The Breast Cancer Information Page I Wished I Could Have Found
Breast Cancer Hits Me Without Warning
Not one who jumped to conclusions regarding illnesses (I scarcely had any, other than the yearly bout with bronchitis), I did trust my intuition, and a few weeks later the suspicion was confirmed. How's that - using a positive to declare a negative! It was confirmed that I had a frightening disease, and I hadn't wanted to alarm family or friends.
I had told no one but an acquaintance, a lovely woman who did meal preparation, shopping, laundry, driving, and provided socialization for my aging mom and step-dad, who lives 100 miles away, about my fears-in-cement! My mother (whose second husband (he became my step-father when he married my mom after I turned 18 and graduated from high school, had just died) had a lovely woman helper who I knew had conquered a few types of cancer, and as an aside and in private I told her what I knew.
Just confiding in an acquaintance helped relieve the strain, and it wasn't long before I got the results from all the tests, and soon everyone knew because by then I wanted caring responses from the people I loved; I had waited until the second, spot mammogram (which I experienced alone), and the ultrasound to give them the verdict in medical language. It was very obvious to the Radiologist that the irregular edges meant breast cancer.
I am an artist. I was working an office day-job, but I lacked health and illness insurance. The medical center pointed me towards a social worker who linked me to the medicaid system by generously taking down my words on the lengthy form. She even mailed it into the office. Soon after it was clear that my expenses would be covered and I could concentrate on surviving the illness, on hacking away at those irregular edges that signified the type of Breast Cancer that was an unwelcome guest in one breast.
In my artwork of that period I visualized the cancer cells in a variety of forms and used a mental vision of the gold picks my late father used in his work as a mining engineer. I called them "Pickflowers". I closed my eyes and "saw" the Pickflowers chipping away at the growth in those irregular edges. As I drew the little flower tools I also envisioned the desiccated edges, falling limply away from healthy cells. Cancer no more, I thought, oh God, cancer no more.
The image above is one of my Chemo Journal Drawings. See that tiny green pot at the bottom! A Pickflower with a very long stem is growing out of that pot. The flower head is attacking prickly irregular edges off the blue flowers. Another Pickflower is hanging out taking a break up at the top in front of the lattice. The lattice acts as a barrier to new cancer growth. Those are loving buds all along the bottom edge. The content of this drawing revolves around relationships, personal and those of four generations.
My step-father had died at diagnosis time. My mother's grieving challenged me when I was already overloaded with my BC diagnosis and treatment, a drawn-out divorce, lack of more than one dear friend in an area where I'd not lived long and where all my spare time was spent making art, trying not to burden my daughter whose work-day coincided with my nighttime, a love interest who was skittish of BC, yet I was deaf to his fears, and the impending move thousands of miles away of my son's family at a time when I needed them.
My Pickflower Drawings text is purposely difficult to decipher, because it was meant to be personal, for me, and I used it as a graphic element, sometimes written first, and sometimes added as the ink drawing proceeded to fill the page. This drawing is from 9/4/99, mid-course for chemo and radiation - I had them together!
My medical oncologist had rushed into my appointment. Although all texts had shown that I did NOT need chemo, and he had told me he would NOT give me chem - things had suddenly changed! That appointment was scheduled for him to explain Tamoxifen to me, how much he would give me, how often, that sort of thing. But he breathlessly told me there were new results to some "Fish Test" he had sent to California! It showed I was "Her2neu High Overexpressive! That indicated a very aggressive form of cancer.
I was scheduled to begin Radiation Therapy the next week. He said I needed to begin Chemo immediately, or a few days from then. I was shocked and worried and scared. Here you'll find information as armament that can transform the patient into a Breast Cancer Warrior. Click the links below for empowering information resources
Emergency Return for Inpatient Hospitalization Stay - I'd just arrived home from Radiation Treatment and check-up
No sooner had I closed the door than the phone rang. The oncologist's nurse told me to call a cab and beat it back to the hospital - pronto! I didn't have enough Neutrophils to fight off any, repeat, any bacteria or infection entering my body. That was shocking!
I had thought that the all-clear the hospital had given me that day meant I was good to go back home, to make some art, and to sleep. But here I was all riled up about whether or not I could safely make it back there fast enough. You can see all this reflected in the drawing.
A Book to Help Her Manage her Treatment - gift a friend
Find my special designs on tote bags, mugs, t-shirts and journals, plus a lot lot more. During Breast Cancer I drew all the designs on gift items from this shop WhipCancer.
It's hard to believe that a breast cancer guide can be fun, but breast cancer survivor Cohen and oncologist Gelfand have produced a book that combines medical information with the kind of warm, funny, rueful sharing a woman gets from a good talk with her girlfriends.
A Friend Suggested her Antidepressant - Big Mistake!
After Taxol and Radiation and a move, and all the other big stressors that coincided with my Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment, it was thought that I was depressed so I was given some new drug that works for people who also smoke and are depressed ---- but I have never smoked! Still, I accepted my non-cancer patient friend's recommendation and the oncologist was willing to prescribe.
It wasn't for me. The drug excited me so much I felt like my scalp was lifting off my head. Caffein was out for me, from the first sip of coffee as a teen. It caused the jitters in hot pursuit, so I drank tea. Once I entered art school I tried coffee again, but didn't need to be revved up so decaf became my drink of choice. Now I had unknowingly fallen into the stimulant trap. Who would have thought that an antidepressant would be a stimulant. Well, not me, anyway. I thought it would simply build me up again, like feeling good when someone gives you an unexpected gift of flowers.
Chemo was hard to take, just the thought of it, and all the family consequences from that period of time stacked up to one block too many for my good spirits. That antidepressant removed from my regimen, I went on an old fashioned drug which filled the bill for a few months and then was tapered off, and resumed work on larger paintings. The Chemo Journal 10/15/99 is the last of the series.
My Mother's Breast - daughters face their mothers' breast cancer
Runs the gamut from supportive/supported daughters to those who struggle with emotional issues of an inability to discuss the cancer with their mothers. Full of cancer expert information, also risk and genetic testing information - with Glossary
Support and Information Organizations - Men and Women Both get Breast Cancer
Resources for support, services and programs for breast cancer patients. Receive support and share ideas with other patients and survivors and Breast Cancer Warriors - those who fight their ways along the path from diagnosis to treatments, management and surviving, living, and thriving.
- Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization: Programs, Services, Coping Strategies, Advocacy, Research, 24 hour helpline toll-free 1-800-221-2141
- Susan G. Komen Foundation
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation offers research, education, screening and treatment information, and opportunities for advocacy and fundraising. Call 1-800 I'M AWARE or 1-800-462-9273
- Professional Articles About Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Organization. Articles and information from medical professionals. Trials, Treatment News, Support and Community options, Discussion Boards, Gifts, Pictures
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Living Beyond Breast Cancer raises funds for education, special programs and features Online Forums: Newly Diagnosed; Young Survivors' Connection; Our Corner (metastatic breast cancer); LBBC Connection (open forum for all breast cancer). Living Beyon
- Reach to Recovery Support Program
American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery program offers face-to-face or phone support for those experiencing or fearing breast cancer, lymphodema - for patients, family, loved-ones
- Breast Cancer Network of Strength
"Your Shoes" connects a new breast cancer survivors with someone who has already walked her own breast cancer path, for fine peer support. "Partner Match" connects persons who support a special woman though her new breast cancer with a mentor (not li
- Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia
Online support and advocacy - an informed, networked and supported community is more aware and empowered, more able to recognize and respond to the unique needs of those affected by breast cancer
- Professional Support Services
CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides free professional support services for those afflicted with cancer
- National Breast Cancer Foundation
Resourceful. Debunks cancer myths; outlines signs and symptoms; provides News Updates; Questions; Booklist
- African American Women's Network
Sisters Network Inc. provides national outreach to African American Women with education and initiatives to bring to light the plight of African American women with breast cancer. Call Sisters Network at 866-781-1808 toll free
- Young Jewish Women's Resource
Sharsheret addresses needs of young Jewish women faced with breast cancer - with information, Online Forum, News Information, Events and Volunteer Opportunities. Call Sharsheret 1-866-474-2774
- Breast Friends Support Resource
Breast Friends gives 24-hour Telephone Support; Person-to-Person Support; Transportation Services; News and Education
- Contacts for Young Women with Breast Cancer
Young Survival Coalition recognizes the need for screening for women under 40 and provides advocacy training; Education; Online forums with other young women living with breast cancer; Studies.
- Tips to Enhance Your Style During Hair Loss
Look Good...Feel Better programs teach women with breast cancer strategies to make the most of grooming aids and steps and choices. Nationwide scope and a video is available for those whose areas are not served by local trained volunteers.
- Stats on Breast Cancer in the US
Incidence, . Maps, Graphs and Text. Beat Breast Cancer Events
- HER2 Support Group
Through a team effort, this unique support group seeks to promote education by maximizing the utilization of available resources. We promise to assist members by supporting their concerns and providing links to news and current research.-Christine Dr
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group and Mailing List
Information, Books, Treatment for Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Mailing list with archives for this rare and hidden breast cancer.
- The National Lymphedema Network
The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) is an internationally recognized non-profit organization founded in 1988 by Saskia R.J. Thiadens, R.N. to provide education and guidance to lymphedema patients, health care professionals and the general public by
- Rare Breast Tumor - Cancer Project
Rare breast tumor - cancer project database data collection & reporting. Includes links to patient information, research, and support.
- Breast Cancer Retreats-Breast Cancer Recovery Foundation, Inc.
Supports nurture of the whole person through the experience of breast cancer and on towards recovery. The Breast Cancer Recovery Foundation sponsors Infinite Boundaries wellness retreats for breast cancer survivors. Call: 888-821-1140
- Breast Cancer Survivor Stories
Along with a line of breast cancer awareness pink ribbon products, Pink Ribbon Shop has a wide selection of men's and women's breast cancer stories
- Breast cancer survivor's personal story - early detection
Australian Breast Cancer presents personal stories, from early detection, breast reconstruction, long-term survivorship to lymphodema
- ACS Stories of Hope
Breast and Other Cancers - stories from the personal perspective
- PA Breast Cancer Coalition - Survivor Stories
The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition serves as the only statewide grassroots organization that speaks to and for breast cancer survivors. Wide range of stories about men's and women's breast cancer experience
- A Cancer Survivor's Defiant Statement - washingtonpost.com
There's nothing funny about a 27-year-old woman being diagnosed with breast cancer. Geralyn Lucas, who worked for ABC, wore red lipstick to her mastectomy and wrote a book to tell about it. Article about this experience
- Native American Cancer Survivors Network
Native American Breast Cancer Survivors: A six booklet series that shares stories from Native women breast cancer survivors. Titles include: Breast Cancer Screening, Our Symptoms, Personal and Family Reactions to Diagnosis, Cancer Treatment, and Outl
- Friends in Need Breast Cancer Support Forum,Breast Cancer Support Online
Breast Cancer Support Forum offers online support with stories, pictures, chat, cookbook
- Partner with a woman who has had breast cancer
SHARE is a not-for-profit organization that offers survivor-led support to women with breast or ovarian cancer, their families and friends. SHARE's unique support model assures that no one need face cancer alone.
- Sing for Life Breast Cancer Foundation - Music As Therapy - The Soul Survivors
This non-profit Arizona based organization founded by a breast cancer survivor as a support group using music as therapy. The singing group is called "The Soul Survivors"
- Breast Cancer Walkers' Stories
Browse stories, photos and personal pages of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks. Find out what it was like from the point of view of those who were there
- A Male Breast Cancer Site
John W. Nick Foundation is dedicated awareness and support of male breast cancer, and to let men know the dangers of not knowing about male breast cancer, educating men and women about breast cancer prevention and treatments
- Phone Support for Breast Cancer Patients
Support Services for those with Breast Cancer. Patient Emergency Fund. Eva's Room, a patient resource center in Philadelphia at the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation office. Information Line: 1-877-99-CREED or 215-564-3700
- MSDBC- Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer
This national nonprofit organization was started by a mother and daughter to provide free resources and one-on-one support to anyone, anywhere in the world affected by breast cancer
- National Association of Breast Cancer Organizations
Clearinghouse for information, pictures, treatment, support, research and more
- Breast Cancer Support
Breast cancer discussions, support, experiences, chat, medical and research information with twelve topic boards.
- The Unfortunate Club: or, Who Needs A Mets-Only List?
Women with metastatic cancer -- mets -- are sometimes not welcome, in some support groups, because they represent all the difficulties and failures in the treatment of this horrible disease. The newly-diagnosed simply don't want to think that it coul
- Cancer Lifeline
Our goal is to optimize the quality of life for all people living with cancer. We believe the emotional, spiritual, and mental components of health are as important as the physical. Cancer Lifeline is a Seattle based organization that provides scads
- Healing Journeys FREE Cancer as a Turning Point Conferences Home Page
Healing Journeys: Our Mission is to promote and support healing by assisting people with cancer or other life-altering illnesses to access their own healing potential and their ability to thrive.
- Cancer Facts and Figures
Download stats from 1998 through 2006
- Hats Off to Chemo
Hats Off to Chemo's mission is to collect and distribute hats to children and adults across Canada who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Hats Off to Chemo is an oh-so-beneficial organization with a wide variety of hat styles. Support
Information Transport Flash Drive for Us - tuck this into a gift bag
The internet was still an ethereal phenomenon to me, when Breast Cancer struck. Instead of gluing myself to the computer I drew and walked and slept. If it happened again I would want to place important information I'd downloaded onto one of these Flash Drives. How cute and caring to give a pink drive to a friend or family member patient. The plus is that a portion of the price goes to breast cancer research.
$2.00 from every purchase is donated to benefit breast cancer research
Includes clear plastic magnetic snap gift box and white lanyard
Pink flash drive with pink ribbon design on front and "hope love strength" design on back
Convenient swivel design with no cap to lose
High speed USB 2.0 flash drive compatible with most PC/MAC laptop and desktop computers
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research
Information from and about research programs helped me to objectify my experience. I drew daily about my breast cancer, about my treatment, about my private life and my living situation, including my financial matters and family concerns. Getting new information, as a newbie on the Internet, was a surreal experience because it came at the same time that I was learning the how to navigate the web. Today many of us are as familiar with the Internet as we are of how to navigate our home floor plan in the dark, removing one layer of confusion from our health concerns.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer is in a category of its own, regarding this challenge disease of breast cancer. Investigate claims, explore the powerful websites, and you may find that you can contribute something from your own story, to help others. Take heart, your spirit can grow as you strengthen yourself with information.
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers - National Cancer Institute
A fact sheet about the diagnosis and treatment of an uncommon type of breast cancer in which the breast becomes red, swollen, and warm. National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet 6.2
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Organization
IBC is committed to finding the cause of inflammatory breast cancer. Our goals include facilitating research that will lead to that end and that will lead to definitive diagnostic methods and to effective treatments. The IBC claims to be the ONLY can
- National Breast Cancer Centre Â Evidenced Based Information, Breast Cancer
The National Breast Cancer Centre of Australia provides information about breast cancer for consumers and health professionals. Click "View All Research Summaries", and locate information regarding support for the men in the women's lives. They suffe
- UT M.D. Anderson Clinic, Research for IBC
Housed in M. D. Anderson's Nellie B. Connally Breast Center, the clinic opened in October 2006
- IBCaner Clinical Trials at NIH
Studies/trials on IBC. Scroll down and see entries
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer in the UK
Causes, diagnosis, Treatment, Research trials from Cancer Backup.
Turn it into Humor! You Deserve It!
Breast Cancer in all its forms is a challenge no one wants. The authors of these five books waged their own struggles in the dark land of Breast Cancer and opened many doors to discovering humor and bringing the light in, popping the top on their cans of misery, letting the pain out. Laughter lets us pull out heads out of the pressurized cans Breast Cancer diagnosis can seal over our thoughts and feelings, and pops open new perspectives.
Even if you cry sometimes, quiet or raucous humor mellows the days with the right kind of seasoning. Gift the patient and gift yourselves.
Advanced Breast Cancer provoked Michele Lloyd to write an inspirational book that will prod you into opening your own can of inner glee! Let her show you how she wrung the funnies from the way she fought the disease - how you can do so also.
Become a Vocal Advocate
Get the training and information you need to promote breast cancer screening and prevention
- Target Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer
The Breast Cancer Fund is dedicated to eliminating the environmental - and preventable - causes of the disease. With an Information and Action Center. Trains Warriors
- Breast Cancer Advocacy Group Clearinghouse
The National Breast Cancer Coalition is the nation's largest breast cancer advocacy group with hundreds of member organizations and tens of thousands of individual members. Toll free 1-800-622-2838
- Learn Advocacy Skills from Another Kind of Advocate
My Cogent Advocate website teaches advocacy skills from my advocacy experience as the mother of a seriously traumatic brain injured adult child. Find help and insight on honing your skills on the Advocacy, Home, Crow Calls, and Action pages. While yo
- Learn Effective Advocacy
Breast Cancer Action organization teaches advocacy and action, education, with programs and campaigns
- Strong Advocacy Against Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Fund takes issue with the single most compelling public health issue of this century - environmental health. Climb Mt. Shasta in 2007! Research, Advocacy, Art from survivors. Strong Voices Leadership Development Program
- Environmental and Genetic Risks for Breast Cancer
The Sister Study, a study of the environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer from the National Institute of Health - resource pages, also in Spanish.
- National Breast Cancer Awareness Month increasing early breast cancer detection awareness
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection. Information to empower a woman to be a Breast Cancer Warrior
PinkLink informs and advises women of their rights and how to exercise these rights. We encourage South Africans to question the status quo on issues associated with breast cancer
Making the Breast of It
Lea sat on a lounge chair on the top of a mountain, experiencing life as a spiritual being . . . Little did she know that this split second of spiritual enlightenment would change her life forever. She shares her experience with breast cancer and mastectomy. She demonstrate how she overcame the fear of intimacy with men after mastectomy and gently guides you, empower you, encourage you how you can do it too! It is a story of how you can become a stronger human being because of your experience and how it can help you to enjoy an intimate life after breast cancer.
Spinning Straw Into Gold: - Your Emotional Recovery From Breast Cancer
Spinning Straw Into Gold: Your Emotional Recovery. Focus on supportive attitudes to turn the breast cancer experience from a downslide into markers of learning and motivation
This material is provided for informational purposes only
As a Breast Cancer Warrior I am aware of the value of information and the need for each of us to process that information in regards to our own case. This information is provided as a resource only, not as an endorsement, as I am not a medical professional.