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Salute A Survivor
Komen Sacramento is launching a special awareness effort to salute the survivors among us.
Each week we will be highlighting a local survivor’s story and sharing their journey with breast cancer. These survivors represent a variety of ages, gender, ethnicity and backgrounds, and all are an inspiration.
With the help of these survivors and those that give support, we continue our vital early detection education, services and awareness.
As all survivors will tell you, early detection of breast cancer Saves Lives.
Please donate today and help save a life.
Donate to #SaluteASurvivor
It’s easy to donate. All you have to do is select the gift amount you’d like to contribute to #SaluteASurvivor, after clicking the button below.
We thank you for your support in the fight against breast cancer.
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Submit Your Story
Get involved with #SaluteASurvivor by submitting your very own survivor story to be featured.
For prompting questions, please download the Survivor Questions and email the Survivor Release Form to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 916-231-3147.
Thank you for sharing your journey with Komen Sacramento!
See our collection of Survivor Stories below:
I found a lump in my breast in the shower. I had always done monthly self-exams so when I felt it I knew it was different, something I had not felt before. I was already scheduled to see my primary care doctor in a couple of weeks so I decided I would wait and bring it to his attention then because I did not have breast cancer in my family, I was sure it was nothing. After showing my doctor the lump the next month was filled with mammograms, ultrasounds, MRIs and ultimately the biopsy that confirmed the worst. I had breast cancer. The date was March 27, 2009 I had just turned 44 years old and I was facing my own mortality. I cried for a few days and then shared the news with my family and close friends only. I was devastated, but then in all the despair something happened to me: I became a FIGHTER!”
Read Stacey’s full survivor story by clicking here.
“My name is Zoua Thao and I am a Hmong woman from Thailand. I am married and I have a daughter and a son. I came to the United States on March 12, 2006, and have been in Sacramento for 7 years. When I lived in Thailand, I worked in the fields to earn money to provide for my family. While I was working in the garden one day, I noticed that one side of my breasts was really tight, even though I wasn’t pregnant. For a while, the tightness went away. One day, I felt it when I was lying down: a little bump, the size of my thumb. As time went by, it got bigger. I got really worried, got really scared. I went to the Thai market and tried different medicines and different herbs. They didn’t work. I tried for 2 years and nothing seemed to help. When I was coming to the United States, I needed to have a physical. I was really embarrassed, so I didn’t tell them I had this problem. They only checked my lymph nodes and didn’t notice my lump. As soon as we arrived, I was told I needed a full physical checkup.”
Read Zoua’s full story by clicking here.
“I was diagnosed at 38 years old, when I was 13.5 weeks pregnant. It took a long to figure it out, because it wasn’t showing up on any ultrasound equipment. They could feel the lump, which was the size of a golf ball. I first discovered it when I was showering and I was weaning my daughter so that I could try to get pregnant again. When my breast size went down, that’s when I felt it. It took 4 months of tests and doctors to diagnose me. It was finally diagnosed as cancer when a second biopsy came back as aggressive cancer. I found out Thursday and the next Monday I had a mastectomy. I opted for no reconstruction because I was pregnant. It was really scary because I was pregnant and I had a 21 month old baby. So, I had the surgery and it turned out to be DCIS. It turned out my entire milk system was cancerous. They took my entire breast and so I had a mastectomy and I wore a prosthesis for 3 years. I breast fed my baby. In 3 years, I underwent reconstruction and decided at that time I would have my other breast removed and get them both reconstructed. I have been cancer free ever since. It’s been 11 years now. I was dealing with a lot of loss at the same time because my mother had already passed away from lung cancer. She didn’t reach 50.”
Read Allison’s full story by clicking here.
“I’m a BC survivor now for 46 years. I’m 79 years old, a mother of 5, grandmother of 13, great-grandmother of 14. I was able to walk at the Susan G. Komen Race for Cure, May 7, 2011 and was the longest BC survivor that year. I was never diagnosis with Breast Cancer per-se. I went into the hospital for a surgical procedure; my physician at the time was performing the surgery and discovered that my lymph nodes were cancerous and that it had metastases into the breast. I was 34 years old at the time. This was July 1967, 46 years ago and they did not give me a stage, or a life expectancy. They did say that if I survived 5 years that I would probably survive this cancer.”
Read Mary’s full story by clicking here.
“The date is January 7th or 8th, 2004, that I had my annual Mammogram. I had fought to get a baseline at the age of 35 10 years ago, which wasn’t permitted since no one in my family had Breast Cancer however, because my friend and sister in Christ died from Breast Cancer at a young age; leaving 4 young children, I was able to get the baseline. By the age of 40, I was having annual mammograms, with no problems. I had rescheduled my Mammogram from December 8th to January. The following week, I received an urgent phone call at work, stating that I needed to come back for another Mammogram because something was detected. I just knew they pulled the wrong chart so being the believer in God that I am, I went to the bathroom and prayed! I also contacted two women from my church to be in covenant with me, and pray! My appointment wasn’t until January 20th. Not wanting my children ages 19 & 16 ½, to be out of the loop, I called them into my bedroom and explained what a Mammogram was, and its purpose. I asked them to pray as well. When I went to the doctor, I found out that they did have the right chart. They wanted to make sure that the spots weren’t a mechanical error from their equipment, so they did the Mammogram again. It was very painful, because they wanted to rule out their Equipment. The Equipment was fine. There was a spot on each of my breasts. The Doctor then performed a Sonogram. The one on the left was identified as a water spot, which wasn’t a problem but the one on the right, still looked suspicious so they scheduled a Biopsy for the 28th of January. I told them that day was my 45th birthday, any day after that would be fine.”
Read Sylvia’s full story by clicking here.
“Twelve years ago Rosalie Turbeville was like most women. She worked hard and took care of her family, but she didn’t always take good care of herself. Feeling fine, she didn’t think much about skipping her mammogram at age 44. Then in May of 2000, at age 46, Rosalie and her husband Bruce, shared their home with their six-month-old Golden Retriever puppy named Daisy. Every morning Daisy put her front paws on the bed and gave Rosalie “wet kisses.” Then one morning Daisy was excited and those puppy paws barreled down on Rosalie’s chest. When the sore lump didn’t go away for two months, Rosalie went for a mammogram.”
Read Rosalie’s full story by clicking here.
“Dr. McDonald explained to me that there was a very small mass on my mammogram. It was frightening news, but I appreciated his delivery. And from there Dr. McDonald went out of his way and rearranged his schedule to do my biopsy so I didn’t have to wait to get all my pathology results. I received them the next day and I had Stage 1, ductal, invasive breast cancer. The day of my surgery he came in on his day off to do a wire procedure. He was wonderful.”
Read Missy’s full story by clicking here.
“In January 2012, I was reading Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s book and had been following Giuliana’s breast cancer story. On a whim, I decided to do a self-exam and found something hard, jagged, and oddly shaped in my left breast. The next day, I emailed my gynecologist about my discovery. Due to my age and no family history, she thought it might have been related to my menstrual cycle and told me to wait until February to see if it was still there after my next cycle. I tried to carry on and push my lump out of my mind…but a week later, was in the doctor’s office with my primary physician because I had gotten pinkeye from my son. I figured that since I was there, I might as well tell her about my lump.”
Read Lauren’s full story by clicking here.
“I tribute my current stable status to my loving and supportive husband; my faith and the will to live; the love and support I receive from my family and friends; to always asking questions and getting another opinion; to a healthy diet and supplements; to excellent oncologists; and to all the research that goes into having more drugs to use in the pipeline. I can’t do this alone and am grateful I don’t have to.”
Read Anne’s full story by clicking here.
“During my annual mammogram in July 2011, the radiologist thought he found something and asked that I return for another scan. After that scan, he explained what he saw was probably a calcium built up, but wanted to make sure and asked that I schedule a biopsy on my right breast. I had the biopsy on July 21st. They did spot something, so my gynecologist, Dr. Therese Rosellini referred me to a specialist to discuss removing it.”
Read Janine’s full story by clicking here.
“I have always been a pro mammogram, and early detection supporter. So when I felt something suspicious in my breast only 5 months after having a clear mammogram, I called my doctor and got in for a check. They didn’t feel it, but sent me for another mammogram and an ultrasound. Within a few days I was back in for a needle biopsy of the lump, and the lymph nodes. I then got the call that it was cancer, and I had an appointment with the surgeon. I barely heard anything he said (I did take my adult daughter with me) I was kind of in a fog…was it real? Was this happening to me? No one in my family had ever had breast cancer, how can this be? But it was true, stage 3 lobular carcinoma with positive lymph nodes.”
Read Melanie’s full story by clicking here.
“Imagine, for a moment, that you’re going about your day, having a conversation just like you’ve had hundreds of thousands of conversations before in your life. In this particular conversation, you hear one word that catches you so off guard that it causes EVERYTHING you’ve ever known about yourself — ALL you’ve ever accepted as what’s real about your world and your purpose in life — to suddenly blur. In an instant, one word rocks your reality so hard that you can’t hear what people are saying. You can’t process what they’re saying. You can’t even feel your own thoughts enough to recognize yourself and where you are, let alone think about what to do next.”
Read Jackie’s full story by clicking here.
“It was the end of 2013 and I had finally decided to really go to the doctor, meaning my Primary and my Ob-Gyn to get a complete checkup and to get the hormones my poor body had been lacking since my Oophorectomy in March of 2008. So I made my appointments for December 31, 2013 both on the same day. My Primary appointment was for Fibromyalgia issues and pain. Then I went to see my new Ob-Gyn doctor and explained that I needed to get on some hormone therapy for numerous of reasons and she agreed. She then began to tell me something I didn’t want to hear.”
Read Georgia’s full story by clicking here.
“It has been four years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I feel like I have come full circle. It started one beautiful May morning. I was taking a shower and I felt a lump under my right armpit. Next thing I knew I was waking up in the bathtub wondering why there was no water in the tub. I had passed out from fear. The look on my husband’s face as he ran back in with the phone in his hand said it all. I had never seen him so scared. I made an appointment Monday with my OB/GYN doctor, Nelson. He examined me and sent me for a mammogram. I have no family history of breast cancer, I have gotten mammograms every year since I turned 40, and I had just had my last one August 2009.”
Read Jackie’s full story by clicking here.
“I HAD MY ANNUAL MAMMOGRAM AND WAS DIAGNOSED NOVEMBER 22, 2007, TWO DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING WITH CANCER IN THE LEFT BREAST. IN A WAY IT WAS A RELIEF FOR ME TO KNOWN BECAUSE I KNEW THIS DAY WAS COMING, IT WAS JUST A MATTER OF WHEN. I WILL EXPLAIN WHY IN MY STORY.
IT SEEMS LIKE FOR MOST OF MY ADULT LIFE I WAS IN LIMBO WAITING FOR THE NEWS I GOT RIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING IN 2007. YOU SEE MY MOTHER BEGAN HER BATTLE WHEN SHE WAS ONLY 58 YEARS OLD. SHE FOUND HER FIRST LUMP AND WAS DIAGNOSED STAGE 2 AND HER BATTLE BEGAN. MY MOTHER HAD WATCHED ALL OF HER OLDER SISTERS PASS AWAY FROM BREAST CANCER BEFORE SHE BEGAN HER FIGHT; SHE WAS THE BABY OF THE FAMILY. MY MOTHER FOUGHT HARD AND LONG AND LIVED TO BE 76 BEFORE SHE LOST HER BATTLE.”
Read Donna’s full story by clicking here.
“As a mother of four wonderful children the many seconds, minutes and hours of my days were filled with the driving them to and from school and sports, preparing meals, watching their sports, helping with homework, listening and just being with them. I would then, fit in time with my busy husband, the house work, working outside the home- part time, and attending church. Then all of the sudden my time spent doing the things I loved changed in an instant. It was just 5½ years ago that I was diagnosised with breast cancer. It came as a total shock to me and my family. I was too young, I didn’t have a family history of it, I didn’t smoke or drink and I didn’t feel sick. I had just started having my mammogram when I turned 40.”
Read Janice’s full story by clicking here.
“I am a survivor of serious stage two breast cancer – both ductal and lobular carcinomas. I was 39 when I was diagnosed. I found the lump in my breast (and thought it was nothing but a hassle that I had to be a grown up and get checked out) but cancer was then detected by mammogram, ultra sound and then MRI. Cancer is always a shocking diagnosis but I was young, healthy, slim, never smoked, ate well and had no history of breast cancer in my family so it completely caught me off guard. My children were just 2 and 6 years old. My treatment included 5 surgeries (including a double mastectomy), 8 rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation.”
Read Dina’s full story by clicking here.
“I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer on April 27, 2012 in Sacramento, California. Writing that sentence is very hard for me as when I was first diagnosed, they don’t tell you what stage you are. The first thing that happens is you get the news and then you spend another month getting tests to determine the exact location and size of the cancer. A slight irony for me was that my birthday is May 9 so for the next few weeks as I would go for the various tests and for each they would ask me to verify my birthday to be sure they were running the appropriate tests and there was not a mix up. Each time I would tell them my birthday and then they would say Happy Birthday.”
Read Cecile’s full story by clicking here.
Julie Waterbury Steiger
“I was diagnosed June 29, 2012 at age 48 1/2. My mom is a 27+ year survivor, so I had my baseline mammogram at 35 and have been diligent about my annual exams ever since, but this year was a little different. I had a busy year and was delayed by a few months in getting my screening. I had gone to my primary care physician for another issue and he reminded me that I was 4 months past due on my mammogram and that I could just stop in downstairs and have it done on my way out. It was a Friday, and I was tired. I debated all the way down the stairs about just going in and taking care of it or coming back on Monday.”
Read Julie’s full story by clicking here.
“I was dying my hair one evening, and because I am a disaster with a lightener bottle I had removed all of my clothes except my panties. I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, with both my arms over my head as I realized that my left breast appeared misshapen. I quickly washed my hands so I could check it out, and there it was, clear as day, a large lump on the side of my left breast. Of course I freaked out, ran downstairs (what a sight I must have been! Only in panties with bleach on half my hair) and made my husband check it to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Well, I wasn’t.”
Read Reese’s full story by clicking here.