Survivor Stories

Bev
On Jan. 2, 2006, while taking a relaxing bath after the holidays I discovered a little thing in my left breast. I had always wondered if I’d really be able to detect a lump during my monthly self breast exam. The answer to that question became quite clear. Read Bev's story...
Colleen
I’ve always felt that it’s important to have preventive healthcare exams every year, and 2009 was no exception. I scheduled my annual exam for June, right around my 46th birthday. When I went in for my mammogram, I didn’t think I had anything to worry about because I have absolutely no family history of breast cancer. Read Colleen's story...
Debbie
In August 2008, during my routine self-breast exam I felt something on my left breast that wasn’t there the previous month. I got my period shortly after and the lump went away. In September, the mass was back, but this time it didn’t go away. I went to my OB/GYN to confirm what I found. Read Debbie's story...

Heather
Can this be happening to me? At 29 years old, I was being told that I had breast cancer five days after finding out I was pregnant with my second child. I had never imagined that the lump that I found was cancer. Sure, I knew that it was possible, but at my age it was definitely a shock. Somehow I knew that I would be fine. Remembering that I had to beat cancer for my husband, my son, Sam, and our unborn baby was all the motivation I needed. Read Heather's story...


Joan
For many women, an annual mammogram is something they’d prefer to put off. For me, it was a test that saved my life. For the last 13 years, I’ve faithfully gone in for my mammogram. And, in 2006, it was no exception. Read Joan's story...

Jodi
On Feb. 1, 2006, a week before my 35th birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found the lump myself and knew that I needed to get this checked right away. I already knew I was high risk. My grandma and my mom had breast cancer, and I’d already had two mammos prior to this, the last mammogram being just 14 months before. Read Jodi's story...
   Jonna
With no family history of breast cancer, Jonna Peterson wasn’t concerned when she had her first screening mammogram at Gundersen just after her 42nd birthday. When she got the phone call from the Gundersen Lutheran Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care asking her to come in for further evaluation, she figured she was like the majority of women in her shoes, and it would turn out to be nothing. But for Jonna, the spot on her mammogram was cancer. As her world changed, she shared her thoughts and feelings with friends and family, and now with you, through an online journal. Read Jonna's story...
  Karen
I answered the phone just like I always did. ‘100.1 Classic Rock, this is Karen, can I help you?’ I figured it would be another song request or a weather question. I was a little surprised when the voice on the other end said, ‘Karen, this is Jeffery Landercasper. I have some news for you’. At first, I didn’t recognize the name; he’d always been Doctor Landercasper to me. When I realized who it was my heart sank into my stomach. Dr. Landercasper. My surgeon. Calling me. In person. This wasn’t going to be good. Read Karen's story...

Kim M.
Sometimes our journeys take a different direction than we anticipate and there are a few bumps along the road that we don’t expect. Sometimes these challenges can be the greatest gifts and unexpected blessings can develop from the most unlikely places. This was clear to me this last year. Read Kim's story...

Kim W.
I will admit that one of the best reasons for having my annual mammogram in the past was the possibility of my name being drawn for one of those great prize packages offered by Gundersen’s “In the Pink” program for female employees and employee spouses. I never won any of those great prizes, but what I did receive from my 2005 mammogram was a greater gift than all the “prize packages” combined. I received the gift of early diagnosis and treatment of my grade 1 invasive ductal carcinoma of the right breast. Read Kim's story...

Margie
In May 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer—less than two months after my mom lost her 20-year battle to the same disease. There are two things I know about cancer: it does not discriminate, and we must each do our part in detection. Read Margie's story...
Mary
My story begins like too many others – diagnosis, mastectomies, chemo, complications, radiation and reconstruction. There I was caught in the maze of medical jargon, facing life-altering decisions, financial concerns, exhaustion, and an emotional roller coaster—my worries as a wife, mother, friend, co-worker, sister, daughter—facing my own mortality every day in the mirror. Read Mary's story...

Melinda
Receiving cancer care at the same healthcare institution where you work is both a challenge and a blessing. Cancer treatment causes physical and emotional side effects that are difficult to endure in the midst of a not-so-normal schedule. I was very diligent about not letting my short-term treatment affect my attitude about my place of employment. Many days I was successful. On other days, my stomach would flip over when I arrived for work. I would become nauseated just looking at the clinic building. Read Melinda's story...
Nancy
Where does one start when talking about being a survivor? Is it the first time you heard the word “cancer” or when you are a 15-plus-year survivor, like I am. I had been doing monthly self-breast exams ever since the information came out that women should be checking their breasts. My breasts were very fibrous and I never knew if I was feeling cysts or lumps, but got to know my breasts intimately! Read Nancy's story...

Patty
On a Thursday afternoon in April, Patty Brown’s life changed forever. She walked in the door of the Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care at Gundersen at 3:15 p.m. and walked out a short time later knowing she probably had breast cancer. Read Patty's story...


Roxanne
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42. I found the lump at home on a Sunday evening, Dec. 4, 2000. Two days later I had my first surgery. The following week, after a second surgery and more testing, I found out I would need chemotherapy and radiation. Read Roxanne's story....
  Sheila
I wanted to be done by my 45th birthday on Jan. 20, 2010. If I wasn’t going to let cancer beat me, I sure wasn’t going to let a snowy Wisconsin winter get in my way. When I want something, I usually get my way. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Read Sheila's story...


Sue
In 2007, I was chosen to be a “Steppin’ Out in Pink” advocate, which was an honor. I had prayed that my story would encourage others to get mammograms, practice monthly breast care and if they have a concern speak to their doctor right away. Now that my treatment is complete and everything is going well, I have realized how important women’s health issues are. Read Sue's story...
Susan
When my breast cancer was diagnosed more than a year ago, I did what any sensible woman would do – research. I made calls, talked to people in person and scoured the Internet to get what I needed: clown noses. And they had to be pink. Read Susan's story...
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