Friday, June 14, 2013

The Biggest DIY Project of My Life...

No I'm not pregnant.  Wish I could say that but instead the hubs and I are facing a much more difficult battle for us right now. 

I have breast cancer.  To be technical its Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Yup. I. Have. Breast. Cancer.  I feel like the more I say Breast Cancer the more I will feel comfortable with it, but it still stings every time I say it.  The news completely scared the crap out of me and the hubs when we found out...and maybe a little bit still.

A few weeks ago I found this lump in my breast and asked the hubs if he could feel it because I wasn't sure if it was something that I really needed to go in for.  He told me right away that I should check it out with my mom (wise words).  The next day I saw my mom and she told me to find a doctor to go to right away.  At first I scheduled an appointment with a doctor that I couldn't get in for about 6 WEEKS!!  I scheduled the appointment just in case I couldn't find something else sooner, but once I told my mom about it she told me to look around for someone else.  I found this great OBGYN near my house and got in two days later and found out that it was probably just a cyst but that she would recommend me to get a mammogram and possibly an ultra sound just to be safe.  Within a week of that news, I was at the West Allis Women’s Pavilion in Wisconsin and taking care of business.  The doctors came back and told me that the cyst appeared to be a "complex cyst" and they would want to biopsy it because it looked suspicious and wanted to be on the safe side.

Mean while, in between all of these appointments I was freaking out....frankly from the very moment I felt the lump I didn't have a good feeling.  Something in the pit of my stomach was saying it wasn't going to work out to my advantage.  I wasn't sleeping well.  Granted being a third shifter is hard enough to sleep during the day, add on the stress of not definitively knowing yet, along with being nervous and scared definitely wasn't helping the situation.

So, this past Monday I had a biopsy scheduled, which wasn't bad at all.  The doctor numbed me up, took a few samples and I was out in less than 20 minutes.  The absolute worst part was the anticipation.  Literally the prep time took longer and there was no pain at all!  The West Allis Women's Pavilion does all their testing in house, so they get their results back the next day, so the doctor got my personal phone number and told me he'd be calling me between 10AM-2PM the next day but probably around noon to expect a call.

I woke up to my phone ringing the next morning at about 10:30AM and I answer half asleep.  The doctor says "Emily, you have cancer".  Those words will never leave my mind for the rest of my life.  I seriously felt like I was kicked in the gut and I couldn't breathe.  Once I calmed down some, which wasn't much, the doctor gave me a number for a surgeon and to get in contact with her to move forward.  I immediately called my mom and frantically told her and she asked me if she wanted me to come over.  I told her she didn't have to (I knew she was at work) and that the hubs was off of work that day.  About 20 minutes later she called and said she was on her way.  I felt bad that she had to leave work, but comforted knowing my mom was going to be coming over.

Made the phone call and now I have an appointment scheduled for this upcoming Monday with what I call the "dream team" which includes the surgeon, an oncologist and a radiologist, who are going to go over all my reports and let me know my options, which are a lumpectomy with 6 1/2 weeks of radiation or a mastectomy. 

One absolute positive thing in all of this negativity is that apparently I tested positive for estrogen and progesterone which means my chances of going through chemo are very slim!!!

Two weeks ago the hubs and I were talking about having kids later this year and now, completely unexpected; we're talking about me having the possibility of a mastectomy.  Kids won't be in our immediate future at this time, which bums me out, but I can only hope that in the future!

Another weird part of this whole thing was that I was told that I could possibly have had this for 6+ years ( I have breast exams and this was never found either)...I'm only 27 years old, so that means that I've had this lump since I was 21 YEARS OLD!  That just seems unbelievable.  I think even having breast cancer at 27 seems kind of young, but to imagine that I've possibly had this uninvited guest for 6-ish years...mind boggling.  Oh and to add, no family history on either side.  Someone please explain this one to me?!  I guess you have to start somewhere?

I've also never had surgery before.  The worst thing was a cut on the bottom of my foot or a fractured finger when I was in high school.  The cut healed on its own and the same with the fracture. 

That's where I'm at right now.  I'm so up and down and at times it's really hard to believe that I have breast cancer.  I HAVE BREAST CANCER.  I keep asking, "why me?", "what did I do to deserve this?" I keep trying to see a positive in this, but all I really want to do is get this damn thing out of me ASAP!  I still can't believe this...

We are extremely blessed to have such a strong support system around us of friends, family and co workers who have our back and are willing to help if we need it!!  As nervous as I am, I plan on kicking this breast cancer right in the ass and getting it out!!

The hubs and I are spending this weekend with friends and family to keep our minds off of the upcoming stress...

And to only think if I wouldn't have looked for another OBGYN to get this whole thing started, I still wouldn't have gone to my initial breast exam...definitely a scary thought.

Send me and the hubs some love and prayers!!


  1. Emily:
    You are a very strong woman and I know you will beat this. I hope other women who are going through breast cancer read your blog. It is very inspiring. Your words are so positive and encouraging. You do have a strong support group, especially Chad...I have not seen you guys in awhile, but when I do I see how much he loves and adores you and vice versa.. Take it one day at a time..
    You and Chad will be in my thoughts and prayers..

    1. Trista-

      You don't know how much that means to me! I am really taking this and running with it, hoping that through my experience I can inspire and inform others about being aware of their body and not being afraid to make a voice for themselves and stand up for what they think may be going on regardless!! Chad really has been my rock through all of this!!

  2. Emily,

    One of the misconceptions about Breast cancer is that if you DON'T have a family history of BC, that you WON'T get it. In fact, 85% of breast cancer patients have no family history of BC.

    You have a new title, Breast Cancer Survivor. The day you were diagnosed is the day you became a Survivor. You now have thousands of new sisters and brothers (yes, men can get Breast Cancer too) who share that same distinction and we are an understanding and compassionate bunch.

    I was diagnosed in August of 2010 and have been cancer free for 2 1/2 years. Like you, I had early stage hormone receptor positive cancer. Mine was found on a routine mammogram. Lke you, I was given the choice of a mastectomy (and be done with it) or a partial mastectomy plus 30 rounds of radiation plus 5 years hormone therapy. I chose the latter. My sentinel node biopsy showed that my lymph nodes was free of cancer so i did not require chemo. Although I am older than you, your journey sounds like it is starting out a lot like mine.

    You are bound to be a bit shell shocked and you have a lot of questions, that is normal. If you want to talk to someone who has walked the path already, feel free to contact me. I can tell you about my experience and maybe point you in the direction of some helpful resources and websites. If you are on Facebook, feel free to friend me -- search for Susan Thomas Maskaleris or email me at

    Hang in there, Emily, you trusted your "gut" and you were right!


    1. Sue-

      I absolutely LOVE this: "You have a new title, Breast Cancer Survivor. The day you were diagnosed is the day you became a Survivor."

      Your story does sound exactly like mine! The doctors did say that I would have had to take the hormone therapy for about five years as well!

      Today I opted to go with a double mastectomy. It feels right for me and most importantly I do not want to go through this kind of stress in later years if it were to come back!

      I sent you a friend request on facebook and I truly appreciate your support!


    2. Emily,

      I'm from Wisconsin too! I went to college at UW Madison light years ago ;) My brothers still live in Grant county.

      I'll send you a private facebook message with my main email address and phone number. Feel free to contact me through email, text or phone. i'll let you contact me when you are ready, I know that it is a busy time for you right now.

      I can't speak to any mastectomy or chemo questions since I didn't have them but I can tell you about radiation and tamoxifen and some of the other pre-op tests and procedures you will probably have done in the next few weeks.

      Stay strong, sending pink hugs your way,


  3. Emily,

    Right now, things might feel bleak, but you have a lot going for you in your fight. You are young, strong and full of spunk. You will not back down, stop fighting or give in.

    You have a loving and supportive partner that will do every damn thing in his power to ensure you do not feel alone and have the resources to keep fighting.

    I am really impressed by your positive attitude so far, hang onto it and don't ever let go. A good mindset can be more beneficial than legions of doctors and surgeons.

    You also have one of the best researched and most commonly treated forms of cancer. Those who came before have helped to clear the path ahead of you.

    It's been a long time since we've hung out, but I know you and Chad and I know that you will beat this. It's the cancer that should be scared for choosing the wrong host to fuck with.


    1. Sylvan-

      Thanks so much for the support! Chad really has been my rock through all of this and has really kept me from going crazy! We are happy though now that we are back in charge of everything and are taking action! It definitely has been a LONG time since we've seen you and when this is all done we are throwing a celebratory party and you'll be invited!! We will keep you posted one everything and wish you the best!


  4. Im with you RED.....always

  5. I am in awe of you. Such strength.

  6. Emily - I don't normally do this, but my name is Samantha Evans - and I am 27 , married and battling cancer as well. I read your post, its scary how it reads a lot like my own story. I found out when I was 24 when I had cancer and it blew my mind away. I know what your going through. If you ever want someone to talk to , about treatments, about fears, about anything - Please consider me. I also just started a blog a month or so ago a little bit about my journey in relaspe. its all very scary.
    Here is my blog - if you ever want to chat, come on over and we can get an email chain or something going.
    good luck and God bless.

    1. Samantha-

      This entire thing is very scary and also kind of blows my mind how fast everything has changed, a complete 180. I commented on your blog and I really enjoy reading about your journey, although I wish there wasn't one for you to have to write about. writing it all down really does help though with the whole coping process though, at least I think of it that way!

      The same goes to you if you want anyone to vent, yell or talk to I sent you a request on fb! I hope all is well and everything works out for you!

      Em C

  7. Emily,
    You are inspiring, and so is your blog. You are in our prayers.

    The Spiegel Family
    (from Edwards St.)

    1. Al and the family-

      Thank you so much! I am hoping through my battle I can give other women some insight, be able to make their journey as easy as it can be and answer any questions they may have!

      Em C