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Story of Courage

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Joan Lunden

Breast Cancer / / October 01, 2014

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I have been reading so many touching stories from everyone who has shared their cancer story with me in my Stories of Courage column. These have made such a big difference in my journey, so I wanted to have place for other women going through their own battles to be able to read these stories of strength, fear, knowledge and empowerment as well. Here is one story I would like to highlight from Sandra Sellnow who shares how being on top of your mammograms can save your life.

Read Sandra's story below:

From Stories of Courage

I never expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I resisted mammograms, I'm 68 and there was no history of breast cancer in my family. Why do I need that discomfort? At my doctor's behest, finally decided to go in for one on February 14, Valentine's Day. Two days later, I was shocked to get a message to contact my doctor. I knew immediately that the news would not be good. I went in for the mammogram, sonogram and finally the dreaded biopsy. Within a week I met my wonderful oncologist and started treatment. I found out that I had ductal, Her2 and estrogen-induced cancer. The following week had a lumpectomy and started on chemo a few days later. Within 2 weeks my hair started coming out in handfuls. I had remembered the advice to "go ahead and get rid of it" rather than having gobs of hair falling out all over the place. So, the next day I said goodbye to my hair, got an electric razor and started the procedure. I had to start the process myself, just giving me a bit of control over the loss of control caused by cancer. My husband finished the job. I made it through chemo and, a week later started radiation. That is mostly behind me now; I still have to go in for an infusion of Herceptin every three weeks until March for the Her2 diagnosis and started taking medication for the estrogen-induced cancer. I refused to give up my activities and continued bowling, walking the dogs and other things as much as I could. People tell me that I'm an "inspiration" but I know that it is my determination to win over this dreaded disease and not be a victim! The fight began in February and will continue forever. My hair is coming in pure white and very curly. It will be interesting to see how I look in a few months. Needless to say I no longer resist mammograms and am thankful for my doctor's persistence forcing me to finally get one. We have to work together to find a cure and get rid of all types of cancer forever.

About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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