Survivor of the Week: Dana H.

Dana H. was first diagnosed at the young age of 26. Already a mother of three, she was determined to "live long enough to drive my husband and kids crazy!" That year she had multiple surgeries, infections, reconstruction, a hysterectomy, and relapsed at 27. She was treated with high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell replacement, which in turn caused her to get myelodysplastic syndrome in 2011. Dana is currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant, thanks to her amazing older brother, Chris. Two years after being diagnosed, Dana is feeling healthier every day and she is excited that her hair is finally growing back!

When were you diagnosed?

1996, 1997, 2011

Are you cancer-free? If so, for how long?

2 years cancer-free!

How have your family and friends helped you?

I can't imagine going through this journey without them. I never went to an appointment alone. I had a "Quilt of Love" made by my friends and family. My good friend asked my friends and family to make a square for the quilt and she put it together and I had it in my hospital bed the entire time I was in the hospital this last time (in 2011). I found it very comforting and made me feel close to my loved ones when I wasn't able to be with them.

What tips do you have to help other breast cancer survivors stay positive?

Positive attitude, hope, prayers, humor, love.

What has someone done to make you feel better?

Too many great people and gestures to mention. My family and friends were AMAZING! All of my family and friends tested and signed up to be on the bone marrow registry, not just for me, but for anyone that needed a donor.

What advice would you give someone who is about to go through treatment?

It's ok to cry, it's ok to have a bad day, but hold your head high and fight like hell!!

What was the scariest moment?

When I was told I only had a 40% chance of survival.

What was the funniest moment?

When my breast prosthetic dropped out of my bra onto a Sam's Club floor.

How has breast cancer made you stronger?

Heck, yeah! I beat it twice, and survived myelodysplastic syndrome! I had to face death while raising three kids. I realized what's important in life, and now choose my battles. I have a strong will and it has strengthened my faith in people and in God.

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Charles Alexander
293 days ago

I don't mind being Chris as long as my sister is all right.

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Jerry Alexander
294 days ago

Dana is my baby sister, with all she has gone through I've never heard her complain. She is the strongest person I have ever known. Somehow, through all she has been through she managed to raise three wonderful children along with her husband Shane. She is a real inspiration to me. She makes me realize how trivial some of my complaints are. I would also like to recognize my brother Charles. He was the bone marrow donor when she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome. That is not nearly as easy as you might think. Thank you so much Ellen for recognizing my little sister. She is truly deserving of all of the recognition possible.

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Webbie Carvajal
295 days ago

This is my cousin - and I am in complete awe of her! She has the best attitude, she is always smiling and she never complains. Thank you for honoring her. In addition, her husband, Shane, is amazing. He has provided her with wonderful support, and I believe caregivers deserve accolades, as well. I can't think of anyone more deserving. She and Shane have recently moved to the same town I live in, and I know they will inspire people here as much as they have me. Thanks, Ellen!

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