UCSF have saved 2 people’s lives at KARM with PSA! - Beth Roggeman
Words cannot express my appreciation!! -Beth Finamore-Neff
Early detection programs has played a big role - KARM
UCSF has shaped the human service foundational experience - Ms. Jacqueline G. McRae-Mitchell
We are so appreciative of Mercedes and all her staff and helpers. - Mayor Dale Perdue and Staff

Survivor Stories

When I contacted you about a year ago, my daughter, Heaven Lee Ware, was 27 years old. She is an epileptic, who is unable to drive, and has a lot of mental problems. She had just gotten out of a mental home last year, after she had attempted suicide for about the 6th or 7th time. She was staying with me, because she had lost her apartment, when she asked me to look at something on her breast. I was shocked to find a massive lump on her left breast. She said it started several months before but with no insurance and not money, she had just hoped it would go away. Isn’t that what most 27 year old’s would do? I mean we are not trained to really worry about those types of things in our early years, especially if it is not something found in your family history. Her BRCA showed it was not something in her genes. I tried to get her scheduled for a mammogram as stated above, she had no insurance, because on her last birthday she was dropped from my work insurance due to her age. And with medical and mental problems, Heaven could not hold a job long enough to keep paying for personal insurance. No clinic would let her make an appointment for a mammogram without insurance or payment up front and even stated because of her age she probably would not have breast cancer. They just said to try Medicaid. We did, and she was not eligible for that either. I did not know what else to do – even my own personal doctor of 19 years would not see her! He did however tell me to try Health for All. They make you come in for an appointment (about a month out) to speak with a counselor to see if you qualify for their services. IF you do – they schedule your first appointment to see the Dr. (another month). And they would then have to schedule the mammogram (don’t know the wait on that). This is right after I spoke to you, so I explained what the issue was with the scheduler and that your organization said you would pay for the mammogram, and that lady got her right in that week.

The size of the lump and the ultrasound, warranted a biopsy, again – something your organization was willing to pay for. She was sent to a surgeon to do a biopsy at the local Cancer Clinic. The results came back as Invasive ductal carcinoma – Borderline stage 3 breast cancer. For the first time though in probably 13 years, Heaven said she did not want to die! God seems to work in mysterious ways for sure! Once diagnosed, the cancer clinic was able to get Heaven on Breast and cervical Medicaid. She is eligible for this as long as she is still being monitored by the cancer clinic.

Due to Heaven’s age and the size of the tumor, they wanted to do chemo first, hoping to shrink the mass. It shrunk some but not what they hoped for, plus, after the chemo, they found she had new growths that had formed in her lymph nodes. Those were sent for testing and found to be cancerous so they knew chemo was not her miracle. Heaven then had to do surgery. She wanted to remove both breast because she said she would never go through this again, but the surgeon told her that IF she got it back – she would NOT do chemo again – they would just automatically remove the breast. They did the lumpectomy and removed all the lymph nodes from her left armpit. It was a painful recovery, even for a someone so young. After she healed (approx.. 6 weeks) she had to start radiation. During all this, Heaven had moved into her own apartment, had gotten a job as a waitress but was promoted to manager and strived to get better. I had never seen her like this. She stayed on her anti-depressants, her epilepsy medication and did everything she was supposed to do during all the cancer stuff. Radiation was awful, but luckily a lady I work with had gone through radiation for her breast cancer and had some very expensive cream left over and let Heaven have it. She was like a mentor to her. After radiation, Heaven was told that she was at high risk for getting this again, so they wanted to have her take the chemo pill to try one last effort to make sure they got it all. She made it through about the half way point for this treatment but was told she made it further than they thought after everything else she had done. We have learned that not everyone that gets breast cancer does all these treatments. Only the most severe and the ones that are at high risk.

Heaven has been through a lot more than some people go through in a lifetime, but this time, she seems to have a purpose. My friend bought us all tickets to attend the Pink Alliance Surviving & Thriving luncheon that had a wonderful speaker who spoke about how cancer wasn’t the worst thing to happen to her, it had helped her. Heaven said that made her feel great because she said she felt the same way!

Heaven will always have some things different from normal in her life, but she is definitely a survivor and probably would not be, if it was not for you and this organization!

I give my permission for you to use these images and the message in any promotional product(s) you may need, or for any purpose that could be beneficial to your organization. You are always my angels and I could not be more thankful for you all!

— Sylvia W.

I noticed I was having a lot of trouble holding my bladder in May 2017. I decided to go see my doctor at the VA. They found I had blood in my urine. I was then told that those things usually clear up on their own. But I persisted and I had a CT scan done in June 2017.  I was then told it was a “spot” on my left kidney. I was not scared because I had already made up my mind I wanted it removed. VA urologist then told me it was a tumor and an 85% chance it was cancerous. So that was enough information for me to remove it. After getting an outside the VA second opinion in August, I had a robotic partial nephrectomy done on Sept 12, 2017. The urologist (second one) called me on Sept 18th, said great news that all the tumor was removed. Then he said the tumor pathology report confirmed it was cancerous.  I am a real strong lady. I fought this cancer from the very beginning. The diagnosis actually greatly improved my life overall. I eat a lot better foods now. I drink a lot more water. I have taken up acupuncture and meditation. Trying to be a better person for me…

— Christine T.

I was diagnosed September 9, 2016 with Triple Negative Breast Cancer as well as being BRCA 1 Positive.  Since my diagnosis I’ve had a bilateral mastecomy with reconstruction and 3 additional surgeries.  Completed 8 rounds of Chemotherapy (AT plusT), now radiaton for 5 1/2 weeks,  Breast Cancer has re-affirmed my faith in GOD, given me additional strength and believe it or not Boosted my self-esteem.  Cancer puts you in combact mode, teaches you to fight hard.  I am STRONG I am LOVED, I am HEALTHY, I WILL SURVIVE!

— Renee B.

I was diagnosed with low grade 1,2, follicular lymphoma. Found by CT scan. I was having severe low back pain and down to my knee, Different from other pain.My ct scanpicked up a small nodule next to my spine and several more,  because of location they couldn’t do surgery  , Another full body scan was done and there were more nodulars found my neck my stomach error. I had six months of chemotherapy from June12, 2017 to November 13,2017. Had a complete CT scan with the dye and drinking the flavored drink to check stomach. Went for my results before Thanksgiving.  Thankfully to God and Doc. Nurse’s.  I’m in remission.  I go back every 3 months for blood work and see oncology. Don’t know how long yet. Thank you for reading my story my friend.

— Brenda P.

My name is Consuella. I’m 43 years old. I’m married with 2 adult kids. I stay in Tupelo, MS. I’m a store manger in retail.I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer back in October 2017. It was a blow to the head at first. I went thru 6 months of chemo. I had bilateral mastectomy done just a week ago. Chemo was something i wouldn’t wish on anyone. It was very tough; but with prayer, faith, and a super support system, I came thru. We won!! That moment I was diagnosed I pulled out my sword and shield and was determine to fight and win.

— Consuella R.

The experience I went through as a child is what inspired me to become a nurse. When I was a little girl, I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer. It was a miracle to know that they diagnosed me quickly enough for them to remove my tumor and treated it with chemo therapy. For six months of chemo and spending months in the hospital I experienced a significant amount of love and happiness from all the nurses that continued to check on me daily and monthly. They were always so nice and treated me like I was one of there own. It was always a great day even though I had so much appointments and tests to endure, they continued to put a smile on my face. With all the appointments and tests making sure I was getting better made me feel like the hospital was my second home. All I remember was them always drawing blood from me and having so much ultra sounds. As I got older, I thought to my self how loving and caring they were, and how they had helped me through the most difficult time in my life. They really had an impact on my life, not everyone has the best memories at times like that as I did. People get stressed and have horrible experiences, but dealing with an experience like that and having nurses and doctors like that made it stress free for me and my mother is what inspired me to pursue this career choice. Staying positive and having faith is the best thing!

— Tiffany G.

Submit Your Story

For newly diagnosed patients it can be comforting to hear the stories of folks who have gone through it before.  Hope can be powerful medicine.  Send us your stories, let patients know they are not alone.

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