Breast Cancer Stories:
I went to the doctor because my right underarm “hurt” for about 2 weeks. After a checkup she thought I had just pulled
my pectoral muscle.
I was on Advil for weeks then one day, I felt THE LUMP on
the right side of my breast!!!! Big
Too!! I panicked I was scared to death. MY
mind just went wild and I could
hardly think or breathe. I called my
Doctor’s nurse (my Doctor wasn't in) to check on it. She sent me to the
hospital to get a
mammogram. My husband came to get me
because I couldn't think straight and couldn't drive myself after the
The result was not good.. An
appointment was made for me to have surgery. I was scheduled in two days from
getting that mammogram. When
I was home
the night before the surgery, I got down on my knees and prayed. I said “PLEASE
HELP THIS FEAR TO GO AWAY
GIVE ME YOUR
PEACE THAT PASSES
ALL UNDERSTANDING” IF SO
THAN I CAN GO THROUGH ANYTHING WITH YOU
HE DID. They removed the right breast
and 19 lymph glands… 5 of which were cancerous.. I was not afraid!! After that
I had chemo
(4 rounds-January-February-March-April) and 25 treatments of radiation.
I actually went to work 8 weeks after surgery.
It was tough but like
any cancer patient knows I had to work to keep my
While working in the garden and lifting large hostas (large
plants) from the ground with my daughter I felt a pain in my left groin. The next week
we moved a few more large
plants for my new apartment. While
lifting one there was this sharp pain and something popped out and I could feel
I THOUGHT IT WAS A HERNIA… when I
went to the Doctor she sent me to a surgeon who after a biopsy said it was
cancer in one lymph gland.
tried to find out where it originated from.
The Doctor said it was a good thing it happened to me. It could have kept on growing. I had
many biopsies and they said they never seen that
before … Cancer in the lymph glad … it comes from somewhere… they had done
three urine tests
they came back ok… even when I complained about having to get
up many, many times a night to go to the bathroom. The urgency was so great
I would have to get up and Run.. You
would think that would have been a sign to do a bladder check…Well the result of this was a foot long incision
groin and 12 inches down my left leg to remove the cancerous lymphoid. The recover was painful and to top everything off… an
set in to my incision.. I went to the doctor’s office and where they
made a decision to cut my incision open…. Puss… blood … clear fluids came
out…. The determined that it needed to heal from the inside out… so the
incision was left open to heal for over two months… it had to be packed twice
day… Home health aide nurses had to come to help with that … THANK GOD FOR
THAT….I was home bound for roughly 3 months then cellulitis
went into my leg; it
was not a fun situation and I ended up in the hospital for 3 days… L When
is enough enough???
But not for long I was sent to a neurologist who did a
slope bladder test and biopsy (Don’t you just hate that word)... He found a
tumor connecting where
my bladder and urethra connect so from that point I have
been using a catheror.. Now let’s just say that has been an experience in
It has been 4 weeks with it in…. I know that this too shall
pass and what’s next??? Chemo is next at this time March 20, 2013 I have had
and two more to go. The
nurses and doctors are so wonderful there. If it weren’t for getting sick, I
wouldn’t mind the 4 ½ hour infusion.
I love to talk as you can see… J
I still have hair… but it is starting to fall out
slowly. I will need picture so I can remember
how to fix my hair when it comes back.. JI do love my cut
and color right at this moment..
Well so far these are my cancer stories. We all have a story to tell!! Thanks for letting me tell mine. We all need to write ours down. Needless to say
I’m looking for great times I
will never take a day for granted. They
are so priceless.
Joanne was the host of the 2010 comedy show, "I Survived Breast Cancer and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt!"-a fundraiser in Portsmouth, NH. Joanne lost her 4th battle with breast cancer February 28, 2012. She was a very funny women, a true advocate for breast cancer support initiatives, and she touched so many people's lives.
Tracy Plunkett's Story:
It has been several years since Tracy died. She was from South Range. We had hoped to have her story done by a family member but the pain of a loved one dying never goes away. We are forever connected with her husband, Don and Sister, Terri. Tracy was on The Many Faces of Breast Cancer team, as a team member, a rower. (She was on our team, The Survivors and Supporters Team II for one year. She was not treated very well and wanted a separation.) She was part of our Circle of Hope Support group for many, many years.
We will never forget Tracy's infectious laughter, her tears and sense of humor. Tracy came to the Circle of Support group regularly at the Duluth Grill for many years and participated as a volunteer for the Sage Phone bank. She was a volunteer at Women Rock for several years.
Years ago, Tracy got early stage breast cancer, had surgery, changed clinics. Then years later, breast cancer came back, a differerent and more agressive type. Tracy at the time had $5,000.00 deductible health insurance, so she went on a clinicial trial. She ended up with one lump after another. She had one surgery after another. Tracy shared her lumps all over in support group, as we laughed on life's lessons, and cried in another breathe. She was full of humor in support group, on the phone, and at the dragon boat races.Tracy was on several clinical trials including Avastin that landed her in the hospital. It has since been taken off of the market.
Tracy cried over her weekly calls over her breast cancer bills. Her sister and her friends had a benefit for her. It was not enough for the amount of devastating bills that were racked up from breast cancer. Her loving husband was left to contend with these. Tammy Graves Miller, Peggy Rydberg and Peggy Anderson talked to her a lot, they felt her pain over these bills over and over as she cried and was depressed over getting the calls. The three some decided they wanted an organization (Circle of Hope) that helped patients with their breast cancer bills. They felt you may have to go through cancer, but you shouldn't have to deal with weekly calls when you are terminal. They felt it should be the patient above all else.
Tracy helped another breast cancer patient by sending her back to the doctor over a recurrence. They had the same symptoms as it was discussed in our Circle of Support group. That persons is still living today because of this, a former board member.
We use to call Tracy, "Shopper Girl." She loved to shop, laugh, and go out to eat with her friends and husband. Her sense of humor will be forever engraved in our lives. Tracy, "We are checking our lumps for you!" Tracy is loved and missed by many. She had many, many friends.
Julie Soskinski's Story: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 at the age of 43. It was ductual carinoma in suitu or DCIS. I have a family history of breast cancer. My grandmother lost her battle at the age of 56, on the one-year anniversary of her funeral, my mother found a lump in her breast, which resulted in a mastectomy. My mother became a 40 year survivor this past March. My aunt on my father's side has battled breast cancer 3 times in over the past 15 years.
Honestly, I sort of always had this feeling of, "not if I will get it, but WHEN " On the advice of my OB/GYN, I started to have mammograms at age 26 and did self-exams montly. With all the advances that have been made in diagnosis and treatment, I was confident that this disease would NOT take my life.
Once the diagnois came, I simply wanted my life to stay as "normal" as possible. I never missed a day of work. In fact, my husband and I took a cruise that we had booked months before my diagnosis. I did have surgery, 33 radiation treatments and went on Tamoxifen.
In thinking back at the day I got the call informing me that my biopsy was maligant, I dreaded having to inform my mother. I knew she would be so upset that this disease had struck the next generation. The day I met with my surgeon and found out the details, including the size of my tumor, THAT is when I cried, BUT, not tears of sadness, happy tears, that my cancer was caught early. All I could think of is how grateful I was to the person who read my mammogram and how staying "on top of things" really did pay off.
"Early detection was the key in my case."
What does it say on the T-shirt?
In Memory of Peggy Rydberg,
Who loved life and lived it to its fullest,
Who had discovered the strengths and talents,
That were uniquely her own,
Who put others first,
And left every situation better than she found it,
Who always found what was beautiful,
In all people and all things,
Whose heart was full of love,
And who found joy in living,
and peace within herself.
Peggy Rydberg's Story: "I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in November of 2004. I had ductual carcinoma, in situ, 11 positive lymph nodes out of 18 were removed."
"I had an annual mammogram every year. This year it was negative, two weeks before I felt my lump, and I waited. I thought this lump was from the mammogram. I waited until October to have a second mammogram. Then I had a biopsy, surgery and chemo at a later date. I had implants put in during my surgery, which later became infected. I was going through chemo at the time they were removed at the end of February. I finished chemo without my implants; put my radiation on hold, had reconstructive surgery. My breast had to be expanded over a period of two months at the University of Minnnesota. I had radiation which caused the skin to shrink.
"In 2008, I got my cancer back, this time it was Stage 4, and it had metastasized to my ribs and lung. I was switched from Tamixifen to Armidex."
"In December of 2009, the cancer had metasized to my brain. This happened after the cancer had been found in my ovaries, the ultrasound showed they were suscipious ovaries, which I had removed at the Mayo Clinic. They thought it was fueling my cancer. I had been on Armidex, and I was still having my periods. I had three weeks of radiation to my brain."
"In 2010 the cancer had spread to several other sites in my body. It was in my liver along with other places (lung, 3 ribs, brain, and spine). I have been going through chemo after having pelvis radiation."
"Recently I found out that I have a family history of breast cancer on my mother's side and two family members had bladder cancer."
"In January of 2011 I had two cyberknife treatments to the brain. I had more radiation to the brain, and then in 2012 had radiation to the thoracic area. In 2011 I went through weekly chemo treatments and stopped in November to pursue another source of treatment. (I didn't want to go other types of chemo that could affect my heart or shorten my life.)"
"I went to Mexico to be seen at the Hoxey Clinic. I wanted to give this a try. I came home and followed the diet and prescriptions. My brain tumor could not be removed without more serious consequences that would affect my walking nor could I have cyberknife again. I was put on a steriod drug to reduce the swelling the brain"
(PA) About three weeks before I died, I had two major seizures which I can't even remember. My brother, Pat said he never wanted to see my like that again. It was good that I had a monitor to press. I was brought by ambulance and was in St. Lukes hospice for a couple of days. I was allowed to go home with 24/7 care and a hospice nurse checking on me a couple of times a week. My health declined, and I died on February 10, 2012 at 6:45 a.m. I leave behind two wonderful daughters (one son-in law), and one red haired grand daughter.
"My message is do your own self exams, have a digital mammogram with dense breasts. All lumps can be cancerous."
Winnie R. (Fauvell) Nelson
Winne passed away peacefully with her family by her side on April 12, 2012 at St. Luke's Hopsital after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer through the years.
She was born July 9, 1927 to Jack & Ruth Fauvell. She lived her entire life in the Woodland and Rice Lake Township area. As a young adul she enjoyed skating at the Duluth Curling Club. She volunteered at the Crisis Shelter and House of Hope. She loved people and loved to cook and entertain at the cabin on Jacob's Lake. She volunteered many years for the Homecroft PTA. She had a wonderful sense of humor, love of reading and politics. She enjoyed her family and friends. Winnie embodied the spirit of life.
She was preceded in death by her husband Richard (Dick) Nelson; her parents Jack & Ruth Fauvell, sisters Aline Zimmerman & Jackie Arthur; in laws Paul & Carolyn Nelson.
Winnie is survived by her sister Georgia (Al Johnson) O'Brien, songs Randy J. (Jean Laine) Nelson, Ted Nelson; daughts Wendy (Walt) Anderson and Cindy (Tony Vitorio) Nelson; grandchildren Samantha (Travis) Murphy, David (Deb) Alander, Julie (Craig) Gilje, Kirsten Phol & Elizabeth Pohl; great grandchildren, Reese, Wyatt, Eliot, Bryce, River, Maxine, Molly & Jamie, also several nieces and nephews.
The family is greatful to the excellent care given to Winnie at St. Luke's 5th floor ICEu for compassionate care.
Her funeral is Friday, April 20th at 2 p.m. at the Creation Society of Minnesota, in Duluth, with visitation one hour prior.