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, December 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Brandy....

Today, December 12th, 2015, I said goodbye to a special pink sister, Brandy Gilliland whom passed on Dec. 3rd at age 40 from a recurrence of her breast cancer after being in remission for 6 years.  Brandy touched my life, as she was the first pink sister I had met while we were both going through chemo and had met at our oncologist's office.  I have seen and spoke with Brandy at different breast cancer events and had also spoken to her dad whom I've seen accompanying her at doctor appointments.  I went to Brandy's Celebration of Life memorial to say good-bye to Brandy and give her dad my condolences and a hug. Rest peacefully sweet sister.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Oakland A's Breast Cancer Awareness Game 2015 With My TNBC Sisters in California...

Us TNBC Sisters,
Melissa, Lisa and Maria

About 4 years ago, one of my Triple Negative Breast Cancer sisters had posted photos from a breast cancer awareness baseball game with the Oakland A's that I thought was a fabulous event that they put on at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  Every year after, I would see photos from the Oakland's A's annual breast cancer awareness game and I wished I was there too to experience all the happenings at the game for survivors.  Every year, I would hear, "Mel, you have to come out to California during the breast cancer baseball game."  Well, this year on September 6th, a couple of my TNBC California sisters helped me get to the game with surprising me with a survivor game ticket to all of the survivor festivities where I met several other TNBC sisters from our online support group. Maria and I have tailgated before the game in the parking lot with a bottle of champagne celebration.  At the game, I had lunch with my TNBC sisters at a survivor luncheon where we took group photos and pics with Oakland A's mascot, Stomper the elephant.  All of us survivors wearing our pink A's jerseys and carrying a pink balloon, walked out onto the infield and stood together to form a pink ribbon and be honored for being a fighter of breast cancer.  I was in awe of how many survivors were brought together out on the infield, and so many of us were so young.  White doves were released as a symbol of hope, as they flew circulating around the top of the stadium.  At the end of the national anthem, all of us survivors released our pink balloons to honor the ones that were taken from breast cancer... it was a very emotional moment.  Oakland A's has raised $74, 500 that day to benefit The American Cancer Society and the Cancer Prevention Institution of California supporting research, education and free services to cancer patients in the Bay Area. 
Thank you Maria and Lisa for a fabulous time and making a dream come true for me.

My TNBC Cali Girls!
TNBC sisters Melissa and Angela Munoz
TNBC sisters Melissa And Maria Lagman
TNBC sisters Melissa and Lisa Lee
TNBC sisters Melissa and Gina Casey
TNBC sisters, Melissa and 
Malayni Wilkinson
TNBC sisters Cheryl Krauter 
and Melissa
Lynda and Melissa
TNBC sisters Maria, Melissa and Lisa
TNBC sisters Gina, Melissa and Angela
Gina, Melissa, Lisa and Maria
In memory of...
All us survivors on Oakland A's infield!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Honored to Accept the 2015 Debra A. Green Community Service Award...

A ministering angel shall my sister be.
Last weekend, October 10, 2015,  I was so very honored to have received the 2015 Medical Mutual's Community Service Award presented to me by Debra A. Green herself in front of my family, close friends, pink sisters, Chrys Peterson and another 200+ guests in attendance at Hattitude's Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn of Perrysburg, Ohio.  As a Keynote Speaker also, I shared my story of triumph over Triple Negative Breast Cancer and my passion to keeping fighting for my TNBC sisters and keep bringing attention to this dreaded disease.  I have to say, I was quite nervous and did not get any sleep the night before.  I was thrilled to meet Debra Green, a 20 year breast cancer survivor herself as she calmed me prior to my speech.  Thank you again Medical Mutual and to the community of Northwest Ohio for believing in my determination.  
A huge Thank you to Medical Mutual of Ohio for your generous donation of $500 to a charity of my choice, The Victory Center. Here, I am sharing my 2nd speech of my acceptance:


I am so very honored, thank you!
Thank you Medical Mutual, Debra Green and to all who were involved in the process of my nomination. Thank you family, friends and my Victory Center gals for your continued support of my involvement in the breast cancer community.  I am truly honored and blessed to be standing here in front of 200+ people, accepting this award as being a Voice in Northwest Ohio for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Community in keeping TNBC awareness in the forefront. This reaffirms my dedication to keep fighting for all... and for those that are no longer with us.

It’s been difficult for me this past year, as I grieve the sudden loss of my mom whom passed in January, by far the hardest challenge in my life. 
I would like to dedicate this award in memory of my mother for shaping me into the woman I am today... to be strong, caring, loving, compassionate and to be an advocate for others.

Thank you to my husband, you’ve been my rock for thirty years...
You took care of me through out my treatments and made me feel still beautiful and loveable.

My son, watching me being so ill from the chemo, had asked me, “Mommy, when will you get better?”… “I'm trying baby, I'm trying.”  I love my small family more than any thing, and I fought hard to be around for them as long as God’s will.

Thank you GOD for always being near and seeing me through this path that’s been paved for me.

It is so rewarding by being an inspiration to others, as a women surviving Triple Negative Breast Cancer and living life.  My passion lies with you ladies, in helping others and reassuring them, that they too have the courage to get through their journey. You all inspire me in your every day of fight, bravery and determination.

By being a breast cancer survivor, it has made me more aware of needs in the community.  We need to continue to support the organizations in our community that are committed to making a difference in our cause and survivorship.

I wish you all happiness and good health
Embrace hope, Hope for more tomorrows
God Bless
Keynote Speaker too!
My story...
Pink Sisters, Melissa and Michelle
My testimony...
See, everyone!
Thank you Medical Mutual of Ohio!
So beautiful with my name on it, Thank you Medical Mutual!
with Jeanette and her daughter...
My display table..
My husband, Phil and me
Good friends, Melissa and Angie
My mentor, Devorah and Melissa

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Victory Center Gals Unite at Komen Breakfast 2015

Us Victory Center pink sisters

The Komen Breakfast has always been special to me, as I sat in a room not only with my Victory Center survivor gals, but with among hundreds of other breast cancer survivors filling up a banquet room at The Pinnacle in Maumee, OH. on Sept. 12th.  It really is an eye-opener to see all these ladies, several young as 30's and 40's who had fought breast cancer... and they come to celebrate life as we get ready to kick-off the Komen Race on Sept. 27th.  It's always inspiring to hear Komen survivor honoree's speak and share their stories with us, and hear how Komen had helped honoree, Kit Curran by funding her mammogram... the mammogram that saved her life as the mammogram detected her breast cancer.  Stories like this makes me grateful that we have such a wonderful Komen affiliate in our community that provides these breast health needs to woman who are uninsured or under-insured.
Thank you Komen Northwest Ohio and Mary Westphal for your continued dedication to us women and for all the hours your staff puts in every day to stick to Komen's Mission: To End Breast Cancer Forever.

Lucy, Rita, Melissa, Chrys, Judi and Michelle
Joyce, Deb, Rita, Judi, Lucy, Michelle and Lauri
Kim, Lori, Beth, Sue, Melissa J. and Lynette
Michelle, Melissa, Lauri and Joyce on far right
Rita, Judi and Lucy
The beautiful, Barbara Oxner
with Jackie's mom, Mary
with Miss Teen Ohio, Shelby
with TNBC survivor, Lindsay Vanderveen

Friday, September 18, 2015

Komen Series #3: Together, We Are Strong in the Mission

While attending the reception and dinner at May 8, 2015, Komen Blogger Summit with fellow bloggers and Komen's social media team, conversations continued on Metastatic Breast Cancer while speaking with Komen Founder, Nancy Brinker.  Although it is not common in the U.S., 5% of newly diagnosis women will be diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer.  Nancy Brinker touches on this area saying,
"...we need help developing the kinds of stories and keeping  passion alive with the people who want to tell these stories and making them real and calling the media to accountability to make sure this is kept high and near...
 ...at the end of the day, if we don't do these things, we don't keep this issue to your point, the 5% of the people, and they don't know people still got it, you're right, people, they think that everybody is just gonna walk in the park and they are just gonna live with it..."
Komen's recently advocated to Congress for more funding not only for breast cancer research, but the need for more biomedical research support in general, increasing the NIH budget.  Another issue Komen discussed was oral parity... to take a pill that can make a difference in quality of life while going through treatment.  Dense breast and different kinds of screening were also discussed as well as disparities in breast cancer.
"It means that we, our voices together can make a difference. Elevate the conversations as we say, we can really bring people together and make them more aware." _ Dr. Judith Salerno

Komen Founder, Nancy Brinker
Nancy Brinker speaking on Metastatic Breast Cancer
Nancy Brinker and Melissa Paskvan
Nancy Brinker gladly signed our photo from last year
Me and my personal hero, Nancy Brinker
...and Nancy signs my copy of her book, Promise Me
Me with my blogger friends, Komen Grantees and Nancy Brinker
Together Stronger, Thank you for tweeting Nancy!
Dinner discussion with Dr. Judith Salerno, CEO of Komen
Nancy Brinker introducing British singer, Matt Goss to us
I go to shake Matt Goss hand and he says that he's a hugger :)
...and he smells good too! Matt Goss and Melissa Paskvan
Melissa Paskvan and CEO and President of Komen, Dr. Judith Salerno
Me with Komen Marketing team, Rhasheda Boyd and Tracy Mueller

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Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation

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