Alene’s Five-Year Survivor Update after Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

Looking Back: Five Years

On July 10, 2016 Alene agreed to marry the love of her life. Just three days later, her entire world fell apart. 

Although she had no history of breast cancer in her family, she soon found herself sitting in a doctor’s office trying to process the words nobody wants to hear. 

“You have breast cancer.” 

It all started with a routine mammogram. Alene had just turned 41, and she was being proactive about her health by getting her first screening mammogram.  

The experience wasn’t quite what she expected. Alene’s primary care doctor called her to recommend an ultrasound to further investigate the abnormal results, but the results of the ultrasound only prompted more investigation. 

While Alene’s physician wasn’t sure if it was cancer, he referred her to a breast surgeon for a biopsy. The results of the biopsy were indisputable. 

When she first heard the news, Alene recalls that the doctor held her hand. 

“Everything was a blur,” she said. “I could see her lips moving, but I wasn’t hearing or processing anything that she was saying. My fiancé just sat in the chair looking at me. My mother was on speaker and just kept saying, ‘Are you sure?’”

At 41 years old, Alene was supposed to be planning her wedding and looking forward to a future with her fiancé. Instead, she was at the start of one of the most challenging seasons of her life. 

Alene’s official diagnosis was Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

Though difficult, she completed her treatment plan of two surgeries, eight rounds of chemo, and 24 rounds of radiation with the support of her loving family. 

Throughout her treatment, one thing was abundantly clear: Alene’s mammogram saved her life.

If Alene had postponed or avoided the procedure, it’s hard to say when she would have been diagnosed. However, many women choose to forgo the simple check-up due to finances. 

At NBCF, it’s our mission to provide early detection services to as many women as possible. 

“I am an advocate of early detection by mammogram because it saved my life,” Alene told us. “That is why I became a National Breast Cancer Foundation Community Ambassador: to encourage and empower women to take charge of their breast health.”

Wedding Bells and Survivor Bells

One year after her diagnosis, July 29, 2017, Alene married her husband. She writes, “My husband has been by my side through it all. He always says things happen for a reason. He was the primary caregiver to both his parents who died in 2009—three hours apart. He spoke at our wedding on how this prepared him to help me navigate through my journey.” 

Alene now reflects on where she is today:

September 23rd I will be a cancer survivor of five years. For women who have just been diagnosed, I would encourage you to ask questions and reach out to your family for questions they may have. I did this with my immediate family, and they came up with questions I would not have thought to ask my care team.”

Alene shares: “Your journey never really ends—only continues on in a different way.” As for what’s next on her journey?

“I want to travel home to Canada, since I have not been able to see friends and family due to the pandemic. I want to go to Hawaii to celebrate five years of survivorship. And I want to continue educating others on the importance of getting your first mammogram.”

National Cancer Survivors Day gives us a day to reflect on our unique experiences with cancer that led to where we are now and where we hope to be in the future. Join National Breast Cancer Foundation as we celebrate and honor survivors like Alene today and look to the future with renewed hope. 

National Breast Cancer Foundation is here for you and your loved ones. Whether you need support, education, or help during treatment, we have a team dedicated to get you the help you deserve.

17 Comments

  1. Thank you Alene for sharing your testimony of love, faith, and survival during the worst days of your life. You give hope to those just diagnosed. Gods blessings to you with many years of good health.🙏😘💪👏

    • Thank you for Sharing your beautiful journey God keep blessing you Always The story almost make me cry You’re strong woman What a fighter I’m glad You’re in my life

  2. Thanks for sharing hopefully you get to come home to Canada this year. If not hopefully Xmas in Vegas Wishing Many more years of good health

  3. Congrats Arlene. Such a wonderful story. 3 yr Survivor myself. I’m still under surveillance. I can’t wait to celebrate my 5 year mark like you! Keep on surviving and thriving ❤

  4. Alene, I too am a breast cancer survivor. I just completed my treatments as of February of this year and am now considered a breast cancer survivor, Praise the Lord for my healing. I also had stage II but mine was triple negative. I can empathize with you ,and I wish you all the best on your 5 year milestone. God Bless and take care. Sincerely, Marie

  5. I was due for my yearly mammogram in April 2020, but with the pandemic I couldn’t get it until October. Thank goodness I didn’t wait until the next April, because I was diagnosed with stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma and had a lumpectomy early dec. and radiation in February. Because my oncotype test number was under 26, I didn’t need chemo. But now I’m supposed to take an estrogen reducing pill (my tumor tested 99% positive for estrogen) for five years, and after trying it for 6 weeks I’m experiencing many side effects and maybe deciding not to take it at all. I will just be very diligent with my mammograms.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m inspired have had a similar encounter. I am an 18 month survivor of metaplastic triple negative bc.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very encouraging.

    May God bless you as you continue to share.

    Congratulations 🎊🥰

  8. Hola Arlene, me uno a ti ya que yo también soy sobreviviente de cáncer de mama, yo tengo 55 años, y mi operación fue el 24 de noviembre de 2020 y termine mi tratamiento el 10 de marzo de 2021. Y estoy y me siento bien gracias a Dios.

  9. Thank you for your inspirational story. My story is identical. It was discovered on my first ever mammo, also IDC, but it was a stage 1 until surgery, then was changed to a 2. I had only been married a year and a half. I am now 1 year and 8 months post surgery and a couple weeks past the 1 year for finishing treatment. Prayers for all warriors and survivors!

  10. My dear friend. You are such an inspiration to me and all your family and friends. So happy for you in your survival of this disease. I am so looking forward to seeing you when you come back to Canada for a visit. Love you 💜💜💜💜

  11. Great story. So glad you are doing well. Drop a quick line if you make it to Sherwood Park and will swing by to say hi

  12. I respect you, your fight, and your win! I had the honor of working with you for a little while and your beauty shines inside and out. Amazing is an understatement.

  13. Alene you now have a new friend in your corner, me. My mom died from CLL which is a form of leukemia in 2009. And I can also relate to your husband in that me and my brothers along with a “play” brother of mine took care of my parents who died less than ten years apart (dad had strokes). I am very proud of you and hope that you get safely home to Canada this fall. On my mom’s side I am related to a mixed race gentleman of color from Winston-Salem, NC who lived in Canada and was a newspaperman who covered the “Calgary Stamped” for several years in the 1920’s. He was Sylvester Long. You are my role model.

  14. In January of 2021 I had my routine mammogram…. Found a suspicious spot….biopsy done and breast cancer found…..noninvasive DCIS….I was devastated, and alone as my husband had just passed away the month before……19 radiation treatments, and hormone therapy is next…..the breast cancer sites along with my radiation doctor is getting me thru this……bless us Sisters in this fight together.💕💕💕

  15. Thank you for sharing your story!!

    I am 57 yrs old. I had routine mammogram on 1/6/2021 was called back for micro -calcifications. I had never had abnormal mammo and NO family history so I was trying to remain positive. After 2nd mammo, followed biopsy by mammography, MRI, and 2nd biopsy by mri, I was told atypical hyperplasia (precancerous cells) spread over two quadrants of left breast and needed to be removed but due to size of area that needed to be removed, I would be left disfigured and a mastectomy was only option. Long story short on 3/24/2021, I had a bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstructive surgery at the same time. Pathology report showed atypical hyperplasia had already turned to DCIS on left side, and right side (that WAS clear) showed atypical hyperplasia (precancerous cells) were beginning to form on right. Thankfully, because it was detected early, and all breast tissue was removed, I do not need chemo or radiation. Early detection saved me. I didn’t loose my hair but I did lose both breasts and am still suffering internally both medically and mentally. Would like to hear from others with similar scenario. Am I a breast cancer survivor?

  16. Thanks for sharing. I’m 37 and was diagnosed with the same TNBC yesterday. This give me hope and I will fight!

    Catrina

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