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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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!
Dr. Michael Gimbel addresses the different options available for reconstruction for women diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as the possible advantages and disadvantages. He shares how he helps to support women how are struggling emotionally in the process of their cancer diagnosis and decisions to be made. Dr. Gimbel provides tips for seeking out a qualified plastic surgeon.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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!