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Breast Cancer Survivor: Jodie Spears

Jodie Spears is a breast cancer survivor and shared her story with us.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Jodie Spears is a breast cancer survivor. Here is her story:
I was first diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2003 - not quite 33 years old. I had a double mastectomy and did 6 rounds of chemotherapy. In late 2009, I battled my first recurrence. This time it had spread to my sternum. When breast cancer spreads to your bones or other organs it's still considered breast cancer and is designated Stage IV (or metastatic). This is when things often get scary. But today there are so many treatments that are targeted that my oncologist and I are approaching my cancer more like a chronic disease. I did another round of traditional chemo (lost my hair again) and started a targeted drug that I took via IV every three weeks for about three years.

In 2012, it came back to one of my lymph nodes. Again, I had to go back to a more traditional and harsher chemo..this time for six months (no hair loss this time). We also switched to a different targeted drug (as the last one had stopped working). I take five chemo pills a day (I still deal with side effects but not as harsh). I'll continue to take these until they stop working or the side effects become too harsh. If that happens we will once again attack the cancer and then determine my next long-term drug plan.

I JUST had my most recent scans and found out on Oct 2 (my birthday) that I'm still cancer-free. Getting scanned every six months will be the standard for me for some time. And with each scan I have to worry if my current chemo has stopped working. It's a stressful time that many survivors call scan-xiety (anxiety). I have hope and faith that I'll be around for a long time despite stats for Stage IV patients. So this year will mark 10 years that I have been battling this disease.
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