries on college campuses across the world, I speak and I LIVE. That's what it's all about, right? Hang in there sisters. We will make it.

  12. Saya dari indonesia.. salam kenal yah.. semoga sukses.:)


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and we want to hear your survival stories to give hope to all women and men dealing with Breast Cancer. We believe your words will instill hope and strength in those people fighting the battle you just won. Please write your stories here and send a copy to broadminded@xmradio.com If you are interested in recording your story, please send us your name and contact information, Jennifer our producer will be in touch. Thank you!