April 6, 2017

Breast Cancer


Here’s a free collection of resources about breast cancer- Breast cancer blogs, videos, support groups, first-hand experiences and advice from people who have breast cancer, etc.

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Breast Cancer Blogs

Here’s a list of breast cancer blogs- blogs written by people with breast cancer, or about breast cancer.

****Email alexbalinski@gmail.com to submit your blog to this list.***

American Cancer Society cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer 2017
BreastCancer.org Resources breastcancer.org 2017
Cancer.gov Resources cancer.gov/types/breast 2017
Web MD Resources webmd.com/breast-cancer 2017
Medline Plus Resources medlineplus.gov/breastcancer 2017
Wikipedia Article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_cancer 2017
National Breast Cancer Foundation nationalbreastcancer.org 2017
CDC Resources cdc.gov/cancer/breast 2017
Mayo Clinic Resources mayoclinic.org..breast-cancer 2017
Breast Cancer Action bcaction.org 2017
Breast Cancer Research Foundation bcrfcure.org 2017
Living Beyond Breast Cancer lbbc.org 2017
Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer stupiddumbbreastcancer.com 2017
Caroline’s Breast Cancer Blog carolinemfr.blogspot.com 2017
Stick It 2 Stage 4 stickit2stage4.com 2017
I Have Breast Cancer Blog ihavebreastcancerblog.me 2017
BC Becky bcbecky.com 2017
I Hate Breast Cancer ihatebreastcancer.wordpress.com 2017
Anna Craig Blog annacraigblog.com 2016
Lisa B. Adams lisabadams.com 2015
My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com 2014

Breast Cancer Support Groups

Breast Cancer Support Groups On Facebook

  1. Breast Cancer Survivor Group (12,333 members)
  2. My Breast Cancer Sisters (8,697 members)
  3. Breast Cancer Straight Talk Support Group (7,089 members)
  4. After Breast Cancer – Support The Girls (6,074 members)
  5. Breast Cancer Alternatives (4,335 members)
  6. Breast Cancer Support Group (4,155 members)
  7. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (4,092 members)
  8. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivors (3,732 members)
  9. Breast Cancer Prevention & Support Group (2,907 members)
  10. Breast Cancer Support- I Got This! (2,807 members)
  11. Breast Cancer Journey Support Group (2,570 members)
  12. Young Women With Breast Cancer (2,459 members)
  13. Breast Cancer Champions (2,193 members)
  14. Closed Metastatic (Stage IV) Breast Cancer Support Group (2,053 members)
  15. Breast Cancer Supporters (2,011 members)
  16. ER+ PR+ HER2- Breast Cancer Support Group (1,614 members)
  17. Breast Cancer Buddies UK Facebook Group (1,463 members)
  18. Breast Cancer Integrative Healing Group (1,083 members)
  19. HER2 Positive Breast Cancer Support & Awareness Group (1,031 members)
  20. Lobular Breast Cancer (ILC) Invasive Lobular Carcinoma Facebook Group (959 members)
  21. Flat & Fabulous Breast Cancer (956 members)
  22. Breast Cancer Slayers & Survivors (948 members)
  23. Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Support (695 members)
  24. The Pink Sisters (298 members)
  25. Breast Cancer Warriors (228 members)
  26. Healing Breast Cancer Naturally (220 members)
  27. Breast Cancer Husbands (154 members)

Other Breast Cancer Support Groups And Forums

  1. Breast Cancer Discussion Forums
  2. Cancer Survivors Network
  3. Macmillan Breast Support Online Community
  4. HealingWell.com Breast Cancer Forum
  5. DailyStrength Breast Cancer Support Group

Breast Cancer Survey

We’re surveying people about their experiences with breast cancer. Here will be a collection of their responses.

*This information is not meant to replace medical advice, and the information gathered via surveys may or may not be correct. Hopefully it will be helpful to you!

*Response format = Answer (Name, Age)


**Click here to share your experience with breast cancer**


Breast Cancer Symptoms

What symptoms have you experienced?

  • She has had a lump, tiredness, irritation (mood). (Eric, 31 years old)
  • I didn’t have any yet. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Found a lump. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Lump in breast. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • Pain. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Lump in breast. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Pain, immobility, fatigue. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Puckering near the nipple, spoking outward. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Joint pain, mental depression. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • None. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • I found a lump in my right breast 13 years ago. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Pain, arthritis, lymphedema, infection, hair thinning. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • None. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • None. Found on a routine, every six months mammogram. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Causes

Is there anything you believe contributed to your breast cancer?

  • Family. Her mom had cancer, her grandma had a cancer. Her dad had cancer…. it’s from both sides. (Eric, 31 years old)
  • Genetics. My mother has had breast cancer three times. I also believe weight gain (obesity) may have contributed to it. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Bad luck. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Genetic palb2. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • Mobile phone? (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Stress. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Pain, immobility, fatigue. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Stress, staying up long hours, not eating correctly, GMOs. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Mastitis. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Hormones, lifestyle and genes. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • Very bad diet. Lots of preservatives. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • No. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Hrt. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • HCG shots? (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Extreme stress, being overweight. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Facts

What are some interesting facts about breast cancer?

  • It is exactly the same as my mother’s, including the size, however I am about 10 years younger than when she was diagnosed which concerns me as I have a daughter. My breast cancer was found by accident during a routine screening which I had to fight to have done, because of my age. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • It’s considered one of the most treatable cancers. I found mine early, so I guess that relates to mine. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • There are so many different types of cancer. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • It can come when you are young, too. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • It shouldn’t be interesting. It’s awful. Breast cancer destroys bodies and lives. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • The statistic is that one out of every eight women will get breast cancer some time in their lives. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Breast cancer affects people of any age, at any time and any stage – breast cancer is the one thing in this world that isn’t racist, sexist, and doesn’t care about age. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • You don’t have to have a strong family history. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • There are so many different kinds. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • All the side effects you can have after chemotherapy and radiation. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Pain Management

What’s your experience with breast cancer-related pain and pain relief?

  • So far the only pain I have experienced is from my surgery, and I didn’t use any pain relief, as the meds they prescribed made me very constipated, so I didn’t use them. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • I have been well looked after by doctors. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Take meds as needed. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • Damage from chemo is long lasting. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Horrifying. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • I don’t really have pain from the cancer itself, but from the treatments. I get charlie horses on my right side if I move too suddenly. They also come when I am cold. I occasionally get pain in the legs (probably from Tamoxifen). (Christine, 45 years old)
  • I have manageable pain. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • I only had pain after surgery. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • During chemo I experienced severe migraines. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • The pain is tolerable with meds. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • Not much pain. Very tolerable. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Very little pain after lumpectomy. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Difficulties

What are the hardest aspects of living with breast cancer?

  • Seeing someone you care so much about slowly becoming someone else. All the life that she had- the love, the hunger for adventure… is gone. (Eric, 31 years old)
  • The impact on my spouse and my family. For me I am in a daze, but I worry about everyone else. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Hair loss. Physical changes. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Finding the new normal. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • Always having to get lumps and pain investigated to see if it is cancer. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Pain and side effects from chemo and radiation. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Having small children, and leaving them behind, and missing out on their lives. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Not knowing if it will come back, after all the treatments. There is always that shadow of recurrence possibilities. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • The constant worrying. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Changes in the way my brain functions. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • Fear of recurrence. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • You aren’t promised anything. You don’t know if it will come back, and you don’t know if you will wake up tomorrow. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Uncertainty. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • I’m worried it will come back. I’m hoping our leaders don’t turn their back on pre-existing conditions. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • The lingering side effects from tamoxifen. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Fear of the future. (Anonymous, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Advice

What encouragement/advice can you give others who have breast cancer?

  • Learn, research as much as you can. (Eric, 31 years old)
  • Always look at the positive. There is always someone worse off. Appreciate the medical advancements and know that as quick as you are diagnosed, you can be cured. Even aggressive late stage cancer is treatable and with advancements changing every day, there will be a cure. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Just keep going. Everyday get up, and do something. Anything. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Be your own advocate. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • You can get through it. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Take all the help offered to you. You will need it and then some. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • Take everything one day at a time. Don’t let any circumstances steal your joy and faith, not matter how hard it gets. Yes, we can be sad and down in the dumps, but we need to get back up. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • If you are able to, leave work and just concentrate on getting healthy. Take advantage of help from family and friends. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • Take care of yourself!! Eat healthy, exercise, and take supplements. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Stay positive, laugh as often as you can, ask for help when you need it, accept help when it’s offered. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Be strong, educate yourself, and have faith. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • Stay as active as you can! Do yoga. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Drink lots of water, and try and get as much rest as you can. (Lynn, 64 years old)
  • Mammograms. (Anonymous, 69 years old)

Breast Cancer Diet and Exercise

What’s been your experience with diet and exercise?

  • It sucks. (Eric, 31 years old)
  • I have my good days and my bad days. Before my diagnosis I was 30 pounds lighter and on a good diet, looking weight, and exercising daily, but getting my diagnosis threw me off track, which sucks because now that I am going through chemo ,I have been told I am not allowed to diet or lose weight. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • I’ve always had a healthy diet and love running. I’ve not been allowed for 1.5 years due to complications, but will get back to it when I’m allowed. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • I was able to maintain a regimen. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • No luck with either. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • It helps to build and maintain strength. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • I’m immobile with metastatic breast cancer in my sacrum, so it’s sort of irrelevant at the moment. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • I used to be very good at running and swimming, and I really should pick back up on those. It’s harder for me to swim, because my range of motion was affected. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • It’s harder when on Tamoxifen. I’m trying to eat healthier. I exercised a lot before breast cancer, and try to increase it even more. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Trying to increase activity and following a Keto Diet. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • I don’t know if it’ll keep the cancer from recurring, but I feel good. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Helps with pain and side effects of treatment. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • Heathy Whole Foods. No dairy and plenty of yoga! I did so much yin yoga prior to surgery- I really believe it’s why my range of motion came back right away. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • I lost weight while going through treatment. I’m now into my third year of tamoxifen. I have gained a lot of weight. Mainly in my belly. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Treatments

What’s been your experience with treatments (medication, surgery, etc.)?

  • Surgery was great. I got a reduction with a lumpectomy, so although I am getting treated for cancer, I am also losing a ton of shoulder and back pain. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Lumpectomy. Mastectomy. Chemo. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Little side effects. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • I tolerate meds, but long lasting side effects are starting to happen- osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Several surgeries and reconstruction, as well as chemo and radiation. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Yuck, yuck. Makes you sick. You have no idea what your body can take, and then they just make you take more until you die. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • My surgery left me with charlie horses on my right side, but they are getting less and less painful or frequent. My hardest treatment was probably radiation. I had chemo as well, but I never threw up. I did have nausea. That was no fun. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • I only had surgery and radiation and then Tamoxifen. Loads of side effects from it. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Tamoxifen and Lexapro. I had a little relief from breathing exercises and chiropractic practices. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • Too many surgeries!! I would not recommend tram flap reconstruction. I’m still having issues with hair, lashes and brows being very thin. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • I had a lumpectomy and my surgeon had to go back in because the edges weren’t clear. Chemo kept me from working for five months, but I worked every day through radiation. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Bilateral Mastectomy, reconstruction, implant replacement and infection. Lymphedema from radiation. On Arimidex for 5-10 years. 7 months out from bx still have more reconstruction. Avoided burns from radiation, but thin skin and scar tissue have caused trouble with healing and lymphedema of breast and arm on cancer side. Lymphedema therapy. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • Surgery was good. I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction at the same time. Recovery went quick. Now I’m on tamoxifen and have few side effects. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Chemotherapy was rough, but radiation was easy for me. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Recommendations

Anything you’d recommend for someone with breast cancer?

  • Chin up princess or the crown slips. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Listen to your body and be your own health advocate. Maintain a healthy weight so you are more aware of any changes. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Find someone who went before you that can lead you, support you, and that you can be real with. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • I’ve recently started using a pain pen. It works well. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Slow down, and research before you make decisions. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • If you have chemo, try to keep some food on your stomach. I know that might sound counterintuitive, but I kept food on my stomach, and never threw up. If you keep feeling nausea, a walk to get some fresh air helps as well. Take the anti-nausea pills they give you before you have nausea. That also helps. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Don’t give up. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Have faith!! (Susan, 58 years old)
  • Stay positive- there’s already enough negativity in the world. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Accept help. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • YOGA!!! (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Take it one day at a time. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Resources

What specific resources have you found most helpful?

  • Cancer society webpage, breastcancer.org, Facebook groups, my medical team. (Amanda, 41 years old)
  • Online support groups. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • Breast cancer resource center. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • Facebook forums. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Resources specific to Triple Negative. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • Local cancer wellness center. (Heather, 43 years old)
  • My family and friends have been the most supportive in my journey. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • The internet has given me much more information than my doctor. (Cecilia, 46 years old)
  • Your health navigator. (PJ, 53 years old)
  • Facebook support groups. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • My wonderful family, great support from friends. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • Family and team of doctors. Faith and a lot of prayers. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • Sites started by breast cancer survivors. (Lynn, 64 years old)

Breast Cancer Stories

Share your breast cancer story.

  • I found my lump March 2016. Lumpectomy May 6. No clear margins, so mastectomy May 16. Stage 1, grade 2. No nodes involved. 9 removed and checked. Tissue expander put in. Chemo started June 2016. Complications ensued. Many hospital stays. Expander removed November 2016. Hysterectomy due to suspicious uterus. Expander put back February 2017. Reconstruction May 15. Tamoxifen for the next 10 years. Try to find the new normal everyday. (Sonja, 41 years old)
  • It’s a disease that you can choose to take over and ruin your thoughts and emotions, although it does take a lot from you, you have a choice to focus on the blessings during the process. I have met many women who are in constant fear, instead of living in the moment that you are in. (Kimberlie, 42 years old)
  • It started with pain. Then bleeding, it took a long time to be seen by a specialist (9 months), it was stage 2. Had total of three surgeries. Chemo, couldn’t have radiation due to lupus. I’m now on tamox for 5 years. 3 years to go. (Lisa, 42 years old)
  • Diagnosed at age 30, Triple negative breast cancer, two children ages 3.5 and 18 months, chemo and radiation, later double mastectomy when more research about triple negative had been released. (Mandy, 42 years old)
  • I found my lump somewhere between November/December of 2014. I didn’t let my mind get too serious about it. It could be anything. It felt like a clogged milk duct. I hadn’t nursed since my little boy was about 2 1/2. I knew that wasn’t just a clogged milk duct, but I thought it could be a calcified milk duct. As most of you know, or will start to discover, when you get a cancer diagnosis you often start looking back and wondering how how you might have developed it. What I have begun to do instead is to look back and see how cancer has changed my life for the better. I could spend the rest of my life worrying about where it all came from and never come to a solid conclusion. A more productive way to look at this cancer is to see how I can help others going through what I have been through and will go through. A more productive way to look at this cancer is to actually start LIVING: help others, love others, be passionate in what you do rather than just trying to earn another dollar or impress another person. I remember my husband coming home from work one day, and saying that he found out why a lady in human resources had been so mean to him and other staff lately. He didn’t put two and two together until about November, when she started wearing her scarves to work. She told the office she had breast cancer. Before he told me about this, I never felt angry toward her. I always try to see the world through a lens of compassion. (Believe me, when I’m in Houston traffic that’s actually a challenge though). I knew something had to be going on in her personal life for her to act like that. I remember meeting her at a Christmas party just a year before, and she was so nice and friendly. When I heard about her diagnosis I wanted to feel her pain. I never imagined I would literally feel her pain. That said, at least I can say “I know what you’re going through” and mean it, while others who don’t have a cancer diagnosis shy away completely because they don’t know what to say, or give you all kinds of unsolicited advice. I have found a ton of support. I don’t spend my time wondering whether some are genuinely supportive, or just hanging around the lady with breast cancer to be in on the story. That’s really none of my business. My business is to make people feel better about themselves, to love themselves as I have felt loved. My mammogram and ultrasound that led up to my diagnosis were done on January 14, 2015. I was remarkably calm. It could be anything. I had no history of breast cancer in my direct line. My aunt had breast cancer, but I didn’t consider that “direct line”. My mother had cervical cancer. If I was going to get cancer, I figured it would be from that, not breast cancer. I even remained calm when they told me they wanted to do a biopsy. They found something, yes. It still could be a calcified milk duct. They just wanted to see what it was. I came alone. I had never had a biopsy. I was kind of wanting my husband to be there, because I was getting ready to experience an unknown. He had just gotten home from work when I was able to call them. It was getting toward the end of the day for the office staff at the imaging clinic. I went ahead and had the biopsy done without him. Ouch! It’s almost like PTSD to hear that noise. My husband has been to every biopsy I’ve had since then, and so far there were two more. I hope I never have another one, but if I do, I want him with me. He whispered in my ear every time he saw the needle going toward my breast or armpit, so I wouldn’t jump. He has also been to every chemo treatment I’ve had so far, even though it means that he has to take off work. I was diagnosed January 19, 2015. When I got the diagnosis I had to sit down. I kept crying. I home school my children, and my doctor was kind enough to have them in another room while I got my thoughts collected and my emotions composed enough not to shock them too much. What do you tell your children in a way they can understand age-appropriately? They could see it in my face that I had been crying. We can’t protect them from the world too much or they aren’t prepared to face the sadness and ugliness. When I told them about my diagnosis, I learned that it is a good thing for them to see mom or dad not have all the answers. We want them to think that we can take care of all of their problems, and make all of their boo-boos go away. I had to point them to the idea that there is something, someone, greater out there than Mommy or Daddy. Faced with a potentially fatal disease, you know more solidly that the most important thing to leave behind with your children is how to cope with life’s challenges because you know more than ever before that you won’t always be there to make their boo-boos go away. It’s not just education that helps children succeed as adults. They need to see a role model in their parents that shows them how to deal with things like cancer, that can’t be explained away just scientifically. Some children aren’t fortunate enough to have two parents. Some children start out with only one parent. Some grow up with two parents, and lose one to something like cancer. I don’t think I am going to die from this disease, but I do know that one day I am going to die from something. It could be complications from treatment, that don’t manifest until decades down the road. I can’t speculate on how soon or many years down the road I will depart this world. I choose instead to focus on how to teach them to handle things that can’t be explained away. You have to give them over to God in every since of the word. I can’t tell you how relieved I get when I pray and leave all my burdens at the foot of His cross and His throne. We have to learn to depend on others, even when we are so used to trying to do everything for everyone else and be their answer. We have to learn to be God’s vines and branches. Sometimes that DOES mean helping someone else out. I do that by being here, supporting other women who have been diagnosed with this disease. I do it by trying to more consciously make choices and take actions that reflect love. Sometimes I do it by allowing others to love on me. When I was diagnosed with my cancer, at first I started turning inward. Why was I given this disease? I wasn’t so scared of the diagnosis for myself. I know where I am going after I leave this world. I worry for the loved ones I will one day leave behind. I spent a good night or two praying to God. He gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding. He told me he had chosen me to be his warrior. We don’t know how long any of us have on this earth, even before we’ve been given something like a cancer diagnosis. I started hearing God tell me to help others, rather than fold within myself and withdraw from others. I have learned what he means about an inheritance. He isn’t talking about money. He is talking about what we do with our lives. Some are given little. Some are given much. I have to take this cancer diagnosis, which to many seems like a deficit, and invest it into the lives of others. When I take my mind off myself and spend my energy helping others I actually feel a little selfish, because I am no longer looking at the haunting and depressing life of cancer that some could make this out to be. I used to be such a private person, and this diagnosis has made me open up toward others. I never really was one to look for help, always preferring to help myself and my family on my own. The needs from this cancer have taught me that its okay to let others help me and my family. Sometimes it helps others to help me. They need an outlet, just like I do when I need to get my mind off my diagnosis.I am a happily married woman and mother in her 40’s. I have been pretty much a happy person, all-around, my whole life. I used to be embarrassed by my laugh when I was younger. After losing my grandma over a decade ago, though, I treasure my laugh because it is something I remember about her. I must have inherited my laugh and smile from her, because she always seemed to brighten my day with that same laugh and smile. Sometimes, though, just because someone laughs and smiles all the time does not mean their life is perfect. Just because we are happy and smile most of the time, does not mean we do everything the way we should. I could be happier. I could LIVE my life more fully and passionately. That is my ultimate goal since my diagnosis. This cancer has taught me that I wasn’t living PASSIONATELY before. My husband got his first job out of college working in Alaska, but we still lived in Houston. I quit my job, partly because I wanted to stay home with Avalyn, but also because we had the remote possibility of moving to Ketchican. I went up to spend a long awaited honeymoon with him while my dad and step-mother watched our toddler. I left the diaphragm behind on accident, and we again decided to leave fate in God’s hands rather than in my diaphragm. Twenty one months after Avalyn was born we had Carrie. Carrie has always been a pretty easy child to rear (though she does have her moments). She was also the easiest to give birth to, giving us no false alarms, and arriving only six hours after I came into the hospital. My water broke naturally. After she was born, life wasn’t so easy. She was a good baby, but circumstances weren’t so good. We decided not to move to Ketchican. If you research the cost of living up there, for the amount of money you spend, and compare it to the cost of living in 2006 for Houston, you might understand why. We bought a house, but I wished we knew to be more curious about the house we bought when we were house hunting. It’s okay to lift vases in bathrooms and discover cracks underneath. Don’t be shy. It’s also okay to look inside kitchen cabinets to see if you might find rotting wood near the dishwasher. I would rock Carrie to sleep in the recliner just on the other side of the wall separating us from the dish washer. I developed bronchitis when she was about 2 months old. This goes to show that God ALWAYS uses perfect timing. My husband was about to be home from work anyway. I had gone in to figure out why I couldn’t quit coughing and found out I developed bronchitis. He was home by the time I started taking most of the medication. I had developed so much exhaustion – – between raising a baby and a toddler and also not feeling well. I picked up a bottle of Hydrocodone instead of the bottle of bronchitis medicine. They both are horse-sized pills, so I thought nothing of it when I took the pill. When the coughing didn’t stop, I used my inhaler. We went to bed that night, and I developed a headache on top of the cough. My husband suggested I take an aspirin. I started hearing strange noises that my husband wasn’t hearing. I started hallucinating from the interaction of the wrong drugs mixed together. He felt helpless and admitted me to the hospital. At that time in Houston, Andrea Yates was all over the news. Psychiatrists were very careful about who they let return home from episodes like I had experienced. They tried diagnosing me with Schizophrenia. I am sure I had a psychotic episode, but it was drug induced. My husband had to hire a lawyer to get me out of Ben Taub. I was finally home after two weeks. While I was in the Psych ward I wasn’t allowed to pump and dump. In the meantime, my Carrie developed nipple confusion. I only got to nurse her for about 2 months. When I got home from Ben Taub she insisted on the bottle. We had three girls. When I met our oldest, she was 9. She was a delightful little girl, almost the age of my students. I did not have any children of my own. I also wondered if I ever would be able to have children. I doted on her, and lavished her with books and toys. We took to each other so easily. She even started calling me mommy, even though she has a mom. I think that made her mother angry. When we saw her again we started seeing her be demanding of things instead of being appreciative and excited. We found out Mommy was telling her to go to Daddy if she needed any thing requiring money. We were a single-income family before John graduated from college. Having a 9 year old AND a baby wasn’t easy. Samantha was used to being an only child, never having to share. She was even an only grand-child on BOTH sides. When I met her, and thought of having children, I never thought she would be jealous of their toys. There is about a decade difference between Samantha and Avalyn. Yet I started seeing her tell our toddler that one half of the sand box was her’s and the other was Avalyn’s. Since Samantha has graduated from high school, she has had a chance to work out in the real world and discover how much things actually cost. She has grown into a beautiful young woman both inside and out, and I’ve been blessed to see her generosity toward others.We had three girls, and John still wanted to try for a boy. This is where I know that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. We got pregnant a third time. I would look down at my growing belly and greet it with a “Hello, Little Buddy.” I had to have ultrasounds because of my age. There was a slight risk that this baby could have Down’s Syndrome. When I was about 6 months along, we went to the first sonogram where you can see the sex of the baby. I saw a rectangle with a circle at the bottom and started laughing. I’d never seen that before on my two girls. I said, “He’s a boy!” The doctor wondered how I knew. I had to tell him, first, that I kept greeting this little guy with “Hello, Buddy”. I also told him that this image was something I’d never seen on a baby sonogram before. Something the doctor saw on the sonogram was a calcification on his heart. It is something that shows up in a lot of babies with Down’s, but it can show up on perfectly healthy babies as well. We were offered an amnio, but we declined. Why bother getting an amnio if you’re doing to keep your baby anyway? We were waiting so long to have this little boy, we didn’t care if he wasn’t perfect in the eyes of the world. Jacob was born in 2009. He gave me a lot of false alarms. When he finally came into this world, however, he came quickly. The epidural did not have a chance to kick in. I was making noises I never heard myself make. I guess it was kind of pay-back for me laughing only 20 minutes earlier when I heard another lady down the hall making the same noises. With my girls, the epidurals kicked in well before the baby was born so I didn’t know what it felt like to have a watermelon come out of something that normally was the size of a lemon. OUCH! He is a perfectly healthy little boy. He has no Down’s Syndrome. What he does have I didn’t notice until he was about 2 or 3 months old. He has a big brown mark on his nose, not too far from his eye. It’s a cafe’ au lait birth mark – – probably from coming out of the birth canal as if off a water slide rather than easing out. We get ignorant questions about it from time to time. Some people laugh and think he’s just a typical boy with dirt on his nose. Some think he hurt himself. I wonder if they’re ready to call CPS on me because they think he’s being abused. I just shake my head. I’ve got doctor’s notes from the dermatologist. Sometimes he’s bothered by it, but we haven’t removed it. There are some who call it “God’s thumbprint of approval”. I remind him of that from time to time. If he gets older and decides he wants to have it removed we’ll look into it. Jacob was so easy to nurse. We nursed until he was about 2 1/2. I don’t know if it was harder to wean me off, or him. He learned to say “sheepies” when he wanted nursed, and didn’t understand why sheepies were being weaned. I missed being able to keep weight off. I had clogged milk ducts with all three of my children, but they always seemed to go away with pumping or nursing. I knew something was wrong when I found that clogged milk duct feeling this past year. Jacob turned 6 shortly after my IDC diagnosis. I could rack my brains wondering if I developed cancer because I never got that clogged milk duct feeling out of my right breast once and for all, but it might not having anything to do with a clogged duct. It could be from having taken birth control pills in college. It could have been from living in an overly Iron-rich environment (I grew up in a red clay Virginia). It could be eating so much crappy food with GMOS in it, or working night shifts before I got my teaching job. I can’t go there. What I need to do is look at how to turn this around and bless others. I start by trying to be more close to my family. Before my diagnosis, my husband and I began to drift apart. We were still happily married, but we got into our routines. That happens with almost every couple. It especially happens to couples when one of them has to work away from home quite a bit. This cancer diagnosis has taken me away from my routine. My husband has also been blessed to have an office job. God’s timing was perfect again, as he has had this job about a year or two before I got my diagnosis. At first, I took his return to being at home for granted. Any time we needed more money for home repairs I started turning to my computer work. I work online selling curriculum that I’ve made. When my step daughter would come down to visit and wanted to go somewhere that we’d end up spending hundreds of dollars to include the whole family, I started plugging way to make more income. I would stay up way into the night (sometimes even into the early hours of the morning) to try to get something churned out, and then spend hours trying to market it so it got noticed. Cancer has taught me to SLOW DOWN. Smell the flowers. Laugh at and treasure the funny and cute things your children say. Listen to the stories your parents tell you about when you were little, or about when THEY were little, or about your grandparents. Beyond my own family, when I am out and about at places like the grocery store, a doctor’s appointment, a class my kids are taking – – I take time to try to talk to the cashier, people in the waiting room, other parents. I connect. This life isn’t always about making money or impressing others, or putting out fires all the time. It’s about connecting. If you are here on MyBCTeam for the very first time, welcome to a place where you can both reach out and where you can reach toward others. If you have been on here for a while, thank you for all of the support you have been giving me and others and for the wealth of knowledge. (Christine, 45 years old)
  • Was dx just before turning 54. Mammogram caught it!! No family history. Stage 1, nodes neg. Lumpectomy, mrsa infected lumpectomy site that required cleaning and packing twice a day for about six weeks. Chemo x 4, then bilateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction. Been NED for almost five years. (Susan, 58 years old)
  • My mom had breast cancer seven years before I was diagnosed. I believe my journey was harder on her than hers was. I was told on my birthday August 8, 2004. I had a biopsy right away, and saw my surgeon the next week. She said she only needed to do a lumpectomy, but wanted me to have chemo and radiation. I was off work for five months and so so sick. I just had my 13th anniversary of being diagnosed. It’s actually pretty scary because at 13 years my moms breast cancer metastasized. (Tina, 61 years old)
  • I’m not ready yet. I need to get through treatments still. (Dena S., 62 years old)
  • No breast cancer in my large family, so I skipped a few years of mammograms. Finally I went and had breast cancer. Estrogen driven. So I took a friend’s advice when she said you get one chance to be aggressive. I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction same time. No chem, no rads, just pills. My heart goes out to the many women that had it worse than me. (Janice, 63 years old)
  • Routine annual mammogram, no lump. (Anonymous, 69 years old)