Inspiring Hope: Melissa

Melissa Pauser
Compliance and Graphics Coordinator for J. Lohr
Survivor since 2008

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2008. I was 45 years old.

After my mammogram, my doctor urged me to have an ultrasound, and then a biopsy. Finally, I was referred to a surgeon for a lumpectomy. My surgery only left me with a tiny scar, so I knew I was lucky. After the procedure, I waited for the biopsy results to come back.

Although I had my surgery in mid-December, the lab did not complete my pathology report until the end of January, so when I went in to see my oncologist, she could not assess my situation properly. Six weeks had gone by, and I still didn’t know what that terrifying little blob was made of! That was when I learned that I had to be my own advocate. Angry, I took matters into my own hands. After calling the lab myself, I finally learned that I had Triple Negative breast cancer, which is rare and aggressive, and cannot be treated with only oral medications or radiation. Only a combo of chemo, radiation and follow up would give me a good chance of survival. I thought, “Okay, sign me up!”

The worst part about my treatment was the lack of strength and energy I experienced. To cope, I knew I needed to think positively. As my treatment progressed, I would count down my eight chemo cycles, saying things like “I did it! Only 6 more to go!” I remember thinking how fortunate I was that the chemo didn’t make me sick or ruin my sense of taste.

This November, I will be a two year breast cancer survivor. I’m a reminder to all my friends and family members to schedule their mammograms, which are extremely important. Because I have what is called fibro-cystic breast tissue, I likely would not have been able to find the lump myself in the routine self-exam. I am proud that J. Lohr is helping women who can’t afford mammograms. Screening saves lives!

Research indicates that early detection and treatment are essential to combating breast cancer, and annual mammograms are often the first step toward confronting this disease. For every bottle of J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon  or Sauvignon Blanc sold this year, we will donate $2 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. All proceeds will go toward providing mammograms for women in need.

For more information on breast cancer awareness, please visit