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Cancer Survivor Michele’s Story

Pink ribbon. Breast cancerKeeping some normalcy in my life and doing things that brought me joy were important to helping me get through the tough times.” says Michele.

In March of 2003 a 44 year-old Michele was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  She has no family history of breast cancer, but the cause may or may not surprise you.  Michele’s mother was given Diethylstilbestrol (DES) during her pregnancy.  It was thought that DES would lessen complications or fetal loss in pregnant women.  It was later discovered that there were many medical issues in “DES daughters” & DES Sons”.

Michele says “In February of 2003, I had a “normal” mammogram.  One month later I found a lump in the shower.  I immediately went to my gynecologist and was eventually diagnosed with Stage 2A ductal invasive grade 3, Breast Cancer at age 44.  After a mastectomy, reconstruction, chemo, 2 years of tamoxifen and 5 years of arimidex I am doing great!  The wonderful support of family, friends, bc survivors, good doctors and nurses got me through my breast cancer journey.  Eating a healthy diet, exercising, yoga, thinking  positively, having faith in God  and loving life help me stay strong and healthy.  When I went through treatment, my husband was good at distracting me from cancer so it did not consume us. We went to the beach the week I lost my hair”.

“It was tough accepting help from others.  I didn’t want my family and friends to be burdened.  I wanted things to be “normal”… However, I recognized how helpless others felt at times, and wanted to do things for me.  I considered it a gift that helped me and help them feel better.        Losing my hair was devastating.” added cancer survivor Michele.

Michele’s advice for anyone given a breast cancer diagnosis is “Do something that brings you joy each day.  Cancer is consuming, but try not to let it consume you!  Be informed.  Don’t look online too much and utilize reputable sites such as cancer.org and breastcancer.org.  Advocate for yourself!  Take a list of questions and someone with you to appointments.  Get second opinions, if needed.  Let your emotions out!  Cry, rest, escape when you need it!  Accept and love your new body and new normal.  Celebrate every step completed along the way.  There is a wonderful life ahead after cancer!”



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