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This discussion thread is to post about women we know or meet that have survived breast cancer, lumpectomies, mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and have not only got through it but put it all behind them and got on with their lives.
Some uplifting stories to read when we're feeling a bit hopeless.
real life success stories to remind you that people do survive breast cancer
Dr Peter Harvey
"I do have a positive experience to share though. My maternal aunt was diagnosed 25 years ago, had a mastectomy, took tamoxifen for 5 years and is now 74 with no recurrence."
My aunt has been an inspiration through this - and in the treatment decisions, as she was my mum's sister.
I forgot, I have another two good examples
My next door neighbour is a lovely and feisty 83 year old who had breast cancer 15 years ago. She opted for a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy and refused chemotherapy, despite being strongly advised to have it. She had radiotherapy followed by tamoxifen for 5 years and is extremely fit and healthy today.
And a good friend of mine from school was diagnosed when she was just 29. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy only - she's now 20 years clear. Hopefully that will be encouraging for the younger members on here.
As you say, we need more of the positive stories.
Here's the article about the Mediterranean diet, it was only 199 women but an encouraging story.
Hi have 3 friends who had breast cancer between 10 and 16 years ago they different treatments and are still going strong. At work there is a number of ladies who are also alive and well one it was over 20 years ago.
All positive stories. xx
I have a positive story too. I recently rejoined a group I'd let slip while having treatment. At the first get together I was the centre of attention (it's that hair style lol - lets everyone know). Afterwards, a 50 something woman I hardly know came up to me and said "I had breast cancer 28 years ago - they gave me less than 2 years". And here she is going about her life, happily married, adult kids, successful career and so on.
I have 2 more successes for your list.
Firstly my grandmother diagnosed in 1971 when treatments were quite basic. She had a mastectomy as that was the only option, no chemo because it wasn't there and I'm not even sure she had radiotherapy. However, she lived for another 20 years afterwards, dying aged 88, from something totally unconnected with cancer.
Secondly, like Kacang, I had a lady at church who I've known for at least 15 years, come over to me, to tell me that, ' It was 22 years' since her breast was removed. She had never had a reconstruction but wears a soft falcie! I had had no idea.
You're right Carolyn........we need a special section with all these success stories listed. On days when percentages of survival seem to weigh us down, or chemo is making us really sick or we're just frightened for the future, we need to read these to reassure ourselves that 25 years from now, we'll be the examples on the list. If we don't let ourselves believe that......we might as well give up today!
Keep your spirits high everyone ( have a cognac if its easier!)
Reply by jjtooHi Carolyn,Another success story....... my maternal aunt had breast cancer in 1989 aged 70,after years of having lumps removed (not sure exactly what they were, as she was very private person). She had lumpectomy & radiotherapy, but got it again in other breast 2 years later. Radiotherapy again, then she had uterine cancer not long after, although not sure what treatment she had then.But she lived until she was 96, dying from something unconnected.She played tennis once or twice weekly all her life till she was about 75, had a sherry, or two, at 5pm every day, later it was whisky. So did one trade off the other?????Best to all,Jan xx
I was diagnosed with Lobular Breast Cancer on 22nd February 2008. ( never forget that date) The cancer was found in my lymph nodes so had mastectomy and clearance of the axulla. Had 6 rounds of TAC chemo and radiotherapy.
Had breast reconstruction in 2010.
Have seen the births of my 4 grandchildren which I didn't expect to see.
Am still taking Arimidex and will be for another couple of years.
Life is sweet. xxx
What a great idea !
I was swimming up and down the pool at Ragdale Hall on a spa weekend in between chemo and surgery. Bald shiny head on full display. I saw this woman at the side of the pool looking at me then she called me over. I swam up to her and she said , how far through treatment are you ? I told her a little about my story and she said I was diagnosed 20 years ago , keep going . Just a few simple words but I'll always remember her and her kindness.
How uplifting to read about survivors. I am lucky in that after my mastectomy I don't need any further treatment except hormones. However, there is always that what if feeling. This thread is wonderful and I hope to contribute to it in 10 years time.
You are way too young to get this but you will deal with it. It sounds like you're coping already with the decisions you are making. My friend got bc in her 20s and two decades on is still going strong and has since had a lovely little boy.
I almost forgot
I have a success story of my own, my cousin on my dads side had a smallish lump which was cleared with surgery, her surgeon was very good and very reassuring and she was offered radio as a mop up. She has definitely put it all behind her. Diagnosed in 2012, she'll be up to five years next year. No chemo but this should be reassuring for those affected with similar stage / grade / treatment plan.
And of course the lady on the tube, who stared into the middle distance and said "I had breast cancer once".
My Mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer in her 50's in her left breast. She had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. A year later she had a second primary on the right: again a lumpectomy. Several years later she had a third primary in her left breast. This time she couldn't have radiotherapy so had a mastectomy: no reconstruction.
She is now 80 years old and clear of any breast cancer.
So, despite having three different primaries, she has survived!
Part way through my treatment I went into the admin office at work to pick up my pay cheque. I sat down and explained why I had not been able to work consistently over the previous few months. One of the ladies quietly said that she had breast cancer the year after her husband died of cancer himself. She had a mastectomy and chemo as well as radiotherapy: in her words "I lost every hair on my body" . That was 10-15 years ago and she is healthy and in a new relationship.
So, stats have their place but remember that you may be in the lucky end of those stats.
I catch many women watching me in my hats and drawn on eyebrows and wonder if they are thinking "there but for the grace of God" or whether they are thinking "that was me and here I am now" .
By the way, one month on from chemo my eyebrows, lashes and hair are all beginning to grow back
I was sitting at my breakfast table reading these posts not really realising that I am a success story! All of a sudden it hits me that I have been so very lucky. Two years ago today I was waiting for my second breast surgery and had my treatment plan to follow in the months ahead.At the time it was a terrifying prospect and now I find it hard to believe that it was actually me that went through that whole process which probably sounds quite odd!! Automatic pilot took over and I more or less handed my life over to my medical team. They were all amazing and I will be forever grateful for the care I received and to my Macmillan nurse for being there. Today I have a scar along my right breast as a reminder but I hardly even notice it any more. It has become a part of who I am. One year ago I had no idea I would meet an amazing man who I have fallen head over heels in love with and we are now in the process of planning ahead to buy a new home and make a life together. I have a new outlook on life as a result of having cancer and in a strange way I think it has made me a better person. Who knows what lies ahead one year into the future but I am ready to face it head on and make my life as positive as possible. Yes, I really am incredibly lucky and grateful.
What a coincidence! I came on here today to start a thread about a colleague who told me yesterday that she had just finished 5 years of hormone therapy after a mastectomy and radiotherapy. I've only known her since a month before my own diagnosis (which I hid from work, but which has probably become obvious now I'm back from my summer 'chemolidays' in a wig, or perhaps my manager told her so she would be a bit more flexible around my tight schedule of full time work + radio); anyway I had never imagined that I was working with someone who had experience of what I was going through (minus the chemo). She gave me some good, practical advice and I'm sure will be a source of info on the future. What really struck me is that I have never considered her anything but a professional, getting on with her life without a care in the world. That'll be all of us soon. (Fingers tightly crossed.)
One day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time.
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