A COLLECTIVE DOCUMENT WRITTEN BY THOSE FIGHTING BREAST CANCER

CIRCLE OF HOPE, DULUTH

CIRCLE OF HOPE LOCATED OUT OF DULUTH, MN IN STAYCLASSY AWARDS

June 26, 2012, 8:51 a.m.
Circle of Hope located out of Duluth, MN serving northern MN and northern Wisconsin is in the Stay Classy Awards that takes place in San Diego. This is the fourth annual event and this is the second year they have been involved in the event. Right now they only need shares from their page. Public voting starts July 9th. Over 3,000 non-profits compete in this competition. Circle of Hope was in the Pink Well Challenge last year, a fairly new non-profit but it has raised a lot of money for breast cancer treatment bills. Check out: http://www.stayclassy.org/stories/helping-those-in-financial-distress-with-their-breast-cancer-treatment-bills The pictures is a picture of a pink car owned by a former team mate struggling with breast cancer treatment bills that left the family in dier straights.She died of breast cancer over a year and half ago. Her spirit remains with us forever. The picture is of Peggy Rydberg (to the right) who died in February of the disease. She was one of three people who helped to start Circle of Hope. They wanted to help patients with their financial bills who were struggling with the disease and in financial distress.

SCHAYS

MY BATTLE WITH THE METASTATIC BEAST

May 14, 2012, 1:58 a.m.
One morning in May 2008, as I was getting dressed, I felt something hard in my right breast. I asked my husband to feel it and if he had noticed it before. I made an appointment with the gynecologist and was given a mammogram. Nothing showed up. After an aspiration biopsy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, precisely lobular infiltrating breast cancer; four years ago. Estrogen positive, Progesterone negative, HER2 positive. HER2 positive means aggressive. After a lumpectomy, the margins weren't clear so had to go back for a mastectomy. The lymph nodes showed clear, but the excised breast showed I also had Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). My first worry was who would take care of my youngest child if I were to die. Of course, I didn't want my adult children to be without a mother either, but at least they were able to take care of themselves. At my first appointment post-surgery with my oncologist, he asked me if I had any pain anywhere. I told him I had pulled something in my back and it hurt. He said he wanted to check on that so he scheduled a PET scan. Wow, was I surprised! It showed cancer in my liver and in my back. The pain was from a large tumor in my sacrum. After a bone biopsy and liver biopsy, the metastatic cancer was confirmed. Somehow the lymph node didn't show it, but it spread anyway. I went through radiation to shrink the tumors (3) in my sacrum. The large one was causing me to have trouble walking and causing a lot of pain. Then next came the chemo, Taxol. This conquered the tumors in my liver, but breast cancer in the bones is incurable. Thankfully my daughter came to stay with me for a few weeks beginning with the mastectomy. She lives 4000 miles away. My oldest son and his girlfriend helped out and were very supportive. My youngest son did what he could but I know he was scared as he was only 14. I couldn't have made it without the love and support of my children. They made my life worth living and made me want to stick around for as long as I could. After a couple of years, the Herceptin stopped working and several other drugs didn't stop the spread in my bones either. This was a scary time. My mother lives with me and she was starting to show the symptoms of Alzheimers. When the hormone-blocking drugs and Herceptin didn't do the trick, my oncologist put me up for a clinical trial. I have been on Xeloda and Tykerb for almost two years now. I get CT scans every six weeks and heart tests every twelve weeks. I am not on the trial drug, but the control ones. So far I have been stable. However, I am worried about all the radiation from the frequent CT scans. I hope I don't get some other kind of cancer from that. I have been able to enjoy life for the last couple of years and plan to enjoy it for as long as I possibly can. I don't know how long I have, but I am thankful I got to see my youngest son attain adulthood so I know he can get along without me if he has to. I am taking care of my mother for as long as I can physically do it. Sometimes I don't know how much longer I can though. I feel pretty good most of the time and am looking forward to a few more years at least. I hope a new drug will be approved so that when my current chemo stops working, there will be something new. As it is, I will be on these drugs until I die or they stop working. I wish more money was designated for studies on metastatic breast cancer.