One of the most compelling things about our LimeLife community is how much we are all willing to share, be it struggles or strength. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to share some stories of survival. Thank you, to these survivors and our entire LimeLife family, for being an inspiration!
I am a generational breast cancer survivor. My grandma had it and beat it and so did I. My girls and I always did the CIBC Run for the Cure. Well, I walked. Then in my city, there wasn’t going to be an event because there was no committee. So, I stepped up and said I’m here. I was the Run Director for the CIBC Run for the Cure, which is now The Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure, for 4 years. Our committee and community raised over $160,000 over that time. These dollars go towards research equipment and making sure no one fights this disease alone.
– Cynthia Sabourin
January 25th will be a day that I will remember forever and not for good reason. I started my day nervous but was hopeful because there was such a low chance that I would actually have it, no family history at all. So, I made the call at 7:50 am expecting not to even get an answer but they answered … I half nervously said “hi this is Amanda. I’m returning a call for results,” and then I heard “Hi Amanda, your biopsies on both breasts are actually both malignant. You have breast cancer.” I know that I will lose my hair, and I know this year coming up will be hard, but I also know that I have a positive attitude, I’m a fighter, and I will beat this! I’m grateful that I have my family and friends to support me and I will get past this.
– Amanda Topp
Doctors recommend women have a yearly mammogram starting at age 40. My doctor scheduled me for one several times. I always had a reason to not go. I am an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of person. If I don’t see it, I don’t have to worry about it. My daughter-in-law also tried to convince me to go. Finally, I was at a women’s expo and they were doing mobile mammograms. So, I had one done. A couple of weeks went by, I got a letter that something “suspicious” showed on my mammogram. I ignored it!! Then I got the same letter by certified mail. My daughter-in-law told me I really should go have it checked out. On March 26, 2020, I had a 3D mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy. On March 27, 2020, I got that dreaded phone call…..” it’s cancer”. On April 14, 2020, I had a double mastectomy. Please don’t do what I did. Get your yearly mammograms! The sooner it is detected the better your chance of survival. My situation could have been a lot worse. But it may have been better if I had not waited.
– Michelle McMahan
I was diagnosed in 2016 after finding a lump. I had no family history and was shocked, to say the least. Now, four years later I still can’t believe I had breast cancer, but I never once thought “why me?” It can happen to anyone. I’m happy to say I’m now a stronger, more determined woman than I was before my experience. I think the same is true for a successful business, “why not me?”
In 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. Aka – Breast Cancer. A bilateral mastectomy followed right after chemo and just 6 weeks after that, radiation treatments began. Due to my cancer being hormone fed, the past two years have been spent in a medically induced menopause. I felt that breast cancer had stripped me of my femininity. LimeLife has turned my skin, my attitude and my confidence around. I found safe, paraben-free skin care that my daughter and all the women in my family now use. This was my first ‘why’.
– Lisa Leonard
Three years ago on May 15th, I was at work and a little voice kept nagging me saying get a mammogram. It wouldn’t let up and I worked in the same department as Radiology so I called and got in that same afternoon thinking to myself I’ll just get it done so I can get back to work. I wasn’t even due for a Mammo but couldn’t shrug the nagging voice. It started out as a routine exam, until they got to the right side. She got very quiet. She kept repositioning me. I could tell something was wrong, very wrong. She left the room and another person came in asking me to step into an exam room and said the radiologist would be right with me. I was too scared to even ask what was going on. It was a very ominous, lonely feeling. The doctor brought in an ultrasound machine and very aggressively started scanning my right breast. It was very uncomfortable. At that point I just wanted my Mom to be there with me. I knew I wasn’t going back to work. I was still too scared to say anything. The next step, the doctor said, was to make an appointment to have a biopsy done because she noticed some spots she wanted to look at a little closer. I had the biopsy scheduled for the next day and it was very routine. Yes, my Mom was with me. I was told they would call me in a few days to a week with the results. I got a phone call the next day after work from the surgeon. He had been trying to call me all day but I was at work until finally he called and left his personal cell number. I was numb with fear. I called him just as I was leaving work and what I thought he said was,” You don’t have cancer”, when in fact he said,” You have cancer”. I started shaking and crying hysterically and he asked if I was alone. I told him I’d call someone to be with me. I called my Mom. I immediately called work and told them I wouldn’t be in until further notice. Two weeks later I had a PET scan which showed my breast was filled with lesions. My surgeon and I came up with the plan to perform a radical mastectomy right away. He said there was no saving the breast. He also had to remove my sentinel lymph node along with 3 more under my arm. The next week I was started on very aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. I still had my port when radiation started. I finished my treatment in November that same year. I’m telling you this because I did survive and I am so careful with what goes on my skin and in my body now. I highly suspect it was my deodorant/antiperspirant that caused my cancer. It took me years to find skin care products I could trust to use every day. Limelife has changed the way I feel about myself and I want to thank you for that.
October will never be the same in my house. Last October, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I have never been sick. I didn’t have a PCP. I had no symptoms. I had no family history. I had a mammogram at the end of August because a mobile unit came to school, and I could do it on my lunch break. A few weeks after the mammogram, I received a letter telling me I needed more testing. It took about a month to schedule those. I told no one. I finally had to tell my husband, Jared, because he had to approve my day off work (he is my boss). I still wasn’t worried. According to Google, there was very little chance anything was wrong.
I had the second round of mammograms. The doctor told me I needed to come in for a few biopsies. At that point, I broke down and called Momma. I still Googled away and felt that I could not have cancer. I had the biopsies, and on October 10th the doctor called me at school to tell me I had cancer. My world stopped. Jared was a saint. My friend, Julia, held me up in the student bathroom. Mr. Miller, another principal, covered Jared’s football duty that night with no questions asked. My parents, sister, and granny dropped everything to be by my side. I had 16 chemo treatments, a double mastectomy, and 33 rounds of radiation. I had more doctor appointments than I can count. My parents rented a house in the neighborhood, so they could help with the kids. I was shown kindness and support that I did not know existed. I was prayed for by so many. My classes were watched when chemo ran late. My seventh graders were so good when I showed up to teach them after treatment. Each time I felt like I couldn’t take any more, God answered my weak moment with a text, email, card, DM, or hug from a current/former student.
I write all of this for a couple of reasons. Have a mammogram. Check on your friends who are struggling – you are not bothering them. If someone is on your mind, tell them. God is so much stronger than anything I could face on this earth. I have had a couple of mottos through all of this. Faith over Fear, and I am stronger than the storm. I will never be able to thank all of the people who loved me, prayed for me, supported me, covered for me, helped with fundraisers, sent cards, and were part of my village the past year. My family is beyond amazing. Jared is my hero. He has put the pieces of me back together more times than I can count. My work family is more awesome than I ever deserve. My Southside (hometown) family showed me love from afar. God has blessed me so much. I have absolutely no doubt God took my mess and made it a message.
As a reminder, LimeLife has teamed up with the Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) in the fight against breast cancer. Together, we are providing even more education and support! To learn more, visit keep-a-breast.org.
If you’d like to share your story of survival, we’d be honored to hear it. Leave us a comment or tag us in a post on social media!