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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jolene VonMillanich In Memoriam

Jolene, friend from the SCAR Project passed away today, October 30, 2011 from breast cancer at 25. May you rest peacefully and your Legacy live on through SCAR art.

 Jolene was the reason I loved the SCAR Project, her story was amazing and her strength and bravery was unbelievable. She was the woman of self-acceptance to all these young ladies who had gone through similar journeys. Although gone too soon, Jolene is free from all her suffering.

Jolene, you're truly an inspiration!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love You And Sure Gonna Miss You Kimmie! xoxo

Our Kimmie Kim 

Lost a Triple Negative Breast Cancer sister friend, Kimberley Byrd-Quarrels from our online support group on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. There's one thing all of us pink sisters can agree on, "Gone too Soon..."  Kimmie was an inspiration to all of us in the group, she set the bar as a "fighter" as she fought so hard to this bitter end of her battle. Kimmie, we are all just so stunned by your passing, but we understand that you longed to be free from all your pain. 

I was just recalling our last messages you left for me and to our group just a week ago prior... I'm gonna share our conversation to show how strong and beautiful you were...

    • Checking in on you, hope they get your pain under control for you.                        
      Miss you in TNBC xoxox
       October 12 at 9:23pm 
      Kimmie Kim I'm getting new meds today- in my Donna Summer voice "this is my last chance - Last Chance for Love" ---- doesn't match the issue but its the song - lol- I'm praying it eases up- that's all I want
      October 13 at 1:17pm  

      • Just wanted to say Hello to everyone in the group! It has been a World Wind experience as I'm sure for all off us! My biggest issue is I haven't had a bowl movement in over 2weeks, in hospital twice, and has fallen twice - TWO much to take (lol) but I'm hanging in there- Ladies I don't know how much I have left - I'm overwhelmed!

        Love You All - ♥

Saturday, October 22, 2011


"A Very Special Project to save lives by increasing breast health awareness in all women. This 12 month calendar features local breast cancer survivors, health tips, and inspiration." - features my TNBC sister friend, Raymon Bessix 
Order yours at www.beyondboobsinc.org

BEYOND BOOBS!-"Not Your Typical Support Group" for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, and where we educate and encourage women of all ages to TAKE CHARGE of their breast health to ensure early detection."

I'm Still Here By Laura Roppe', Kicking Cancer's Butt!

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor, Laura Roppe' wrote "I'm still here" to cancer during her chemotherapy treatments.
“Take it as a wake up call, big or small. Wake up to the life you imagined or as close as you can get to it. Look at it this way: ‘It’s time to use the rest of my life, however long or short, to its optimum potential. And be happy.’”
~ Laura Roppe'
http://www.1uponcancer.com/2012/06/09/follow-your-dream/ (click link to story)

"In the name of kicking cancer's butt, Laura channels her favorite butt-kicking heroines, including Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Tina Turner, Madonna, Thelma & Louise, Flashdance and many more . . ." 

Monday, October 17, 2011

100 Questions & Answers About Triple Negative Breast Cancer" Guide Book

"This Easy-To-Read Book Is A Comprehensive Guide To The Basics Of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Risk Factors And Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, Survivorship, And Life After Diagnosis. Written By Renowned Medical Experts On The Topic, Questions & Answers About Triple Negative Breast Cancer Is An Invaluable Resource For Anyone Coping With The Physical And Emotional Turmoil Of This Challenging Type Of Breast Cancer."

Carey K. Anders, MD, Assistant Professor, Breast Cancer, Lineberger Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Nancy U Lin, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Hardvard Medical School Breast Oncologist, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Purchase at Amazon (Click to link)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SCAR Project: Cincinnati Exhibit Oct. 1, 2011

Me and David Jay
This past Saturday, Oct 1st, after modeling for a breast cancer awareness brunch and style show, I headed south for a 207 mile road trip to Cincinnati for The SCAR Project photographic exhibit of young breast cancer survivors raw"baring it all." I started following The SCAR Project awareness campaign about 6 months ago after coming across it's post on FaceBook and followed their survivor's stories. Being proud of these ladies, I was excited to read that the exhibit was showing somewhat close to home. This is a life-size portraits exhibit of beauty, courage and self-acceptance of young breast cancer survivors who had lost their breast(s) to mastectomy surgery. Being a breast cancer survivor myself, I found it a little hard to look at these portraits knowing what they had gone through to survive this disease. I can only imagine their emotional pain they went through, for I had only opted for a lumpectomy. To these brave young ladies, it was empowering for them to show the public they had breast cancer, they survived it, this is what cancer did to them, it changed their look but, they're still the same beautiful person baring it all with pride.
I had the pleasure of personally meeting fashion photographer, David Jay of The SCAR Project and two of his breast cancer survivor models, Vanessa and Marcy. David Jay showed so much compassion towards his survivor models as he shared their journey stories. I enjoyed chatting with Marcy and Vanessa, two amazing young women that is inspiring the world with their traveling exhibit. Vanessa signed my program book,  "Live Sincerely" - Vanessa, definitely her words to live by!

David Jay, SCAR Photographer
Me and David Jay
Survivor model, Vanessa and her portrait
Survivor model, Marcy and her portrait
Marcy and David Jay
Marcy and David Jay
David Jay

"Not all scars show, not all wounds heal.

Sometimes you can't always see 
the pain someone feels."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Is Breast Cancer AWARENESS Month: Breast Self-Exams

  • 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her life time
  • A women's risk of breast cancer about doubles if she has a mother, sister or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer
  • 70 to 80% of breast cancer occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer

Give yourself a breast self-exam at least once a month. Look for any changes in breast tissue, such as changes in size, a lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast, or a discharge from the nipple. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a physician immediately.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Three Michigan Research Locations To Share A $3.5 Million Komen Breast Cancer Grant

"Researchers believe traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments often become ineffective because they do not kill the cancer stem cells, and that the key to future treatments is to develop drugs that target and kill these cells. Research suggests that triple-negative breast cancers have a higher proportion of cancer stem cells..."
(Click link for full story)

HATTITUDE, Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch 2011

I am the one 2nd from left

I had such a wonderful time this past Saturday, Oct. 1st at Hattitude presented by Medical Mutual at Crown Plaza Hotel. I had brunch with my breast cancer survivor friends from The Victory Center support group, then us survivors put on a really nice fashion show modeling fall clothing from Sophia Lustig Shop... I had a blast!

Michelle, Chrys Peterson and me

Breast cancer survivor friends of The Victory Center:
Elaine, Michelle, me and Judy

My Journey Published In "Living With Triple Negative Breast Cancer Series" On Care2.Com

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Best defense against breast cancer is finding it early:
Monthly breast self-exams, annual clinical exam and annual mammogram

WHen Worst Fear Becomes Reality, Find Your Inner Strength

Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#23 in a series)

From every wound, 
there is a scar,
And every scar tells a story.
A story that says, I survived...

“My worst fear of getting breast cancer was just about to become reality … I had a gut feeling about it.” It was quite by chance that when rubbing the skin along the edge of her bra one weekend, 41 year-old Melissa Stukenborg Paskvan felt something strange.
As she inspected further, she recalls her disbelief at the discovery of a grape-sized lump under her breast. By Monday morning she was on the phone and by Tuesday she had a mammogram. When the mammogram failed to give a detailed result, an ultrasound confirmed the presence of an ominous lump. Clearly not one to sit around wasting time, Melissa requested an immediate needle biopsy. A few days later she had an official diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer. That gut feeling was right.
One day you’re nonchalantly rubbing an itch and before you know it you’re told you have cancer. It can happen just like that. [5 Things About Breast Cancer You Should Take to Heart]
Taking on Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Melissa lost her father to melanoma, and her family history includes a maternal great aunt who had breast cancer. Asked if she was aware of triple-negative breast cancer before her own diagnosis, she replied, “No, I never heard of it. I didn’t know about different types of breast cancers.”
Treatment included a lumpectomy, chemo port surgery, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and 33 radiation treatments. Both Melissa and her doctors are optimistic about her prognosis, but she’s not taking anything for granted. A well-balanced diet and exercise have taken on greater importance.
Her doctors mentioned genetic testing to see if she carries the BRCA gene, but didn’t push the issue. After her treatment regimen was complete, she learned more about the BRCA/triple-negative breast cancer connection. She had to make a decision about genetic testing. Her health insurance would likely not pay for the expensive test, and should that test prove she carried the gene … what would she do with that information?
With no daughters, the focus would turn to aggressive tactics to avoid a recurrence of the aggressive cancer. “I didn’t want to open up that can of worms,” she says. “I’m healthy right now and why mess with that, knowing the recommended course of action is bilateral mastectomy and ovaries and tubal removal. I chose not to know.” She will, however, go along with the recommended annual ovarian ultrasound.
And There Goes the Job
The toll of cancer and treatment hits cancer patients hard. Melissa lost her job of 20 years after an extended medical leave, and her second and third jobs also “faded away,” as she put it. Cancer has crippled her financially, she says, draining the family’s savings and adding to their debt.
Health Insurance: Just When You Need it Most …
High school sweethearts, Melissa and her husband have been married for 19 years and have a nine-year old son. At diagnosis, Melissa had health insurance with a $1,500 deductible. A few months later, her deductible was raised to $3,000 and, in early 2011 to $10,000. A “pass the hat” collection raised $2,600 to help cover some deductibles and co-pays. Eventually, her husband left his job of 18 years for one that offered a better policy.
“I feel like I’m putting my health in jeopardy,” Melissa says. She sacrificed having some tests and follow up care so as not to add to the medical debt, even trying to opt out of a clinical study because her insurance did not cover all associated expenses. She will, however, continue to follow up with her chemotherapy oncologist.
“I won’t back down.”
Now 44, Melissa blogs about her experiences and is involved in many breast cancer awareness events. She helped put together a private triple-negative breast cancer support group on Facebook and, together with her oncology nurse and the mother of another triple-negative breast cancer survivor, formed a support group.
Melissa offers her heartfelt thanks to The Victory Center, a cancer wellness service center that welcomed her in as part of their family through their breast cancer support group and various relaxation programs. She began attending just after completing treatment and trying to find her “new normal.” It’s helpful, she explains, to be surrounded by people who have walked in your shoes.
Despite the financial toll, despite the physical toll, despite the emotional toll, Melissa does what many cancer patients do. She keeps going. To the newly diagnosed, she has this to say, “You have a long and hard fight ahead of you. Be strong, stay positive, and stay focused on your health … you’ll find the inner strength in you to get through this.”
“I now live for the moment,” she says of her newfound perspective of life. That’s something many cancer patients report feeling, but should give everyone pause. None of us knows how long we’ll be here. The past has its place, as does the future, but to live in the moment is to truly be alive!
Why You Need to Learn about Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
“We need to keep triple-negative breast cancer awareness in the forefront, for it is striking younger women, especially African-Americans. It is often undetected by mammograms, so please do your monthly breast self exams and know your body … if you suspect a lump, don’t wait,” advises Melissa. “Consult your doctor immediately… early detection is your best defense in beating triple-negative breast cancer.”

 by Ann Pietrangelo

Click to link:http://www.care2.com/greenliving/when-worst-fear-becomes-reality-find-your-inner-strength.html#ixzz1uRU5IrvI

Monday, October 3, 2011

Northwest Ohio Komen Race For The Cure 2011

My 2nd year in participating in Komen Race for the Cure and met up with other breast cancer survivor friends. I was among the 17,000 participants who raised over $900,000 for the cause.

Stephanie wearing my name
Me with WTOL's Chrys Peterson
Lori, me and Rita, ladies of The
Victory Center
Me and Brandi
Me walking with Bonnie and her family
17,000 participants
Race for my CURE!
Colleen, the Uniboober!
Me and Bonnie
"Survivor Sisterhood"
"I so miss you, Robin!"

Total Pageviews

Click to help fund mammograms for the uninsured

The Breast Cancer Site

Click to join me in support group

Inspire health and wellness support groups

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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