I was always the healthy one. I ate right , I didn't smoke or drink and was always athletic. I even breastfed all my children and this was supposed to lessen my chance of having breast cancer. No one in my family,to my knowledge had ever had it. Then I get the diagnosis, YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER! It was a little hard to swallow at first. I didn't want anyone to know until I knew how bad it was. I was stage 1,so after my lumpectomy and ,6 chemotherapy treatments, 33 radiation treatments and than 1 year of herceptin treatments later ,I am doing great. The worse for me was the loss of my hair. God Bless the women who are strong enough to go out without their hair. I could never do it. Having cancer has let meet some of the most dedicated and supportive people that I would not have had the privilege of working so closly with.Having breast cancer has been a tough battle but one I feel I have won. I walk so my daughters Kenna and Jenelle and my granddaughter Mikayla will NEVER have to fight this battle.  --Lana Sloots, New Port Ricey, FL


My cancer was diagnosised when I just made my forth move that year. I just moved into my newly built house December 2006.

I was like a doe in headlights when I was told. The blessing was that after my lympectomy I was told there were no nodes involved. I would not need chemo, just radiation treatment. I saw my brother lose his battle with cancer. My Blessing was that I knew I would get through this. I cannot dwell on the cancer. It is nice to see awareness for the desease but is it necessary to have it become a advertising blitz. Slightly exploited??? Everything turns pink and is for sale in the awareness of cancer. I bought one pink shirt and some socks. I find it diffucult to wear them. My cancer was caught at a very early stage. I can whole heartly can give advice about getting yearly Mamograms and also scans. I avoid plastic and food that God did not place here.

I have survived it physically. Now I continue to try and survive it mentally. I talk to God evryday.  --Mrs. Elizabeth A. Damesimo, Homosassa, FL


Let's face it. Chemo stinks. Radiation is no walk in the park, either. Initially, losing a breast wasn't as devastating as losing my hair-but that all changed when I had those straggly, peach fuzz remnants shaved. Yeah, from the neck up the resemblance to GI Jane's mama was strong. Hence the discovery of the turban,the scarf, the wig. I never looked quite like "me". The turban fell below my missing eyebrows. Scarvesw were a disaster. They slid off like olive oil on a cue ball. The wig was my friend. For many months I never had a bad hair day (never had to shave my legs, either).

As an artist I enjoyed volunteer teaching in our community clubhouse.But the bouts with chemo sapped my strength and made me sick. I wanted to curl up in my husband's big recliner and shut out the world. This little chat with myself would usually follow: "Hey you're feeling sorry for yourself again. Get over it. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. It's Tuesday morning and you've got people waiting at the clubhouse for an art class." It helped me forget the chemo, the pills, the side effects. That's about when the light bulb went on. I realized if art helps me there could be others who could use art as part of their healing process too.Enter Florida Medical Clinic's Foundation of Caring. They supply ALL supplies and an area to teach these survivors. I am privileged to see this healing process at work first hand. I can't think of a better way to give of my time. What fun!!! At 67 years finally I know what I want to be when I grow up.
Thanks for the opportunity to share. See you at the walk.  --Mrs. Mary L. Sears, Zephyrhills, FL


Why do I walk at MSABC.
1. My Mother?
2. My older Sister?
3. My Baby Sister?
4. My Wife?

The answer is, all of the above.

Five years ago, my Mother found a lump on her breast, and because of her age, she was 81, and having a heart problem, decided to do nothing about it. At the same time, and at my mothers funeral, my younger sister, Margie had gone to the doctor and was told the lump in her breast was malignant and she had to have a mastectomy, chemo and radiation. At the same time, my older sister, Ruth had talked about finding the same thing. We had told her to get it taken care of right away, but she did nothing. She thought it was nothing and several months later when she went to see a doctor, she was told to go home and rest, and that she had 15 to 16 weeks to live. She turned 60 in November. She passed away the following April at the age of 60. At the same time, my wife of 22 years, while getting ready for a Christmas party, had found what she thought was a lump on her breast. Not wanting to alarm me, she went to the doctor to start the procedure to find out if she should be concerned, or was it nothing to be alarmed about. The doctor started the ball rolling and we found out in January, after a lumpectomy, it was Breast Cancer. Chemo, radiation, port flushes, pills, more pills, hand in hand we went through this together. We refused to let this stop us. We were too happy together to let this disrupt our lives. We treated it like it was a case of severe hiccups. When I first walked in Strides, I walked by myself, my wife unable to walk because of her treatments. I lost my Mother, My Older Sister, My younger sister is a five year Survivor and My wife is going on her fourth year. My wife will be with me again at Strides. Together, At The Same Time. I walk for them, I walk for everybody that has been affected by this disease. One day somewhere, sometime, some young person will ask their Mother, "Mommy, why is there no more breast cancer?" Because we WALKED, because we WALKED!!  --Mr. Richard Engle, Hudson, FL

After having a miscarriage last July, I was in the shower and felt a lump on my breast. I made an appointment with my doctor at the time and was told, it is probably just a swollen milk duct. After to months of the lump on my breast getting bigger I decided to get a 2nd opinon. This doctor felt the lump as well. He sent me for a Mammogram and several other tests. Nothing, would prepare me for that day in Octoberwhen I was called in to the doctor's office and was told at the age of 31" you have breast cancer". All these thought's came to me like "I'm a Mom, a wife, but my biggest was as I going to die?" After talking to many survivors and people that have been touched by this disease I said to myself " I can do this, I am gonna fight this cancer and not let it take over me!" Today I am happy to say after some intense bouts of Chemo ( that made me so sick) Meds., a Lumpecttomy, and the Love and Support of family and friends I have been in remittion for 7 months!!! I am very grateful to still be alive! The one thing I reallt learned through all this is never ever loose your HOPE! This year I am starting my own team andwe are walking in the Making Strides against breast cancer walk to help fight the disease. Only we can make the difference.  --Mrs. Melanie M Gurney, Port Richey, FL

After three years of "watching" and checking the lump in my right breast, and after two miscarriages (age 43, 44) I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45. It is so important to know the signs and get second opinions if you are not sure. I had to go through 6 rounds of chemo prior to my double masectomy to shrink the tumor and hope that it hadn't spread to the lympnoids. On October 8th 2003 I had my double masectomy (4 days before my 46th birthday) Happy Birthday to me. After the surgery I was told that the cancer had invaded my lypnoids. 6 out of 18 cells they tested were positive. In December I started 4 more rounds of chemo and in March I did my 31 radiation treatments. I consider my anniversary date April 1st. The 1st day after all my treatments were finished. I am going on 3 1/2 years cancer free and will take cancer medicine the rest of my life. But with my FAITH and BLESSING from our father above I believe I am healed. My prayers to everyone who has to go through this or has alreay gone through this is BE STRONG and BELIEVE. Live, Laugh and Love and live each day like it will be your last! Blessings to you all.  --Mrs. Diana Rodman, New Port Richey, FL

Oddly enough, it was my sisters' biopsy that saved my life. Worrying about her, lead me to realizing that my doctor had not called me about my recent mammo (recent being 6 months). After I called the doctor, she called me into her office and stammering all over herself, said that there was something in my left breast and go to radiology and get a cone impression. I went into a state of shock from this time till I had surgery about 3 weeks later. I wasted no time in seeing a surgeon, Dr. Dy in New Port Richey, and he confirmed the diagnosis and within 3 days I had my mastectomy. We had spoken prior to the surgery about the mastectomy and I had agreed that I did not want to have chemo or radiation....so he removed 16 of the 32 lymph nodes under my left arm and here I am today. Noone told me however, how the arm swells and the constant pain we are left with....BUT, I am here and alive and Thank God for that. --Ms. Jeanne M. Kelly


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