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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Representing The Victory Center at Komen Northwest Ohio Race 2015

Leading the 5+ years pack
In a crowd of 26,000 people, 12,000 registered participants, I walked as part of The Victory Gals Team in the 22nd Annual Komen NorthWest Ohio Race for the Cure on September 27, 2015.  Besides raising awareness to breast cancer, 75% of funds raised at the event stays right in Northwest, Ohio supporting breast cancer patient services, while the other 25% raised funds National research.
This year, Komen Northwest Ohio affiliate allowed me to carry the 5 year Survivor sign leading the 5+ years Survivors in the Survivor Parade down to the start line for the 5K walk.  Thank you Mary Westphal and all the the ladies of Komen NorthWest Ohio for this great honor!

Team The Victory Center Gals

My favorite Frosty

Victory Center Gals

TNBC sisters, Diana and Melissa

with the 5+ years group

Team The Victory Center Gals

with Pink Panther

with my cousin, Tony

Team The Victory Center Gals

All us pink survivors on the infield

SO MANY INCREDIBLE STORIES OF SURVIVING: Dan Cummins spoke with several breast cancer survivors today, including those representing The Victory Center! #WTOLR4TC #WTOLRACE #RaceForTheCureWe have even more inspiring stories of hope here: http://bit.ly/1Wr0kUK
Posted by WTOL NEWS 11 on Sunday, September 27, 2015

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Detroit Tigers Pink out the Park 2015

On Friday September 15, 2015, I get a telephone call from my pink sister, Lynette of my local breast cancer group... Lynette asks me if I wanted to go to Detroit Tiger's Pink Out The Park game and that she had an extra ticket.  I ask her when and she stated today... I said I would need to clear my calendar for the day and check with my husband.  After breaking previous commitments which were rescheduled, I headed up to Michigan where Lynette lived and we drove together into Detroit early to beat the traffic and eat dinner at Hockeytown Cafe.  At the game, we met up with some breast cancer survivors from Lynette's online group and also ran into Maureen, a TNBC sister whom I met a year prior at another TNBC event in Detroit.  I also met 3 other ladies that were TNBC survivors and got to chat with at the game.  I was able to walk out on the infield with Lynette as we and other breast cancer survivors were recognized for the breast cancer awareness game.  I was honored to be Lynette's guest to the game and infield ceremony, a memory that I will always hold close to my heart. The baseball game was great with a win over the Kansas City Royals, great weather and great company.  Thank you Lynette, my dear pink sister, I love you! - Melissa

Pink out the Park 2015, Go TIGERS!


Melissa and TNBC survivor, Lisa G.

Pink sisters, Melissa and Lynette Layman

TNBC sisters, Maureen and Melissa

TNBC sisters, Melissa, Jennifer Barnes and Maureen Smith

Lynette and Melissa

Paws says NO to cancer!

"For my girls!"

TNBC sisters, Collette and Melissa

Meet the President...

Welcome to our Center!
On September 1, 2015, I was invited by Dr. Amy Thompson, Professor and Co-Director of University of Toledo's Center for Health and Successful Living to attend the visit of the University's new president (and first female), Dr. Sharon Gaber to the center.  Dr. Gaber was given a tour of the center and sat down in the conference room with all the members there, where she was detailed of the mission of the center and what services they provide to us breast cancer survivors.  Dr. Sharon Gaber told us that she is also a 4 year breast cancer survivor and was very interested in the direction of the Center and how it is helping survivors in our local community.  Being a breast cancer survivor myself and have participated in some of the Center's services, I was able to give Dr. Gaber some insight of the importance of need for these services for us survivors.  The Center has been an outlet for me to get away from the everyday life's routine and get involved with other survivors who have been dealing with their "new normal" too.  I have participated in the Center's book club, Pink Sneakers weekly walking program and a beach glass jewelry making class with my breast cancer survivor sisters.
UT President, Dr. Sharon Gaber and Melissa
Dr. Thompson and I have worked together at conferences talking about Triple Negative Breast Cancer and the importance of a good support system and living healthy.  I had attended a couple of other conferences co-presented by UT's Center for Health and Successful Living, one being "Spring into Survivorship" a day long conference for us breast cancer survivors to educate us on living a healthy lifestyle - mind, body and soul. 

With me having a very high deductible with my health insurance and also being unemployed, I tend to choose wisely when I seek medical attention and only see a doctor if it is really necessary, but the one test I do make sure I do every year is my mammogram and have gotten a few months behind on that.  I did have my mammogram in August and the report came back "benign", and I was aware that I had a few calcification spots shown up in my screening. I just wasn't comfortable with the wording in my report and knowing my tumor didn't show up with my diagnosis 6 years. Also, my left surgical breast has been painful to touch and also on the breastbone.  The Center was able to provide me with a clinical breast exam by Dr. Mabry as a free service for local women at their vendor tent at Toledo's Pride event, where they had table present with education material on breast cancer. Dr. Mabry reassured me during my exam that everything felt normal.    Back to the mammogram, since I have not had a Breast MRI in 3 years, my family doctor recommended as a precaution, to follow up with a MRI.  As I struggled with the thought of having an additional high medical bill because of not meeting my deductible,  Dr. Thompson offered to have any remaining balance of my breast MRI to be covered by a program through her center.  I was so grateful for her assistance to ease my worry about cost and making sure I don't hesitate to get the MRI done.   I was so honored to meet Dr. Sharon Gaber and having the opportunity to share with her my experiences with the center and how much there is a need for these services for us survivors in the community. 
One other thing I need to mention is that the Center does offer grief support that I have attended, as I was coping with the sudden loss of my mother in January. Co-Director of the center, Dr. Tim Jordan helped me tremendously in coping with my loss and remembering the happier times.  Thank you Dr. Amy Thompson, Dr. Tim Jordan and everyone else involved with the Center making it a success in impacting our lives.

Breast Health Education

Pink Sneakers... Walk on!

We all welcome you, Dr. Sharon Gaber!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Supporting Survivors of Toledo Area at Komen's Fashion Show...

August 29, 2015, I went to Franklin Park Mall to cheer on some local breast cancer survivor friends who were modeling in Komen's Fashion Show.  A couple of these ladies are part of our Pink Sneakers walking program, and couple of other survivors that I have met a different Komen events.  These survivor models were an inspiration to many of the onlookers, showing the audience that they fought breast cancer and now living their life with these new adventures.

BC Survivor, Kit Curran on the left

Survivor, Barbara Oxner in the front

Survivor, Barbara Oxner on the far right

Survivor, Jeanette Martin

TNBC Survivor, Lindsay Vanderveen

NWO Komen Board President, Teresa McHugh

Barbara Oxner and Melissa Paskvan

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Joan Lundens Triple Negative Breast Cancer Memoir to be Released...

Coming September 22, 2015, former Good Morning of America Journalist and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor, Joan Lunden's memoir, "Had I Known" will be available for purchase through amazon.com
Joan Lunden talks of her breast cancer fight, taking her readers through her journey and how it has changed her life, from making healthier choices to educating others of her breast cancer disease.  I'm certain Joan's memoir will be an inspiration to those lives that has been touched by cancer. 


Thursday, September 10, 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 2015, 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!

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