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podcast episodes

Arpi Hamilton :
Rearview Mirror

On this episode, Arpi Hamilton, joined us on the podcast. Apri found a pea size lump in her breast in September 2016. Though she was experiencing symptoms, she ignored those symptoms until December 2016. She scheduled an appointment with her gynecologist and had to beg to get a mammogram ordered. Arpi shares her treatment, how her journey has helped not only herself but also her coworkers at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. She also talks about the struggles she still faces 3 years later.

Kim Carew :
Peace, Love, Tote

On this episode, Kim Carew, breast cancer survivor and the founder of Peace, Love, Tote, joined us on the podcast. Kim was diagnosed with Stage 2A triple negative breast cancer at the age of 53. Kim had always had anxiety that she would get cancer one day after losing a friend to cancer. She shared her experience with treatments and how she was unprepared for her first chemo treatment. Through her experience, she founded Peace, Love, Tote for other women going through chemotherapy.

Dr. Francis :
Integrative Oncology

On this episode, Dr. Francis, the mastermind behind the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program in Pittsburgh, PA shared the how her personal belief system and the loss of her mother to cancer inspired to her to create the program. She talked about the different services that are provided, the intake process, how cancer patients/survivors come into the program, as well as cost and insurance coverage. Dr. Francis also shared her vision for the future of holistic programs.

Harvey & Vicki :
HIS Breast Caner

Harvey Singer and Vicki Singer Wolf joined us on the show to share their stories behind the pink ribbon. Vicki was first diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in-situ at the age of 35. Following her third diagnosis, Vicki tested and found positive for the BRCA2 mutation. In 2008, Harvey experienced a sharp pain in his breast and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer as well. As a male breast cancer survivor in a very pink world, Harvey struggled to find information and support. Together, they co-founded HIS Breast Cancer.

Jennifer Keyser :
My Daughter, My Rock

Jennifer Keyser from Gilbert, AZ joined us in the podcast studio to share her story behind the pink ribbon. Jennifer talks about feeling a heaviness in her chest. She googled how to do a self-breast exam and found hard tissue in her breast. Her doctor told her not to worry and Jennifer didn’t but as time passed, she began experiencing pain. She was diagnosed with triple-positive inflammatory breast cancer at the age of 31. She talks about her treatment, her daughter, and her support system.

Sonya Negley :
METAvivor

Sonya Negley, Executive Director of METAvivor, joined us on the podcast. She talked about the mission of METAvivor and the importance of supporting research for stage IV breast cancer. Sonya shared the different programs available through the organization, such as the peer to peer support group and Sea to Sea for MBC. She also talked about different fundraising events and how you can get involved.

Gina McDonough :
Finding Inner Strength to Make a Change

On this episode, Gina McDonough, a 10-year breast cancer survivor and gym owner, joined us in the podcast studio to share her journey through breast cancer. Gina talked about her breast cancer treatments. She openly shared her struggle with falling to a deep depression following cancer, which led to self-medicating with alcohol for approximately 3 years. Gina talked about getting clean for her family and fulfilling her lifelong dream of opening her own fitness studio.

Judy Pearson :
A 2nd Act

Judy Pearson, an 8-year survivor, writer, and founder of A 2nd Act, joined us in the podcast studio today. She shared her personal journey through breast cancer from finding her lump, having surgery, and going through chemotherapy. Judy talks about her friend Joanna, who was the inspiration behind A 2nd Act. Judy shares the mission of A 2nd Act and all the different ways that the organization is supporting women diagnosed with any kind of cancer.

Faith Walker :
Head in the Clouds

On this episode, 15-year breast cancer survivor and singer/songwriter, Faith Walker, joined us on the podcast to share her story with breast cancer. In 2004, Faith, a mother of 2 young children, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26. Three years later, while pregnant with her third child, Faith was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She uses her cancer journey and music to inspire others including one of her latest songs- Head in the Clouds.

Jill Stutin Gresham :
Implants are Not for Everyone

Jill Stutin Gresham joined us on the podcast. She was diagnosed in 2004 with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 36. Jill was closely monitored for breast cancer due to the significant family history. She found a lump in her breast but diagnostic testing showed she had cancer in the opposite breast. Jill shared her struggles with reconstruction, as well as Tamoxifen. Four years later, Jill was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Most recently, she explanted due to breast cancer illness.

Gilda’s Club & Cancer Support Community

On this special episode, Kelly from Gilda’s Club and Vidi from Cancer Support Community joined us on the podcast to share the story of Gilda Radner, the vision of Dr. Harold Benjamin, the history behind Gilda’s Club and The Wellness Center, as well as the merge between the two organization to create what is now Cancer Support Community. They discussed the supports and services provided free of charge to those impacted by cancer. They also shared ways to donate or volunteer.

Leslie Jennings-Harper :
Forever Changed

Leslie Jennings-Harper joined us on today’s show. In March 2019, she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 43. Leslie had a clean mammogram and breast exam conducted by her gynecologist less than 6 months prior to finding the lump in her breast. Leslie underwent chemotherapy, which shrunk the tumor and underwent a bilateral mastectomy. She is currently still in active treatment and will undergo reconstruction and a hysterectomy in March 2020.

Deb Germundson :
Growth in the Journey

On this episode, Deb Germundson joined us in the podcast studio. Deb was diagnosed with HER2+, invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 41 years old. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy with delayed reconstruction. Deb had chemotherapy and radiation. She underwent 7 surgeries related to the effects of radiation on her skin and the impact on reconstruction. Deb openly talks about losing her husband to cancer and struggling to date because of her self-image.

Michelle Weaver Knowles :
The Voice for Others

On this episode, Michelle Weaver, a 21-year breast cancer survivor, joined us on the podcast to share her story. She was 38 years old when diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. Michelle was triple-negative and carried the BRCA1 mutation. Through her own journey with breast cancer and genetic testing, as well as the experience of losing her sister to this disease, Michelle went back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner and now has her own practice, Ava Health.

Elizabeth Cluff :
ImpactOne

This week, Melissa Brumbelow, a 10-year breast cancer survivor joined us on the podcast. She shared that she was one of two patients at her OBGYN’s office recommended for genetic testing due to significant family history. Melissa was positive for a genetic mutation. She thought she had some time to be closely monitored before a diagnosis of cancer would happen. But a month later, through an exam with breast oncologist, Melissa was told she didn’t have time to wait- cancer was there already.

Melissa Brumbelow :
Perky Mutant

This week, Melissa Brumbelow, a 10-year breast cancer survivor joined us on the podcast. She shared that she was one of two patients at her OBGYN’s office recommended for genetic testing due to significant family history. Melissa was positive for a genetic mutation. She thought she had some time to be closely monitored before a diagnosis of cancer would happen. But a month later, through an exam with breast oncologist, Melissa was told she didn’t have time to wait- cancer was there already.

Danielle Grass :
Keeping Life Normal

On this week’s episode, Dani Grass, a 2-time cancer survivor, shared her journey through cancer- not once but twice. She was diagnosed in 2005 at the age of 21 years with colon cancer. Just over 10 years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 at the age of 31. Dani shared her journey through both cancers, the struggles of dealing with cancer at a young age, and her husband who has stood by her side through both cancer diagnoses.

Monique Colwell :
Are You Sure You are Talking about Me?

Monique Colwell, a 2 year breast cancer survivor, joined us on the podcast today. She talked about having a firmness in her breast that she thought was odd but was dismissed by her doctor because of her age, her body structure, and a lack of family history for breast cancer. Monique pushed to have diagnostic testing and was told that she had stage 0 cancer. After seeking out a second opinion, she learned that she had stage 3 breast cancer. Monique shares her journey and where she found support.

Julie Caputo :
Unrelenting Positivity

On this episode, Julie Caputo joined us on the podcast. She was diagnosed with Stage 2B invasive lobular cancer at the age of 49. Julie shared that a pain in her left side under her breast that was not even connected to the cancer was what led her to be examined in the first place. She also talks about her treatments, her support system, and how having unrelenting positivity has been a key factor in her road to recovery.

Nikki Speer :
Redefined Courage

On this episode, I had the opportunity to talk with Nikki Speer, founder of Redefined Courage, a nonprofit organization providing post-mastectomy shirts to breast cancer survivors at no cost. Nikki shared her family history of breast cancer including her mother’s story of battling breast cancer three times, which was the inspiration behind the organization. Nikki hopes that each woman receiving a box knows that they are cared for, loved, thought about, and never alone.

Shanna Geigle :
A Grain of Salt

Shanna Geigle joined us on the podcast today. She shared her story of finding a lump while soaping her armpit. While she didn’t necessarily think that it was breast cancer, she knew that it was a possibility. Shanna shares her experience of going through breast cancer, finding support through her husband, family, and friends, and creating new friendships during chemo. Shanna talks about how she uses her experience to help others in her career as a Nurse Practitioner.

Christine McCoy :
The Universe Aligns

Kim Nolder, a Pittsburgh native residing in North Carolina, joined us on the podcast today. She shares her story of finding her breast cancer on her baseline mammogram. Kim’s mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away when she was 60 years old. As a result, Kim has always been on top of her overall and breast health. She shares her course of treatment and talks about the importance of being healthy for her boys.

Kim Nolder :
Off with Their Heads

Kim Nolder, a Pittsburgh native residing in North Carolina, joined us on the podcast today. She shares her story of finding her breast cancer on her baseline mammogram. Kim’s mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away when she was 60 years old. As a result, Kim has always been on top of her overall and breast health. She shares her course of treatment and talks about the importance of being healthy for her boys.

Nikki Nims :
Angel Surrogate Baby

Nikki Nims, my friend, and fellow SCAR Project model joined us today. She shares her story of being 33-weeks pregnant with a surrogate baby when she found her lump while showering. She talked about getting the diagnosis while at a routine visit with her OB. She shares the struggles with friends, family, and strangers that make judgments and comments that are insulting. Nikki also talks about the bond that she has with the surrogate baby that she says saved her life.

Kimberly Bowles :
Protect Your Decision

Kimberly Bowles was 35 years old and had 2 young children- ages 3 and 10 months when she was diagnosed with Stage 3A breast cancer at the end of 2016. Her cancer was found to be HER2+. She underwent chemotherapy, double mastectomy, and radiation, and is currently on Tamoxifen and Nerlynx. Kimberly shared her devastating experience with a plastic surgeon who denied her decision to go flat and how this pushed her into the world of advocacy to help protect others from having their decisions violated.

Desire’e Hardge :
Don’t be a Chump, Check for a Lump

On this episode, Desire’e Hardge, VP of Development at Don’t Be a Chump, Check for a Lump, joined us in the podcast studio. She shared founder, Holly Rose’s story with breast cancer and why she was inspired to start the organization. Desire’e also shared the three tiers within the organization: prevention and education, mammogram and diagnostic screening vouchers, and their Phoenix area wig program. Join them for one of their annual events throughout the month of October – www.checkforalump.org.

Lynn Wegrzynek :
Comforting Meatloaf

Lynn Wegryznek, a 22-year breast cancer survivor, joined us on today. She was diagnosed at the age of 44 years with Stage 1 breast cancer. She went in for a regular mammogram after a trip to Vegas was canceled and within a week and a half, she was diagnosed with cancer. Lynn underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and 5 years of Tamoxifen. She shared her experience and side effects from the treatments. The hardest and most valuable lesson she learned was how to let others help her.

Diana Napper :
A Glimmer of Hope

Diana Napper joined us today to talk about the foundation she founded, A Glimmer of Hope: Symbol of the Cure. They have developed a pilot program for the integrated oncology centers. The foundation has also updated medical equipment and has purchased new machines to assess young women with dense breasts that can show much more than traditional mammography. Listen in to learn more about this great foundation, why it was established and what else it’s doing to support women with breast cancer.

Laura Rasmussen :
Frozen Pea in My Boob

Laura Rasmussen was diagnosed with stage 2, type 2 breast cancer at the age of 41 years. Laura had a clean mammogram in January but in August that year, she recalls crossing her arms and finding what she described as a “frozen pea”. Laura underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. She openly shares how medical menopause impacted the intimacy with her husband and how she feels that it may have been part of the reason for their eventual divorce.

Amber Edens :
Finding Love in the Middle of Cancer

Amber was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 33 years. She underwent chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction, and radiation. Following radiation, the doctors discovered that Amber’s cancer had metastasized to her bones. She’s also had a hysterectomy and oophorectomy due to the estrogen/progesterone positive cancer. Amber talks about developing a new relationship in the middle of cancer treatments, and her feelings regarding her stage 4 diagnosis.

Donna Blau :
No Nipple

She was initially diagnosed with DCIS in 1992 at the age of 40 years old. Seventeen years later, Donna was diagnosed with mucinous carcinoma in the same breast. She underwent explant and an abdominal-flap surgery to reconstruct the left breast with 6 weeks of radiation. Following radiation, another reconstructive surgery that included nipple reconstruction without her consent. This surgery resulted in significant complications. Listen to the full story!

Jolie Sakata Panyon :
Not What I Expected

She was diagnosed at the age of 43 with stage 2A invasive ductal carcinoma. Diagnostic assessments prior to surgery indicated an earlier stage of cancer with no lymph node involvement but at surgery, the surgeon discovered the tumor had grown and spread to three lymph nodes. Jolie talks about her diagnosis, treatments, and side effects. She talks about the resiliency of her children and shares how having a supportive work environment helped in her recovery.

Jennifer Craig :
Unsupportive Partner, Divorce, & Becoming a Single Mom

Jennifer Craig, a 7-year breast cancer survivor, joined us on the podcast to share her breast cancer journey. She was diagnosed at the age of 33 years with ductal carcinoma in-situ with micro invasion. Jennifer went to her doctor looking to get some diet pills, which led to a series of tests. When prescribed a prolactin test, she began lactating green discharge from her nipples. Despite being told that there was no need for a mammogram, Jennifer advocated that one be completed, which led to a biopsy and a diagnosis of breast cancer. Jennifer shares her story through her diagnosis and treatments, and how cancer has changed her. She shares that her kids were a major source of support for her.

Maria Balestrieri :
Should I Have Done More?

Maria Balestrieri, an 11 year breast cancer survivor and an endometrial cancer survivor, joined us in the studio today to share her story through breast and endometrial cancers. She first cancer diagnosis was at the age of 40 years; 18 months later, she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Maria shares her diagnosis, course of treatment, and recovery. She shared how her faith, family, and friends helped her through her journey. Maria shares her experience with discovering self-love in the process. Thanks for sharing your story, Maria!

Lisa Hoppe :
Ice Cream with Chocolate Syrup

Lisa Hoppe, a 3 years breast cancer survivor and 8-year thyroid cancer survivor, stopped by the studio to share her story through breast cancer. At the age of 54 years, Lisa was diagnosed with Stage 0, Grade 3 noninvasive ductal carcinoma. She was experiencing bloody nipple discharge that she ignored for several weeks and thought it may have been chocolate ice cream stains. Lisa shares how her experience with losing her sister to breast cancer helped her through her own journey, as well as her diagnosis, course of treatment, and recovery. She shares how her faith helped her push through this experience and offers several great tips for those who are newly diagnosed.

Ann Alexander :
Kidney Stones to Cancer

Ann Alexander, a 2-year breast cancer survivor, stopped by the show to share her story through breast cancer. She was diagnosed at the age of 57 with invasive lobular carcinoma. Ann had a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis for possible kidney stones and during the scan, the tech caught a glimpse of something abnormal at her chest wall that had not been picked up on a traditional mammogram 10 months earlier. Ann talks about her diagnosis, course of treatment, and recovery. She shares how yoga helped her during her recovery and beyond. Thanks to Ann!