"33 month survival time from diagnosis is horrifying. We need research!!"

Before I start my story, I need to tell you that my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer over 30 years ago. She had a “radical” mastectomy and as far as I know, no other treatment. She lived cancer-free for 30 years and then started having problems with her hip, she was over 70. She went into the hospital for a hip replacement and the surgeon found her bones in her hip was like butter. He knew it was cancer so he closed her up and she was left without the use of one leg and in a wheel chair. They did a biopsy and it was the same breast cancer. She passed away two years ago because of the cancer.

Because of my family history of breast cancer, I started having mammograms at age 30. I was faithful every year. I went for my yearly checkup and mammogram in April 2013 – all clear. I went in April 2014 and my doctor’s office called and told me I need to come in for results. That was a first and NOT a good sign. My doctor told me that yes, I have breast cancer and she sent me to a surgeon for a consult regarding a biopsy and/or mastectomy. They both told me I had a great prognosis! So even though it was horrible news, I was hopeful.

Then started the litany of tests. The CT Scan, in May 2014, showed that it had spread to bones in my hips and pelvis. On to an excellent oncologist, who I love, who told me in no uncertain terms that I had Stage IV and am terminal. She then started me on a chemo plan with 5 very strong drugs for 6 weeks. A new scan every 6 months or so with progressively better and better results. She now has me on Herceptin and Perjeta by infusion in my port every 3 weeks. I did NOT have to have surgery or radiation. Which made me so happy. Chemo was not a fun time but I lived through it. My oncologist is very straightforward and very diligent and she definitely knows what she’s doing. My last scan in August 2017 showed that there is – wait for it – NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!!

This is not my story. This is my cancer. My story is my faith, my marriage, my family and my heritage of love and faith to those that I’ve met along my journey before and after April 2014. Please remember me, not my cancer story. I do share this story in hope that it gives others courage, strength and hope. I have endured more in these last 3 years than I have in the previous 60 years of my life but I have grown more spiritually than I’ve even thought possible. My marriage is stronger and my relationship to my children and grandchildren are very precious to me. I am LIVING.

MetathriverGary Ricke