Breast Cancer Ribbon

Archive for the ‘treatment’ Category

Standing in line.. waiting for my next step

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Ok, I saw the breast cancer doctor last week. This is her.

She’s great. Honest and straight to the point. My Boyfriend Tim said she reminded him of Dr.House with the way she walked in with a plan and laid it out for me. I answered so many questions on my history i don’t think i’ll ever forget the dates of my previous surgeries or medical history.

This is what i have-

What is ductal carcinoma in situ?

One out of every five new breast cancer diagnoses each year is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). This is an uncontrolled growth of cells within the breast ducts. The phrase “in situ” means “in its original place.” This cancer is noninvasive and has not yet made it to breast tissue outside of the ducts.

Ductal carcinoma in situ is the earliest stage at which breast cancer can be diagnosed. It’s known as Stage 0 breast cancer. The prognosis for women diagnosed with this form is excellent. The vast majority of cases of ductal carcinoma in situ are curable.

Even though ductal carcinoma in situ is noninvasive, it is imperative that women with the disease receive medical treatment because it can be a precursor of invasive cancer. Experts believe that 20 to 50% of women with DCIS will later develop an invasive breast cancer within 10 years of the DCIS diagnosis. The invasive cancer usually develops in the same breast and in the same quadrant of the breast that the DCIS first occurred.

In one day i gained 3 new doctors. The breast cancer doctor, The radiation oncologist, and the medical oncologist that will deal with my hormonal therapy since the cancer is estrogen and progesterone positive.

This week i get to meet my oncologist to set up the radiation treatments and get an MRI done of my breasts. I tend to be very claustrophobic so they are drugging me nicely for it. My oldest friend Cindy is taking me for the MRI and for my surgery. We have been friends since 5th grade and she lost her mom to ovarian cancer a few years ago. Shes dead set on helping me through this and i’m glad she is. I don’t know how i would make it through this positively without people that care for me.

People i would have never thought to offer have stepped up to help me out, and some days its over whelming. I’m the person used to doing for others. It’s hard to let someone else do for me. I’m learning that people care and they all go about caring in different ways. I don’t mind being asked how i’m doing, but when the same person thinks to call me daily and ask it, i’m grateful, but i get annoyed as well. I mean understand this, I have those days, especially right now before surgery, i just want a day to be breast cancer free and not think about it. I don’t think feeling like that is a bad thing because soon enough i’m going to be waking up to a scar on my breast and radiation daily. Right now i feel fine. I’m healthy. Only the Mammogram found the cancer, so its not like its affecting me physically yet. I’m full of energy, i’m not depressed, and im still whole.  I know that days will come when i may be feeling differently and i’m trying to plan ahead for all those situations. Im reading the book Just get me through this by Deborah A. Cohen

It came in my Baskets of Care from

I’ve talked to the founder of Baskets of Care Gail Cooper and we are meeting for coffee thursday. :) She’s a 2 year survivor and i’m really glad i get to meet her and talk to her. I am planning on doing a fund raiser for them after my treatment is finished. I really want to give back to those that are helping women with breast cancer.

Ok guys and girls, Next Boobie Wednesday is my Lumpectomy so Boobie Wednesdays go to gal @wookiesgirl will be filling my shoes.

We’re sorry, but you have breast cancer.

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This is my story that is currently unfolding.

3 weeks ago i went to my Gynecologist for my yearly physical. The same routine as every year. Because my birthday was 2 weeks away she decided it was time for my 40yr old mammogram. I had a baseline done 3 years ago. For those that don’t know what a baseline is, They do a pre 40 mammogram so the have a before shot of what your breasts look like.

Within 2 days i get the call that i needed to get the mammogram redone because they found what they called calcification on my left breast. this time i had to go to the Breast Care Center for these shots. They did a few more than the last time and after i was asked to wait.  The nurse took me into a empty room where the radiologist was waiting and they explain to me that the mammograms matched and i needed to have a biopsy done now. The radiologist looks at me and says, “1 out of 3 patients with this form of calcification’s that has the biopsy done has breast cancer.” All i heard was, Your going to be that 1 out of 3.” I sucked it up, put a smile on my face and scheduled the biopsy for the next week. This Tuesday i went in for the biopsy.

They were really great at The Toledo Hospital Breast Care Center. Talked to me through it, explained everything along the way and made sure i was ready to leave since i went alone. Yesterday i got a call from the nurse that helped with my biopsy. She asked how i was doing and feeling then she explained that my Gynecologist was on vacation so the doctor that did the biopsy needed to speak to me. He get on the phone and says,”Unfortunately we found cancer cells in your tissue. Its non invasive ductal carcinoma. You now need to see a breast doctor for a action plan and to decide how you want to get treated.” I just started crying on the phone. I kept thanking him and hung up as quickly as i could, but  it rang again. It was the nurse this time and she was wonderful talking me through my feelings and explaining that it is treatable. Yet again i thanked her and hung up.

Upset and needing to think i walked out the door and headed to Lake Erie. Its where i go to walk through whats going on in my head and to get my feeling in check. I had to figure out how i was going to tell my 3 kids. Heather is 21, Nicks 19, and Shawna’s 13. I figured Shawna would take it the hardest. I let my family know by text message and i let my friends know on Facebook then i went home to tell my kids. Shawna wasn’t upset so much as mad. She looked at me and says,”We’ll beat this Mom.”  Yes we will baby, Yes we will.

 My wonderful kids.

I’ll be posting my story as it happens. I know this is going to be a day by day roller coaster of emotions for me.

When i helped start Boobie Wednesday, it was because my oldest kids aunt had breast cancer. We are the same age. It doesn’t run in my family but i wanted to do something  to educate the young women that blow off self exams because they dont think they may get it or are afraid of finding that lump. I didn’t have a lump. This was so small that only the Mammogram picked it up. I had no signs either.

Please, for me, everyone, Check yourself. Be happy when you dont find anything, and if you do, GET CHECKED.. Its your life in your hands when your feeling your boobs.



And the awareness award goes to….

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Its my turn to be sarcastic. Ive been reading tweets and blogs bashing Boobie Wednesday and the fact that people post their “Boob” avi’s.  Now in our defense, the choice to post boobs shots is strictly up to the tweeter. We don’t ask or expect you to change your pic on Wednesdays. Its strictly your personal choice. Most people do it to show that they have done their self exam for the month, there are those few that only do it for other reasons that we do not advocate. We are not the internet police but when our hashtags #boobiewed and #BoobieWednesday are used i make sure those that are doing it for the wrong reasons are set straight.

I think the bashers need to take a step back and look around them at advertising and other major causes.(Can you say double standard?)

PETA uses naked celebs to promote the no fur

choice .

Adam Levine did a nude photo shoot to promote prostate cancer (he did have a female hand covering his sweet spot)

I find it annoying and purely hypocritical when they attack personal choice saying people do the Avi change for attention or purely for fun.

Whats fun about a 25 year old never doing her/his monthly breast exam and finding a lump while taking a shower? Whats fun about never knowing men get breast cancer as well as women, and if it runs in your family, even being male, you have a greater risk of occurence? Is that attention getting?

Hows this for fun and attention getting?


“Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.

Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. Approximately 1,700 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year. The evaluation of men with breast masses is similar to that in women, including mammography.”


“Definition of testicular cancer: Cancer that forms in tissues of one or both testicles. Testicular cancer is most common in young or middle-aged men. Most testicular cancers begin in germ cells (cells that make sperm) and are called testicular germ cell tumors.

Estimated new cases and deaths from testicular cancer in the United States in 2010:
New cases: 8,480
Deaths: 350


“Definition of prostate cancer: Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.

Estimated new cases and deaths from prostate cancer in the United States in 2010:
New cases: 217,730
Deaths: 32,050

Fun enough for you? Attention getting? We regularly post info on all cancers, Not just Breast cancer..

We even have a post here on the website about Mesothelioma cancer.

Now im not going to lower myself to their standards and name names (our blogs) But i’m really sick and tired of defending what we do and how its done. We have alot of breast cancer survivors that support us. They dont think that we are objectifying women or making breast cancer seem trivial by the bringing awareness the way we do. Want to see what breast cancer looks like on a woman that has had her breasts rebuilt after a mastectomy? I can tell you she fully supports us.

I dont do this so i can show the whole of Twitter my breasts every week because i have a poor body image or i need men complimenting me on the size of my breasts. I do this because my kids aunt, someone i went to school with, someone that is the same age as me, was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. She’s lost a breast. Guess what? Now my daughter and son have a lifetime of paying attention to their breasts to make sure that if they do get it, they find it early enough that they won’t lose their lives like so many men and women do. I stay educated about breast cancer because who better to ask my kids every month if they have done their self exam then me? You know who will stand by their sides and hold their heads as they gets sick from chemo if it does happen? Me.

Thats why i do this every week. Thats why it matters to me that men and women i don’t know are reminded to self exam. Hey bloggers and Tweeters that put Boobie Wednesdays message down, My daughter and son could someday get breast cancer. I’m their first reminder to self exam.

The Three Amigas By Linda Salter

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We met in the waiting room of the radiation oncology department — Mich (a nickname pronounced ‘mitch’), Tammy and me. Mich had started her treatment about two weeks before me so I met her first. We were often there at the same time of day, late afternoon. At first we nodded at each other and then, tugging self-consciously at the ‘lovely’ gowns we wore for our five-day-a-week appointments, we went back to flipping, unseeing, through glossy magazines. After a few days, we introduced ourselves to each other and started chatting. It was the unique kind of small talk you make while your life hangs in the balance. You make seamless segues, somehow, between talking about your job one minute and needle biopsies the next, between cute kid and pet stories and how to treat radiation burns, between the weather and current events and surgeries, and always, always, steadfastly avoiding references to the future. A couple of weeks later, we met Tammy. She was sitting in the corner, listening to us, and I noticed she was nodding her head in agreement. I had just said “all I want to do is put this whole experience behind me”. I said “you too?” and she nodded again and then moved over to sit nearer to us. She was a day or two into her treatment. From that day on, we were the three Amiga’s with breast cancer.

In many ways, we couldn’t be much different and in many ways, we couldn’t be more similar. They were both just shy of 50; I was a few years older. Mich works for a big corporation, Tammy is an office manager and partner in a small business, and I am an educator and an academic. Our family configurations are not much alike, we have widely differing ethnic backgrounds, and so little in common in our daily lives that we probably would never have met anywhere else. On the other hand, we shared the most important things. We all had breast cancer, we are all gregarious and like to laugh, and we all knew one thing for sure: we were not going to die any time soon.

Over the next few weeks, we became the terrible trio of radiation oncology. We talked and laughed before and after our treatments, sometimes we stayed so long, sitting there in those lovely gowns, giggling and yakking until the staff actually dimmed the lights and left. We teased the nurses, asking them when happy hour started and where were the drinks and snacks. Sometimes we moved our conversation to a nearby hospital lobby and coffee shop. We knew by this time, without saying so, we had a friendship that would long outlast the ugly red blotches that we now all sported on our chests and in our armpits.

On Mich’s last treatment day, we brought gifts and flowers and hugged and vowed to keep in touch. They did the same for me, and Mich and I did the same for Tammy.

Since then, we have remained the three amigas. We get together once a month or so for lunch, stay in touch in between, and sometimes go with each other to doctor appointments or tests. Cancer has treated us all very differently. We joke that Mich is boring. She has had few complications and no recurrences. We joke that Tammy is the ‘medium’ one. She has had a scare and a biopsy that was negative and some other non cancer related health issues. We joke that I am the drama queen. I’m am way ‘ahead’ in recurrences, amount of treatment, and number of surgeries. But where it matters, there is no difference between us. We share something no one else can understand if they haven’t been through it themselves.

The first time I walked into the radiation oncology waiting room, I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone there. After all, ‘they’ were cancer patients. Not me, this was all some colossal mistake, a bad dream and I would wake up soon and forget all about it. The last time I walked out of there I walked out, laughing and talking, with my dear friends Mich and Tammy. And now I can’t imagine my life without having spent those days in that room, or my life without them.

We are, and will always be, the three Amiga’s.

(Linda Salter is a Breast Cancer survivor and we posted her story October 18th. )


How Breast Cancer touched the McDonald family.

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    Ive been asking for stories of how just cancer alone has touched our many Twitter friends, And today @LizAMcDonald sent us this.

“My name is Elizabeth McDonald. I’d like to share my Grandma McDonald’s story with you. I was 14 when she passed away in 1987, so I asked my Father to write what he could about her fight with Breast Cancer that spanned 2 decades. It was very difficult for him to write. (I still retain most of my memories of my Grandmother, and even remember touching my Grandfather’s nose – he passed away in 1974) I did not know what my Grandmother had gone through until I was much older.
My last “vivid” memory of her was in her final weeks when she was living at my Aunt and Uncles house. We (my parents, brother and myself) walked into my Aunt and Uncles house and Grandma was sitting on the couch (she looked about 6 months pregnant as the cancer had spread throughout her body). She looked at me and cried out “I don’t want to die!!!!!!” I can’t write, speak or even think that without crying, as I am right now. I know she is at peace, with my Grandfather who passed away many years before she did, her baby boy that was stillborn before my Father was born and her brothers and sisters. (I have attached a photo of myself with my Grandma and Grandpa McDonald in 1973)
This is what my Father wrote:
When I was away in Wales (in the mid 1960′s) Mom had her first breast cancer operation. It was calleda mastectomy. She didn’t want me to know so I didn’t find out until I arrived home. Her right breast was removed plus alot of other parts that go with it.  She followed the doctor’s advice about care and exercises hoping there wouldn’t be a second outbreak.
The doctor was sure he got it all but Mom still had to go every 3 months and then six months after. She recovered so well from the operation and her spirits were always high. She was asked on occasions to speak to women facing the same operation to encourage them to a speedy recovery. I think they did a “show-and-tell” under a nurse’s supervision. Mom bought a “fake booby” as she called it and felt better wearing it and she looked good.
Mom died in 1987 after a very strenuous time. Some time prior to that the doctor spotted a return of cancer in her breast. I usually accompanied Mom to her checkups and she was devastated to learn that she had to go through the whole thing again. Then early in July of 1987 she was admitted to Centennial Hospital in Scarborough (Ontario, Canada). Mom was staying with my sister and brother-in-law (Arlene and Ted). Arlene looked after Mom during the week and I looked after her on the weekend. It came to a point when he could not continue and she was admitted to Centennial Hospital. She lived for about two days and died in her sleep. [ This is reliving a difficult time but I remember Mom was so brave for us as she suffered so ... I wish I was a strong as she was.]
  She was always so happy over the years between operations especially when she got a good report from the doctor.  I think she brought comfort to the women she visited and that helped her with her own struggle.  I have many hero’s in my life and Mom is one of them as is also her granddaughter whom I love so very much.
Much love

The memories Of just these two people was enough to make me cry. Cancer leaves a lifetime impression on people that will never be forgotten.  Liz’s Grandma’s story show the strength and love of a family dealing with breast cancer.

 I hope The weekly message we spread on Twitter helps in someway and hopefully saves a life.

Remember, when October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) ends, Breast Cancer still exists. It does not go away for a year. Self exams are key to finding it quickly.


P.S. I want to send out a special Thanks to @wookiesgirl, Without her i wouldn’t have been able to handle this months contest and Tweeting duties. She took over this weeks #boobiewed posts because I’ve been recovering from shoulder surgery.

Thank you, You’ve been my saviour and i will be forever grateful.

My story begins on a cold February morning; Linda Salter’s story.

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Ok i just met Linda today because she was tweeting about cancer. She told me she was a breast cancer and ovarian cancer survivor. I asked her if she wanted to write her story and this is what she wrote. .


“My story begins on a cold February morning, in the shower. I felt a small, hard lump above the nipple on my left breast. I quickly stopped feeling for it and went on with the day I had planned. The next day, and the one after that, and the one after that, it was still there.
A week later I happened to have an appointment for my annual physical. I mentioned it to my doctor. As she was examining me, her lips were saying “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about” but her eyes told me something else.

The next few days were a blur of mammograms, ultrasounds, blood draws and physical examinations. There was ‘something’ there but no one knew for sure what it was. The radiologist suggested I talk to a surgeon. The surgeon didn’t feel he had enough information to do a biopsy and sent me for an MRI.

The MRI showed a suspicious area the size of an unshelled peanut. Everyone said it was nothing but I should have a biopsy just in case. The doctor removed an area the size of an almond and the biopsy results confirmed ductal cell carcinoma. Next came the lumpectomy during which they discovered and removed a tumor and surrounding tissue the size of a walnut. In post-op, I decided I was the mixed-nuts of breast cancer patients and told them if they started finding coconuts, I was keeping ‘em. I figured, that way, at least I’d have cleavage.

It was decided I ‘only’ needed radiation and Tamoxifen but as the months went by, the cancer markers in my blood continued to go up and my weight went down. I had ‘prophylactic’ surgery to remove my ovaries and very early cancer was detected in my fallopian tubes. More treatment, more rising blood markers, more lumps in my breast later, I had a double mastectomy. Pathology reports confirmed the cancer had recurred.

Since then, I have suffered from ‘reconstruction interruptus’. Due to post op complications and the facts that I am thin and have very sensitive skin, the first attempts at expansion failed. I have had a ‘lat-flap’ procedure on my left chest and will have the same thing done on the right side in January. Then, I will try the expanders again. So at this point, I have a tiny pseudo boob made up of muscle that used to be on my back where my left breast used to be, and a crater and some scars where my right breast used to be. It is not attractive but it does have some entertainment value. At the gym, when I do lat pulls, my left pseudo boob moves.

My story is mostly one about being lucky and making your own luck. I was lucky I found the first lump. I was lucky to have aggressive, persistent, talented doctors. I was lucky to have supportive people around me, then and now.

As awful as it has been, I wouldn’t go back. I am a better person than I was and better than I ever would have been.


I think the imagery in my painting is fairly obvious. If not, maybe I’ll talk about that another time.”

A painting I submitted to a Livestrong Art Exhibit (artwork by cancer pts, survivors etc.)


     I think what she has been through is telling to her strength of will. Shes a fighter. The painting i can say stands for its self. My take on it is, When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I hope im right. :)




This week, @jonsnewboobs story With photos.

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This week i want to post Ronna Kimbrell’s story, Or as our Boobie Wednesday followers on Twitter know her @jonsnewboobs. She Posts every week for #Boobiewed facts and myths about breast cancer and always posts her story of finding she had breast cancer. This week she sent me her before, during, and after pics and i’m posting them as well. Its a great thing she does by putting herself out there to educate, inform and help others and i just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do Ronna. Your my hero.

This is Ronnas Story.

          “At age 34 I received the devastating news that I had breast cancer. Not just one tumor…but three. I had two different types of breast cancer, DCIS in the left breast and invasive-aggressive in the right. I was terrified. My doctor suggested that we do a bi-lateral mastectomy, take both of my breasts.

On October 15th, 2008, I went in for surgery, six weeks later I started what has become the longest year of my life: Chemotherapy. It was determined from the pathology that I was Stage 2, estrogen-receptor positive and her2/neu positive. I had sixteen chemotherapy treatments and 52 Herceptin treatments. I finished my last chemo on April 1, 2009 and my last Herceptin on January 6th, 2010.

I finished my reconstruction process in July 2010. This was a long road…but I’m finally finished. Through all of this, I have decided that I am doing things for myself now. I am no longer just a wife and mother whose life revolves around my family. But I am a cancer survivor. I have begun doing education outreach with the Susan G. Komen foundation in hopes of reaching other young women before it’s too late. This is not an “older woman’s” disease, it affects us all.

My family is very supportive and has been with me every step of this process. Cancer has brought me new friends that I will have for a lifetime. Strangely, I think that the Cancer was a good thing for me. I now have a better outlook on life. I feel like I was meant to have cancer, so I could educate and spread awareness about breast cancer.

Thanks so much to amazing #BoobieWednesday team…they have given me an outlet to help spread awareness…and through this process I have learned so much.”

                    To have her trust us enough to post her pics so others can see what She dealt with and went through just makes me love her more.

Thank you Ronna. Oh and if your not following her already, Please do.

To see close up of her photos just click them.

BC Treatments and Be A Designer Competition

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Most of our posts on here relate to prevention and early detection. Well today our post is about some of the treatments available for those who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

When I googled this a lot of the pages I found where companies trying to sell their own products, so I turned to the ever reliable WedMD.

Now the stages of breast cancer rate from stage 0 to stage 4. The average survival rate for a stage 0 diagnosis is 100%, where as stage 4 diagnosis is usually terminal, which is why its important to do your BSE’s!

Here’s a list of typical treatments:

  • Surgery is a standard. For smaller tumors, you might get a lumpectomy, in which only the abnormal cells and some of the tissue are removed. Some women choose a mastectomy, in which the entire breast is removed. After a mastectomy, you might choose to have breast reconstruction surgery.
  • Radiation therapy is standard treatment after a lumpectomy. Radiation therapy attacks any abnormal cells that might have been missed and decreases the risk of another cancer.
  • Hormone therapy with tamoxifen after surgery may also help prevent cancer from developing in the same or opposite breast.
  • Bilateral mastectomy — the removal of both breasts — is another option. Some women choose this approach because they are worried about getting cancer. They might have certain risk factors, like a strong family history of breast cancer. After surgery, you might choose to get breast reconstruction surgery. However, experts think that a bilateral mastectomy is a more extreme approach than women usually need.
  • Chemotherapy is treatment with drugs that attack cancer cells. It’s often used after surgery to lower the risk of the cancer coming back. Women who had larger tumors are more likely to need it.
  • Biological therapy is another approach. In about 25% of women with breast cancer, an excess of a protein known as HER2 makes the cancer spread quickly. Herceptin is a new drug that’s been approved to treat women with metastatic breast cancer that is HER2 positive. It stops this protein from making the cancer grow and makes chemotherapy more effective. It is most often used in combination with chemotherapy. Studies have led to its use in early breast cancer.
  • Clinical trials A clinical trial may allow you access to cutting-edge treatments. Many new therapies — new drugs, new treatments, and new combinations — are in clinical trials now. Keep in mind that any successful treatment we have now started out in a clinical trial.
  • Other drugs may also help treat some of the side effects of breast cancer treatment, such as nausea, fatigue, and infections.

So for any of you who ever wanted to know the options, whether for yourself or a family member, that’s the standard list.

Just remember that every cancer is different, every patient is different, so every treatment is different. What worked for your friend might not work for you. Make sure you have good communication with your doctor and be open to their suggestions.

Ok, now that we’ve covered our serious issue for the week, we can get to the fun. Yes, FUN! Boobie Wednesday is bringing you a new competition! (Competition is now closed).

Basically, we’ve been asking you guys for AGES to help us come up with designs for the t-shirts at the Boobie Wednesday store, and some of your ideas have been great! Unfortunately, neither myself nor my partner in crime have the necessary resources to actually make the designs ourselves, so we’re giving you the floor!

So here’s the details. We need a t-shirt design, related to breast cancer awareness, and/or Boobie Wednesday and it must be (this is very important) ORIGINAL. We cannot accept entries that are reminiscent of any other campaign logos, or slogans or anything like that.

Secondly, it needs to be on a transparent background, and preferably saved in PNG format. Also to bigger you can make it the better. :)

If you’ve got all that done, send it to us at

What does the winner get, you ask? The winner gets to see their design in the Boobie Wednesday store! (AND you’ll have good karma, because all the money we raise from selling your design will go to the NBCF).

So get creative and get em in! We’ll be closing the competition on February 1oth, so you’ve got about a month to get your entry in.

Good luck!