Cancer Survivors Speak Out | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 9/7/2012
"December 21, 2011. Everybody knows the date they were diagnosed," said cancer survivor Nancy Meiers.
On her 53rd birthday, Meiers learned she had cancer in both of her breasts. A month later, she began chemo and then went on to have a double mastectomy. Doctors detected the cancer in a mammogram. Meiers says she didn`t notice any bumps in her breasts and says the mammogram was key to finding the cancer.
"Ten years ago, we may not find that small size of cancer of we cannot use the MRI to diagnose cancer. But right now, we can detect up to half a centimeter size tumor," said Dr. Tarek Dufan with the Bismarck Cancer Center.
Meiers is just two weeks away from finishing radiation. She says her faith, family and friends have helped her beat cancer.
Diane Birkholz is also a cancer survivor, twice over. Doctors also discovered she had breast cancer in a mammogram. Four years later, she thought she was cancer-free and then she found out she had melanoma.
"Cancer`s a bully and it`s a beast. And it doesn`t fight fair," she said.
Birkholz didn`t let having cancer put a damper on her spirit. When she lost her hair during her chemo treatment for breast cancer, she found simple joy in collecting wigs.
"It was kind of fun every day to decide who you want to be that day. Maybe I was trying to escape a little bit, but I know I had to have some fun."
"You learn that you know life is precious and I think we take a lot of things for granted. You know a lot of little things that may have bothered me before don`t now," Meiers said.
Both women say getting the proper tests done saved their lives.
The Stand Up to Cancer Telethon is airing Friday, September 7, on NBC at 7:00 p.m. central.