Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"I Have Breast Cancer"

This past weekend I had to sit my 9 and 11 year-old twins down to tell them that mommy has breast cancer. 

Two weeks ago I went for my annual mammogram as I do every year religiously, and thankfully it was all clear. That is always the moment where I feel I can breathe again. However for women who have dense fibrous breast tissue, as I do, often our doctors will recommend an ultrasound as well. My ultrasound that day revealed a tumor in my right breast. After a core biopsy was performed, I heard those words that every woman fears and that I never thought I’d hear: “you have breast cancer.” 

I sat there stunned – how could this be? I considered myself fit and healthy, I get checked faithfully every year and I didn’t have a history of breast cancer in my family. But of course after covering many stories about breast cancer over the years, I knew that none of us are exempt. I also knew that I had to jump into action quickly, put together a team, and find the best course of treatment for the kind of cancer that I have. 

In the first few days I thought about trying to keep it a secret, however I knew that did not ring true to who I am and how I have lived my life. 

I have decided to talk about my breast cancer because since the moment I took the job at Good Morning America I have lived my life sharing my joys and my disappointments with all of you: my pregnancies, my relationships, my career… I have shared my journey. So it certainly didn’t feel right keeping this part of my journey a secret. 

My father was a cancer surgeon and he died when I was a young girl on a flight home from speaking at a Cancer Conference. I so admired my father’s passion to save lives and work toward a cure for cancer. I thought about what he would say if he knew that I was going through this and that I had ultimately lived my life in front of an audience. I knew that he would want me to use this experience as an opportunity to spread the word about how important it is to get screened for all types of cancers and for women to do self-breast exams. Early detection is so crucial, I consider myself fortunate that I found this in the early stages and the prognosis is so promising. 

Breast cancer is not something to be ashamed of or something that we should feel is taboo to discuss. I’ll admit, even though I’ve shaped my career around health and wellness advocacy, speaking all over the country, and even running a women's wellness camp where I encourage others to share their stories… it took me some time to embrace the idea of coming forward with MY breast cancer journey. 

I have already begun my chemotherapy and I am blessed to have my husband Jeff and my three older daughters with me every step of the way. I am so thankful to have the support, wisdom, and guidance from all my doctors and the loving support of my family and my friends. I know I have a challenge ahead of me in this journey, however I have chosen to take it as an opportunity to fulfill my father’s legacy and try to inspire others to protect their health. 

With Love, 
Joan


89 comments:

  1. Welcome to the club we never wanted to be in - survivorship of breast cancer. I'm an 8 year survivor. No mushy stuff, just go kick some butt.

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    1. When she says "aggressive" do you suppose it's triple negative? That's what I have and I'm curious

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    2. I have TNBC and was wondering the same thing.... hope she shares this.

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    3. Curious, I had TNBC. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer. I'm just about 2 years out, and feeling great!

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    4. My heart and prayers go out to you. I too am a Breast Cancer Survivor almost 3 years. I too was triple negative. Went through surgery, chemo and radiation. For one year it was all a blur. I had wonderful support from my family and friends. At first I could not even talk about the "C" word. My family was right there with me for every treatment, every hair style and all my moods.
      May God will bless you and be at your side.

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    5. I also had triple negative breast cancer. I had surgery, then chemo, then radiation. I was in a trial for the chemo. I am also almost to the 2 year mark! If it is TNBC you have, that is a big milestone. I also would be willing to help answer any questions you may have Joan.

      Warrior mode is good. You may get a LOT of advice on how to handle everything, especially once you are further along in treatment. My best advice on that - everyone is different, so handle things however you need to for you! Don't compare or even worry about what worked for someone else. Having said that, do not hesitate to ask for help or advice either.

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    6. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 TNBC last year. I was told by my surgeon and oncologist that it is more agressive than other breast cancers with hormone receptors. I think the most agressive is "inflammatory breast cancer"...but I could be wrong. Back to TNBC...recurrence rates are higher in TNBC than hormone receptor breast cancers.

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    7. Dear Paula,

      Thanks for sharing these words of encouragement with Joan. If you are able to submit your email address to info@joanlunden.com Joan Lunden Productions would love to reach out to you.

      Best Wishes,
      Elaine
      Joan Lunden Productions

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  2. I too was diagnosed with an aggressive form (triple negative) in 2007. Chemo, and multiple surgeries and am here to tell you that "warrior mode" is good. You will be in the battle and will have the scars both physical and emotional to prove you went to war, and you will win! Wishing you all the best.

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    1. Dear Nadine,

      Thanks for sharing these words of encouragement with Joan. If you are able to submit your email address to info@joanlunden.com Joan Lunden Productions would love to reach out to you.

      Best Wishes,
      Elaine
      Joan Lunden Productions

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  3. Hi Joan! My heart is with you and just know that the DIVINE is at work! My 35-year-old sister -- who has 5 kids and a set of twins ---- also has breast cancer; she was diagnosed in December 2013 with stage 4. As a former TV Reporter from NYC -- I encourage you to also read the information regarding alternative therapies to breast cancer. I feel too often medical doctors don't provide this information to patients --- and there are other alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation in your body. Every soul is different, yet it's good to have BOTH sides of the story on alternative medication instead of injecting chemicals so swiftly :)) If you wish, I can send you all the information my sister has gathered on the alternative approach which consists of herbs, juices, meditation, etc ---- Wishing you all the best on your journey! - Jess.
    Duran.Media.PR@gmail.com

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    1. Jess, I'm so glad you mentioned to Joan about alternative therapies. I to am a cancer survivor. It will be 6 years this Sept. I heard those words, "you have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, or IDC" for short (the one I didn't want to hear. Long story short, I had what you call a "simple right mastectomy" (which there is nothing "simple" about it). 3 Mamograms missed mine. Ultrasound picked up 2 spots on my right breast and 3 days later, I found out an MRI picked up another 2 spots, totaling 4 spots on my right breast. Had core biopsy too (very painful). Surgeon scheduled a "simple breast mastectomy" because I had 4 IDC tumors. Plus they did a sentinel lymph node biopsy removing 5 lymph nodes the day of my surgery. A week later, I go back to the surgeon's office for him to check my stitches and he says, "oh, by the way, you didn't have 4 tumors, you had..........1"!!!!! Yes, he said "1". Shocking isn't it? Had core biopsy too (very painful).

      I changed my diet which is a lifestyle change for the rest of my life. I believe that IF I did actually have cancer and that's a BIG IF, that God healed me and keeping me healthy. I HATE the way everything is diagnosed CANCER and people immediately go for chemo treatment because they think they have too. People we have choices to make - it's our bodies - we are responsible for. We are killing ourselves by how we process food and pump the animals with chemicals and pesticides on our food chain. When are we going to wake up?!!!

      I do not do mamograms anymore, they increase your chances of having breast cancer of 5% for every mamogram you do. I do Thermography's. I also take LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone, 4.5mg) which is NOT FDA approved but is at a high dose of 50mg or higher. At a low dose, LDN has been proven to kill bad (cancer) cells while boosting up your good cells. It's a $1 a day. I have a lot more to say so Joan if you read these comments, I would love to share more with you too on what I've learned these last 6 years so email me.

      Good luck. Keep a good attitude, pray and believe God will heal you and lean on your family. They will be there for you.

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  4. Prayers to you, Joan, as you begin this difficult journey. I am your age and recently finished treatment and, while it was not easy, I can tell you that you can do it! I am so happy that you started your treatment right away and took charge of your situation! It's the only way to go! Keep your head down and keep moving forward.

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  5. I want to share my breast cancer experience with you. I started my battle last year.

    Here is my blog site:
    danceofawarrior@wordpress.com

    You are a mighty warrior. We are fighting with you.

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    1. Chemo brain at work again. The site is:

      danceofawarrior.wordpress.com

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  6. I met Joan years ago when I was doing promo pieces for Roone Arledge at ABC. I spent about a week with Joan and Charley Gibson, who were then the co-hosts of Good Morning America. Her crew and support staff adored her, and it didn't take me long to find out why. In my years doing work for the TV Networks I never met a kinder, and more delightful person than Joan. She genuinely loved what she was doing, and the people she worked with, and the atmosphere at the show was uniquely intimate and trusting - quite unusual for a TV Show, which was usually fertile ground for sniping and back stabbing. Joan is one of a kind. I wish her a speedy recovery, followed by much happiness and success.

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  7. I am so sorry to read this Joan, you are in my heart and prayers, I know you can beat this.
    I went through the Ultra Sound routine myself a few month back and held my breath when it was OK
    (((HUGS)))

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  8. Hi Joan - sorry to hear your news, but luckily you found it early. You are a STRONG woman and will kick cancers butt! I do have one question if you dont mind, my sister was also diag one month ago with triple negative breast cancer and has begun her chemo treatments. Would you mind telling us what type your breast cancer is?

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  9. Hi Joan - sorry to hear your news, but luckily you found it early. You are a STRONG woman and will kick cancers butt! I do have one question if you dont mind, my sister was also diag one month ago with triple negative breast cancer and has begun her chemo treatments. Would you mind telling us what type your breast cancer is?

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  10. The words you never want to hear - ugh - I know that feeling - heard them in January - I assume that since you said you have the agressive kind that you are HER2+ - as am I. I do want to share with you the best forum on the internet to get support from other women with BC and those who have already taken this journey. These women are my life line https://community.breastcancer.org/

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  11. I was there once too in 1997 and opted not to do chemo or radiation after a lumpectomy with no lymph spread and am just fine today. I hope you you demand a DNA match for your type of treatment. I found it interesting there was no follow up on my choice. Big Pharma wants to preserve the status quo of their over priced drugs. Wish you the best but you do have to be a warrior!

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    1. Sorry to hear this Joan. I've been a fan of yours for years. Praying for you and you're family during this difficult time. But as everyone has said, you are a warrior and you'll make it thru tgis with flying colors. God bless you and be with you.

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    2. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I've been a fan of yours for years. You ARE a warrior and you will get thru this with flying colors. God bless you joan lunden.

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  12. There is so much strength in sharing. I learned this along my own cancer journey. Keep your thoughts positive and your spirit up. As you fight this battle, your mental well-being is just as important as the physical battle. I'll be praying for you!

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  13. You have found yourself in the sorority that no woman wants to join and yet one where you will meet some other really remarkable women. You are so right that lack of family history and a healthy lifestyle are no guarantee of a pass. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey with those who undoubtedly will follow behind. Wishing you well on your journey.

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  14. May God Bless you and heal you Joan. You will be in my prayers.

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  15. I too am pro early detection....in December I had my annual exam....and 30 days later they called me back.....and two months later, much "fun" with HMO paperwork I too heard those words....
    I'm knowing your treatments are done with ease, and you come through this well - Blessings!

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  16. WOW - thank you....I too am pro early detection.....in December I had my annual exam, 30 days later was called back in.....and 2 months later, based on testing, and HMO paperwork "nightmares", heard those words....
    I'm knowing your treatment goes well - you are strong....stronger than this thing called bc - - sending/lifting prayers

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  17. Hi Joan,
    Sorry to hear about your breast cancer, but don'[t let it scare you into giving up! I started my breast cancer journey in January this year and I'm hear to tell you I support you, I will include you in my positive thoughts, and together all of us diagnosed with this terrible disease will beat this thing. Right from the start I decided to accept and embrace the diagnosis and the cancer. Sounds weird maybe, but I was not going to allow the word cancer to scare me into runaway negative thinking. Tomorrow is my final chemo treatment and by August I will get radiation treatments. Although chemo therapy has had its challenges, I refuse to feel sorry for myself, I stay positive and hope you can do the same.

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  18. I have been a fan for many years and I also have cancer, not breast but a very rare sarcoma. I know your father was an oncology surgeon and I am thankful for the surgeon that removed my tumor who was very skilled. However, having the platform and the voice you have I wish you would uncover THE TRUTH ABOUT CANCER: THE QUEST FOR THE CURE and the billion dollar industry that destroys lives for profit from surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. There are so many cures for cancer that really do work yet are ridiculed by the medical industry. They are so much better for your than chemotherapy which destroys you. Someone like you needs to speak up on what is really going on. Best of luck to you.,

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    1. I suppose you could go Holistic for early stage cancers, but I would NEVER put my life on the line for a Vitamin B tablet and a special diet. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 HER2 breast cancer in Feb. 2012. Just six months before, my mammogram came up clean. Thank God for an excellent surgeon, a fabulous Oncologist and some of the most compassionate nursing care ever received, for my life today. Medicine has come a long way since the dark ages of just 20 years ago. If Holistic is your route, I wish you the best of luck and my prayers go out to you.

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  19. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 HER2 Positive Breast cancer in September 2012. I had bilateral mastectomies Oct 2, 2012 and began chemo therapy November 1, 2012. I was so blessed to have an oncologist (young, aggressive and compassionate) and best of all up on the latest treatments available. Perjeta was released in the US Sept. 2012, developed for HER2 positive breast cancer. My cancer has already spread to my lymph nodes, bones, liver and lungs. This is truly scary considering my mammogram was normal just one year earlier and I had no symptoms. I have been undergoing chemo therapy every 3 weeks since Nov. 1, 2012. Next week I will undergo my 30th treatment, but am so blessed that my cancer is in remission but have to keep doing treatments to keep the cancer from coming back. I have been lucky to have a husband (44 years this July) 2 wonderful children and 4 grandsons, a fantastic support system and so many prayer warriors that I would not have been able to deal with all the ups and downs this past 21 months. I have been able to work full time through it all. God has blessed me and he will guide you through the journey your are about to endure.

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  20. With God all things are possible

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  21. I'm sorry you heard the words that so many, too many have heard. At the age of 45, I heard them June 20, 2007 when I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. Just like you, dense breasts, ultrasound showed it, going for annual mammograms and no family history. You are correct to say you are in "warrior mode"...that's exactly what it is. It is a battle of mind and body. The chemo and surgeries will take a toll on both, but as a warrior, you remain focussed on winning the war. You come out of this different, see things clearer and, like a war veteran, will have scars to remind you of your fight. You will win...believe it with all your being. Sending you my best wishes and thanks for sharing and raising awareness of this deadly disease.

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    1. Hi - My sister was diag with triple negative one month ago. Dr. said it was early and she has already had 3 of 4 AC chemo treatments, then 12 Taxol, followed by radiation. This is all new to us and never new there were so many types of BC. I wish celeberties would say what type they had to give better awareness to BC. Would you mind telling me what your stage was and our treatments? I am so glad to hear that you have done so well and pray for your continued health.

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  22. Hi Joan,
    So sorry to hear about this new journey you are on, but you have many companions including myself. I too have dense breasts and was given an all clear after two mammograms in August 2013. Found one of three masses myself in November on my 49th birthday. I sailed through 5 months of chemo and you will do the same. The key is plenty of water all day long. Before my morning coffee I would drink 2 - 16oz bottles of water and then 3 more throughout the day. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Chose to have a double mastectomy and radiation will begin in 2 weeks. This is a long journey, but it is doable and a small price to pay for more time with our families.
    Surround yourself with only positive energy people and smile. Smile, Smile. We love you Joan and are here side by side with you.

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    1. Dear LKeefe,

      Thank you for sharing your story and advice with Joan. If you are able to submit your email address to info@joanlunden.com Joan Lunden Productions would love to reach out to you.

      Best Wishes,
      Elaine
      Joan Lunden Productions

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  23. Our prayers are with now and forever

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  24. I'm praying that GOD will give you the strength to overcome this dreadful disease.

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  25. Chemo brain strikes again.

    The blog address:

    http://danceofawarrior.wordpress.com/

    Your armour is ready for battle and we are fighting right here beside you.

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  26. Joan,
    I always enjoyed watching you on GMA. I felt just like you when they told me 4 years ago I had breast cancer. You go girl and kick cancer to the curb!!! Hugs, prayers & well wishes sent your way.

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  27. Hi Joan,
    Listening to you describe what you are and will be going through is identical to me. I was diagnosed 12/1/10 with breast cancer, 11 days before my 50th birthday. I too had dense breasts, having to go for ultrasounds as well as mammograms. Just like you, I had chemo 1st, 8 weeks of heavy duty every other week, and 12 weeks of less aggressive chemo. I to was told I had an aggressive form of breast cancer because I had a mammogram 6 months prior and there was no sign of the tumor. I had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery (During same surgery). Once I was completely healed, I started radiation. My doctor told me on my 50th birthday that I would be completely cancer free by my 51st birthday. She was right! It will be 4 years of being cancer free! I know how you feel and what you're going through. I would love to talk to you to give you an incite of the good, the bad and the ugly (not too much ugly!). My email is baker.maryjo@gmail.com. You can do this! Always think positive thoughts. Watch funny movies and surround yourself with people you love! From one warrior to another!!

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  28. Dear Joan,
    When I watched you this morning talking to Robin Roberts, I could have been watching myself a year and a half ago. A little numb, but determined, a little shellshocked, but strong. You will triumph, and in doing so, you will give a new face to this disease. One of the things that I learned is that there are many "aggressive" forms of BC. I have triple-negative, metaplastic - a double aggressive, but, thanks to a marvelous team of doctors, no match for what we threw at it. Follow your heart - the right decisions for you will be there. If your team feels right, then they are; if they don't look for one that does. Surround yourself with positivity and love, and live every day the way you want to. Remember in the tough moments, when you may not feel up to doing much, that you are doing exactly what you need to be doing at that moment. Give in to what your body tells you, even if it is uncomfortable to just pamper yourself, and just "be". You'll learn a lot, about yourself and the people in your life. I'm sorry that you are joining our gang, but you can be an important advocate for women with the large number of aggressive types of breast cancer. Because we fit into a category that is rare, our types of BC do not get the funding or research that we need. You can help bring your celebrity to our efforts. Welcome to a community of wonderful, caring, sharing women. Bless you, and BIG HUGS!

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  29. i am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. have you heard of Young Living Essential Oils? I want to send you some, but don't know how. The oil called frankincense has been used to shrink cancerous tumors in some women i know, and they have had remission and are recovering. its natural and biblically based oils that have cured other ailments. How can I go about sending you some oil?

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  30. Very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I was in your position last year, received my diagnosis in April, had surgery in May and started chemotherapy in July. It wasn't a great summer but I'm still here. Many things helped me get through: my family and friends, and "outing" myself on Facebook. The outpouring of love and support was astounding. I also discovered an amazing support group, Share, http://www.sharecancersupport.org/share-new/about/about_us__mission/. As a writer, I also journeled my way through it and wrote poetry too. The minute we got home from the doctor, my husband sent the book, "Just Get Me Through This" to my Kindle, which became my BC Bible. Oh, and this became my mantra: http://dogreatcampaign.com/

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  31. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer last year after an ultrasound showed a tumor that my mammogram missed. I saw two sets of specialists and received two recommendations on how to proceed (chemo then surgery or surgery then chemo). All I can say is that your team that you pick make a world of difference! I have just about completed my post mastectomy reconstruction and am one year cancer free. I am reading your blog and so appreciative that you are speaking out. If you can influence one woman to get an ultrasound who wouldn't have you may save a life. My OB/GYN was pushy and scheduled me a test otherwise I probably would have continued to put it off.

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  32. Sorry 9 years with Stage IV and I still don't get what "journey" people are on??? Mine has been a damn "ordeal" to say the least! With all the monies collected all these decades later this disease should have been eradicated.

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  33. Joan,
    My wife just went through exactly the same process. I remember sitting in the exam room with her and seeing a poster on the wall that sums up everything..."Cancer is a word, not a sentence." We will keep you in our prayers.

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  34. Joan. Best of luck to you in your fight with this disease. The one thing after treatment is finished is that you never have piece of mind with this disease..

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  35. I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, Joan. I'm a 10 year survivor and had to go through the surgeries, chemo and radiation as well. I founded a nonprofit organization called Pink-Link to support and connect other survivors going through their treatment. We currently have over 5,000 members (it's a free service) in all 50 states as well as in 48 countries internationally. Please check it out at www.pink-link.org. Good luck with everything and you'll get through this!

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    1. Hi Vicki, I am not familiar with your group but thought some of your members may be interested in a group I belong to. Please note my Flat N Fabulous Google+ profile belongs to me and is not directly associated with Flat AND Fabulous. I am simply a proud member and supporter. Flat AND Fabulous is a Facebook Closed Group for women who have had mastectomy without reconstruction, have had a failed reconstruction, deconstructed, some who wear forms always, sometimes or never, or are considering options. Our members include women newly diagnosed, longtime survivors, and previvors. We are simply an informal group of women who grew from the first core of four 1/31/13 to now approaching 1000 from across the globe and from every imaginable background. The group's owners are also affiliated with TheScarProject.org Anyone seeing this and interested can go to my Google+ profile for direct links or simply search on Facebook for Flat AND Fabulous or Flat & Fabulous, exactly as you would search for a friend and then click on the link to join. We have both the Closed Group and a public Fan Page.

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  36. Get out there and kick cancer's butt! I was diagnosed with breast cancer in Oct 2012; endured surgery, chemo, and radiation. I finished treatments a little over a year ago and feel great. You can do this!
    Dawn Bontempo
    Author: Breast Cancer Mardi Gras: Surviving the Emotional Hurricane and Showing My Boobs to Strangers

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  37. I am a 12 year survivor/thrivor. It is great what you are doing as is your motivation,but do not push yourself too much. Chemo has cumulative effects. Wishing you the best.

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  38. Hi Joan: I am fan. To me, you represent the best our society has to offer. You have lived your life as it should be lived and I know with certainty you will continue to do so and recover from this. Good thoughts will be in my mind always for you.

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  39. I've walked the walk...keep your chin up, a smile on your face, a sense of humor, stay positive, and even when you're feeling awful, a great tube of lipstick will do the trick! (Diagnosed in 2012 with triple negative breast cancer; chemo, then surgery, followed by radiation; presently cancer free, but dealing with lymphedema of right arm.)

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  40. Hearing those words is one of the worst life changing events you can endure. I heard them in July of 2012. I found out shortly thereafter I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I chose chemo first before a bi-lateral mastectomy for several reasons. Radiation followed those two challenges… I'm clean now, and staying healthy!!!

    MEGA TIP HERE: DRINK MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU POSSIBLY CAN WHILE GOING THRU CHEMO!! Especially when sitting in that chair!!

    Ask your chemo nurse and/or your oncologist for an extra IV bag of fluids too during treatment. I never got sick, and only got nauseous once. Sure, I needed a nap every day, but you do what you have to when fighting the fight.
    Some have a horrible time in chemo, others make it through ok. Thankfully, even though I lost my hair, I made it through the challenge and conquered chemo. I danced with the “Red Devil” and I won. Those of you who had A C T as your cocktail know what I’m talking about…..

    Joan, and those of you still making you way through the fight, stay strong and know you are never alone. I never ever put the word “my” in front of breast cancer. Cancer is an alien that invades your body. Don’t own it, don’t possess it, and don’t embrace it. Get rid of it, and stay positive in your mind that once it’s gone, you are never going to take it back!!!
    Best of health and strength through your journey. Stay positive and you will win…….

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    1. Dear Greatful Deb,

      Thank you for sharing your story and advice with Joan. If you are able to submit your email address to info@joanlunden.com Joan Lunden Productions would love to reach out to you.

      Best Wishes,
      Ali
      Joan Lunden Productions

      Delete
  41. A great support group is the Pink Sisters on facebook. We have all had some form of breast cancer and are all in different stages. I have been free for 30 years and the treatment was hit or miss back then. Thank God I survived.

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  42. Joan you are an amazing Women. Such a great example to us all. I have watched as you have journeyed in life since way before your first child. I feel that I need to tell you that you don't always have to be tough, it's okay to cry and let your support system be there for you. You are in my prayers. Love, Joanne

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  43. My prayers are with you Joan. At almost 63 I am a 15 year survivor. Mine was caught early, DCIS and I had a modified radical mastectomy on my right breast in 1999. I was running around a week after my surgery, with drainage tubes in my chest, helping my daughter prepare for prom. I never had chemo or radiation but took first a 5 year regimen of Tamoxifen and then 5 years of Femara (Letrozole). My doctors wer astounded by my attitude. I have had anxious moments but my attitude was "if not this now then something later." I went to receive my diagnosis by myself and all those years of oncologist visits, another biopsy on the right breast which turned out okay, I went to by myself. I had no support because more than likely I chose not too. The one person that became my support was my late friend and former Temptation Damon Harris who died of prostate cancer in 2013. Having survived a cancer diagnosis for 15 years as opposed to the 2 years he was initially given, he got it! This is life! Stay strong. I've always admired you!

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  44. Welcome to the club, Joan. You will make the right decisions for you and your condition and I know you will fight this hard.

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  45. I too have been diagnosis with breast cancer two years ago. Had a bilateral mastectomy. I am doing great now.. best to you..iI


    It will be a journey and bless you for sharing your story with everybody..Maybe it will help that one person who is afraid to get checked. I had a bilateral two years ago this month. I am doing fine now with my new perkie breast:) Best to you and and your family.


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  46. Reading your story sounds so familiar, diagnosis January 2014, 2 surgeries in February, April 1st started chemo, in 2 weeks I have my last chemo treatment, then pause for a few weekweeks, then 5 weeks of radiation! Only advise i would give is do what you feel is right, do your homework and make decisions that are best for you and your family. Get the genetic testing for your piece of mind. Prayers our too you and your family, May you find the guidance you need to get thru this.

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  47. Hi Joan-
    I am also a member of this "club" that no one wants to join.

    I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive carcinoma on 11/18/2013.
    I am post double mastectomy and chemo and in the process of reconstruction (most recent surgery was today).

    I do consider this a party of my life's journey. It does not rule my days, I just take one step at a time and see where it takes me.

    Blogging my journey...
    Livinglifeathome.blogspot.com

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  48. I wish you an easy chemotherapy. Yes, chemo brain does exist. Even when you feel like crap after cgemo, put your make-up on & wear a fancy scarf on your head - it really helps. I speak as a sister dense breast tissue, aggressive breast cancer survivor (3 years since diagnosis). G-d bless you and your family.

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  49. HER2 double positive, here. Five rounds of chemo, four surgeries, a gazillion complications from WBC's getting wiped out, & 31 radiation treatments later (the last one was 6/19/2014...woo-hoo!!), I'm still here & kicking. :) Herceptin for the next year, & Tamoxifen for five years. 'Warrior mode' has become a way of life!! All the very best wishes to you, Joan. Thank you for sharing. You are in a position to spread the word to so many people! I'm grateful to you for being brave enough to do so.

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  50. Dear Joan,
    I'm so sorry that you have joined the Pink SIster Club. I am very hopeful that you will join my effort in informing and properly screening women with dense breast tissue. I had thirteen normal mammograms and was finally dx with breast cancer. A 6.5 cm. tumor finally revealed itself in a digital mammogram and the three smaller invasive tumors in the other breast would have killed me as they were not visible on the digital mammogram. Thank G-d I elected to have both breasts removed. I have worked on the breast density law in both CA and OR and hope that you will use your notoriety to work with us (Are You Dense Advocacy) to enact a national law. Women MUST be informed that they have DBT and offered ultrasound or MRI. Let's not worry about the cure and focus on early detection with proper screening. Feel free to contact me at kathyparara@gmail.com or see my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/knowyourownbd?fref=ts You can do this, lady!

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  51. Dear Joan
    I am a long-term fan and admirer of all you do to help people, and I’m really sorry to hear of your diagnosis, so I want to share with you something a bit different from that of others on this thread because, as you are undergoing chemotherapy, I think it’s important for you and all other chemo patients to know. If your specific chemo drugs deplete your white blood cell count (WBC) then you become very much at risk to the deadly effects of sepsis. Most people, like my dear late wife (who was also 63) and I, know very little about sepsis. What little we do know associates it with infections in hospital during surgery, but this killer disease can take your life in a matter of only a few days, even if you have not been near a hospital and are resting in what you believe to be the sanctuary of your own home. It kills more than 250,000 people in the U.S each year, which is more than the number who die from breast cancer, prostate cancer and AIDS combined.
    My wife’s oncologist never told us about the dangers of sepsis, but if your WBC’s are depleted by chemo drugs the slightest bacterial infection can get into your blood stream through your lungs or anywhere on your body, not only through a surgical incision. Some of these infections are very aggressive and antibiotic-resistant, they damage your critical organs and can spiral out of control even in the ER or ICU, and take your life within a few days. If you and your caregivers don’t know what the symptoms of sepsis are, and that it needs to be treated as a 911 critical emergency, it can happen to you.
    I am sharing this with you because a few months ago my dear wife had just started chemotherapy to combat lymphoma, and while her WBC’s were depleted an infection got in through her lungs and that’s exactly what happened.
    I have found a wonderful organization, the Sepsis Alliance, which is working hard to increase awareness of sepsis and how to prevent it or treat it if it happens. Their website is here: http://www.sepsisalliance.org/ and my late wife’s story is here: http://www.sepsisalliance.org/faces/jasmin_stacey/
    Please share this with your readers and anyone who can benefit from learning more about sepsis. Knowledge is power and it can help to save many lives. I wish you God speed in your battle with cancer.

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  52. Joan,
    A couple of decades ago I sat next to you at the beauty salon in L.A., menage a trois,
    where we discussed (with Michael, I believe), some of the risks and benefits of plastic surgery. In 2007, I too was diagnosed with breast cancer. They did a lumpectomy and the surgeon called me to tell me to celebrate: it was the milder kind and he said there were wide margins and no sign of cancer in my lymph nodes. Unluckily, I had a cold and had no time to celebrate before I went to see him 2 weeks later for a follow up appointment. When he walked into the room. I said, kiddingly, "well you don't look like you've been celebrating." He looked me in the eyes for the first time since he arrived and said, "Didn't you get my letter?"
    The letter I hadn't yet received explained to me, that in the pathology lab, situated within the original cancer, was growing the far more aggressive, lethal cancer. It was just beginning to grow which is why it was invisible on the mammograms and/ or by site.
    The surgeon and the radiologist then went to great lengths to explain to me why I then needed a double masectomy asap. Because the second cancer was the lethal fast moving one and could re-occur in either breast.
    A double masectomy is a VERY hard decision to make. I did make it. There has been no spread of the cancer.
    You did not mention surgery unless I missed it. I know you will bravely make the right choice for yourself.
    I also had chemo. Blessings to you and all the luck and love in the world. Diane Silver

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  53. Joan, in May of 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer -- not one, but two lumps in my left breast (I've always been an over-achiever.) HA! After two surgeries, six months of chemo, 33 radiation treatments, and an entire year of Herceptin infusions, I'm still here -- a loud and proud survivor. You can beat this -- my mantra was, "It's only cancer." Don't give it any power, and you will win. Cancer isn't for sissies, and you'll have good days and bad days in the upcoming months, that's for sure. But, in the end, it's your attitude that will get you through. Be tough and find your inner strength. Also, maintain your sense of humor. BTW, in 2008, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Another surgery, and again I'm cancer-free. Hang tough -- you can do this!

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  54. Hi Joan I am sorry you are dealing with this and I wish you the best in your treatment. I am sure it can be difficult to have the details of one's illness as the subject of public discussion.

    But I think it would help all who deal with this disease, tho, to explain that there isn't just one type of breast cancer. I have ER/PR HER2- breast cancer. My cancer had spread to my spine when it was found, meaning I have metastatic breast cancer (Stage IV). I was diagnosed in 2009 but I have not had chemo, that will be saved till after the less toxic drugs stop working. I will always be on some kind of treatment and see my oncologist every other month.

    Being metastatic from first diagnosis (denovo) is unusual--that only happens to about 5 to 10 percent of people with breast cancer. Most people with Stage IV breast cancer had a metastatic recurrence after completing their initial treatment. It's not that they didn't take care of themselves or that they had a poor attitude, we don't know why cancer comes back but unfortunately for 20 to 30 percent of those intially treated for breast cancer, it does.

    best regards
    KOB
    www.mbcn.org

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    Replies
    1. Joan, why don't you investigate immunotherapy? Remember, Robin Roberts developed MDS, which was cured by the perfect done marrow match of her sister. Do you have a perfect bone marrow match? Be a pioneer and explore your options! Don't be a sheep!

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  55. Joan, you spoke at our Executive Women of the Palm Beaches Women In Leadership Awards Luncheon when I was president of the organization. You inspired us all then and you will do so again through your fight. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer a few short months after your visit when my two boys were 8 and 10 years old I while I have finished the tough part of my fight, here I am 1 year after my last chemo getting your news. Fight like a girl, Ms. Joan Lunden!!!

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  56. I am a 3 year survivor, was diagnosed when my son was a sophomore in HS and mine was considered extremely aggressive as well. I underwent a unilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and multiple reconstructive surgeries but it all turned out fine and I am back to running and working out and enjoying life!! I wish you all the best and know you will kick cancer's butt!!

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  57. Joan, my heart went out to you the moment I heard of your diagnosis. It's devastating news when the doctor first tells you, but then you do what so many of have do e. You fight and you never give up. Let others help you and accept their help, comfort and love. I also had an aggressive form of breast cancer. Today I am 3 years and 3 months cancer free. I will think of you and your family will be in my prayers.

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  58. Joan, Prayers to you in your journey. Please visit MBCN.org for great, accurate information. I have stage 4 metastatic Breast Cancer and I feel hurt when the public is given inaccurate information. People look up to you and your are in a position to educate.
    13 Facts Everyone Should Know about Metastatic Breast Cancer

    1. No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. Metastasis occurs when cancerous cells travel to a vital organ and that is what threatens life.

    2. Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body, typically the bones, liver, lungs and brain.

    3. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

    4. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life.

    5. About 6% to 10% of people are Stage IV from their initial diagnosis.

    6. Early detection does not guarantee a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur 5, 10 or 15 years after a person's original diagnosis and successful treatment checkups and annual mammograms.

    7. 20% to 30% of people initially diagnosed with early stage disease will develop metastatic breast cancer.

    8. Young people, as well as men, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

    9. Like early stage breast cancer, there are different types of metastatic breast cancer.

    10. Treatment choices are guided by breast cancer type, location and extent of metastasis in the body, previous treatments and other factors.

    11. Metastatic breast cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Although most people will ultimately die of their disease, some will live long and productive lives.

    12. There are no definitive prognostic statistics for metastatic breast cancer. Every patient and their disease is unique.

    13. To learn more about National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 13 and to access resources specifically for people living with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers, visit www.mbcn.org.
    Thank you
    Love Carol Marrero

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  59. Hello from Indiana,
    My prayers are with you. I too am I member of this "club". I was diagnosed with IDC in my left breast in January and had a simple mastectomy in February. I completed 33 days of radiation, all the while completing my teaching duties at a high school, and will take a hormone receptor pill for the next 5 years. A sense of humor, good spirits, and a solid support system will get you through this. You are a strong and intelligent woman. Please keep us informed.

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  60. Hi Joan, I am an 18 month surviver of two in situ and one invasive adenocarcinoma. I had a simple mastectomy even though my surgeon said that lumpectomy would be enough. Thank God I did because the adenocarcinoma did not show up on any tests done before the surgery. I am one of the very lucky ones! I didn't need radiation or chemo. And, with the other medical issues I have, none of the meds usually prescribed for after surgery were safe for me. But, aside from some annoying lymphedema that we're working on, I'm cancer free and doing well! I know yours is a more agressive version and I'm praying that things go well for you.

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  61. Joan,

    I wish you the best in your treatment, I don't mean t scare you, but you are in a position to really help many women. I think the first thing you need to do is educate yourself. Early detection has failed us miserably, there are many studies which will show this. All you have to do is go to the some stage 4 help websites and ask at what stage were the women diagnosed? You will find every stge present on the stge 4 breast cancer help sites from 0-4. In fact. 30-40% of women will develop metastasis no matter what stage the mammogram catches that tumor. Please do not pink coat breast cancer, educate yourself so that you can get the word out that better treatments are needed for stge 4, since many women will wind up there.

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  62. So sorry to hear this - you have joined a very big club and those of us who are members will be cheering you on! We are warriors turned survivors, as you will be too! Remember there are so many people out here who care.....we find strength in our numbers!

    Try not to listen to the voices that cause doubt: "Have you tried...." "Do you think you should....? etc - work with doctors you trust and block out the negative. They mean well but don't understand how their questioning causes us stress! Do what is best for YOU. Period. And lean on your family - you need all the people who love you now. This will pass! And you will be triumphant!

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  63. If you have TNBC, please consider doing the BRCA test. I was 67 when diagnosed and advised I was too old to consider it and my insurance would not pay. I paid for the test and it was positive for BRCA1. It changed my course of treatment and when I had my mastectomies I also had my ovaries removed and I had cancer in both ovaries. I had more chemo at Stanford and today I am 4 years out. It saved my life. You need to test for the sake of your children. Oh yes, I had no family history of BC.

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  64. I'm so sorry you have been diagnosed with breast cancer Joan & will look forward to the best possible future for you. If you are at all interested in the topic of the link below, please check it out. Tell others if you think there is any truth to it. People used to say smoking didn't cause lung cancer and the tobacco companies fought long & hard to withhold the evidence showing it did.

    http://reproductiveresearchaudit.com/censoring-studies-on-abortion-and-breast-cancer-how-science-and-free-speech-are-stifled/

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  65. I knew in my heart when you said you had "the aggressive kind" of BC it was TNBC.....I too, was diagnosed with TNBC this last November...quite the surprise.....I had gone in to see my primary dr with a rash under one breast.....he gave me some ointment and sent me on my way saying I was fine.....but something wasn't right.....so I insisted on having an early mammogram.....and ultrasound.....which led to a core biospy...and voila....Stage 3 TNBC......(Imagine my primary dr's surprise!!)....I got myself up to Stanford el pronto....and started treatment within two weeks....chemo (a/c dense dose x 4 and then taxol dense dose x4).....unilateral mastectomy with immediate diep flap recon April 28th.....and this week I start radiation.....What a journey this has been....BUT....GREAT NEWS......My pathology report came back CANCER FREE...COMPLETE RESPONSE!!!...YEAH.....We were pretty terrified at learning the diagnosis...but my surgeon assurred us that while TNBC is more complicated and can be more challenging....it IS curable.....So!!....My advice to you....CARRY ON......You inspired us for so many years on GMA.....I expect nothing less to happen now....and am hoping you will keep us "abreast" of your journey....not only to inspire...but like both Robin and Amy have done....Educate many more women...Thank you Joan for sharing your story....I wish you the very best...xo Cindy

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  66. I'm a 59 year old TNBC six year survivor. You got this! Check out Komentyler.org Ride for the Cure and see the way I found to give back as a survivor.

    Louise Hagen
    Founder and Event Chair Susan G. Komen Tyler Ride for the Cure

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  67. Joan, Good luck with your treatments. This is a difficult time for you and your family I am sure. I have faith you will be able to handle everything that comes your way and come out on the other side.

    Maria Fowler
    2x metaplastic breast cancer patient

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  68. Joan I have never written to any person about TripleNeg Breast Cancer I currently have survived 5 yrs this mo I too in my 60s Keep laughing,praying and try to make every chemo treatment Im nurse and I was told 3 eggs every day hard boiled whites especially and greek yogart both high protein and will keep your count up between treatments so u dont miss any My friends made sure I ate Ill be praying email if any questions

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  69. I too was diagnosed with TNBC last April 3. Went thru 2 separate rounds of chemo then radiation, the year was all a blur. I have a hard time talking about it now.
    May God will bless you, I wish u the best. Karen from Chicago

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  70. I recently saw your article in People magazine about your battle with Breast Cancer, your words "It's time to go into WARRIOR mode inspired me to reach out to you and see if I can mail you one of my boxes. It's a large keepsake box to keep that chapter of your life in. My mantra is "The journey begins with a box" my story and why I created it is on my website: www.warriorcarebox.com. The A in Warrior on my box is all colors but Pink is first because I'm a 5 year breast cancer survivor and ends in black for melanoma cause I'm a year survior. Ultimately it's about reaching out to one another and make a difference.......

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  71. I was just diagnosed with Stage 1 HER2 breast cancer. I had surgery last month and start Chemo this week. I am staying strong and positive.
    Joan good luck with your treatments!

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