Immediately after our wedding I wanted to start trying for a family. After 6 months of no success, I started to seek answers. It turns out I have hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome. In December 2017 my thyroid was finally stable and we were seeing a fertility specialist to talk about some medication that could help me ovulate. I was 100% certain that 2018 was going to be our year to start a family and get back on track, health-wise.
What I thought was a minor detail in December 2017 turned out to be something closer to a nightmare in January 2018. Beginning of December, I had felt myself up one night in bed, because why not? And what I felt that night, as I was lying in bed, alarmed me. I yelled for Scott and he came up from downstairs and confirmed what I had thought - I had a moderately large sized lump in my left breast. When I called to schedule my thyroid follow up I asked if they would also do a breast exam.
December 29th, my doctor came in, talked about my thyroid (which would finally turn out to be stable), and asked if I needed anything else. I said yes, I have a lump in my breast. She did an exam, confirmed the lump, reassured me that it was probably just a cyst, which is normal for my age, and suggested getting an ultrasound for “peace of mind.”
January 5th, my mom’s Birthday, I had the ultrasound ... that I almost didn’t get by the way because I didn’t think I could afford it. They had an intern doing the exam. The nurse, or technician, or whoever she was, pushed the intern out of the way and essentially said “let me take over.” She didn’t have a good poker face and I knew something was not right. The radiologist came in after reviewing the images and said the lump was not a cyst, that it was solid, and that they needed to do a biopsy. They gave me the option of doing it that same day, to which I agreed. Why wait? Hence I was pushed to the middle of the room, prepped and biopsied. I didn’t have anyone come with me, because why? It was supposed to just be a cyst.
Afterward, I went outside, called my mom, and cried. It hit me that having a biopsy done isn’t normal at all. That appointment was on a Friday, results came on Tuesday. I got a call from my primary physician while I was at work. “I’m afraid it’s really bad news. You have breast cancer.” I proceeded to get off the phone, walk out to my desk and as I was crying I asked my boss to go home. Because I have cancer. I was stunned. And angry. I went home and eventually decided to be completely upfront about this disease and I have been completely stunned by the amount of support and love we’ve received.
Despite feeling bolstered by the people around us - my confidence is often kicked aside when confronted with our new reality. Being a mother is all I’ve ever wanted and now that might not be a possibility for me. Now I’m fighting for my life, the life of any of my future children, and my life with my husband (and dog).
After struggling to be seen sooner than the 26th of January with any doctor who could help me understand what “you have cancer” really means, the U of M got me in on the 11th to see an oncologist. I have stage 2 breast cancer. It’s aggressive. I’m looking at chemo and surgery and radiation. I need to have a port installed in my chest. I will probably lose my hair. To preserve my fertility, which will likely be damaged by the chemo, I need to harvest my eggs now and will probably need IVF in the future. All of this is if I ever get cleared by my oncologist for pregnancy after I beat cancer. In combination with other transitions I’m going through, I’m scared about how we will survive this.
I can only begin to understand the amount of medical bills we will face and what this is going to cost us. We are young people who have always worked hard to take care of our loved ones, our communities, and our friends. I’m scared and overwhelmed, and I’m asking you for help to get us through this. When this battle is over I will still have a life that I desperately want to live. It’s so hard for me to ask for help, but here I am, praying for more than just a few miracles. Please consider donating to our fight. I’m a pretty open and honest person, and I’m openly and honestly hoping that when this is done, our adventures will continue.
With all my love,