Archive for Nov 2012

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I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2011…..its been a year now.    I woke up one morning with my husband to see him off to work……and I was sitting down with my arms crossed still trying to wake up when I felt a lump on top of my breast.    I freaked.   I couldn’t believe how large it was.   I told my husband to feel it to see what he thought and immediately he was shocked as well.   both of us began asking each other questions as to where it came from…..what is it…..why didn’t either of us feel it prior to this.   I went to the doctor that day……and the look on his face when he felt it was a dead give away.   I knew at that time it wasn’t good and of course I was scared.    It didn’t help when I went for the mammogram that the technician was soooo excited to get a picture of that “huge lump” on her screen!     Well after the mammogram I was sent for an ultrasound because they didn’t see it…..(sucked being the technician! That’s what she gets for making me feel awful!  Lol!)   and they weren’t sure they could see it there either so I went for an MRI.   DING! DING! DING!  That did it!   I was referred to a breast surgeon who ordered a biopsy.    The biopsy confirmed it.   I remember knowing in my heart that I had it.   I remember feeling God was telling me that I did for sure…..but that I wasn’t going to die from it.   I tried to be strong for my family when the dr. shared the news with me and my husband.   I think it was harder on me to tell my family then actually hearing the news myself.   I was referred to my oncologist and he started me on chemo the following Thursday.    I went through 6 rounds of chemo, followed by a full mastectomy (they had found a completely different cancer in my other breast along the way) and then 33 rounds of radiation……….and here I am today.   I recently received the results of my last PET scan and it came back clean.   PRAISE GOD!   Now on to reconstruction!

The above was all the drama part of having breast cancer.   What I want you to know and remember is all the wonderful things that happened to me during all of it.   I went in to this a very insecure person.   I have been beat up mentally and emotionally in my life and it made me feel less than beautiful…..inside and out.    The hero’s I met through this entire process gave me back my dignity, my self-worth and a love for myself.   I told God in the beginning that I would give Him all the glory no matter what thru all of this.   And I feel I did that.   But what He gave me was far more impressive.   The people you meet and the doctors and the true friends you depend on are absolutely amazing!   I was shocked by the people in my life I thought I SHOULD be able to count on that were not there…… well as the people I didn’t expect to be there at all who WERE THERE for me and my family every step of the way.   I listened to all of them tell me how amazing I was.  How much they loved me.   How important I was to all of them.   It gave me a renewed heart.   They lifted me up and gave me confidence.   I didn’t know they had felt that way.  I didn’t realize how I had made a difference in their lives at different points.   After I realized all that…..i believed in myself more too.

Today I give myself the same love they all gave to me.  I don’t know how my journey will continue……but I know I will believe in myself more….i will not let myself down and I will continue to give all this freely and lovingly to everyone else I meet too.   Knowing you have people who love you in your life is amazing…..but really knowing how much they love you and what they would do for you……is a true healer.

Thank you for hearing my story…….now get out there and share the love!    J

Ally Debbs

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To Vote for Jennifer Sykes by emailing All you have to do to vote is put Jennifer Sykes in the subject line and click send!

Nominated by Holly Rose

I’m always impressed by women’s strength and courage going through breast cancer but every once in awhile I am in total awe of them.  Jennifer Sykes is one of those gals. While going through very difficult chemotherapy she has continued to work so she could support her son and herself.  Having gone through chemo myself I honestly don’t know how she has been able to do that.  She is also one of the women who walk through treatment with a smile on and she is giving and willing to share her struggles with others so they can benefit from her pain. Her inner beauty is what promted me to nominate her, but you will see her outer beauty shines just as much!

Thank you, Holly Rose

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To Vote for Paulla Miller by emailing All you have to do to vote is put Paulla Miller in the subject line and click send!

My name is Paulla Miller and I found my first lump at 28 while nursing my second child.  I had just lost my grandmother to breast cancer, so my emotions were heightened but knew I needed to talk to my OBGYN that I had been seeing for a number of years prior.  She did an exam and explained that cancer didn’t hurt, I was too young to be of concern for cancer and that there wasn’t enough family history to support her sending me to get a mammogram.  I left the office very concerned and immediately called my primary care physician that gave me an order for my mammogram.  Upon my exam, I was gently told that it was a blocked milk duct and that it should be watched.  Fast forward seven years and the story quickly changed. Through those 7 years I would ask about the spot and I continued to here the same excuses.   The pain would come and go and the more athletic I became as a long distance runner, it was always justified to my bra not fitting, being athletic and active, until I began feeling very tired by the end of the day and experiencing numbness and tingling in my finger tips.  When I addressed this with the same OBGYN from 7 yrs prior, she did a breast exam, explaining to me the whole time that I was too young and cancer didn’t hurt, finishing with, “Honey, I don’t feel anything.  There is nothing there.”  I sat up with nothing but my ‘smock’ on, looked her in the eye and told her that she was crazy and that it was right here, pointing to my left chest.  Needless to say, she quickly agreed to a mammogram and an ultrasound, I was 35 years old.


At the time of my mammogram, the technician would ask questions, like, “How long have you felt this?”  “What did your doctor say?”  So I knew that something was wrong, not that my gut hadn’t been telling me that for quite a long time, but no one would listen.  I remember sitting in the waiting room in nothing but a ‘smock’ again and I could hear the technician and the radiologist down the hall talking about me, arguing over the fact that he didn’t want to tell me anything but she insisted he say something because I had been ignored or belittled for so long.  He came in broken; he wouldn’t look at me as he sat next to me.  “I am sorry, it doesn’t look good and we need you to have an MRI right away.  I will get this report to your physician and her office will help you get scheduled for an MRI because we don’t do them here.”  The technician stood with such concern in her eyes, I could tell that she wanted to say more, but couldn’t. I went back to my changing room to change and fell to the floor in submission to the Lord and cried and cried and cried some more.  When I finished and got up, I began to function on adrenaline, who did I know in the medical field, where are the kids, I have to call mom and dad, Chris (my husband) needs to know, but not too much, who do I call?  I ended up driving to a local hospital where my sister in law worked and it was by the grace of some friendly angels that became my advocates.  They called my doctor and got an order, they scheduled my MRI for that Monday, did I forget to mention that this all happened on the Friday before school started?  This would be the longest weekend of my life.


When Monday rolled around, my husband and I took both kids to the first day of school, 6th and 3rd grade, we drove to the hospital and that began our long day.  The MRI was running behind, I didn’t care, I was there.  The clanking and banging of that machine is never fun.  The time I spent in prayer was priceless though and was the only comfort while stuck in that tube.  We were going to be leaving and waiting for a call, but we were brought back, yet another angel because this never happens.  I sat in front of the screen with the doctor and I remember hearing, you have cancer and it is extensive.  The vision in my head will never go away as I stared at that screen and saw almost nothing but white in my breast and lymphnode area.  I had to get out of there and we went into the back hallway and prayed.  The look on my mother in laws face when I told her was so blank.  My brother was there and he took the burden of calling my parents, who were currently at chemotherapy for my father for treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndrome and blood disorder that typically develops into untreatable Leukemia.  The kids, the kids, how do we tell the kids?  Well there wasn’t any time to decide because I was quickly whisked upstairs to the Breast Center for a double biopsy.  There I was told that I had three large tumors in my left breast ranging from 2 cm to 5 cm and four large lymphnodes that were pinching the nerve in my arm causing the numbness.  They fit me in as the last patient of the day.  Twenty four hours later we got the call, “Triple Negative Infiltrated Ductal Carcinoma, Stage III.”  I was scheduled by the Navigator for a surgical consult the next day, Wednesday and a Medical Oncology consult on Thursday.  Here we go.  Both doctors agreed on the treatment plan without hardly talking to each other, neo-adjuvant chemotherapy for six months, double mastectomy and full lymphnode dissection, plus radiation.  I didn’t have to hear much more to add a hysterectomy and oopherectomy.  All this whirlwind of treatments and tests began the day I received that phone call, August 11, 2008.

All of this seems so long ago now, yet just yesterday as I am looking to my 40th birthday this December.  I have prayed a lot, loved a lot and cried some.  I know that God had a plan for me and four years later I am still here, cancer free and advocating for other men and women who face the fears of breast cancer.  I now work for the same center that assisted me and that technician that listened to me and made that doctor talk to me, I now have the privilege to work with.  A lot has happened since the day I was diagnosed, the hardest being losing my dad to Leukemia two months after being diagnosed with breast cancer, but that is all part of my story.  I had the privilege of being with my dad through all of his treatments.  I lost my hair before him and it encouraged him with the loss of his beard, funny huh?  I compared port scars and nursing staff.  I held his hand as he took his last breath and went to be with the Lord.  He was the first patient I advocated for and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I am forever grateful to the medical staff that guided me and I am honored to walk the journey of breast cancer with so many wonderful men and women in the last four years. I have the most amazing husband that went to every single appointment, surgery, blood draw and scan.  He spent countless hours praying with me, for me, over me.  He provided comfort to others while I slept during chemotherapy treatments, while holding the house and kids together.  My two children are my second biggest supporters and fans.  They push me to stay positive and healthy for all for all of those milestones in their lives that I want to be a part of, weddings, grandchildren, college graduation.  I have amazing family members that picked up the slack of laundry, car rides, meals and love.  I am a blessed woman, cancer and all.  Whatever my future holds, it will be perfect but for now, each day is a blessing, each milestone, each moment and my prayer is that someone who is following this road will be able to see that in their own life.  God is good.

To Vote for Paulla Miller by emailing All you have to do to vote is put Paulla Miller in the subject line and click send!

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