BOULDER—In the final segment of a three-part series over the past three days, we tell the stories of Breast Cancer Survivors in their own words. The following survivors will be in attendance at Saturday’s football game with UCLA (4 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks).
The below survivors agreed to share their story:
Survivor: Lorna Keeler
"My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and I told my gynecologist at my regular exam. She said she needed to do a Gail score on me, which she did. Since the score showed I was at higher risk than most, she told me to get a bilateral breast MRI.
I did this and was shocked to learn it showed something so I had a biopsy which confirmed the very earliest stage of breast cancer--DCIS.
"As a result, I had a lumpectomy and 6 weeks of radiation treatment but did not need chemotherapy. Most women with breast cancer need the chemotherapy but my cancer was very confined and had not spread so I was very lucky.
"I would encourage all women to do the Gail score or ask their doctor about it. One can go into www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool to learn more about the Gail score."
Survivor: Katie Jacobs
I was diagnosed with Breast cancer in 2000 at the age of 40, I found a lump and had never had a mammogram. We had just move to PA, where we knew no one, following my husband's job with our 7 children ages 10 months to 11 years old (2 of whom are at CU now). I had stage 2 cancer and had 5 surgeries and 8 rounds of chemo in a year. I could not wear a wig as Max my senior at CU, who was 9 at the time, appropriately laughed the first time he saw me in a wig. I instead painted a pumpkin on my bald head and joined his class on a Halloween field trip. I then donned the attitude that kids should see what someone who is fighting cancer looks like. This served me well as I was often approached and asked if I was Katie and that I was on their prayer list. I was carried through my breast cancer treatment by prayers and amazing support from people, some we had never met as we were new to the community and our parish. Our family had meals organized, cookie dropped of, a gentleman that owed a cleaners picked up and dropped off my laundry weekly. My husband was a pillar of strength in teaching our children how to deal with life threatening diseases. Grace our soph. at CU later admitted she did not know cancer was serious until years later. The power of positive thinking, prayer, love and support is why I am survivor today.
Survivor: Mary Kay Pierce
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31, after finding the lump when I was 29 and misdiagnosed twice, but never gave up. I noticed the lump getting bigger, and decided to go back to a different doctor and within a week was diagnosed with cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy the day before I turned 32, did chemo/ radiation, and now I am 100% cancer free!!!
Survivor: Chris Dodge
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, in 2007. My boys were a Junior in high school, and 4th grade. My oldest is currently a Senior at CU in the business school. It was obviously a significant event in all of our lives. I am now a 5 year survivor, and a supporter of all new diagnosed breast cancer patients. I have also walked twice in the Susan B Komen 3 day 60 mile walk to raise funds for Breast Cancer research and support. I would be thrilled to participate in this event, with my son! Thanks for doing this, it is a great way to raise awareness regarding breast cancer, which is very survivable if caught early! I had surgery and 6 weeks of radiation, then 5 years of medicine (Tamoxifen). I was thrilled when I reached the 5 year survivor mark this past spring!
Survivor: Jo DiPerna
In Oct. 2010 I had major back surgery, one week after surgery I found out that my Dad was dying from lung cancer. Went to see him in up-state NY one month later and he passed why we were there on Nov.15, 2010...2 1/2 weeks later my father-in-law passed and we found ourselves back on a plane to up-state NY. So we were thinking 2011 would be a better year...May 2011 found a lump in my left breast. You see my Mom had passed away 23 years before at 53 of breast cancer and here I was 54 and had been faithful to get my mamos and examines. June 2011 told I had not one but two places in my left breast with cancer. I knew Thelma and Louise had to go. July 12, 2011 I had a double mastectomy. Have had 5 surgeries in last 2 yrs. I had stage 2, grade 2 breast cancer and I'm the first survivor in 3 generations. I'm a grandmother of 7 and one on the way and pray I get to see them all grow up. My husband has been amazing!! The spouse suffers just as much and the survivor...very scary for whole family!! THANK YOU for doing this for survivors...they go through so much physical and emotional pain...The Process of Healing is great. What an honor that you are going to support these warriors...God Bless you!! Thank you for listening and who ever gets to go, you will never know how much it means when we know people care!!!
Survivor: Diane Morgan
My mom and I were diagnosed with breast cancer 6 weeks apart. My mom was diagnosed first by her annual mammogram. On the day that my mom was having her biopsy, I also had my mother in-law having a biopsy as well. Both these on the same day, same time, same hospital. Since my mother had been after me to get my mammogram (I was overdue) this situation had me concerned so I scheduled my mammogram. It came out that I had a lump also which turned out to be a very aggressive form of cancer that would have taken my life within 6 months if it wouldn't had been found. My mom saved my life! It is very unusual for a mother and daughter to be diagnosed so close together and we are the only mother-daughter going through radiation at the same time at the facility we were treated. There had never been any breast cancer in our family prior to this.
Survivor: Sheryl Jones
Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time and I am currently in the process of finalizing chemo treatments. My family is very important to me and I want to see my grandchildren grow so I am determined to fight this, just as I have done two times prior. It has been 27 years since my first go around with this disease and I know first-hand how tough the battle can be but through determination and the will to fight I have and will battle this disease to live a long and joyful life and watch my family grow.
Survivor: Barbara Stern
Thanks to having regular mammograms the radiology department found the a typical cells that led me to a biopsy which led to a lumpectomy which discovered that I had DCIS spread everywhere in my right breast. I made the decision to have a bi-lateral mastectomy and also needed to have a lymph node dissection. Besides the sentinel nodes, 14 more lymph nodes were removed from my right side. It's been 18 months since I've been on an AI drug to keep the estrogen from producing more cancer. I still have a little bit of plastic surgery left to do for my reconstruction. My recovery has been challenging but I am true to the word of survivor because I won't quit. I just rode in the B Strong bike ride Aug. 11th as a way to keep me focused on healing. I also raised over $900.00 for BCH, The Live Strong Foundation and the George Karl Foundation.