Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Beginning

In January of 2011, I decided it was time to have a lump in my breast checked out.  This was after I heard the news about a friend of a friend who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30.  After a visit to my gynecologist and a trip to Advanced Radiology, where I had a sonogram performed, it was determined the lump was just a dense tissue mass, non-cystic, and nothing to be concerned about.  We took a sigh of relief and went on with our lives. 
A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant.  The next 9 months were filled with anticipation and planning.  I had a wonderful pregnancy without any complications.  After 13 hours of labor, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl we named Charlotte on 10/9/11.  I started breastfeeding and was very successful.  You could say I was an over producer.  My body worked overtime as I produced 48oz of milk per day.  Baby C grew like crazy, and we are so blessed to have her in our life. 
The lump was still there throughout my pregnancy, and it had never been completely out of my mind.  Unfortunately, breastfeeding did make it more difficult to tell if the lump had grown, or if it was just lumpy milk ducts.  As my milk production leveled out, I started to feel a change in the lump.  It was more round and seemed a lot bigger.  During a visit with my mother-in-law (who is a nurse) I asked her take a feel, and she agreed it seemed bigger then back in Jan 2011.  I made an appointment with my gynecologist. 
This was exactly one year after I first investigated the lump.  In the hopes that the lump was a cyst, my doctor tried to drain it, but was unsuccessful.  This procedure ruled out the possibility of a cyst.  I was referred to a surgeon at the hospital for further investigation.  On 2/6/12, I had a core biopsy performed.  It was not the most pleasant experience I have ever had.  The worst part was pumping bloody breast milk for the next few days as my milk ducts healed.  
On 2/10/12, we sat down with the surgeon to hear the results.  The words you hope you never hear came out.  This is cancer, and we need to treat it.  With baby C in my arms and Steve holding my hand, the reality of what we just heard came crashing down on us.  No one, not even the surgeon, thought in a million years this would be cancer.  Doctors have told me that breast cancer passes from the mom’s side of the family.  In my case, the history of breast cancer is only on my dad’s side. 
The day we heard the news was the last day I breastfed Charlotte.  Although there are no hard studies that say breastfeeding with breast cancer is dangerous, it’s hard to justify breastfeeding your baby from a boob with a cancerous tumor growing in it.
On 2/23/12, I had a lumpectomy and 3 lymph nodes removed.  Plus, I now have the addition of a port-a-cath located below my collarbone for future chemo treatments.   
We are patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for the results that will determine how extensive my treatment will need to be.  We have a great support group of family and friends to help us through this difficult time.     

We know there are lots of people praying for us as we go through this difficult time.  We know with these prayers, and the support of our family and friends, we will get through and come out stronger than ever.  We pray for guidance as we are presented with various treatment options in the next couple of weeks.


  1. Love you Erin! You are one of the strongest, brave women I know. You are blessed to have such a supportive, involved, devoted husband, Steve! Anxious to hear the results this week, but whatever the news, we ALL have your back!!! Constantly in our thoughts and prayers..Miss you! Love EO

  2. Looking forward to hearing the journey of how you kick this thing in the butt!!!

  3. I'm reading Erin (Baby's friend Amy). I think this is a wonderful, courageous thing for you to do. I've been trying not to pester Kelly too much with updates on your progress, but I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I've also shared your story with so many women around me (not naming you specifically, but trying to remind the same-aged women friends that I have that this horror really can invade a woman's life at any age) to remind them that they need to be ever vigilant about taking all the steps to protect themselves from this disease. I'm earmarking this site as one of my favorites and I look forward to reading about your future triumphs, as I truly believe it's only a matter of time before they occur. I really can't say enough how brave and wonderful I think this is of you to do, and I hope so much that even beyond that, this blog proves to be a cathartic experience for you. Which begs a HUGE p.s. - Charlotte is GORGEOUS!!!! Congrats new mommy.