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.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sharing my Story in the Toledo Community at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk 2018

May 19, 2018
Thank you American Cancer Society for having me here today as your Honorary Survivor, I'm truly honored to share my story.  
...And thank you to our community for coming downtown this morning to support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and it's mission to fund breakthrough research for breast cancer.
In August  2009, I found my lump, as I was scratching an itch when I felt an oblong thickening like my rib was a little swollen along my bra band.  After further examining myself, I came to the realization, that I indeed had a breast lump.  
2 days later, I had a mammogram done followed by an ultrasound.   During the ultrasound, I remember seeing a large mass magnified up on the monitor screen.  With fear, I asked if the lump was really that big?  She said it was a medium size measuring 2cm.
Their doctor came in and told me that the results of my mammogram came back negative.  I told him it's there, I can feel a lump. He said it probably didn’t show up on my mammogram because of my breast tissues being too dense. The doctor did confirm that a mass was detected by the ultrasound, but it was probably nothing to worry about, that it was probably just a cyst. I insisted on a biopsy right then and there. During the biopsy, I asked him what he thought of it. He said, "before the biopsy, I was 50/50 on it, now that I did the biopsy, I say there's about 25% chance it could be cancer, but I really think it's just a cyst for as I was doing the biopsy, the lump changed in shape leading me to believe that it's not solid. So I went home feeling relieved, thinking I just have a cyst in my breast.

2 days afterwards, I received the dreadful phone call from my family doctor... I was 41, and I have breast cancer.  
When I met with my breast surgeon, she informed me I have a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, Triple Negative Breast Cancer that doesn't respond to hormone therapy and has a tendency to want to recur, and chemo was my only option. 

My treatments consisted of a breast lumpectomy,  followed by 8 treatments of chemotherapy every other week for 3½ months, then 33 rounds of radiation and a clinical trial pill every day for 3 years as a preventative for bone cancer.

They're my Super Heroes!

Breast cancer sisters,
Tammy and Melissa

Victory Gals breast cancer sisters
Tammy, Kelsey and Melissa

Super Survivors Tammy and Melissa

We ran into our best gal, Muddonna!

Handle Bar Toledo!

Hope Heroes Melissa and Tammy

Muddonna chillin with us survivors!

Breast cancer survivors Kelsey and Melissa

TNBC Survivors
Melissa and Tracey B.

TNBC Sisters
Michelle L.G. and Melissa

Thank You American Cancer Society
for this opportunity!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Toledo Walleye Pink in the Rink 2018

Since it was Breast Cancer Awareness night at the Toledo Walleye hockey game on March 2, 2018, I once again made a sign to promote TNBC Day and show it off at the arena.  I've had a lot of hockey fans reading my sign so if anything, I hope they learned that there is more than one type of breast cancer.

15-20% of Breast Cancer is Triple Negative

Women with Triple Negative Breast
Cancer tests negative for the three
receptors -ER, PR and the HER2 protein
meaning the growth of breast cancer
cells are not driven by Estrogen,
Progesterone or HER2 protein ,
and therefore doesn't respond to
hormonal treatments or
anti-HER2 targeted therapy

Triple Negative Breast Cancer occur more
often in younger women under the age of 40,
those of African and Latina descent
and those with the BRCA-1 gene mutation.

TNBC sister, Deb K. and her family riding
the FanBoni!

Triple Negative Breast Cancer,
an aggressive form of the disease
has a higher rate of recurrence,
and more difficult to treat than
other types of breast cancer

Toledo's Pink in the Rink!

PINK ice!

Fans of each other!

Currently there is no targeted
therapy for TNBC. Still, ongoing
research remains focused on to 

better understand how Triple 
Negative Breast Cancer develops 
and how to treat it more 

TNBC sisters Deb K. and Melissa with
May Westphal, Executive Director of
Susan G. Komen of Northwest Ohio

Toledo Walleye vs South Carolina Stingrays
I see a hockey rink, and I want it
painted pink...

Spike the Walleye sneaking up on 
Catrick's promoting TNBC 
Awareness Day

...with the Victory gals!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2018 Kick-Off

On March 8, 2018, I was invited by The American Cancer Society of Northwest Ohio to attend their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer kick-off event where I was introduced as their 2018 Honorary Survivor.  Thank you Making Strides for reaching out to me, I am very honored to have been asked by Heidi Nofziger of ACS of NW Ohio to represent as their honorary survivor.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

Melissa Paskvan
Among Super Heros!

TNBC sisters Michelle G. and Melissa with
Heidi Nafziger of American Cancer Society
of Northwest Ohio

Breast cancer sisters,
Melissa and Jeannette

Breast cancer sisters Melissa, Jeannette
and Bessie

TNBC sister, Michelle G. shares her story

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Toledo's Hattitude Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch 2018

On October 14, 2018, I attended Hattitude, a Breast Cancer Awareness brunch sponsored by Medical Mutual of Ohio. Every year, Medical Mutual of Ohio honors a person or an organization who has made progress in bringing breast cancer awareness in our local community with the Debra A. Green Award. The recipient of the 2018 Debra A. Community Service Award was presented to the University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living, a well deserved wellness center that I have been a participant of for the pass few years. I was honored to be asked by Barbara Oxner to be a guest in attendance in supporting Dr. Amy Thompson, Co-Director of the Center for Health and Successful Living.  Congrats to the team of the center for your hard work in making the center a successful support outlet for us breast cancer survivors!

Triple Negative Breast cancer sisters,
Melissa and Joyce Bettinger

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

Dr. Tim Jordan and Dr. Amy Thompson of University of
Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living giving their
acceptance speech of the Debra A. Green Award

Dr. Tim Jordan and Dr. Amy Thompson of University
of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living
giving their 
acceptance speech of the
Debra A. Green Award

Dr. Amy Thompson accepting the 2018 Debra A. Green
community service award and all of her supporters of
University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Detroit Lions vs Green Bay Packers Crucial Catch 2018

One for the bucket list for me was to see a pro-football breast cancer awareness game.  On October 7, 2018, I was so excited to attend my first Pro-football game, Detroit Lions vs Green bay Packers at Ford Field n Detroit, MI. that was supporting cancer awareness with survivors taking field, and showing videos on the big screen of football players talking about a loved one touched by cancer.  The Detroit Lions beat The Green Bay Packers 31-23.

Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer!

My end zone view of Detroit's touchdown


Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers #12

Lion's Michael Stafford #9 setting up for
a touchdown!

Detroit Lions Cheerleaders wearing their pink
in support of breast cancer awareness

Monday, January 7, 2019

Victory Center's National Cancer Survivors Day Picnic 2018

Celebrating "Living Life" with my victory gals survivors at a beautiful picnic and magic show hosted by The Victory Center for National Survivors Day on June 3, 2018.

Breast cancer survivors:
 Melissa, Kim and Kelsey

Me and my husband, Phil

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

Total Pageviews

Click to help fund mammograms for the uninsured

The Breast Cancer Site

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
"click image to link"

"Click image to link"