When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. ~Franklin D. RooseveltThe HOPE of being a SURVIVOR wasn’t an option given to me when I found out I had Stage IV Breast Cancer! I was told Lauren , you have Terminal Cancer .The average life span is 1-5 years with stage IV Breast Cancer . I was mis-diagnosed when I first found my lump. By the time I finally was diagnosed, I had breast cancer in most of my bones at the age of 37. I have bone metastasis to my spine, collarbones, hips, neck, sternum, ribs , pelvis and skull. My doctor believed my “lump ” was a cyst and insisted I was TOO YOUNG for Breast Cancer. I had 2 mammograms and 1 ultra sound , they both came back clear. My last Mammogram came back suspicious. Knowing how bad I felt , I insisted on a BIOPSY.They found a 6 cm sized tumor and I woke up to the words “its cancer” ! One would ask how can this be? Why didnt the mammogram pick up the tumor ? I have what doctors call “DENSE “Breast Tissue..That means it’s hard to see Cancer through the “thick” tissue. Breast MRI’s are now being used more often and will eventually prevent this mis-diagnosis in women. Most insurance companines are not covering Breast MRI’s for screening purposes . Hopefully this will change soon !!!!!!
I wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t survive. I sought out several opinions and chose to be placed in a Research study and HOPED for the best . The Avastin chemotherapy trial is now approved for Stage IV Breast Cancer. I was the first arm at my Cancer Center for the Avastin / Taxotere study that is now shrinking many breast tumors in women . I still don’t have any activity in my breast where my 6 cm tumor was. I went through 15 months of chemotherapy. I lost my hair, my fingernails & toe nails. I had mouth sores, and a lot of pain , it was all worth it. I have been on 6 different types of chemotherapy in the last 2 1/2 years. I am proud to be one of the women paving the way for other SURVIVORS life spans to be pro-longed and possibly cured ! I will continue to be in studies as long as my body allows me. I am currently on Oral Chemotherapy at the moment . Some old disease has recently decided to “wake” up again. I plan on putting cancer in a coma !!!
As I write this , its been 3 years since I found my breast mass! I have SURVIVED past that 1 year time line that was given to me. I have HOPE everyday. I live my life to the fullest on feel good days. I continue treatments when I have flare ups . I’ll do whatever it takes to SURVIVE
Breast Cancer, I want to live to see my children grown. I want to be a grandmother. I love my family and children. I fight everyday to continue living life with my husband , children and family ! I have always been a lover of life and I treasure every day I breathe ! I am a DAUGHTER of 40 years, a WIFE of 18 years and MOTHER of 17 years. These are my YEARS and I plan on living many more . I am a SURVIVOR living with Stage IV Breast Cancer. I HOPE to see a CURE in my Lifetime. I will hang on to that HOPE until I breathe my last breath .
My Message to Women is this! I urge everyone to do Breast Self Exams monthly starting at the age of 16. Breast Cancer has no AGE limit. If you find a lump visit your Doctor . Never forget your yearly Mammogram. If you are told the lump is a cyst have a biopsy or drain it immediately Don’t wait and never give up searching for answers. When you come to the end of your rope , tie a knot and HANG ON !
Editor’s note: Lauren Groover passed away on April 12, 2010, surrounded by family. We are proud to honor her memory with her story.