As I do every year, I felt relief that my mammogram had come back clear this past January. Every yearly exam and mammogram is a tense time for me as breast cancer is very prevalent on both sides of my family, not to mention my risk is greater being of Ashkenazi heritage. Thank goodness I do self exams, because not 3 mos. later, in April, did I find a lump! Of course I made an appointment and went to the Dr. to have it checked out. She didn't even feel it, I had to show her where it was!!! She didn't feel that it was anything but agreed I should have a diagnostic mammogram because of my history. I felt a bit better especially because I knew I was doing everything that you were supposed to, to prevent cancer. I eat mostly organic, lots of fruits and veggies, meat with no growth hormones and I exercise...So of course I was sure it was just nothing. Then I read that 8 out of 10 lumps are benign, and I knew that I was one of those 8....well I was hoping anyway! Then the news....the mammogram indicated suspicion of malignancy....The dreaded call from the Dr., the surgical biopsy......................on May 29 the results. Positive for breast cancer. In a sense it was relief finally knowing, in a sense fear of the unknown. Surgery scheduled 6/13/07. I opted to have a mastectomy, given the family history. The surgery went well, the tumor was only 1.1 cm and no lymph node involvement which was a major relief. I awaited the pathology report, luckily I only had to wait a week, though one of the longest weeks in my life. Report stated stage 1 cancer--now on to the oncologist....another wait...I opted to have a new test done on the tumor called an oncotype DX cancer assay, which would rate my tumor and help to decide the need for chemo....I was ready to do whatever was necessary to cleanse my body of this invader. On 7/9/07 I was elated to find out that I did not need chemo.....I am still physically healing but I am very up and want everyone to know my story...If not for early detection my life's journey may have taken a different I tell everyone I know to remind them--check those boobs!!! don't rely on mammogram's only.  --Mrs. Sharon Carlson, Bradenton, FL

My name is Lisa De Spirito, and I am the first member of my family, going back 9 generations, to have cancer.  In 1999 I was on top of the world. Everyting in my life waas going great-I had a new job that was paying me more money than I thought was possible, my family was healthy and happy, and I had just purchased a new condo.
I went for my annual mammo and received a call within a day from my primary care physician that he needed to have me come in immediately to see him.  In that visit I was told 3 things-I had type II diabetes, I was menopausal and I had breast cancer. 
Needless to say I was overwhelmed.  I received my second opinion at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and decided to have my biopsies and lumpectomy there; I did not need a masectomy.
Moffitt was my saving grace and my heaven and the nurses and doctors were my angels. I continue to go there for my followup mammo's 3 times a year. I have become friends with my doctor (Dr. Elizabeth Dupont who now practices in Lakeland) and my nurse (Michelle Charles who now works in the endocrinology dept. at Moffitt). 
I am in my 5th year of being cancer free and celebrate life and living on a daily basis.  Last Thursday, my 'baby' sister, Amy Colmorgen, had a radical masectomy. We were told yesterday that she is cancer free.
Life is sweet and we never, ever take it for granted.  --Ms. Lisa Despirito, Palmetto, FL


Hello,my name is Daun Jennier and I am a breast cancer survivor. I just finished treatment in August 2007. It has been a long year and a half for me. It started in April of 2006. Actually, I was fortunate to have a close family member that was diagnosed six months prior to me with colon cancer. My brother although struggling with his own battle of cancer was there on the phone with me almost daily helping me deal with my treatments. I will never forget what he did for me. I lost him at the end of last year. I will walk for him and me in October.  --Ms. Daun M Jennier, Sarasota, FL


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