Breast Cancer Survivor Stories

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The Fashionista Fights Again

by Jennifer Pellechio-Lukowiak

In April 2007, I was a 38-year-old working mom who had just received a shocking diagnosis of stage II breast cancer. After enduring a lumpectomy and 14 months of chemo, radiation, and adjuvant therapy, my inter­rupted life was finally getting back on track. As I reached my five-year survival mark, my doctors were starting to use the other C word: cured. But life is full of surprises, extreme highs, and extreme lows, and sometimes they all occur within the same week.

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I Live on the Edge

by Doris Zughoul

I live on the edge.
Not in some risky, romantic sort of way,
not like a sky diver or a race car driver.
Not even like a mountain climber.

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Cancer-Free

by Sylvia Solomon

Cancer has taught me to be free
To count my blessings and
Don’t worry about tomorrow
Tomorrow will take care of itself.

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Blessings in Disguise

by Monica M. Paul

There are moments when we wonder,
is it something that we’ve done,
Is it something that we didn’t do that
made us be the one?

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Regaining Control

by Barbara Delinsky

Loss of control is a major issue for those with breast cancer. It starts early on, when a problem is first suspected, and suddenly we’re taken over by fear, not to mention mammog­raphy machines, localization needles, hospital release forms, and biopsies. Then a positive diagnosis comes, and we’re really hit for a loop. We’re swamped by new information, con­fused by choices, intimidated by sterile rooms. We worry enough to lose sleep; we’re hurting from surgery, weak from anesthesia, and stressed over family demands; and we are not looking for­ward to the treatment ahead. There’s this big C looming over us, pressing us under its weight, threatening to dominate our daily lives for the next however-long.

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Take It Away

by Sylvia Solomon

Standing facing myself,
a new change and outlook.
There is more to me
than my body parts,
so you can take it away.

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Thank You, Cancer

by Nicole Malato

Dear Cancer,

Truth be told, I would have never invited you into my home. Being the party crasher you are, you barged on in anyway. Admittedly, I was confused and distraught when you first made your presence known. You were frightening and devastating. As time went on and I learned you were not planning to go away, it took a lot of reflection to realize that even though you are with me, I can still live a great life.

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Reflections on the Fourth of July

by Ginny Jordan

It is the evening of July 4, 2011. I am babysitting my granddaughter Isabella while her parents have a last night out before their second child arrives. I am slumped on their couch in the TV room, the windows wide open and a fan on at full speed. There is a drought in New Mexico, and now fires in Los Alamos have filled the air with smoke for miles. I have felt hot all day, and my eyes sting from the ash.

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