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Old 01-22-2005, 11:21 PM   #1
michele u
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Hi, my name is Michele Ulmer. I have been avoiding doing this, thinking i will jinx myself! From the begining, I was planning a yearly trip with my mom, and my family,that consists of a 16, 11 and 6 year olds, and of course my husband Scott. I have always done breast exams every month, because i'm a nurse, so i knew that's what needed to be done. The 3 months before my dx, i was very busy at work and i think i went 2 months without doing one. the night before we were to leave on the vacation, I did a breast exam. Well, there was a big lump there that i knew was not good. It moved around, so i wasn't freaking out too bad. I waited til we got back from our vacation and made a mammogram appt. When the lady came back and asked for more films, i knew then my life was not going to be the same. It came back category 3. Category 4 is a defenite cancer. The next day i was getting a excisional bx. I just wanted the thing "out" This dr. that i didn't know kept telling me and my mom, 90% sure it's not cancer. When i got the dreaded phone call from the nurse, i was sleeping my anesthitic off from the surgery. I litterally fell off my bed. I went to a surgeon i knew personally and told him what was going on. He said i needed an axillary dissection. I told him i wanted my ovaries out too. Not knowing if i was hormone pos or neg. I just did want them in there to spread to. When i woke up and it was 7 hours later, i knew this is not good. I was so out of it when he told me that he thought 35 of my nodes were pos. But i wasn't that out of it to know that "this is going to kill me" the next day i went for the whole set of scans,chest,bone,brain and abdomen. I was there looking with the radiologist at the scans. I watched his every expression, knowing one of these has to show something. God, was not ready for me to get that news yet. They were all neg.
The first day of chemo was the worst. Watching the "red devil" go through the iv line was the ultimate wake up call. I saw 2 female onc. that both told me i had 3 years to live. I was a limp rag. Nothing could bring me up from that dark place i fell into after falling off my bed! The one that finally got to me was the realization that i saw an angel 3 times before my dx. I was having a vision of a little boy standing beside my bed for 3 months before dx. He scared me and i would sit up and scream. The last time i saw him was the last night of our vacation. Scott saw me reaching out to him that night and wondered, what is she seeing? I never put the 2 together until a friend of mine that survived leukemia, told me that she had seen a little boy angel when she was really sick. That realization brought me to the conclusion, that no matter what happens, i will be ok because God is watching me. I had 4 cycles AC followed be 12 weekly Taxols. Then radiaiton and one year of herceptin in trial. I have 4 more to go! It's been a very long up and down battle the last 17 months. I have not ever let my guard down. Always thinking when i do let that breath out, then it will come back. I'm trying to get into a vaccine trial next. I want to do everything i can to stop this monster, so if it every comes back, i will have the right to say "hey, i did all that i could on my end". I have found peace and fellowship with all of you on this website. I don't know where i would be if i didn't have this site. I've found a very special "soul" friend from here. Audrey. We have met in Chicago and i know you all know what i mean when i say, in her presence i finally felt solace. Knowing she knew what every feeling that i was having meant, because she has been there done that!
My dreams of the future have been taken from me, but the here and now is what i have left. With God's grace, i will trudge on. He has left me many "hints" that he is watching me and that he cares. But i know when i see my "angel" again, it might be the time to call on Him for extra help. "I will never leave you or foresake you". That verse has never had so much meaning!
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Old 01-23-2005, 12:36 PM   #2
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Thank you so much for sharing that. You are a GIDT. If you check out <www.breastcancercare.org.uk> you will find me under the name Bowdy if you want to be in touch. Love and peace and light. Erika
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Old 01-24-2005, 12:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing your story. I haven't done that yet..like you said "don't want to jinx myself". Maybe soon I can write it all down. Your description of your angel meant so much to me. I too have felt God's presence many times during this journey. As a patient with a life threatening illness the verse "I will never leave you or forsake you" takes on an intense meaning.

God Bless you and continue to watch over you as you forge ahead to beat this disease!

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Old 01-25-2005, 07:59 PM   #4
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Michele - Thanks for sharing. It is good to hear the whole story. I am praying that you stay in remission forever. I KNOW the 3 year stat is wrong for you. Your odds are better than you think, especially with herceptin. :)
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Old 03-20-2005, 03:00 PM   #5
al from canada
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Dear Michele,
You are a truly amazing person!
Stay strong and you will win this battle!
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Old 04-26-2005, 12:04 AM   #6
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Dear Michele

I enjoyed reading your story but I think you are being a little more pessimistic than you need to. The main thing at this point is that you do not have any mets to bones or organs (and you don't) and you have had Herceptin which research is showing, may prevent recurrence, so you have every reason ot believe that you can survive this thing.

On other websites I have come across women who have mets to bones, or brain or liver or all of them and who are HEr +++ and have been diagnosed 10 years ago! So even if this does come back there are ways of treating it, and I 'm sure new treatments will be developed too.

I also have had a breat tumour and one node removed last year and then after six rounds of chemo and 20 rads, two months later (Jan this year) found three more nodes in the same armpit. Had them out and am now on Herceptin for one year plus Taxotere for 6 months, and Im hopeful about the outcome . I have some bad days too and some twinges where I imagine the cancer is spreading to but I guess that cant be helped.

The warmest wishes to you from Malta (Europe)

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Old 05-26-2005, 07:20 AM   #7
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I just read your story for the first time. Thank you for sharing it. Since my dx in late Feb., "I will never leave you or forsake you" has also been the anchor of my life. I have seen God's hand, as you have, over and over again throughout these past 3 months. But I too have had a difficult time keeping myself "grounded". I feel very weak when my fear overtakes my faith. But I also know that God understands my weakness, and yours, and it is within it that He shows Himself strong, faithful and compassionate. Of course Romans 8:28 has been a bedrock too. I'm sure you've read about every Psalm, as I have. Hang on sister. We have much to put our future hope in.

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Old 08-16-2005, 06:03 AM   #8
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Dear Michelle,

I wish you the very best. Keep reading survivor stories. I was Stage IIIa at diagnosis Jan 2000 -- still NED 5.5 years out. Keep the faith.

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Old 10-30-2005, 04:49 PM   #9
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I've only just found this site, after finding out my cancer was HER2+++ a few weeks ago, and yours was the first story I read, Michelle.

Then I read that Erika (Eccles) had been here too. I've been a regular visitor to the Breast Cancer Care boards, since I was diagnosed in July this year (at the grand old age of 29).

I also bear the sad news that Erika passed away on Friday afternoon. She'll be missed by many.

I truely wish you the best, Michelle.
We've just got to keep on going!

Love & hugs,
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:48 AM   #10
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dear michelle at this point nobody can tell you how much time you have left,with all the new drugs coming out ,not even you oncologist ,so go on as if you are going to be here until you reach to be a 100yrs old have fun love and courage veronica
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