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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

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!

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