"A mammogram found my cancer early!! Positive attitude will take you a long way!"
A mammogram found my cancer early!! Positive attitude will take you a long way!
Carmen Ranee' Smith
"Please get your mammograms. It saved my life."
After 2 years of letting life get in the way I finally scheduled my routine mammogram. The way the tech looked at me I knew something was off. I had to have an ultrasound quickly after because they saw something abnormal on my left breast. Following the ultrasound I had a needle biopsy. Those definitely are not in any way fun. Tears were strolling down my face as they were doing my biopsy. I just knew in my heart it was going to come back with news of cancer. I got a call two days later. Indeed it was a cancerous tumor. My lumpectomy results came back that it was stage one, hormone receptor positive and HER2 positive breast cancer of The left breast. I had 13 weeks of chemotherapy and a year of herceptin treatments, followed by 20 rounds of radiation. During my reconstruction surgery in December they found more cancer. That was a rough month as I got Covid 9 days later. Thank God for that surgery or it wouldn't have been found. Every physician, medical assistant, nurse, surgeon and everyone at the Copper Cancer Center at Summa was amazing. With them, family, amazing friends and most importantly God I was able to keep a smile on my face during the most difficult time. Losing my hair and eyelashes 3 times was so mentally challenging. My friend from high school and I went through our cancer journey together. I'm so very thankful for the people God placed in my life. I just had my yearly mammogram and I am so blessed that it was normal. Please get your mammograms. It saved my life.
Roger K Miller Jr
"I remember thinking, men don't get breast cancer, this cannot be true..."
My Breast Cancer Story I was looking in the mirror after taking a shower I noticed my right breast was noticeability bigger than my left, like it almost grew overnight. I called my primary care doctor who examined me and sent me on that day, March 2, 2015, to Akron General for an ultrasound. After the ultrasound, they wanted to do a biopsy right then, but I could not stay. So, they scheduled it for the next day. I remember thinking, men don't get breast cancer, this cannot be true. I was called into my primary care doctor the day after the biopsy who informed me, I had breast cancer. I got back out to my car and remember placing my hands on my steering wheel and saying, God, you have a problem, and that is where I left it. My plan was to tell only the family at first; I guess I was embarrassed to say I had breast cancer! A couple of days later, one of my granddaughters showed up with a poster that said Keep Calm and Kick CANCER'S Butt!. So, I shared her beautiful poster on Facebook and the cat was out of the bag. I went through six rounds of chemo to stop the growth and shrink it so I could have surgery. The surgery was a success, and the surgeon was able to remove the whole mass at which time he removed 18 lymph nodes for testing. All 18 came back negative. Then I had 30 rounds of radiation. As of now, I'm in remission. I'm still taking tamoxifen, which I will take for five years. I guess a positive attitude helped, but I felt alone (TO THIS DAY I STILL I STILL FEEL ALONE) with there being so few men who get breast cancer. My mission has been to build awareness, letting other men know they can get breast cancer too. See what my treatment timeline looked like see attached forms!
"...To this day I clearly remember the feeling being similar to a punch to the gut..."
In August of 2016 I went for my regularly scheduled mammogram being well aware that previous scans have shown cysts that were non cancerous. Once again, there appeared to be cysts, but this time something not seen on previous mammograms was noted. My doctor encouraged a biopsy that was performed about one week later. The anxiety of my next appointment weighed heavily on my mind for the next week. My husband accompanied me for this appointment and as we sat in the small consultation room we exchanged the small talk of this was probably just another cyst and they will monitor me going forth. The doctor walked in the room and had a look of concern on her face that I will never forget. She told me that the lump was in fact cancerous and to this day I clearly remember the feeling being similar to a punch to the gut. It was thought that I had stage 2 ductile cell carcinoma. My mind raced. I considered myself an active person that took all the precautions of eating healthy and exercising. How can this happen to me at the age of 51? My daughter would be getting married in October of 2017, now my world is crashing down. I was scheduled for a double mastectomy and reconstruction on October 24, 2016 to be followed by multiple rounds of chemotherapy starting in November. I learned the importance of a strong tight family along with the support of friends offering encouragement through this difficult time. I also learned that my own inner strength and fight would serve me well through this battle. My words to everyone is to get your mammogram, do NOT put it off. I can tell you to surround yourself with positive people that are willing to fight with you and to support you when you are feeling down. You must never give up or give in to doubt or weakness. Stay strong and be ready to fight. We all have something to offer to others whether it's family, friends or somebody you've just met. You are important to so many, stay strong and you will win this battle.
"Through all the pain and weakness I channeled every feeling of love that surrounded me."
Through all the pain and weakness I channeled every feeling of love that surrounded me. I took control of cancer & chemo & I changed the narrative to a celebration of healing and love and it worked. I'm not glad I got cancer but I'm proud of the woman I have become through one of the hardest experience of my life. - Photo Credit: Autumn Bland of Portraits of a Pandemic.
"It's an emotional roller coaster like no other but I'm so grateful I'm still here to enjoy it!"
2017 I went for a routine mammogram because I hadn't had one in almost 5 years! I was 40 when I had my first. My doctor would give me the order & I'd say ok I'll schedule it. But life would get in the way, husband, kids, job & I honestly would forget to schedule it. I mean I have nothing to worry about, no one has had breast cancer in my family so I should be fine! ?? Lol Well..... I finally went for mammogram & they told me I needed to come back for additional pictures & possibly an ultrasound. So I go with my mom & daughter thinking it'd be a quick in & out. It turned into almost the whole afternoon. I remember laying on the table seeing the "area" of concern during the ultrasound & thought how am I going to tell my kids! Well after that' & days later from a biopsy came my cancer diagnosis of Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 45! Might I add the best shape of my life! I had a lumpectomy, 21 rounds of radiation, & 12 consecutive weeks of chemotherapy because I'm HER2+! I lost my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes. I gained 30 lbs, I had a port, I have scars, I have radiation tattoos . BUT.....what I got from cancer also was lifetime friends who also had or have breast cancer, I joined the Dragon Dream Team. A team of breast cancer survivors who paddle a dragon boat & compete! I found a strength I never knew I had! My family was so amazing to me. I now have people come to me when they're starting their journey. Not all is bad when you're diagnosed but I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. It's an emotional roller coaster like no other but I'm so grateful I'm still here to enjoy it! I will be cancer free 3 years next month & pray to continue to be for many years to come!
"To accept help when offered was one of the best things I did when in the midst of my battle."
I am an 18 year survivor, diagnosed while I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. I was diagnosed with Triple negative DCIS of the left breast. I opted for a mastectomy during my pregnancy, induce the delivery 2 weeks later, and 2 weeks later start Chemotherapy. My son was delivered at 35 weeks and is now attending College. My husband was my rock and my son kept me happy throughout my 6 months of Chemo. Every person deals with their battles differently but want you to know that you will need help and you might not be comfortable with accepting it. To accept help when offered was one of the best things I did when in the midst of my battle.
"You cry, get angry, feel sorry for yourself, but then you finally say stop it!! Get up and keep moving!!"
My name is Kathleen Cole. In August, 2019, I found a very hard and good sized lump on my left breast. I did not find it an accident at all because I do believe the good Lord was looking over me! I was diagnosed with second stage Invasive Carcinoma Breast Cancer, Grade 3 aggression. I had an appointment on August 21, 2019. That day I will never forget I had another mammogram on both of my breasts, and an ultrasound done of my left breast. I cried all the way home. On August, 22, 2019, I had a needle biopsy to confirm my breast cancer diagnosis. At first I was diagnosed as a stage one, but after I had my double mastectomy, I was diagnosed a stage ll b. I was very lucky that I had found the lump when I did and made an appointment right away. After my diagnosis I had my double mastectomy, and reincision I was looking at chemotherapy. I started chemotherapy on December 9, 2019. On Christmas Day my hair started coming out in handfuls and clumps. I was completely devastated. My daughter Rachel had completed cosmetology school, so I asked her to cut my hair, and eventually she helped me shave my hair off. I got through chemotherapy. My breast cancer diagnosis was extremely devastating, and completely stressful. It takes everything out of you all your energy. I had a great family support system, especially my daughter, my mom, and my step dad. I had so many friends supporting me and rooting me on too! I only had my family and friends, because I did not have a husband or male companionship to be there and support me. I could not have done it without all of them supporting me through my journey. The love and support is very important to get you through. You will go through so many stages of emotions. You cry, get angry, feel sorry for yourself, but then you finally say stop it!! Get up and keep moving!! You will get through this!! I will tell my story to anyone so in hopes to help someone else and also help someone else to save their life like I did myself. I'M A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR!!! I'm living proof and here to inspire and help others either going through breast cancer, and to tell others how very important it is to please keep up on your mammograms, and self-check yourself at least monthly!!! For anyone going through breast cancer, you definitely got this!!! You keep your head up and never ever give up hope I did it and you will too!!!
"I was never alone in my battle and I want other women to know they are also not alone."
I am an almost 3 year survivor, having been diagnosed twice in my lifetime. The first was in 2013 when my significant other was battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the second diagnosis came in late 2016 with a positive BRCA. I underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction in late 2017 and after ten surgeries in under two years I can finally say that I am cancer free. My children supported me throughout my diagnosis, illness, treatment, and recovery. They are the reasons I fought so hard and am here today. I was never alone in my battle and I want other women to know they are also not alone.
The 24th Annual Bosom Buddies Event
Proceeds benefit Cleveland Clinic Akron General to provide free mammograms to those who cannot afford them.View Auction & Bid
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