Survivor Story: Geri Moran of Elmsford

Heather Salerno has this story about Geri Moran of Elmsford from Sunday’s Journal News:

Though some might not see having breast cancer as lucky, Elmsford’s Geri Moran, a 23-year survivor, knows exactly how much good fortune she’s had throughout her journey with the illness.

Her luck started when she went to her doctor in 1988 to investigate a shooting pain in her right breast. The doctor was convinced that the cause was a benign cyst, but he insisted that she go for a mammogram just to be sure. He was right about the cyst, but the mammogram also picked up a tiny tumor in the other breast.

“It was in a small space, in a duct, that made it more dangerous,” says Moran, who was a 40-year-old single mother when she was first diagnosed. “By the time I would have felt it, I would have been dead.”

Photos by Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News

Instead, her cancer was detected at Stage 1, early enough that it hadn’t spread. She had a mastectomy to remove the tumor, but she and her oncologist decided that she didn’t need further treatment like chemotherapy, radiation or other cancer-fighting drugs. Since then, she’s needed no additional therapies —nor has she had a recurrence of the disease.

“I always say I’m the luckiest person in the world,” says Moran.

So she found a way to give back, creating small cloth dolls called “Wish and Worry Angels.” They’re designed to bring comfort to those in need — the idea is to let the angel take care of your troubles — and Moran has given away hundreds over the years.

Many have gone to patients seeking help at Support Connection, the Yorktown Heights-based organization that offers services to those with breast and ovarian cancer. (She also sells them at the online marketplace Etsy.com, with a portion of the proceeds going to Support Connection and Operation Smile, a charity that provides free surgeries to children around the world with facial deformities.)

“Every time I sit down and say, ‘I’m not doing these angels anymore, nobody needs them,’ someone calls and says they want one for someone they know that’s sick,” she says.

There are plenty of other ways that breast cancer changed Geri Moran’s life. After the jump, here are 10 more examples of how the disease has impacted her:

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Battling Breast Cancer: Conversation with Dr. Andrew Ashikari

Dr. Andrew Ashikari, a surgical oncologist affiliated with the Ashikari Breast Center at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt and the Ashikari Breast Center in the Dobbs Ferry Pavilion of St. John’s Riverside Hospital, will discuss some common misconceptions about breast cancer, prevention and treatment today at noon.

Join the conversation via CoverItLive:

<iframe src=”http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=0bae486a44/height=550/width=470″ scrolling=”no” height=”550px” width=”470px” frameBorder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” ><a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=0bae486a44″ >Conversation with Dr. Andrew Ashikari</a></iframe>

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Purchase this Sunday, October 16

Ten years ago, I helped to organize a corporate team for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. I did it as a volunteer for my company as a fun, charitable event. It’s taken me 10 years to realize the significance of the day. It only takes a couple of hours to walk in the sun with dozens of survivors, caretakers, loved ones and supporters. I encourage you all to take part.

– Rica Mendes

Thousands of walkers including breast cancer survivors, volunteers, businesses and community members will unite to fight breast cancer and save lives at the American Cancer Society¹s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk – a noncompetitive, inspirational walk that raises awareness and funds to fight breast cancer and provide hope to all people facing the disease.

Westchester County’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is one of more than 250 walks being held across the country this year.

WHERE:
Manhattanville College
2900 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577-2132

WHEN:

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Registration starts at 8am.
The walk begins at 10am

WHY: More pink for your green. The generosity of Westchester residents means a whole lot of pink ­ the next big breast cancer research breakthrough; free lodging for breast cancer patients when treatment is far from home; free rides to and from treatment for cancer patients needing a lift; and most importantly, more pink means 2.5 million breast cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year.

IMAGINE: Thousands of walkers hugging, rejoicing, crying and walking to support area survivors in the fight against breast cancer. Interviews will be available with cancer survivors (look for pink T-shirts with “survivor” on the back), Making Strides Against Breast Cancer participants and local American Cancer Society staff and volunteers.

CONTACT: For more information about the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, visit
www.cancer.org/stridesonline or call 1.800.227.2345

My Story Part III: There’s no such thing as a free lunch

It was as though I were floating in space as soon as the word, “Cancer,” filtered through my ear drum. All senses suspend. Appendages go numb. Lips feel fuzzy. Time stops.






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Chemo Day 13: Reality bites.

What starts out as a pleasant video blog entry takes an upsetting turn when I decide to show you that some of my hair is falling on the underside of the back of my head.






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Chemo Day 12: I don’t like Mondays

A visit from Cantor Sally Neff Greenberg, fellow Oberlin College graduate & knitter extraordinaire, and Schmooie, the feline breast cancer & quadruple mastectomy survivor, perks up a particularly difficult Monday.

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Chemo Day 10: Style and Grace

Part 1:
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Part 2:
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My Story Part II: Like sands through the hourglass, those are the grains of our lives

It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.

– Robert W. Service

My Rock and I had just enough time to eat our sandwiches in the waiting area when we were introduced to Michele Speer, the Breast Center Nurse Navigator at Stamford Hospsital and brought to her office. The room was bedecked with pink ribbons, pink teddy bears, and all things pink. We sat on her sofa and she brought up a screen with what looked like the outline of a breast and then a bunch of little white spots forming a crescent. Each dot looked like a grain of salt. They were somewhat sporadic, but clearly there. Michelle explained that they were likely just calcifications, is where calcium salts form and build into hardened grains, and nothing. However, because they are they and the hospital wanted to rule them out, they wanted to have me come in for a biopsy.

I was told to stop taking any and all supplements I’d been taking as part of the D’Adamo Shift plan, as some herbal remedies prevent blood from clotting, and since this is an invasive procedure, it would be best to refrain. The biopsy was scheduled for the following week. And timing stunk. It was just a day or two before a day-long drive up to Maine for a mountain-bike race weekend.

Being the control freak that I am, I asked Michelle to describe the procedure in explicit detail. When she got to the part that my breast would be dropped through a hole in the table with me facing down, and I’d have absolutely no visibility to what was going on, I slammed on the brakes.

“No way, Michelle. No way. That’s not going to happen.”

“What do you mean? You don’t want to see this.”

“The hell I don’t.”

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Breast Cancer Myth Busters: There are lots of misconceptions about breast cancer. Arm yourself with facts

Journal News writer Bill Cary tackles the myths surrounding breast cancer in this week’s Sunday Life cover story as part of our ongoing coverage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here’s the story as it appeared in print:

Everyone seems to know someone touched by breast cancer. It’s a disease that will be diagnosed in one in eight women during their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society, but it reaches far deeper into families and friendships, as loved ones and acquaintances often come face to face with cancer for the first time.

Along with that awareness, however, comes lots of second-hand information and anecdotes about how best to prevent breast cancer, plus a steady and often contradictory stream of information in the media about the latest advances in medicine and treatments.

Add in the inherent dangers of turning to the Internet for medical advice and you’re bound to get a wealth of sort-of truths and outright misinformation.

To help separate fact from myth, we asked local doctors and breast cancer experts to address 10 myths that are among the most prevalent misconceptions they hear from their patients. Their answers, after the jump.

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