This is my third time surviving. I almost made it to a 20th year anniversary come Valentine’s Day 2015 but this past August was diagnosed again , in the same breast, but with Triple negative-invasive ductal carcinoma. 20 yrs. ago I knew I was ER/PR negative but Her2 wasn’t around then-it is now!-That is progress. My first breast cancer was rare-colloid carcinoma and at that time I had radiation treatments. Six weeks and off I went to lead my life. Not the former cut/slash/burn treatment, but a lumpectomy. That is progress. My treatment options were so customized this time around as opposed to 20 yrs. ago-that is progress. My second cancer in 2003 was a different type of cancer-endometrial and my treatment was a hysterectomy- no need for radiation-that is progress. Having been involved with the local affiliate here in the NC Triangle area I met this network of survivors and over the last 20 years have become the “Breast Friends”. Many of us have had breast cancer two or three times but we stand next to each other and hold each other and cry with each other and most of all-laugh with each other. That network wasn’t there for me 20 years ago -that is progress. Co-survivors are sometimes the forgotten. Without your spouse, your family, your church, your community this journey would have been a very lonely one. They hold you up-they hold your hand-they hold my heart. Without each and every one of them, I could not have done this three times. That network kept me sane in the craziest of times. That is progress. I could only imagine how bad it was to go through breast cancer prior to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the incredible “women and men of strength” I have been blessed to have and know in my journey. For those newly diagnosed I just want to say that you must ask questions- of your doctor, about your treatment-you must be a self-advocate. We are not cookie-cutter treatment but individualized care and concern. If your doctor doesn’t really listen to you-find someone who will.