I promise

"I promise, Suzy... Even if it takes the rest of my life." - Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?


Just in recent years, Triple Negative Breast Cancer has sparked interest in the news where instead of calling the tumor as ER-negative, PR-negative, and HER2-negative; researchers began using the shorthand term, "Triple Negative," dubbed the "new type" type of cancer. Being Triple Negative, you don't have a targeted therapy and that your only treatment option is chemotherapy.

Triple Negative is seen in about 15% of all breast cancers. Triple Negative is a very aggressive cancer that tends to strike younger women, pre-menopause, especially among African-American women and women who have BRCA1 mutations. The tumor tends to be fast growing and is less likely to show up on an annual mammogram. TN is more likely to metastasis early on; has a high rate of recurrence in the first 2-3 years from diagnosis and has a poorer prognosis than other types of breast cancer due to lack of specific, targeted treatment for TNBC.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Rembering Holly...

Holly's family honors her every year painting the
ice rink pink at Toledo Walleye's Pink in the Rink
I met Holly Johnson Shiverdecker at our local breast cancer support group as she was just completing her treatments for Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  We quickly took her in as part of the Victory gals family.  Holly was young, a mother and a fighter, but like many of us, scared of the TNBC statistics.  
Often, the breast cancer surgeons and oncologists don't tell us what Triple Negative Breast Cancer means for us... The aggressive behavior of our subtype of breast cancer and the fact there is not yet a targeted therapy to cure it.  At our breast cancer support groups, we lean on each other for first hand knowledge and support to motivate our fight, advocacy and to tell each other that medical statistics does not apply to everyone... We all have different genetic makeups in our cells, and one may respond differently to treatment.  Holly is one of the reasons, I continue to fight for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness, and funding needed to find our much needed targeted therapy.  My heart was broken when Holly's cancer had returned and her battle ended on August 26, 2015 at the young age of 41.  Always in my heart and remembering you.

This is how I remember Holly as she was
honored at Toledo Walleye's Pink in the Rink

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Remembering Annie Goodman...

In her own words...
In September of 2014, I had the honor of meeting Triple Negative Breast Cancer stage 4 survivor, Annie Goodman, as we worked on a TNBC track together for TNBC Foundation at Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia. Annie spoke on a panel discussion during a TNBC session of her being diagnosed with a hereditary mutant gene BRCA1 after her Triple Negative Breast Cancer diagnosis.
Annie was a former Fox News producer but I knew her best as co-host of Stupid Cancer, a radio talk show for young cancer survivors.  Sadly, Annie's cancer had progressed and she passed at the young age of 33 on December 17, 2014, not even 3 months after meeting her.  I will always remember Annie for being a strong voice for young woman with breast cancer and bringing much awareness to hereditary breast cancer.

TNBC sisters, Melissa Paskvan and
Annie Goodman

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio Fundraiser 2018


Thank you ladies of the University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living for inviting me to be apart of your table in attendance on March 14, 2018, at the Stronger Together Breakfast Fundraiser hosted by and supporting Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio.   My donation was made in memory of a breast cancer friend, Mary Wesolowski who had passed from complications as a result of a fall on ice earlier in 2018.

Jean Schoen, Founder and President
of Cancer Connection of Northwest

Us survivors of The University of Toledo Center
for Health and Successful Living supports
Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Relay for Life Festival 2018

Hanging out with some breast cancer survivor friends representing Team The Victory Center, as we support the Lucas County Relay for Life Festival held at Centennial Terrace in Sylvania, Ohio on September 8, 2018.  
$69, 972 has been raised for The American Cancer Society. Thank you to all for supporting Relay Fest in hope in finding a cure for all cancers. 

Breast cancer survivors Melissa, Tammy and Carol

Cancer survivors representing The Victory Center

Team Victory Center

Relay for Life 2018 surviors

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Komen Breakfast Recognizes 25 years of Race for the Cure in Toledo

On September 8, 2018 at the Komen annual breakfast, us Victory gals gathered to show our support of Komen of Northwest Ohio in helping us survivors in our local community.  For 25 years, Chrys Peterson has emceed hosted our local Komen Race for the Cure here in Toledo, and she is the best in getting us all motivated!  Though, I had to miss the Komen Race this year, for I had another out of town breast cancer event commitment, I do show my support attending the Komen Breakfast.  Thank you Komen of Northwest Ohio and Chrys Peterson for your continued commitment and support that you have shone us breast cancer survivors for the past 25 years, as we're getting even closer to a cure for breast cancer with all the research that Komen has funded.  
Truly yours, Melissa Paskvan

Representing the Victory Center well!

Komen of Northwest Ohio Executive Director,
Mary Westphal and Melissa Paskvan

Chrys Peterson and Melissa Paskvan

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

UT News: Breakthrough research at UT shows promise in treating drug-resistant form of deadly breast cancer

UT News » Blog Archive » Breakthrough research at UT shows promise in treating drug-resistant form of deadly breast cancer

UT Researchers Awarded Nearly Half a Million for Breast Cancer Research

"I was quoted in the below article on the Triple Negative Breast Research here in Toledo at UTMC that was awarded close to half a million in a national grant from Susan G. Komen. Thank you Dr. Amit Tawari for including me on your research team as your patient advocate mentor for this. I hope this research is the answer that all us TNBC survivors have been longing for." - Melissa Paskvan

Scientific breakthrough in Triple Negative Breast Cancer research being conducted at the University of Toledo: 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Remembering Lucy...

So hard to believe that you two are not with us anymore, Judi and Lucy.  We all met in a local breast cancer support group and we all thought we had beaten cancer.  Judi's breast cancer came back after 5 years, and was accidentally discovered by a chest x-ray where a spot was revealed on her lung.
Lucy, who was a 3 year Triple Negative Breast Cancer had a recurrence to her bones and lost her battle 19 months later in October 2016.

This is the last photo I had with both of these extremely brave ladies together, as we got together for the Komen survivor breakfast.  With Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Komen Race for the Cure is fast approaching again, we are reminded of why and who we continue to fight for, for better treatments and a cure.

Please ladies, take care of yourself and do take the time to do your self breast-exams and keep up with your annual mammograms.  Also, do something special for that special lady you know who have gone through this battle... and always remember those that remain in our hearts.

Remembering Judi and Lucy

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Victory Center Celebrity Wait Night 2018

On May 1, 2018,  I volunteered selling raffle tickets at this year baseball theme Celebrity Wait Night fundraiser for The Victory Center.  $45,000 was raised in support of The Victory Center Mission: "to provide hope and support to cancer patients, survivors and those closest to them."

Us Victory Center gals volunteers
Lori, Carol and Melissa

"Reaching out to
cancer patients and
their families"

We raised a record of $45,000!

Toledo Rockets for the Cure 2018

I was among the 5,024 in attendance supporting The University of Toledo Rockets Women Basketball win over Western Michigan at their 12th annual Rockets for the Cure on February 17, 2018.  $12, 315 was raised by the Lady Rockets for cancer research and supporting women diagnosed with breast cancer in Northwest Ohio.

One of these girls is not like the others...

Season high 5,024 fans!

Rockets for the Cure

Woot, Woot!

Lady Rockets in pink!

Western Michigan has their pink on too!

These Rockets are winners!

Great game ladies!

These ladies are the true inspirations!

Pink jerseys auction time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

An Evening with Annie Parker 2018

On January 4, 2018, I was invited by University of Toledo Center for Health & Successful Living and College of Medicine and Life Sciences for a very special visit with Annie Parker, a breast cancer survivor and genetic testing advocate.  It was Annie Parker who insisted there was a connection between cancer and hereditary after her mother, sister and herself have all battled cancer.  
Annie pushed for research that led to the 1994 discovery of the BRCA1 gene mutation by Dr. Mary-Claire King, a Geneticist.  Annie Parker was one of the fist women to be genetically tested for BRCA1 that confirmed her belief of a link between hereditary and breast cancer, upon her receiving a positive diagnosis of the BRCA1 gene mutation.  
We met with Annie Parker as she arrived at the University of Toledo Center for Health & Successful Living where she was welcomed by their staff and the support of breast cancer survivors who have participated in their services. From there, we had lunch at 31hundred Restaurant at the Radisson Hotel where we had nice conversations with Annie Parker and showing each other photos of our dogs on our cell phones.  Later in the early evening we went to the showing of the film, Decoding Annie Parker that recounts her story of fighting breast cancer and the discovery of the BRCA gene mutation.  Annie Parker did speak on the film, her journey and her book, Annie Parker Decoded, followed by a panel discussion by UTMC medical and counseling
doctors and staff.  Afterwards, it was off to eat again for dinner at the Inverness Country Club and a recap of the role and importance of genetic testing.
Thank you UT Center for Health and Successful Living, UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences and Annie Park for this wonderful day of sharing stories and education on genetic testing and hereditary breast cancer.  

University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living
with Annie Parker

Sharing breast cancer stories with Annie 

Sharing stories of how UT Center for Health and
Successful Living has helped us survivors in our journey

University of Toledo's President Sharon Gaber introduces
Annie Parker during the film, Decoding Annie Parker

Annie shares her story of breast cancer that
inspired the movie, Decoding Annie Parker

Panel discussion on breast cancer research and genetic testing

Melissa with Annie Parker with a signed copy of
her book, Annie Parker Decoded

Annie discusses how she insisted there was link
between breast cancer and genetics and pushed for
research in genetic testing which led to the discovery of
the BRCA gene mutation that put you a high risk
of a diagnosis.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Motor City Dragon Boat Paddling Practice 2017

On July 17, 2017, TNBC sister Terry whom I met at a breast cancer conference in Philadelphia  and lives in the Detroit area, had invited me to come paddle with them at their Motor City Dragon Boat practice at the Ford Yacht Club in Groses Ile, Michigan.  The Motor City Dragon Boat Team consisting of may breast cancer survivors and co-survivors compete at various dragon boat race festivals raising funds donated to Breast Cancer Charitable Organizations that help survivors.
I was grateful for this experience and I had a lot of fun with these group of survivors and even was asked to join them at their upcoming race in Chicago... I had to decline the race invitation for I felt I was not coordinated enough with the paddle plus it was just too physical for me to keep up.
Thank you again Csilla for this wonderful fun experience on the waters and I hope to meet up with your team again for another adventure.

Motor City Dragon Boat Team

That's me, all the way to the back where
Csilla coached me on paddling

Us breast cancer survivors...
TNBC sisters Terry and Melissa on the right end

Team Motor City Dragons with me standing
between Terry and Csilla

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