Michelle's Breast & Brain Cancer

My sister Michelle was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the end of July, then Brain Cancer soon after.  She is a mother of two beautiful girls, wife to a loving husband, and a wonderful daughter to our mom who had a stroke 6 years ago.  She has been her 24/7 caregiver ever since.  She is also a sister, friend, and teacher who loves to inspire and help others when ever she is able.

Michelle will have a long road of chemo treatments, radiation and surgery for her metastatic breast cancer also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer. They will continue to monitor her brain closely for signs of more tumors. The future may be unknown, but she is fighting hard and staying positive through it all.

You may follow Michelle's updates and find more information on the benefit, through this link:

 https://www.facebook.com/MichellesCancerBenefit/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Any funds raised will help support Michelle and her family during this difficult time.  It will be used for current and future medical expenses, much needed caregiving expenses, and extra support for any unforeseen loss of wages. 

It's early in her fight, but she is ready for this battle. Please join us in helping make her fight a whole lot easier!

Prayers, inspiring words, and postive thoughts are also welcome!  Thank you!

Here is her story in her own words, pulled from her inspiring and positive posts to her family and friends:

October 10th, 2017

Update from Michelle:

I'm a planner, so here is "The Plan": ️

I'm excited to say that my last strong "icky" Chemo of adriamycin and cytoxcin is tomorrow! I have had many not so good side effects and haven't had much energy but I am getting through this first phase! Yay! Next, in two weeks, I start my cycle of another Chemo (Taxol) every week for 12 weeks. I heard this may be easier on my body. They will be throwing in some other treatments such as Cyclophosphamide and Herceptin. I will be on Herceptin for 1 year, which fights the metastatic and HER2/neu protein cancer. Sorry about the technical jargon, but I have had many friends and family ask what type of chemo I am receiving and I can never remember all the names.

I also spoke with my nurse navigator this morning about my surgery. I could be having surgery as soon as February or March. She knows I am a teacher, so she said that we might be able to schedule it right before Spring break. So, I will just have my students work online for a few weeks after spring break, which I am sure they will be happy about. With a double mastectomy , the recovery time might be a little longer and having reconstruction right with it could push it out even more. Plus, they are thinking I will need radiation after surgery. At this time, I will most likely have the reconstruction surgery on summer vacation.

As for my brain: This is a wait and see scenario. Of course, I am sure some may feel they wished there was a biopsy done, but I continue to feel it was not necessary. I'm going to believe that my brain can handle this. I do understand that metastatic  cancer is something I will have to always live with, but that doesn't mean I am going to ever give up!

Thank you again for all your support!


August 13th, 2017
"It has been a crazy past couple of weeks. The hardest part of my new journey was and still is telling everyone, so here it goes..... On July 31st I was told I have breast cancer.  Since July 24th it's been a whirlwind of tests from exams, to mammograms, to biopsies, to MRIs, to a PET Scan, etc. Friday I had surgery to have a port placed for my treatments and I will start Chemo this coming Tuesday.  Surgery will be scheduled for a double mastectomy at a later date.  My main concern was receiving the PET scan results.  According to my surgeon on Friday, they do not see cancer anywhere else in my body besides the tumors in my left breast. This is very good news! For those of you that know me very well, I do not cry easily, this news had me crying happy tears!  I will continue to work, be here for my mom, husband, and girls and move forward as usual. Yes, I am in warrior mode now and I got this! Thank you for all the love, prayers and positive thoughts. Thank you to my friends and family that have been helping out this past couple weeks. You know who you are.  Lee, Danni and Maddie have been incredible through all this and are my rock. We will keep everyone updated on Facebook and by email, since this is where all my friends and family are."

August 15th, 2017
"Ok, the secret is out. There is a little something wrong with my brain. I know some of my friends and family already knew this and I welcome the jokes. Chemo will be put on hold for now. I told my oncologist to not be surprised if something comes back on my MRI results. She is concerned by a lesion she saw on my brain by my surgical site. I received these results yesterday. I will meet with my neurosurgeon tomorrow morning and my neurologist on Thursday.  I am not worried about these results, since I have been having the same symptoms after my brain surgery in 2009.  At my last meeting with my neurosurgeon and neurologist a few years ago I told them that I did not want to continue with any medications, and that caffeine would continue to be my drug of choice.  They agreed at that time that I did not have to move forward with another surgery.  1st hardest thing for me is letting people into my life by telling everyone;  2nd hardest thing is this waiting game;  3rd hardest thing is asking for help and letting people help me.  Thank you to all my friends and family that are helping me get over #3. I will try my hardest to continue to get over #1 and #3 soon, but as for #2 I'm ready to kick this now! ....Requesting prayers and positive thoughts for no more roadblocks so I am able to start my fight. Thank you everyone for your support!"

August 16th, 2017
"While shopping today I saw a woman working that I always see. I know this isn't her only job because I have seen her working at another place also. She always smiles at me and is very helpful. She is in a wheel chair and you can tell she doesn't let any of her disabilities get in her way. Today I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I just want to tell you that no matter what is going on in my life, you are a true inspiration to me, and I thank you." People keep complimenting me on my strength these past few weeks. My strength doesn't just come from within, but also from all those that inspire me every day. So, thank you to everyone that has inspired me over the years with your strength, hard work, dedication, and positive attitudes through thick and thin. My dad was one of those people and I know he is watching over me right now."

August 19th, 2017 
"Thank you for all the messages, calls, texts, prayers and words of inspiration!  I apologize for not posting an update, since it's been a whirlwind of tests and emotions this week.  I will try to return everyone's messages soon. This will be the last cancer update to my Facebook wall. A few of my guilty pleasures are making people smile, laugh, paying it forward when ever I am able, and of course bragging about my kids.  My wall will be saved for positive and hopefully inspiring posts from now on.... Thank you again for asking how you are able to help and thank you again for all those that have been helping."

Update: The "lesion" on by brain is a very small tumor. Long story short, we will be "zapping" it on Friday and I can then start chemo for my breast cancer on the following Tuesday. Yay!  Short story long, I had been given two options on Wednesday. First option was radiation to just zap the small area that is "most likely cancer" and get rid of it with very little down time. Second option would be surgery to remove it and then do radiation. This option would only give them information about the tumor. One of my doctors really wanted to know what type of cancer it is and if it is related to my breast cancer. With surgery, I would not be able to start work this week and would be laid up for at least 10 weeks.  Plus, chemo would have to be on hold longer.  Everyone that knows me, knows I can not sit still for that long again! Hence, whirlwind of emotions. By Wednesday night, I decided I wanted radiation and do not care to "study" what is going on in my brain at this time.  Thursday I spoke to the radiation therapist, who believes it does look like cancer.  I really trust her opinion and she believes this will all work out well. My brain surgeon is also on board with the radiation. They will continue to monitor my brain very closely from now on.  Friday they did a more extensive MRI of my brain and do not believe there is cancer any where else in my brain at this time.  After that I was off to make my special mask for radiation therapy. So we are ready to do this!

I am excited to start my treatment and once again thank everyone for all your love, prayers, positive messages, and help. One little bump (and it is just a little bump on my brain) in the road IS NOT going to stop me from fighting this to the end! Cancer still messed with the wrong person!  Sending lots of love, prayers, and hugs to all of those out there fighting their personal fights also!"





Donations

 See top
  • Mada Midtling 
    • $50 
    • 28 mos
  • Karen Pleven 
    • $30 
    • 36 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
  • Patrick and Kristi Larson 
    • $100 
    • 37 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 38 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Georgiann Bartylla 
Organizer
Stillwater, MN
Michelle Schoenecker 
Beneficiary
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