Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family and Friends,

Don and I received the most terrifying news this week.  I have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Yes, Breast cancer at the age of 33!  This is the sentence that has continued to come out of my mouth these past couple of days.  Sometimes with a swear word involved within that sentence!  So far we know that it is called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC).  

A little history for all of you that are doing what I did when I learned of this and picking your jaws up off of the floor and second guessing that this is for real:  I stopped breast feeding Ryan when he was 5 weeks old due to issues with my right breast.  I went for my 6 week post appointment and he didn't want to do a breast exam since it had only been a week since I weaned Ryan.  That was fine with me.  Weeks later, I started to notice my right breast was constantly looking swollen.  I called the OB office weekly and gave them my symptoms.  On all occasions, they told me it was due to weaning Ryan and there was nothing to worry about. One phone call, I opted to make an appointment rather than speaking with the nurse and the operator transferred me to the nurse who continued to give me what we now know was poor advise.  They left me with tips, all of which I tried.  That included cabbage leaves, taking Ryan's diaper and getting it wet with hot water and putting that into a sports bra, I did it all!  I visited the OB at the end of May for other reasons and had the Doctor check my breast at that appointment and again was told it was a breast feeding issue and that it can take months for it to resolve itself.  I also visited a primary Dr. due to an ear infection and had that Dr. check it out and again same thing.  Finally last Friday, I decided I was not taking this any longer.  I demanded an appointment.  

On Tuesday, I met with a nurse practitioner who immediately looked at my breast and sent me for a mammogram.  I had a mammogram and ultra sound and that is where the nightmare began!  The radiologist called me into her office and informed me that it did not look normal and that I needed a biopsy right away.  Between her and my sister in law who works for a surgeon calling around, we were able to get in with a great surgeon on Wednesday afternoon.  The biopsy was not that painful, just like the mammogram, I was a little sore, but with my mind going crazy, it didn't matter.  The Surgeon told Don and I that he was 98% sure it was breast cancer so we left there with a pretty good idea of what we were facing.  

Like anyone, I needed my mommy!  She was quick to get on a plane on Wednesday and was greeted at the airport by my wonderful mother in law.  Wednesday afternoon we all tried to prepare ourselves for today.  We tried to come up with a plan of calling around today and getting things going since we knew the odds of getting good news was against us!  Today we spent pacing the house, putting blinds up in our sun room, watching movies and mindless day time TV, none of which, I could tell you, because I went from spacing out from not sleeping, crying out of fear, anger and sadness and well, just sitting there feeling sorry for myself!  I still am not believing what I am going through....Again, I am 33!  I am supposed to be worrying about my 2 little boys and making sure they are fine, not worrying about me being diagnosed with a scary cancer!  

So where do we go from here?  I have an appointment with an Oncologist tomorrow at 3:00.  From there we will know more about a plan of action.  They are saying chemo is necessary to shrink the tumor before they can do surgery.  I plan to get a 2nd opinion at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago and have a wonderful college friend who works there working to get me some appointments.

I am in for some hard days ahead, but I know I am a strong and I like to think, funny person.  Both will hopefully work in my favor as I fight this beast called cancer!  I am scared to death everyone and need all the prayers I can get!  Please keep not only me, but my 3 wonderful men in my life, my family and Don's family in your prayers.  We will reach out if we need anything and the point of this blog will be to keep everyone informed of what is going on with my treatments.  

Love to all!



  1. I never wanted or expected to read a cancer blog written by my big sister but thank you for writing this. I know it will help clear your head if you're able to put your thoughts down somewhere. Love you so much!

  2. Amber, cancer just stinks and I am so sorry you have to go through this! We will be praying for you and your family. I don't know if you have read my sister-in-laws blog about her cancer, but maybe they could be helpful to you. They are shared on my fb page. We will be thinking of you and will be checking in on you often!

  3. I agree with Whitney, so proud of you for writing this!! Love you much!

  4. Amber, I am so sorry you are going through this. You are such an amazingly, strong & wonderful woman! You WILL beat this!! You're in my thoughts & prayers!!!

  5. I was so shocked to read this tonight. I hate that you are facing this, but I'm happy to see that your mom and Don's mom have already rallied around you. I can see from your fb comments that you are surrounded by people who care enough to do what it takes so you KNOW you're not alone in this. You ARE strong and you ARE fun and funny, and I feel sure those qualities will help you hold on to joy even in the midst of this trial. I'm praying for you and believing the best for you!

  6. Amber, my heart breaks for you as you start on this journey to healing. Thankfully you have a wonderful husband to help and support you and it sounds like quite the family surrounding you with help and love. If you need anything please know I would be happy to help. Also know that everyone at ESI is pulling for you to beat this as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Just keep hugging those adorable little boys on the tough days - I am betting they are the one thing that can keep a smile on your face during those times!

  7. Amber & family: Just as you said in your blog, I'm still trying to pick my jaw up. Shocking feels too mild a word. Know that love, prayers, and strength are coming your way from way out west. Your sister is keeping us posted. We will keep her well cared for while she worries about you. So happy you're blogging your way through this. From all accounts, that is a hugely beneficial way of processing what you are dealing with. Keep it up!
    Nothing but love,
    Gabby in Sparks, NV (your sister's sister-in-law's sister..ha!)

  8. Amber I admire your willingness to share something so personal with us. It'll be rough but if you need a quick laugh (or someone to laugh at) you know where I dwell.