GeneralMy other profile links to view:
Daring to date again
Finding love is tough enough, never mind at age 33 with breast cancer.
From the October 2008 issue
By Stefanie LaRue with Paula Derrow
COCOECO Magazine Launch 10/08 http://cocoecomag.com/
STAND UP TO CANCER I had the opportunity to work with Stand up to Cancer and just finished shooting. The below PSA is a powerful project I am very honored and proud to be a part of...
I host a web cast radio talk show and have had the opportunity to interview some very intriguing people that range from Executive Directors of breast cancer and animal organizations to survivors to interviewing the man who found the lump in my breast. Other links include me being interviewed to share my story which I encourge everyone to do. It is a good way for all of us to learn from each other.
To listen to these interviews log onto the SLAM (The Stefanie LaRue Advocacy Movement) website under PRESS http://www.metooyoutoo.org
FOX 11 NEWS GOOD DAY LA LIVE with Jillian, Dorthy and Steve 10/27/06 ..
Stefanie LaRue Shares Her Tale of Survival Click Here
I was honored to be the spokesperson for Think Products and the THINK PINK FASHION SHOW and press conference
My interests include the following:
Raising awareness about the unique needs of young women who are battling metastatic breast cancer. Women diagnosed in their teens, 20's and 30's face unique challenges with treatment, fertility, child care issues, work, financial obstacles, sexuality and relationships.
My Advocacy work efforts: lobbying to the local, state, and national governments to fully support and pass breast cancer legislative bills that include THE BREAST CANCER AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH ACT Bill.
Ecouraging the use of environmentally safe, chemical free products. For example: FOOD, toiletries, cosmetics, clothing, household, and interior/exterior home furnishings.
I advocate AGAINST tourist horse carriage rides that take place in many cities because often times the horses are overworked and mistreated.
Check this out...
Research: investigating and conducting studies about what contributing factors from the environment cause breast cancer.
MY TOP CANCER RESOURCE LINKS:
.. LOVE http://www.Imtooyoungforthis.org and fully support the bill >http://www.seventyk.org
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Young Survival Coalition: Excellent organization specifically for young women who are UNDER the age of 40 that have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
National Breast Cancer Coalition: Grassroots Advocacy in Action
Some other websites I think you all should view and contribute to...
Now, where my HEART lies... ..
As many of you may know, I am a HUGE animal lover and I am quickly becoming an animal activist too! NOTHING breaks my heart more than to hear stories of animals who have been abused and/or neglected or whom have been put to death in tourchering ways. It simply makes me sick to my stomach! I am a very passionate supporter when it comes to animal rights... which at this time, they have none. WE, as a society, NEED TO CHANGE THIS!!! ESPECIALLY after what has happened with the enourmous pet food RECALL in which hundreds of animals have died. What recourse do pet owners as well as the suffering animals have? NONE! WHY?? Because animals are still considered "property". Well... MY DOGS ARE CONSIDERED FAMILY and are treated as so. And so I say...
A PRAYER FOR THE ANIMALS
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, especially for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that will be put to death. And, for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.
Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened. - Anatole France
Sarah McLaughlin's PSA for ASPCA
The following video shows just how dogs can play a role in detecting cancer! PRETTY COOL!!
OTHER INTERESTS include volleyball, concerts, movies, softball, reading, running, rollerblading, hiking, jet skiing, dancing, horseback riding, racing quads and doonbuggies and traveling.
Recipient of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) 2007 Survivor Circle Award Participant in the Award Winning Documentary THE QUIET WAR http://www.affinityfilms.org/trailers/
MusicAudra Mae, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Melissa Etheridge, Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Led Zeplin, STP, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Cocker, The Fray, Kieth Urban, Sarah McLachlan, Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera Justin Timberlake, Josh Grobin, Stained, Coldplay, Goldfrapp, Sugarland, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood
Movies..Earthlings, An Inconvenient Truth, Life as a House, Wanted, Sweet November, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Layer Cake, Casino Royal, Closer, Mystic River, Primal Fear, My Life Without Me, Braveheart, Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, The Last of the Mohikans, Heat, Rain Man, Dangerous Beauty, 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid
Books..books that encourage, educate and promote healthy ways to treat and care for animals (Eco Dog), Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book (my breast cancer BIBLE), Skinny Bitch, It's Not About the Bike, The Alchemist
Heroes.. People who truly advocate for a cause
People who are committed animal activists/advocates
My biggest hero is my dog/child Milly. She has been a warrior through all that she has endured in her own battle to stay alive being disabled. Milly has been the number one reason I have been inspired to live a healthy lifestyle. She has helped heal me and she has brought such joyful happiness back into my life.
My Integrative Oncologist Dr. Kenneth Conklin: I strongly believe his focus on integrative therapy is why I am still alive today and doing so incredibly well. I also salute the rest of my oncology team of doctors, nurses and even the administration staff at the UCLA Revlon Breast Cancer Center, the radiation department and the Tedd Mann Resource Center for their excellence in quality care, never ending kindness and for always greeting me with a smile and a hug!
My friends who have suffered and died from this torturous disease: Courtney Cleavenger (23) http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=139751249, Michele Larson (34) http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=56197475, Courtney Cleavenger (23), Elizabeth Borlik (35), Kim Zander (34), Marcela Vargas (31), Sandrine (31), Felipe (31), Bonnie Grasse (60) and Maria (Ree) Bruno (read article below): may you all sleep peacefully with the angels........
My beautiful friend Michele Larson (9/22/74 - 7/8/08)
ARTICLE TO READ:
Girls and Their Dogs
Stefanie LaRue and my sister Maria (Ree) Bruno
Stefanie LaRue was on GoodDay LA this morning spreading the word about her discovery of a lump, then multiple misdiagnoses of, and finally her actual diagnosis and battle with Stage 4 breast cancer. Her story is similar to my sister Maria's in that she had been misdiagnosed for years (likely due to a misconception about likelihood of cancer in younger women). That misconception is a big part of Stefanie's message, which has been in the back of my (and I'm sure in the rest of my family's) mind as to whether or not it could've made the difference in saving my sister's life. Stefanie is now classified as NED: No Evidence of Disease after having courageously faced an onslaught of difficult surgeries mixed in with rounds of chemotherapy. There's nothing so wonderful as to watch her vitality as she begins a likely lifelong dedication towards bringing attention to such a worthy cause. She truly is a fighter, a warrior! ReeRee was too. Go Stefanie!
posted by T Bruno Jr at 10:14 PM
- Jun 17, 2009 10:50 AM Cancer patient tells of rips in health insurance safety net
- Aug 20, 2008 5:50 AM Check out this event: News Anchors Stand up to Cancer on Larry King Live
- Jul 18, 2008 11:10 PM U.S. Army Shooting Live Pigs in Trauma Training on July 18
- Jul 11, 2008 9:23 PM Michele Larson’s Wake in San Diego
- Jul 9, 2008 8:18 PM My friend Michele Larson is now sleeing with the angels
About me:I am a breast cancer survivor. Three different doctors told me I was too young to have breast cancer. THEY WERE WRONG! By the time I was diagnosed, I had stage 4 metastatic (life threatening) breast cancer. I was only 30 years old. I was given one year to live.
Too often young women are misdiagnosed. Just like I was.
That is why I chose to become a very active and outspoken patient advocate raising awareness to prevent breast cancer from killing another young woman. I have made it a priority the past couple of years to attend all annual breast cancer conferences so that I can learn more about this disease that affects so many, myself included. I am a student absorbing all that I can from the great mentors in the breast cancer arena and there are many. The disturbing fact is THERE IS VERY LITTLE DATA/STUDIES, IF ANY, ON BREAST CANCER IN YOUNGER WOMEN! Imagine that!! My question is WHY? Why is our demographic not being closely tracked and followed and WHY are we not being included in conducted research studies across the world? This MUST change! I URGE YOU... If you find a suspicious lump in or around your breasts see your doctor immediately. Be assertive and demand to have an ultrasound or biopsy if needed. It could save your life.
For commercial castings and speaker request bookings please contact my agent:
818-487-1800 * 226
For sports and active lifestyle castings please contact my agent:
Sports Unlimited Agency
Stefanie LaRue is a young Cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer when she was only 30 years old, after having been misdiagnosed by several physicians. Stefanie was given one year to live.
More than three years have passed since her diagnosis and Stefanie LaRue is very much alive. After aggressive chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation and weekly physical therapy, as well as the integration of alternative treatments, Stefanie has emerged as a dedicated activist. She is focused on Breast Cancer prevention, early detection and education. She concentrates on raising awareness of the need for breast cancer diagnosis in young women in their teens, twenties and thirties – a diagnosis that was previously ignored and unspoken. She hopes that the days of hearing “You’re too young to have breast cancer” will soon be OVER!
Stefanie has become nationally known as the young Breast Cancer Warrior, sharing her life in the award winning documentary, THE QUIET WAR. Television appearances/interviews include CNN, MSNBC, FOX 11 NEWS GOOD DAY LA LIVE and other major news networks, Susan G. Komen’s NEWS FOR THE CURE, Understanding Cancer, Lifetime’s Health Corner, Lifetime’s If I were President campaign, Stand up to Cancer Campaign, The Hallmark Channel, Vital Options The Group Room, Public Service Announcements for Lifetime and Women in Film. She was featured in the April 2009 issue of HEALTH Magazine, the October 2008 issues of SELF and COCOECO magazines and the 2006 issue of INSTYLE, Stand up to Cancer montage and numerous radio, newspaper and internet broadcast radio interviews. Stefanie is the official spokesperson of the Breast Preservation Foundation and was one of the 2007 spokeswomen for the Revlon Run/Walk campaign. She also lobbies to Congress and the Senate annually on Capital Hill in Washington DC to pass Breast Cancer Legislative Bills.
Stefanie is also a very active and proud board member for both Susan G. Komen for the Cure LA County and Southern California’s Breast Cancer Network of Strength affiliate. She sits on the USC Norris Cancer Center’s Cancer Survivorship Advisory Counsel and attends all annual conferences, events, fundraisers and meetings for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Young Survivor Coalition, National Breast Cancer Coalition, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, I2Y, California Breast Cancer Research Program, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and the Los Angeles Breast Cancer Alliance. She was honored as the recipient of the 2007 American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology Survivorship Circle Award and is a Project Lead Graduate.
She has been invited to serve as the honorary/key note speaker for numerous special events for various organizations including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society, The Playboy Mansion, Women’s Healthcare Forum, College Campuses, Young Professionals, Women’s groups, Hospitals, Medical Students, Nursing Programs, and even Churches. She is a patient navigator for several hospitals, volunteering her time and guiding young women to case specific information and resources.
Stefanie is a passionate advocate, survivor, surrogate cancer sister, educator, speaker, actor/model, writer, volunteer, daughter, environmentalist, animal activist, sports enthusiast, volleyball player, mother to her dog Milly, and a leading spokeswoman for a no-nonsense, real life. She is celebrating the woman she feels she was meant to become.
Stefanie, and young women like her, are the new faces and voices of breast cancer.
CNN interview 1/17/07
I can't tell you all enough how pleased I was that this interview made the front home page of CNN's website! HOW EXCITING!! It makes me feel so good to know that all of our combined efforts are paying off! Way to go cancer survivors!!! They are PAYING ATTENTION! I encourage you all to keep sending in your stories. THEY MUST BE HEARD!!!
The following pic is the DVD cover for a documentary that I shot this past summer (2006) about 5 women living with Metastatic breast cancer. To view more details about the film log onto...
Click on the following link to see that our film,THE QUIET WAR, WON the Reel Women in Film Festival here in Los Angeles this past March 2007. Again... HORRAAAY! It is so rewarding to know that there were over 2500 submissions in the documentary category and our film was selected to win. How prestigious!
Reel Women Film Festival of Los Angeles Program Book
What you are about to read is a sumarized version of the journey that I have been on the last couple of years of my life. I hope you all feel my words in your hearts and share this experience and message with others.
I was diagnosed in November 2005 with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. I was given one year to live. I was only 30 years old. I was assured several times by my doctors that I was too young to have breast cancer. Guess what? I wasn't! I am writing this not only to share my story with you, but also in the hope that I might be able to help change the way the medical profession, insurance companies and people in general view breast cancer. It is one of my many goals to change the medical protocol for young women, allowing for possible early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
People generally think that breast cancer is a disease that affects only mom or grandma. Not so. Aggressive and life threatening breast cancers are infecting the younger generations, myself included. For these reasons, we have a lower survival rate. Younger women also have many more years to endure likely reoccurrences accompanied by side effects. A Stage 4 Metastatic (which means life threatening) diagnosis means cancer cells have spread outside of the localized area (the breast), beyond the lymph nodes and into the body’s bloodstream. From there the cancer cells can attach, host, and attack any part of the body at any time by invading bones or organs or both. Who is really educated on this subject? More importantly, who is paying attention? Sadly, not many. This misguided view of breast cancer drastically affected my battle with the disease, and I am not the first to be overlooked in such a manner. That is why I feel compelled to do my part to help deliver the message about breast cancer diagnosis/misdiagnosis in younger women. In my case, a one month earlier detection could have made a life changing/saving difference.
On Saturday evening, October 15, 2005, a gentleman I was dating at the time found a lump in my right breast. He immediately brought it to my attention and expressed his concern that I see a doctor right away. I have to admit I was surprised not just by his discovery, but by the fact that I had not discovered it before. For the rest of the weekend I couldn’t forget about the lump. I found myself constantly rubbing, mashing, and massaging my breast trying to figure out how it's exact size. I started to worry about the possibilities of what it could be.
On Monday I called the doctor’s office that was listed on my insurance card. Because I was a new patient (no records of prior illness because of good health) they couldn’t get me in right away, so my appointment was set five days later. After my doctor examined me he had a look of uncertainty that I found unsettling. He actually asked if I had been bitten on my breast. After somewhat amazedly confirming that he was referring to a sexual bite, I answered him with a quick NO. He then explained that some women get what is called Mastitis, which typically occurs in breast-feeding mothers. He said that while rare, some non-mothers do get Mastitis. I asked him about the possibility of this being breast cancer. He said I was too young and healthy looking and added that breast cancer is generally not painful or sensitive to the touch like what I was experiencing. He also stated that my mass did not fit the profile as it was not a defined lump. Naturally I agreed because I was taking good care of myself, eating healthfully, and working out. Still uncertain about my condition he prescribed an antibiotic and Vicodin for the pain, telling me to call him in a week if I didn’t feel better.
A week later I didn’t feel any better. I was running a low-grade fever every day at work and having hot flashes (I didn’t know what those were at the time but certainly do now!) I was having EXTREME pain in my right breast and surrounding area, and was starting to notice my nipple retracting and inverting. That was unsettling. I had to show this to my doctor. Upon my return, he examined me again still believing what I had was Mastitis. I told him that it was strange but in those 10 days I was certain the lump had grown. He didn’t seem to agree after examining it once more but recommended I see this cancer surgeon who had operated on his father. He told me that he trusted this man with his father’s life when he had cancer and was certain that I would be in good hands. He then emailed the cancer surgeon explaining my situation and that I should see him right away. This began my nightmare.
By the time I got in to see the surgeon my symptoms had worsened. I asked my mom to drive in from out of town to attend this appointment with me, as I had faced the prior ones alone. I could tell she too was really starting to worry about the lump, regardless of the message that my primary care doctor was sending that I was too young to have breast cancer. After measuring my lump at 4 centimeters, the surgeon said exactly the same thing and sent me home with more antibiotics and Vicodin. I ended up going home with three different rounds of antibiotics and no tests. I could feel this so called infection growing inside of me and continued to express my concern to my doctors. I felt like they were not listening to me, but because they didn’t seem to be worried I kept telling myself that it was nothing serious. So wrong.
After returning once more to see my surgeon with no improvement, he scheduled an ultra sound. A large, inflamed mass was identified. The head of radiology came into my room to double check the tech’s results. He then asked me to get dressed and to come into his office for discussion. My nerves were twisted. He showed me my x-rays on the light boards and explained that though the mass was rather large, 4.6 centimeters large, and that it looked like I had a lot of inflammation, he felt strongly that it looked like a breast infection. Wrong again! This was doctor number three.
I finally had an incisional biopsy (that I felt I really had to push for), yet even in the recovery room I was told again by my surgeon that he doubted it was breast cancer. He believed it was just some kind of rare, strange, unusual breast infection. I was also told that the lab was probably going to take some time in getting back to me, because if he didn’t know what it was then the lab would probably not be able to identify it immediately either. Another incorrect assumption. Much to my surprise, two days later on my way to work I received a phone call from my doctor’s office asking me to come in at an hour's notice. She briefly explained that some of my test results had come back and my doctor wanted to see me. I phoned my mom excitedly believing that the NEGATIVE cancer results were already back and that it was indeed just what all of my doctors had thought… a breast infection.
On Tuesday, November 22, 2005 while sitting alone, I was told that I had a very aggressive kind of breast cancer. I went into shock! I immediately thought I was going to die. My cancer surgeon read from my pathology report these 20 letter words that I have never heard of nor could I comprehend in those moments. I knew that by the look in his eyes what he was reading to me was very serious. If I had known that I was to receive this kind of results I would have not gone to this appointment alone, but I was not prepared by anyone for this possibility. My doctor asked me if there was anyone I needed to call. I said, "I need YOU to call my mom at work and tell her what you have just told me because I can't say these words to her". At that moment I couldn't even say the word "cancer" much less tell someone that I had cancer. Still in shock, I remained composed until I heard my mom’s voice. I could not hold back anymore and the tears started pouring. I told her to sit down and my doctor was going to tell her something. I could feel her heart pounding through the phone with mine. I felt her panic. He began to tell her of my diagnosis. She cried out in tears. Her heart was broken. That is when I began to feel numb. My mom hung up and my doctor asked if there was anyone else to call. After experiencing his cold bed-side manner (time and time again), and how he handled the call to my mom, I decided that it was best for me to handle the call to the man I had been dating who would become my boyfriend. My mom said she would call my dad and the rest of the family in Texas while driving my way. My surgeon walked me back to the front reception area and told his assistant that she needed to call and get me in for a Bone Scan, CT/PET scan, chest X-Rays, Blood work and a full body MRI. Hearing my surgeon use the word “stat” gave me the shakes. The reality of my situation flooded me with anxiety. I wanted to cry so badly but felt I couldn’t until I walked myself to my car and then it would be ok to let go. That’s exactly what I did.
Sitting in my car in the parking garage, I called my boyfriend and asked him to please meet me at my apartment ASAP. He knew. He could hear it in my voice. I tried to stay strong because I knew I had to somehow drive myself home in one piece after hearing this life threatening diagnosis. Driving back to my apartment alone was extremely challenging. My vision was blurred by the tears that constantly filled my eyes. Once I arrived, I fell on my couch and completely fell apart. I sat there in the dark and cried with amazement that something like this could happen to me. I say this because all I knew of breast cancer was that it happened to OLDER women. NOT women in their thirties. I had never heard of someone my age getting breast cancer. The more I thought about what I was told, the harder I cried. My stomach was turned inside out. Twenty minutes later my boyfriend walked in, took one look at me, began crying, and held me. He held me for what seemed like eternity. He didn’t want to let go. I told him of my diagnosis and that I would completely understand if he needed to leave. Leave ME that is. I gave him that option because I knew this was something he did not sign up for (of course nor did I). This was my battle to fight and I already knew that it would be a heartbreaking one to witness. Completely devoted, he stayed.
Upon my mom’s arrival at my apartment she walked in and hugged my so tightly as to never let go again. She cried out in sorrow, “not my angel baby, please not her, take me instead, please take me instead, this is not how it is supposed to happen”. I have never seen nor heard my mom cry as she did that day. My dad and grandma flew in from Texas that night sharing the same emotions and shedding the same tears.
Less than 48 hours away was Thanksgiving Day. I told my boyfriend (who informed my friends) as well as my family that I did not want ANY cancer discussion. I wanted the day to be festive and fun, not depressing with sadness and tears. Besides, my Dallas Cowboys were playing that day and that game is something me and my family look forward to every year. And it was as I wished.
Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, it was time to go back to work. Not to my current job but to the hospital. I had my first CT/PET scan. The following Monday I was scheduled for a bone scan. Tuesday I had extensive blood work and an appointment with the gynecologist due to 2 weeks of irregular bleeding. The first thought by all was my cancer had spread to my ovaries. A vaginal ultrasound proved negative for cancer. Thank goodness! Wednesday I had a 2 hour full body MRI. All I can say is MISERY!! Especially when you are closter phobic! You bet cha I pushed that panic button! It was all I could do to get through that scan for that long. It was also a day of results from my oncologist. Sitting in my oncologist office with my boyfriend, family, and best friend present, I was told there was a spinal lesion on my T12 vertebrae. If in fact this proved to be cancer I was given one year to live (if I was lucky he said) because of how aggressively it was spreading. My oncologist then scheduled a spinal bone biopsy. My nerves were on edge. I needed a second opinion ASAP!
After being referred to a highly credible breast cancer surgeon (by my boss’s wife who had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer) at a leading breast cancer center I was immediately scheduled for multidisciplinary consultations. After three frustrating days of trying to find out my spinal bone biopsy results from my first oncologist, the current nurse practitioner said that she would call over and get the results for me. She did just that! Unfortunately, she had to be the bearer of bad news. I was upgraded to Stage 4 Metastatic. The cancer had spread beyond my breast into my lymph nodes and spine. The visions that invaded my mind were so horrific! Again, I felt sick to my stomach. Now I am really going to die. I thought about getting my affairs in order and writing a will. After all, this was the clear message that I was receiving from the doctors. Then I said to myself, wait a minute, I am only thirty years old! This can’t be happening. Sadly, it was. It seemed bad news was never-ending that day.
Within three weeks I started chemotherapy. By that time my lump measured over 8 centimeters. My tumors were a constant reminder of the cancer that had invaded my body. For that reason, I welcomed the chemo. Prior to starting chemo, I had a direct line portocath inserted into my left arm. Thank goodness again because my hands and arms were bruised and my veins collapsed and ripped from constant attempts and insertions of IV and shot needles. Chemo treatments consisted of six hour infusions, three weeks apart, for six months. First week post treatment I developed a neutropenic fever. I was rushed to the emergency room where I spent 10 hours experiencing hallucinations, 104 fever, and excruciating body and bone pain. The kind of bone and joint pain I felt was absolutely UNBEARABLE! I will just say this: I was in SO MUCH PAIN that I did not want to be alive experiencing it any further. I was ready to “check out". My white blood cells had dropped to 0.0! I had NO protection to fight any germs, yet, I was in the ER for 10 hours with nothing but sick people. The ER doctors said they had never seen anyone’s white blood cells bottom out to 0 the way mine did and especially at the rate in how fast they dropped. I was admitted to a high level quarantined room for the next three days over Christmas. Only my mom and boyfriend could visit me. No other visitors or any deliveries (flowers/balloons, etc.) were allowed in my room because of possible germ transmission. Due to my white blood cell count bottoming out, it was ordered that everything and everyone who was allowed in my room was sterile. Being quarantined for seven days following future infusions was now mandatory. Because of severe dehydration due to extreme diarrhea and vomiting, Hydration treatments were also added to my regimen.
Some of the intolerable side effects of chemo included nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, severe diarrhea, body cramps and Edema in my legs in which I had to live in compression tights for 3 months. That was a sexy time of my life! Loss of memory from chemo brain was the most frustrating and embarrassing side effect. By this time, I had dropped 20 pounds. I couldn’t taste anything for the thick coating of toxins on my tongue. I developed hemorrhoids from the severe constipation due to the Vicodin for pain management. As an added bonus, the chemo forced my body into early menopause. With this came blazing hot flashes, drenching night sweats, and grave insomnia. I was told that I could never have children because the presence of estrogen in my body would feed my cancer. My doctors warned me that if I did get pregnant while under going treatment, either decision made, I would probably die. I was emotionally devastated. I wondered how people could live through this. I now know first hand it is truly mind over matter.
I spent my 31st birthday in February 2006 participating at the Young Survivor Coalition (YSC) conference in Denver. There I found many other women close to my age living with breast cancer. I was relieved in a sense because I felt so lost and alone after my diagnosis. I had just finished my third round of chemo and of course was still bald at the time. I was relieved to be among many, many other young faces and bald heads. I needed to relate to someone that truly understood what I was going through because they were living through the same nightmare.
In May 2006, I was given the opportunity to attend the National Breast Cancer Coalition Conference (NBCC) in Washington DC. There I learned of the NBCC's Agenda, exactly what it stood for, and what it meant for me. While on Capitol Hill, I met with numerous Congressmen and women sharing my story and lobbying to pass the National Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act. I chose to go bald that weekend to specifically to make a statement to every member of Congress and the Senate. The message was... I could be your daughter! Now what are you going to do about this problem? I was one of the youngest of 600 women attending this conference. However for me, a price was paid. While in Washington my legs, ankles and feet began to swell. At times, I found it very difficult to walk. Upon my return home to Los Angeles, I was wheel chaired from plane to plane because of connecting flights. By the time I landed back in LAX, my feet no longer looked like my own. The change in altitude had taken its toll. The damage was done. I suffered from a serious form of Edema. I was immediately put on bed rest.
After I finished chemo I had 2 surgeries. One in May of 2006 and the other in June. My surgeon tried to remove all of the cancer the first go around but because of the large size of the tumor none of my margins were clear. So, they had to go back in again for another try exactly two weeks later. When I removed the bandages the second time I was left with only a nipple on my right side. My breast surgeon had scraped all the way down to the chest wall removing all the breast tissue possible. At least they saved my nipple and did what is called “nipple sparing”. Because of this I had what is termed a partial mastectomy followed by lots of physical therapy and Radiation therapy treatments. I had four places radiated: my breast, collarbone, lymph nodes and spine. And boy did I burn! Badly!!
Today, I am still classified as NED: No Evidence of Disease. I very surprisingly got my period back after being in menopause for almost 2 ½ years. I have now switched from being on an Aromatase Inhibitor, Femara back to Tamoxifen which is a drug for premenopausal women. I feel it is critical I share my experiences and knowledge with as many other daughters, sisters and girlfriends who potentially be diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. Cancer knows no color, age, or sex. It has no boundaries. It doesn’t care how big or small your boobs are. This happened to me, and it can happen to anyone. It has changed my life forever. I have been told by my doctors it is not a question of if the cancer reoccurs, it is a question of HOW, WHEN, and WHERE it reoccurs. In most cases, they are right because sadly I continue to see this happening all too much to my friends and peers.
From my journey with Metastatic breast cancer, me, my mom and my friends (who I consider family) have all joined together as a team and started SLAM (Stefanie LaRue Advocacy Movement). SLAM boldly educates young women in their teens, twenties and thirties that they too can get breast cancer even with no family history. Younger women are often misdiagnosed because they are told they are "too young" and "don't fit the profile" which can lead to a later staging of diagnosis that in some cases is aggressive and terminal. We teach the importance of how and why it is so critical for young women to be their own advocate. SLAM focuses on breast cancer prevention and education and encourages healthy life style choices that include diet, nutrition and an eco friendly environment.
It is my highest hope that because I have chosen to share my story with the world other young women will learn a potentially life saving lesson that they too are at risk for breast cancer. Cancer does NOT discriminate! I only wish I would have known that I could get it at my young age even with no family history BEFORE it happened to me. Please, do your part now and help pass this urgent message along.
Thank you kindly for your attention,
For further information on SLAM log onto http://www.metooyoutoo.org
My email is http://email@example.com
Other places I have profiles:
MODEL MAYHEM (My # is 558602)
My AIM SCREEN NAME is SASSYCHEEKS07
Currently 33 years of age
DX 11/22/05 at age 30
Stage 4 Metastatic
8+ cm primary tumor
Neoadjuvant chemo: TAC (Taxotere, Adriomysin, Cytoxin)
2 right lumpectomies
20 lymph nodes removed, 4 positive
7 weeks radiation
Still patiently waiting for Reconstruction
LOVE YOUR BOOBS BECAUSE CANCER LOVES THEM TOO!!!
And finally, I consider myself a warrior. What is the definition of a warrior? One who is engaged in or experienced in battle. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict. In other words... one who kicks the living shit out of cancer! Yes, this is me. :)
Who I'd like to meet:Other like-minded animal, breast cancer and environmental activists/advocates who are actually TAKING ACTION TO BRING ABOUT POSITIVE CHANGE IN OUR WORLD.
- Status: Single
- Here for: Networking, Friends
- Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
- Body type: 5' 8" / Slim / Slender
- Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
- Religion: Christian - other
- Zodiac Sign: Pisces
- Smoke / Drink: No / Yes
- Occupation: Patient Advocate, Spokesperson
Tarleton State University
1995 to 1996
- Stephenville, TX
- Graduated: N/A
- Student status: Alumni
1993 to 1995
- Hillsboro, TX
- Graduated: N/A
- Student status: Alumni
Whitney H S
1983 to 1993
- Whitney, TX
- Graduated: 1993
- Student status: Alumni
- Degree: High School Diploma
SLAM (Stefanie LaRue Advocacy Movement)
- Los Angeles, CA US
- Founder / President
Breast Preservation Foundation
- Los Angeles, CA US
- National Spokesperson