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.

Carpe diem

Seize Each new Day with Renewed Strength,
Believe in Yourself, Go forward with
Courage and faith
to face whatever Tomorrow may bring.

Chicks For Charity motto:

Enjoy life. Laugh a lot.
Work hard. Play hard.
Be thankful for our blessings.
Share the wisdom. Give back

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Success Story

Toledo's The Victory Center for cancer patient support services has selected me to write my success story to The Susan G. Komen Foundation to go along with their grant funding to TVC.

Project Title: Discovering Inner Strength: Support for Women with Breast Cancer
Project Organization: The Victory Center
Brief Summary of Success Story:
My husband and son had just left that day for vacation, when I found my lump by chance when I felt something along my bra band line under my breast. My heart just sunk, and I was in disbelief that my worst fear was now happening to me. I reacted fast and two days later I got in for a mammogram followed by an ultrasound. My 2cm. lump did not show up on the mammogram images and it was thought to be just a cyst but I insisted on a needle biopsy right then and there. Another two days go by, and I received the call from my doctor. I'm 41 and I have cancer.... I was numb; all I can think about is my son and now had to tell my husband who just totally broke down in tears. Two long weeks later, I met with my surgeon who told me that I have a rare and aggressive form of cancer that doesn't respond to hormone therapy and later learned from the Internet that there was a term for it, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I knew I was in for a fight and had to be strong and stay focused. I opted for a lumpectomy, followed by an intense cocktail chemotherapy every other week for 3 1/2 months and then 33 radiation treatments. Currently, I am on a clinical trial for Bisphosphonate therapy research study as a preventative for bone cancer, taking 2 pills daily for 3 years. I am now a 1 year survivor and what scares me the most is the Triple Negative Breast Cancer's tendency of recurrence, the lack of treatments for it, and the need for more research.
Nearing the end of my treatments I felt lost; I was now unemployed for my employers didn't hold my positions for me…what do I do now? I turned to The Victory Center for support, trying to figure out my new "normal”. At The Victory Center, I was surrounded by people who didn't mind talking about cancer. I immediately got involved in their Breast Cancer support group where their group therapist, Nicole, is very compassionate, understanding and knowledgeable. The support group has helped me rejuvenate my self-image and ease the transition that I've been going through. All the positive energy that flows through the room during group sessions has such an uplifting effect on my mental attitude. I have also taken advantage of The Victory Center's Massage Therapy where I can go and unwind, relax and free my mind of worries for a short while, while the massage therapist works my muscles, easing my tensions and then go home feeling renewed. As a 9 month client of The Victory Center, I see them as my extended family, my sisterhood, my home away from home. I have been proud to represent The Victory Center survivors at various events, my way of giving back by being a voice for TVC. I have not yet participated in TVC's exercise programs but, I am eager to find some energy and time knowing the importance of physical activity and its role in breast cancer recurrence. As I am getting back on my feet again, my new normal is living for the moment, be happy, enjoy life, my family and friends and to reach out, give reassurance and educate breast cancer patients particularly in the area of TNBC. To raise awareness and funding for cancer, I've participated in walks for Making Strides against Breast Cancer, Relay for Life and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. God is Great, Life is Good.
- Melissa Paskvan

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."

-Eleanor Roosevelt

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Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
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The SCAR Project

The SCAR Project
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Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project

Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project
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