On December 20th, I found out that I have breast cancer.
2019 has been a particularly difficult year. It marks 20 years that I have been struggling with Lyme disease. Last spring, I got sick with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In the beginning of the summer, I got bitten again and ended up with an acute case of Lyme disease to go along with my chronic Lyme. Just when I thought I was feeling a little better, and amidst the excitement of the school year starting (marking the first time all 3 of my kids are in school 5 days a week), I came down with mono again (I also got it the previous fall.)
After a month of mono, I started to feel better. I was so busy with work that I didn’t have time to pay attention to some subtle changes that were happening. I started to feel worse. More tired. More pain. I thought maybe my Lyme was flaring up. I noticed one of my breasts seemed a little painful sometimes, but felt around and there was no lump. So I ignored it.
Over the course of about 2 months, it seemed like my right breast was growing. Too embarrassed to mention it to my doctor, I told my husband. But we both thought…. no lump, no problem. My breast didn’t have a lump. It just seemed very swollen.
One day I met up with a couple of friends at a cafe and I asked my friend Nina about it. She told me to go see a doctor right away. And thank God she did.
I have invasive ductal carcinoma – the most common type of breast cancer. It is triple positive, which means the cells have endocrine and progesterone receptors (which is good) and HER2 receptors (which is bad.)
I had never had a mammogram before I went to see this breast specialist. I am 36 – no doctor had ever told me to. I have no family history of breast cancer.
Several rounds of mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies (5 so far), a CT scan and a bone scan later and I still do not have a definitive answer as to how far this cancer has spread. We know it is big. We know it is in at least one lymph node in my armpit, and they suspect 8 more in that area to be cancerous (they only biopsied one so far.) The CT scan showed two suspicious spots along my spine, so now I have more scans and possibly more biopsies to look forward to this
The doctors want to start chemo as soon as possible. This Friday, I will get a port surgically placed to facilitate that treatment.
I will lose my hair.
I will lose at least one breast, and probably a good amount of nearby tissue as well.
I will undergo radiation and other treatments after my surgery.
I have at least a year of treatment in front of me, and I cannot say with confidence that I am up for it. I am exhausted, physically and emotionally, from being sick for so long. But there are three little humans I brought into this world who are counting on me to beat this. Three little humans who mean everything to me. Three little humans I would be heartbroken to leave behind. So for their sake I am steeling myself for the battle ahead. I will fight with every bit of
strength I have (and what I lack in strength I make up for in stubbornness) because my children deserve a mom who loves them as much as I do. And nobody on earth will ever love them as
much as I do.
I will also be fighting for more time with my wonderful husband, my soulmate, my favorite person – Jason.
I am so thankful for my tribe – my family and my friends who have been rallying behind me, praying for me, researching for me, and supporting me and my family. I feel so loved, so blessed, so happy. Thank you.
Yesterday, I got some very powerful prayer from the prayer team at Eastward chapel in Redding (my mom’s church) and one of the women, a breast cancer survivor herself, gave me this bible verse:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
6 I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
I am optimistic. I am hopeful. I have faith that God will use this experience to bless me and my
So I guess what I’m saying is….. my 2020 new year’s resolution is to kick some cancer ass. Wish me luck – or better yet, pray for me! 😉
My week, in pictures: