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The Big “C”

September 9, 2008

If you have been following this blog for a while now, you know that cancer has played a big part in my life in recent times. My Mother was a breast cancer survivor for thirteen years, only to have developed another type of cancer earlier this year and pass away in June. Three of my cousins have also had to deal with breast cancer. Now, it’s my turn.

Last week I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The official name is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it is the most common form of breast cancer in this country. I am being treated at a leading cancer hospital in New York City and have the utmost confidence in my doctor. I don’t yet know what stage cancer it is, but my doctor seems to think that we have caught it at a very early stage. I will not know my course of treatments until some further testing is done.

This in many ways comes as no surprise. As mentioned above, I obviously have a family history of the disease. My Mother was 52 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of my cousins was 31. I am 35 years old. The statistics are also clear – one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Of course, the timing could have been a little better. After my Mother passed away at the end of June,  two weeks later I went in for my yearly mammogram to find a small mass deep in my left breast.

Even though this has probably been the hardest summer of my life, I feel lucky to have the support of my father, sister, husband and that I have two young children to keep my spirits bright. I am also very optimistic that my cancer can be treated and that I will be a survivor too.

Whether in the book blogging community or as a fellow adoptive parent who followed me over from my adoption blog, your comments and visits have always meant the world to me, therefore I decided to be honest and share my story with all of you. I also hope that in telling you about my diagnosis it will inspire you to schedule a mammogram (yearly after the age of 40 if you don’t have any family history of breast cancer).

I will still be leading a normal life (or for what some people may call a “New Normal”) and will continue to write book reviews and read, read, read (I mean, what else can I do while waiting at my doctor’s office)! I will also occasionally write a quick blurb about my treatments if I think it will affect my blogging and may even start a seperate blog to chronicle by cancer experiences.

In the meantime, make sure to continue to stick around here since there are some really fun things going on in the next month at Stephanie’s Written Word, including a brand spanking new home for my little blog, another author guest post and a fun giveaway of a signed book!

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61 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2008 10:45 am

    Your honesty and courage is inspiring. I’m sure all your readers wish you nothing but the best. Here’s to your recovery!

  2. September 9, 2008 11:24 am

    Stephanie, thanks for sharing. Please know I’m out here pulling for you. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  3. September 9, 2008 11:25 am

    As the poster said above, we all wish you the best. I just had my mammogram yesterday but I think it is so important for young women to know that they can request one at any time if they feel the need. It’s well worth the cost if insurance does not cover it. After mine I asked my friends about it and they all said.. “nope.. will wait til I hit 40.”

    I really enjoy your site so keep up the reading and keep us posted on your progress.

  4. September 9, 2008 11:26 am

    Good luck with everything, like everyone else, I do wish you the best!

  5. September 9, 2008 11:28 am

    Good luck with everything, Stephanie. I’m sure your courage and positive energy will take you a long way. God bless.

  6. September 9, 2008 11:32 am

    My thoughts are with you, along with everyone else! Good luck!

    (and I just finished Cancer is a Bitch by Gail Konop Baker – it’s due out at the end of September, might be something to lift your spirits!)

  7. chanknits permalink
    September 9, 2008 11:47 am

    Likewise, you’ll be in my prayers. Stay strong and positive, and clearly, you have a great care plan and support system!

  8. September 9, 2008 11:49 am

    Good luck Stephanie! I will think lots of good thoughts for you.

  9. Jacki permalink
    September 9, 2008 12:49 pm

    You are stronger than you even know. You’ll see.

    Cheers, from one breast cancer girl to another,

    Jacki

  10. September 9, 2008 1:09 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your honesty and courage is inspiring. Here’s to a speedy and quick recovery!

  11. September 9, 2008 1:34 pm

    You will be in my thoughts.
    My mom is a breast cancer survivor. What helped her the most was staying positive and busy. Sounds like you are planning on doing the same.
    Stay strong.

  12. September 9, 2008 2:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your blog is so uplifting and positive. I will definitely be praying for you and your sweet family.

  13. September 9, 2008 2:33 pm

    I’m sure you’ll be inspiring to me during this. Since you were the first one to inspire me in book blogging, it’s only natural you would inspire me with your courage and (seemingly) unflinching determination in battling breast cancer. MWAH!

  14. September 9, 2008 2:37 pm

    Hugs, prayers & happy thoughts all aimed your way.

  15. September 9, 2008 2:55 pm

    Thinking cancer-butt-kicking thoughts for you.

  16. September 9, 2008 2:58 pm

    My very best thoughts and energies go out to you, Stephanie. Enjoy the wonderful world of books as you go through this hard time. So glad you have such wonderful support around you.

  17. September 9, 2008 3:11 pm

    Offering up prayers for you now…. Peace be with you.

  18. September 9, 2008 3:16 pm

    I wish you well.

  19. September 9, 2008 3:31 pm

    Oh Stephanie, I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this. Thank you for sharing and I’m thinking cancer kicking thoughts.

  20. September 9, 2008 3:46 pm

    You are truly amazing to share this with all of your “friends.” Know that so many people care about you and will be praying for you!

  21. September 9, 2008 4:15 pm

    My mom had very early breast cancer, so early that it would have taken 2 years for a lump to form so that you could feel it. I’m 35 and will be going for my first mammogram next year upon doctor recommendations.

    My mom’s breast cancer was caused by the hormones she took while going through menopause, so I now refuse to take any birth control that adds hormones to my body.

    My mom is a survivor now for over 2 years!

    I’m sure everyone has a story to share and that’s my families.

    I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts.

  22. September 9, 2008 4:32 pm

    I had non invasive intraductal carcinoma in situ in the left breast, and I had several spots of it. I had both breasts removed on Oct 31, 2005. I started with reconstruction immediately. The final pathology report showed that what cancer was there was actually removed during the biopsy. I know I made the right decision in having both breasts removed, I am 44. Consider me a friend, not just a blogger. If you need to chat, my garden is always open.

  23. September 9, 2008 4:51 pm

    I am so sorry this happening to you. But it does sound like you are doing everything you need to get through it. I have been where you are – and I think writing about being open and trying to stay hopeful are all really good things (and expressing that anger when you need to!)
    Take good care – wishing you the best possible news ever step of the way.

  24. September 9, 2008 5:36 pm

    I am sending lots and lots of positive thoughts your way… your incredibly optimistic attitude is amazing and I just know things will go well for you.

  25. September 9, 2008 6:16 pm

    I will be praying for you, too. Hang in there.

  26. September 9, 2008 6:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Stephanie. I’m sorry you have to go through this, but it sounds like you have a wonderful support system to help you through. I’ll be sending healthy, healing thoughts your way!

  27. September 9, 2008 6:58 pm

    I was diagnosed in April 2000 with Stage III invasive ductal carcinoma. I had a modified radical mastectomy, 8 treatments of chemo, followed by 25 treatments of radiation.

    Am still here!

    I do have lymphedema in my right arm that gives me fits at times, but overall, things are great.

    Sounds like you have a great doctor and a wonderful support system, other than your own positive attitude, two of the most important things that will see you through.

  28. September 9, 2008 7:03 pm

    Sending you good vibes and lots of best wishes

  29. September 9, 2008 7:10 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. {{{Stephanie}}}

  30. September 9, 2008 7:48 pm

    I’m so sorry that this had to happen to you, but am so glad that you caught it early and that you’re staying so positive! My thoughts and best wishes are with you and your family…

  31. September 9, 2008 7:57 pm

    What a tough thing to be dealing with, but it sounds as though you are doing so with grace and courage.

    Thank you for sharing.

  32. September 9, 2008 9:06 pm

    (((hugs)))

    You’re going to get through this beautifully, my brave friend! Keep us updated, and I will keep you in my prayers.

  33. September 9, 2008 9:07 pm

    Go knock that cancer dead, lady.

  34. September 9, 2008 9:25 pm

    Definitely sticking with you here and cheering you on as you kick cancer’s butt!

    Sending you many prayers & hugs.

  35. September 9, 2008 10:57 pm

    What does a person say now? I’m so sorry this happened to you. I hope your cancer is exterminated quickly (I have a friend with multiple tumors who names them all so that she can tell you when ‘Benjamin’ died or ‘Joseph’ was escorted from the premises. I think they’re named after ex-boyfriends or bosses she hated) and that this leaves you a stronger, more focused person. I’m so glad you’ve shared, and I hope you keep us up to date.

  36. September 9, 2008 11:12 pm

    I’m sorry this is happening after your summer. I’ll be thinking of you.

  37. September 10, 2008 12:16 am

    Wishing you all the best!

  38. September 10, 2008 12:17 am

    **hugs**

  39. September 10, 2008 1:10 am

    Thank you for sharing with us and I join the chorus of well wishers.

  40. September 10, 2008 4:35 am

    I realise I don’t really know you at all Stephanie – only through reading and enjoying your blog but my positive thoughts go out to you and I wish you all the best for your treatment.

  41. September 10, 2008 5:09 am

    Stephanie, you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers! Be strong!! {{Hugs}}

  42. September 10, 2008 7:50 am

    Wow what a story to share. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know you better. Hopefully, we (your readers) can help lift your spirits when you are down. We can definitely keep you in our thoughts and prayers. You will beat this thing!

  43. September 10, 2008 10:41 am

    Just wanted to say again that my thoughts will be with you, wishing you a speedy recovery.

  44. callista83 permalink
    September 10, 2008 11:21 am

    You have the support of your book blogger friends as well. My thoughts will be with you.

  45. September 10, 2008 5:19 pm

    My mom was diagnosed four years ago so I know how hard breast cancer, and cancer in general, can be. But I have the utmost confidence that you will defeat this.

    So go beat that cancer to a pulp!

    All my best wishes.

  46. September 10, 2008 9:51 pm

    *Hugs* You and your family will be in my thoughts and I hope for all the best for you.

  47. September 11, 2008 11:40 am

    I’m glad you posted about this because the responses you are getting from your bloggers are really awesome, what a nice bunch of friends you have. I hope you do end up blogging about this because I think it will help a lot of women out there who may someday have to walk this same path.

  48. September 11, 2008 11:54 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but I think it’s great that you are so upfront about it. I had my first mammogram last year at 35, as a baseline to compare my first official one at 40 against. I don’t know if everyone is doing that now, but it made a lot of sense to me. Hugs to you! You will beat this.

  49. September 11, 2008 1:12 pm

    Stephanie, you have our thoughts and prayers here in WV. My great-grandmother was a breast cancer survivor and just to have you share your story is an amazing inspiration. Keep up the fight, we know you’ll win!!!

  50. Kim permalink
    September 11, 2008 2:34 pm

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. It sounds like you have an amazing support system at home and on-line with the web community.

  51. September 11, 2008 3:33 pm

    Hi Stephanie, Greetings from Ireland. I am a a writer too, diagnosed with breast cancer last May. You are in my thoughts. I really believe that every “bad” thing that happens in our lives has much “good” in it too — and am already finding that to be my experience with cancer too. I wish you strength and peace during this time.

    Orna

  52. September 12, 2008 10:11 pm

    Hi Stephanie – you have an amazing positive attitude; I clicked back to this post after reading your book review above. Best wishes – you have a lot of support from your family and friends (IRL and here)

  53. September 13, 2008 8:22 am

    Stephanie, I am so sorry to learn this news. I had fallen behind on my blog reading over the last couple of weeks and just discovered your post announcing your little unwanted guest in your breast. (Yeah, I just realized that rhymes.)
    You are in my thoughts and I promise not to fall behind on reading yours or any blog again if I can help it.
    XOXOXO-K

  54. September 13, 2008 11:22 am

    My heart goes out to you at this time and all the best wishes! I just finished reading a fiction book about a young woman who got breast cancer and it really opened my eyes to that world and all the challenges. So glad that it looks like it was caught early and all the best to you during your journey.

  55. September 13, 2008 8:08 pm

    Hi Steph,
    I am in awe of your grace and calmness here on this blog. I would be a basketcase.

    I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I am sorry that you got hit with this and hope that it’s a small blip and in very early stages and GONE!

    Hugs to you and your beautiful family!

  56. September 14, 2008 12:44 pm

    I have no doubt that you’re strong enough to beat this and will! You are in my prayers!

  57. September 14, 2008 7:04 pm

    I just saw a bumper sticker the other day that made me think of you. It said: Cancer can kiss my *ss!

    You’ll do great, Stephanie!

  58. September 15, 2008 11:06 am

    You have such a wonderful outlook, Stephanie! You’re in my thoughts. Oh, wanted to let you know.. I finally scheduled that mammogram. I go next week. Thanks for the kick in the butt.

  59. September 15, 2008 8:02 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I will be thinking of you and hope that you get better. They have made some advancements in cancer therapies. My aunt survived it, you can to.

  60. robinaltman permalink
    September 16, 2008 8:47 pm

    Stephanie,
    I’m a newbie to your blog, but learned about it from Lisa M’s blog. You are one brave, lovely woman, and I wish you total health and zero cancer. I laughed out loud at your comment that if you want to increase your blog readership, just announce that you have cancer. You go, girl! And know that you might have saved a 45 year old lazy fart that has been putting off her next mammogram for far too long. (I won’t say how long. You’ll be horrified.)

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