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Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Support > Stories of Inspiration > Read more stories, H-O


Read more stories, H-O

Celebrating Survivors



Heather McClain
In mid-July 2004, I found a lump in my breast. Doctors in my town said it was probably just a cyst of some sort. I had a lumpectomy to take it out and, when the pathology report came back, it was a phyllodes tumor. I was sent to Seattle doctors because my local doctors said my case required more expertise than they had, which initially freaked me out because I thought, "What I am dealing with?" Heather's story

Helene Bisson
My message to you is this: It is through the toughest obstacles that we discover our inner strengths. Stay courageous and positive and keep your life full of love. Helene's story

Jackie Dillard
Cancer is not prejudiced. It doesn't care how old or how young you are, how rich or poor, what color your skin is or whether you are male or female. It will strike anyone at anytime. I am the first in my family to have breast cancer, but now my daughter is at greater risk. She is my reason for fighting for a cure. Jackie's story 

Jami Renee
Breast cancer was not going to be part of my personal experience. After all, I had breastfed both of my kids and had never smoked. I had survived two rollover car accidents as an adult, the last of which caused major skeletal damage, and had suffered a variety of childhood traumas (both physical and emotional), so I was pretty sure I had "paid my dues" for this lifetime. Jami's story 

Jana Jennings
I found my lump in September of 2004. That very day, I went in for the mammogram and I just had a feeling something was wrong. Jana's story 

Jane Schwartzberg
It was a cozy February evening in 2000. A 31-year-old
newlywed, I was chatting on the phone and absentmindedly
fingering the V-neck collar of my pajama top, when I felt
something hard, like a small marble, under my collarbone in
my right breast.    Jane's story 

Janine Jacinto Sharkey
When you are diagnosed with cancer, it's war as far as I'm concerned. I pulled out all the stops, read everything I could get my hands on, got second opinions, talked with other women who'd 'been there' and made my decisions accordingly. Janine's story

Jeannette Willis
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on December 8, 2003. I was at work that day, and I kept calling home and checking the answering machine. No messages. I got home and still had no messages, so I called the doctor. Bad news: my lump was cancer. Jeannette's story

Judy Sauey
In December 1996, I went in for my yearly physical and a mammogram. A few days later my doctor called me, and when I heard his voice I knew something was not right. He said the mammogram had shown some calcifications and they wanted to take another look. Judy's story

Julie Graham
You know the sleep where you are totally lost in your dreams and cocooned in a warm web of blankets and there is no possibility of ever wanting to awake? Well I was experiencing that sleep until I was rudely interrupted by a rapid banging on my bedroom door. "Julie, wake up. Don't you want to go to Race for the Cure® this morning?," my dad asks, as his deep voice penetrates just beyond my locked door and comfy cave of covers. Every signal that my body was sending me urged me to reply with a stern "No" and stay in bed. Julie's story

Karen Brennan
My sister Marilyn was 45 years old when her breast cancer was detected during a mammogram more than 20 years ago. My other sister, Beverly, was 44 years old when she discovered a lump in her breast. Karen's story 

Karen Rivera
I started practicing monthly breast self-exams in my early 20s on the advice of my mother (my maternal grandmother was diagnosed in her 70s, but lived a healthy life until age 94). Thirteen years ago, shortly after my 28th birthday, I discovered a lump and consulted my gynecologist. A series of tests, then a biopsy and news that the tumor was malignant followed. Karen's story

Kay Porter
In disbelief, Kay Porter, 43, looked at the doctor as though he had made a mistake. Kay's story

Kimberly Nahm
When you get breast cancer, you join a very special club. I made two really special friends during this process and we all met to get our Lupron shots together. Kimberly's story

Linda Beard
After 18 months of being treated for fibroid cyst disease, I noticed my left nipple starting to invert. I went back to my doctor and demanded a biopsy. My world felt like it was going to fall apart when he gave me the news I had breast cancer and probably had the whole 18 months since I had found the lump in my breast. Linda's story 

Linda J. Tajik
I was diagnosed with Invasive High Grade triple negative breast cancer in January 2009 - the moment that rocked my world. Wow, what feelings you experience and what decisions need to be made when your life just turns upside down for awhile. Linda's story 

Lisa Feick
My doctor found a lump on my nipple, and told me to cut out caffeine and check back in a couple of months. I didn't like that response, so I went for a second opinion. I was sent for a mammogram and an ultrasound, which revealed a two-centimeter lump. After two biopsies, I was diagnosed with stage II cancer. Lisa's story 

Lynda Flannery
Ours was a second marriage and had been truly wonderful for 22 years—international living and travel, a wonderful son, all systems go. My husband was feeling tired, and his fatigue and nagging cough turned out to be multiple myeloma. Not to be outdone, I was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to 10 nodes. Lynda's story 

Lynda Newman
Lynda was only 36 and her youngest child was 2 years old when she found out that she had breast cancer. That was 13 years ago. Today, Lynda and her 15-year-old daughter plan to walk in her local Komen Race for the Cure® event. This is her open letter to other women facing a breast cancer diagnosis, from one who has been there. Lynda's story 

Lynn Nishimura
Every once in a while, I'll sit back and remember my carefree days, when my only worries were making it to class on time and deciding on which party I was going to go to on Friday night. Little did I know that my life was going to take a drastic turn. I kept telling my parents, "I don't want to die. I'm too young to die." I was only 24 years old. I knew my carefree days were over. I had to grow up, fast. Lynn's story

Maria Del Vecchio
On July 1, 2002, I had a biopsy of the right breast, and within an hour, my life had changed. I cried when my doctor told me I had breast cancer. It wasn't supposed to happen to me. I was in my 40s and single, and was told that I would have to deal with chemotherapy and radiation for the better part of a year. Maria's story

Mark Goldstein
Men are not supposed to get breast cancer, so the lump under my left nipple went unchallenged for about three months. Not until it had succeeded in pulling in my left nipple did it get a small amount of curiosity. Mark's story 

Marliss Barczak
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, and had a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I was happy to be alive, but I hadn't really celebrated my survivorship. Marliss' story 

Mary Dungan
I was never very consistent about performing monthly BSEs—I'd do it whenever it crossed my mind. Then last June, while performing a BSE, I felt a half-dollar sized lump in my right breast. Mary's story

Mary Eppinger
Mary shares her fears and concerns about losing her hair in verse. Mary's story 

Mary Foster
As I went through chemotherapy, one side effect was the loss of my hair after the second treatment. This was very traumatic for me at first, but I finally came to accept this condition. Part of this acceptance came with the decision to wear ball caps instead of wigs. I just felt more comfortable in a cap. I had so many caps, my husband had to make me a hat rack to hold them all. Mary's story

Maryln Schwartz
My cancer was advanced. I was scared to ask exactly what my odds were. Instead, I asked the doctor this: "I am redoing my house and I'm putting in 'long-wearing' carpet. It's very expensive. Is there any reason I shouldn't choose the 'long-wearing?'" There was a heart-stopping pause. The doctor smiled and said, "Maryln, go for the plush." Maryln's story

Max Monaco
In the United States, male breast cancer occurrences are rare. Only one in 100 cases of breast cancer are male. Max Monaco, 58, of New Jersey, never dreamed he would be that one percent. Max's story

Mindy Gideon
In November 2003, I found a small lump in my breast. I wasn't worried, though. My breasts were reduced to "breastettes" after nursing three girls. I surely would be aware of anything serious! Mindy's story

Moni Bell
Having a family history of breast cancer should make a woman very dedicated to having regular checkups and yearly mammograms. However, sometimes in our busy lives we let things slide, especially when other things come up to distract us. Moni's story

Nina Lyons
The doctor said, "Come back in six months; we want to watch something." Those burning words following my mammogram were so upsetting I put it out of my mind, but did my self-exams. I started to feel something that felt like a small, hard pearl. Nina's story

Olivia Newton-John
A dear friend of mine was diagnosed only three months before I was, and our little circle immediately said, "Oh my God! She's got cancer!" There's something about the word itself that's so scary. So when I got it, I had to come to the realization—and it took awhile—that cancer isn't necessarily a death sentence. Olivia's story