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Renee' Means Profile

Renee' Means

Stage 3A Patient

Current City
Wichita, KS
Your Story

I was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer on February 1, 2012. I had multiple masses in my left breast and in the lump nodes, which were confirmed as IDC following a biopsys. Due to the aggressively growing cancer, neoadjuvant chemotherapy was started as quickly as possible (first dose on February 16th) following CT scans, bone scan, & a breast MRI to see if the cancer had spread to any other organs and my port installed. Test results showed it had not yet spread to other areas beyond the lymph nodes. The goal of the meoadjuvant chemo treatments was to stop the cancer from spreading to other organs, and to reduce the size of the existing masses to make surgery easier. My last chemo treatment was June 28, 2012. Unfortunately, the chemo did not shrink my tumors very much. I had a bilateral mastectomy on July 12, 2012. 3 of 9 lymph nodes still were cancerous. Radiation began August 27, 2012 and was done every weekday for 6 weeks (30 treatments). I just finished my radiation treatments on October 9, 2012. I began taking Arimidex on October 10, 2012 and will continue it for for 5 years.

Over the next month, I will do some final qualification testing for a clinical trial for a breast cancer reoccurrence vaccine, called NeuVax, with the hope of beiginning the injections in mid-November. I will then receive an injection every month for 6 months, and then every 6 months for 3 years. As part of the trial, I will be followed for 10 years.

I used the motto, Live ~ Laugh ~ Love, to help me get through these grueling 8 months, along with the prayers from my large group of prayer warriors consisting of my family, friends, & co-workers (throughout the US, Scotland, & France). I was truly blessed with amazing support & healing prayers from so very many people! I also used this wonderful website & some amazing "sisters of the heart" in this online support group as well as some wonderful services provided by a local non-profit cancer support organization called Victory in the Valley, which sponsors a local breast cancer support group I participate in. Early in my diagnosis, the words of a song kept coming to my mind often. Those words were, "if you're going through hell, keep on movin". And that's just what I've done. Now, I'm finally seeing the light! Praise be to God for his faithfulness!

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