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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flippin to a Cure Logo Bracelet in Support of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

I absolutely love my new bangle!

I am honored and proudly wear my new beautiful handcrafted triple touch of pink "Flippin to a Cure" logo bracelet that I received by Dr. Regina Flippin as part of her holiday giveaway.  I love wearing my new three loops bracelet that symbolizes support for those affected by triple negative breast cancer.
Dr. Flippin is a TNBC survivor herself and is the founder of "Flippin to a Cure" to raise awareness to triple negative breast cancer. Information on how you can purchase your own TNBC logo bracelet or to learn more of Dr. Flippin's story and her foundation, please follow the link to her site.
Thank you Dr. Flippin for reaching out to other women in our communities through awareness and education of breast cancer... and again for your kind heart.
Wishing all my viewers and supporters a happy and healthy New Year full of love and hope.
xo Melissa

Saturday, December 28, 2013

First Featured Person of 2014 on The Toni Turchi Foundation Website

"My loving family"
I’d like to introduce to you a women who is has taken her despair and used her journey in an effort to “pay it forward”. Meet my friend…..Melissa Paskvan from Toledo Ohio. Read More
(Click on link)

National Breast Cancer Survey till Jan. 9th, 2014

Questions specific to Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  Lets get it done ladies... this benefits all of us!

Living Beyond Breast Cancer opened a national survey today to assess the unique information and support needs of all women with breast cancer. 
Available online until midnight PT on Friday, Jan.10, the survey asks about the information and support available to women with breast cancer. The organization will use the survey findings to identify and address gaps in services for people with specific breast cancer diagnoses, such as triple-negative, hormone-positive or HER2 positive.

All women who have ever been diagnosed with or treated for breast cancer may take part in this survey. Participants may be recently diagnosed, in treatment, post-treatment, have had a return of breast cancer, or be living with metastatic (stage IV) disease. We seek people with a diversity of experiences, so please spread the word about this opportunity. All responses are anonymous.

http://www.lbbc.org/About-LBBC/LBBC-Newsletter-and-Publication-Archive/LBBC-News/National-Breast-Cancer-Survey  (Click to link)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Catch That Look: Living, Laughing and Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer - by Ann Pietrangelo

This is a memoir written by my Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) friend whom I met online and had the honor of having my story featured in a series of her "Living with Triple Negative Breast Cancer" stories she had written in 2011. 
Sometimes, when that "other shoe" finally drops, it drops hard...

December 3, 2013
She couldn’t believe her luck. After years of living with the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis, Ann Pietrangelo was making the most of her miraculous remission – not that she didn’t expect the other shoe to drop. An accidental discovery of a lump soon led to the life-threatening diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer.

From a deeply personal perspective and told in riveting detail, Catch That Look explores the relationships between doctors and their patients, as well as between patients and their loved ones. With each new page, it becomes crystal clear that just as a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes, when you catch it, a look speaks volumes.

From the author of "No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis," this follow-up memoir is one that Ann never thought she would have to write. It offers the reader passionate insight into the emotional and physical turmoil of learning you have a second life-altering disease – and what it means to be a true survivor.

For Ann and her husband, Jim, the diagnosis would test their “living, laughing, and loving despite” mindset. Would they pass this test?

With foreword by Diane Radford, MD, FACS, FRCSEd, surgical oncologist and breast surgeon at Mercy Clinic St. Louis Cancer & Breast Institute.

eBook NOW ON AMAZON -paperback coming soon!

Author website: AnnPietrangelo.com 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holiday Party with my Gals of The Victory Center 2013

Our breast cancer support group
5 of us here are triple negative breast cancer survivors

One of the greatest gifts is friendship, and I'm very thankful that I have these ladies in my life, who have helped me piece my life back together after going through my breast cancer. Thank you The Victory Center and to the ladies of our breast cancer support group for this special get-together, love to you all!... We have today!

Friday, November 15, 2013

One for the Bucket List... Detroit Red Wings Breast Cancer Awareness Night 2013

I have seen posted several times in my online support groups, what is on your bucket list?  I've seen other survivors list a trip to Ireland or Hawaii, another wants to go skydiving... me? I just want to go to a Detroit Red Wings game. On October 12, 2013, I was able to cross this off my bucket list as I went to my very first pro-hockey game on their breast cancer awareness night against the Philadelphia Fliers.
Always in good company with a very good friend, Angie whom it was her first Red Wings game too. My highlight was seeing Red Wings goalie, Jimmy Howard skating out onto the ice rink geared up in a pink ribbon helmet and pink arms and legs padding with pink ribbons on his shins... Personally I thought he looked bad-ass! Detroit Red Wings closed the game with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Fliers. 
Angie and I finished the night with a bite to eat at Detroit's Hard Rock Cafe, watching the Detroit Tigers live on big screen. Also, I bought this HardRock pink ribbon guitar pin, I always wanted one of these since I first saw them when I was diagnosed. Next on my bucket list... Detroit Piston's game.

Melissa Paskvan and Angie

5-2, Red Wings

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jonna's Body, Please Hold, Toledo Performance 2013

Jonna Tamases and Melissa Paskvan
October 10, 2013, Me and my Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor sister, Diane met up with other survivors of our support group for a night of laughter and inspiration watching a one-woman play, Jonna's Body, Please Hold. Jonna Tamases, who wrote and stars as herself in her 1 hour cancerous dark comedy performance that chronicles the invasion of cancer in her body, but uses humor in getting through her challenges. Jonna, a 4 times survivor had battled Hodgkin's Disease twice, Large-Cell Lymphoma and Breast Cancer and remains cancer-free today. After the show, I had the pleasure of meeting Jonna, a very sweet, funny and compassionate lady who was very interested in hearing my journey and being 4 years out from cancer myself.

3 breast cancer survivors here!
TNBC sister Diane, Jonna and Melissa


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Angelo Merendino ‘Observing and Reacting’ Humanizes Cancer Exhibit 2013

On October 5, 2013 returning from a breast cancer benefit, I made a stop in Cleveland to see an exhibit that I've been following for the past year of Angelo Merendino's photography of "My Wife's Fight With Breast Cancer." Angelo's work is amazing, capturing challenges and sadness as his wife battled her breast cancer. In this exhibit, 'Observing and Reacting' Humanizes Cancer, Angelo's black and white photos reveals the reactions from people passing by his wife, Jennifer, bald and using her walker as she walked in her city of New York City. Being a breast cancer survivor myself, as I walked through this exhibit and looking at each photograph, I could visualize myself walking beside her with the pedestrians staring at you with being bald and looking sick.  The photographs reminds me of my own experience of when I was losing my hair, and my son didn't want me to come to his school's halloween party because he was afraid that the kids would laugh at him, because my hair was all "messed up" now. Yes, my feelings were a little hurt, but I assured him that it will be ok. I showed up at his classroom party with me wearing a fleece hat in 70 degrees weather... and all the kids were staring at me but didn't say anything... a little awkward it was.
Originally from  Akron, Ohio , Angelo married Jennifer in 2006. 
5 months later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and lost her battle in 2011.

Me walking her shoes...

“Love every morsel of the people in your life.”
~ Jennifer Merendino

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Laura Roppe' 5 Years from Diagnosis 2013

My advice to new patients: "You must take it a day at a time and not allow yourself to spiral into unadulterated fear and worst-case-scenario thinking. Just do what must be done today, and the next and then the next. Trust and believe you will get through it, and you will grow and learn from the experience. Focus on giving and receiving love to the best of your ability. And know that you are not alone."
~Laura Roppe'

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Komen Foundation Partners with Other Large Breast Cancer Organizations To Find Answers

A first-of-its-kind collaboration between three large breast cancer organizations aimed at finding better treatments for metastatic survivors and ultimately helping to determine causes of and prevention for breast cancer.

The collaboration is between Komen, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Young Survival Coalition. In the short term, the organizations are asking breast cancer survivors to tell us about the side effects of their treatment.  We know that patients often keep those side effects to themselves, unwilling to complain about treatments that are keeping them alive. These side effects, however, – depression, lymphedema, neuropathy, chemobrain, etc. – often aren’t documented widely, so doctors are not aware of information that could help them better treat their breast cancer patients.

We hope to break through that silence in the hopes of helping the medical community and patients.
(Click link to participate)

The larger study is Dr. Love’s Health of Women [HOW] Study. The organizations are asking everyone (regardless if the person has been diagnosed with breast cancer or not) to take part in the HOW Study. Dr. Love is gathering data that may help identify patterns of causation in breast cancer.

About the HOW Project:
The HOW Study is a long-term cohort study in which participants are followed over time and are asked to complete periodic online questionnaires about their past and current health. The goals of the HOW Study are to identify risk factors for breast cancer as well as factors that can contribute to long-term survival. Anyone over the age of 18 can participate in HOW regardless of medical history, gender or geographic location.

Dr. Love is “democratizing” the research by inviting everyone – male, female, old, young, breast cancer survivor or not – to participate in the HOW study. Even if you are not a breast cancer patient, comparing information about you can help us identify areas which make a person at greater risk for developing breast cancer.

Participation in this study is also an opportunity to bring issues with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment front and center, so that organizations and physicians can do a better job of helping patients. We invite you to participate, and to submit topics or questions about any side effects experienced with breast cancer treatments to www.questionthecure.org.

(Click link to story)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tell Dr. Susan Love Everything That Sucks About Breast Cancer Treatment!

I am asking all of my followers to please participate and let your voices be heard. Thank you kindly, Melissa Paskvan

Are you undergoing chemotherapy, radiation or an adjuvant treatment like Tamoxifen and worry about the long-term effects on your body and mind?  Did you go through treatment years ago but remain concerned about the long-term implications on your your overall health and quality of?  Have you experienced a condition since treatment like shingles, a cardiovascular issue, vision impairment, body or joint pain, unexplained weight changes or fatigue and wonder if there's a connection? How about chemo-brain? Fertility? Early menopause? Depression? Intimacy? Relationship issues?  
Please share all your concerns about treatment with Dr. Love via YSC so YOUR voice can be included in her Health of Women (HOW) study.

http://community.youngsurvival.org/index.php?/forum/78-tell-us-everything-that-sucks-about-breast-cancer-treatment (Click link)

Calling all young survivors – Dr. Susan Love wants to hear from you! 
Join the conversation and tell Dr. Love what side affects you are experiencing from treatment. This is the first study in history determined by those experiencing the problems, not by researchers and physicians. Tell Dr. Love by October 31, 2013, about your collateral damage from breast cancer treatment.

Join the conversation: 


What would you give to end breast cancer?


YSC has joined forces with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation on the Health of Women (HOW) study to examine the collateral damage of breast cancer. We need young survivors AND young women not affected by breast cancer to ensure young women are well represented in this study. Recruit others to join the movement and sign up now:  https://www.questionthecure.com

About the HOW Study  
The How Study is the first ever international online study for breast cancer. It is being conducted by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF) in collaboration with Leslie Bernstein, PhD, of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. The groundbreaking study has a goal of tracking 200,000 women over time with the objective of identifying new risk factors for, and potential causes of breast cancer. It will also examine women and men with breast cancer, including those living with metastatic disease, to identify factors that are linked to long-term survival and the impact of treatments on their lives. http://www.youngsurvival.org/HOWstudy

Saturday, October 26, 2013

20th Annual Komen Race for the Cure 2013, Toledo OH.

17, 000 participants in this year's 20th Anniversary Race for the Cure of Northwest, Ohio on September 29, 2013. This is the biggest event in Toledo every year raising more than $1 million with 75% of funds remains in Northwest Ohio to help provide education, screening and support services.  In support of my "Pink Sisters" whom I met during this journey, TNBC sisters that I've known to battle to the end and to those that are still fighting fiercely, I continue to fight beside you all and in your honor. 
As of 2013, Susan G. Komen has invested more than $74 million in over 100 research grants focused on triple negative breast cancer since it was first identified as a distinct type of breast cancer in 2006.

We're all survivors!

Melissa Paskvan, Michelle Moore and
 TNBC sister Diane Pokrywka

TNBC sisters Genny Diaz,
 Melissa Paskvan and Kim Youster

Melissa with Sandy Liedel on far right,
mother of friend from high school

WTOL News Anchor Chrys Peterson
 and Melissa Paskvan

"I run for you and me, my friend"

Celebrating all of my TNBC sisters
that have touched my life

Melissa Paskvan and TNBC sister, Diane

Melissa Paskvan and
TNBC sister Genny Diaz

TNBC sister, Rita Hafner
and Melissa Paskvan

Former co-worker Charlotte Adams 
and Melissa Paskvan

Michelle Moore and Melissa Paskvan

Penny celebrates all of us
Victory Center ladies

Me with some of my fans!

4 years!

You find me among my fellow survivors?

(Click link to story)


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Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project

Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project
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