Om Namah Shivaya


Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Message to Mama Stout"

A woman is God's gift to man. She's strong, powerful, and full of life. A woan knows when to let loose and be wild, but she also knows when to have her guard up and be the support system for those she cares about. A woman is prepared for an and all things; but what happens when something slips under her radar? Something that is deadly and life threatening that can remove her from her duties. She does not like to be away from those that need her for more than a few seconds. It is almost like being trapped inside of a transparent cell and seeing her babies struggle, and knowing she can't help until she has the strength to break down the walls.

Since the beginning of time women have been seen as weak and one to follow orders, but that was just a front that they put up to hide their true selves. Only if you knew what they were thinking. Oh, the mind of a woman. The things she comes up with. Gears constantly turning in her brain whether awake or sleeping. when she dreams she schemes. Her thoughts are never ceased until the moment she takes her last breath, and even then it only falters for a moment. When in spirit she still makes it her job to watch over and protect.

She fights any and everything that may cause harm to her or her loved ones. She is a fierce machine that will never give up the battle until she is victorious. So again I ask: what happens when something slips under her radar and causes her to half halt her journey?

Well for one thing she gets pissed. She wonders what type of person or thing would have the balls to try and stop her. She doesn't believe anything would even dare to stand in the way of what she has to do. So you better believe that a little thing such as cancer will send her into a rage that would scare the hell out of the devil. She'll fight fire with fire until it is defeated. Chemo is just like a mother threatening to "tap dat butt" when her child is throwing a temper tantrum. The hair loss is just reason to try something new and come back badder than ever. Being gone is just the vacation that has been needed for a long time and being tired, well hell who isn't these days?

There's never been a day where you are never there for the people that need you and there will never be a day where there is no one there to:

*hold you when you want to cry

*listen when you want to talk

*duck when you feel like throwing something, and

*when you're screaming at the top of your lungs, stand in front of the door and say, "Dawg don't go in there, this lady is crazy!"

You always have our backs and now here' sour chance to have yours.

A woman with breast cancer will take that lump, look it dead in its ugly little face and say, "You ain't gon' be here for long, cause I'll fight you with every ounce of my strength, and I will kick your ass!"

-Chonte Woods


This was written for me by one of our trumpet players, Chonte. No words can say how wonderful this gift is. Thank you Chonte. I will treasure it always.

Breast MRI's and "This is a Message from the Emergency Broadcasting System"

"Uh, Hi...this is Tom with the MRI department at KU Med. I need to speak with you regarding your breast MRI...we need to go over your medical history and some safety instructions. If you could please call me at...."

I swear I've heard that message from Tom at least three times, and now he's calling me about the abdomen MRI next Wednesday. And I'm sorry but what's this stuff about safety instructions? What in goodness name could happen that I need *safety* instructions!?

Turns out it's nothing I need to worry about. Turns out Tom's a nice guy to talk to on the phone; I wonder if I'll get to meet him sometime.


So I get there early and sit in the hallway contemplating what this is going to be like. You have to remember that every single test I have done and every test I will do in the future are brand new to me. So I was a little startled when the MRI began and it felt like I was inside the Emergency Broadcasting System. :)

They gave me the rockin' blue robe to wear (apparently there are different robes/colors for different procedures; makes sense) then took me back for an IV. Again. This is really beginning to make me want that port surgery; I've been stuck at least 7 times so far and have probably two or three more before that surgery is done. *Sheesh*

Anyways they take you back to a room with a very large machine that kind of had a "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" sound going on in the background. You lay face down on a table that has two holes cut for your boobies to hang in. They then push something, I'm not sure what, against either side of your chest, and then put earplugs in your ears telling you "It can get kind of loud in there".

Um, okay...

So then the MRI guy (sorry MRI guy, I've forgotten your name) tells me that I just need to relax and not move and that he will talk to me through the intercom to tell me how long each scan is. They put an "emergency" squeeze ball in my hand and left the room. I hear the MRI guy's voice click in...

"You ready?"

*thumbs up from me*

"Okay. First scan is 30 seconds"


I damn near jumped out of my skin!!! That was NOT what I was expecting. I don't know what I was expecting, exactly, but I sure know it wasn't that!

"Second scan is 2 minutes"


Holy carp! This was craziness! Hahahhaha!!! I literally felt like I was inside the Emergency Broadcasting System. I was half expecting the MRI guy to come over the intercom saying "This has been a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System. This was only a test". Hahahhaha!!!!

I will admit that on a couple of the longer scans I dozed off. Especially two of them that were the same sound in a consistent rhythmic pattern the entire length of time. Those lullled me off to a quiet place so that was nice.

This entire scan took about 30 minutes and it wasn't until the last 5 minutes or so that I began to get uncomfortable. It was a slightly uncomfortable position to lay down in in the first place; face down, arms above head, boobies hanging down, and a slight bend in the table right under your abdomen applying pressure on the bladder. Yeah, that was fun. Then my right shoulder started to hurt and my hand started to go to sleep. Thankfully they were done before I started fidgeting cause it would've happened.

Later this upcoming week is another MRI (at least I'll know what to expect this time!), a lymph-node biopsy, and the first chemo session with a Neulasta shot the next day. That's gonna be fun. Then the countdown to no hair will begin. Yessssssss.......*pumps fist in air*

Friday, May 28, 2010

Drummin' for a Cure; The Stout Foundation

So I've always wanted to start a nonprofit/foundation for Breast Cancer and I believe the universe is telling me that *now* is the time. The name of it will be Drummin' for a Cure; The Stout Foundation. My ultimate goal for the large fundraiser for it is to have a metro wide Drum Line competition hosted by my school. Obviously that goal is a ways off, so for now we are going to start simply. We are going to start by selling T-shirts, pink snare sticks, and pink swirl silicone wristbands. There will be two shirts

1) "Drummin' for a Cure" across the top with a picture of a bass drum w/a pink ribbon inside

2) "Marchin' for Mama Stout" across the top, don't know what else yet on it. Waiting for this artwork to get to me.

They will both be the classic breast cancer pink, tye-dyed in hot pink. Prices TBD once I get the artwork to a tshirt company.

The pink snare sticks will sell for $15 a pair. You may begin to order these at any time. For right now I would appreciate cash, but if you must write a check make it out to me, Emily Stout.

The pink wrist bands will sell for $2 a piece. Those are currently on their way to me. They are pink swirl silicone bracelets with "Kickin' Cancer's A$$" embossed on them. My name might also be on them as well. You may order those at any time as well.

IF you need me to ship any of these items to you, simply include a few extra bucks for shipping please and of course your address.

That's it for now! Let's get this foundation going!!!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For those interested parties, chemo starts next Friday. Many tests lined up between now and then. I will be posting my schedule of chemo up on If you re interested in helping out with chemo appointments this will give you the chance to sign up for them in advance. You are also more than welcome to call/text me. I appreciate all of the help we can get.

things that i'm grateful for...

to everything there is the opposite. so this is the page for what I am grateful for...

*my husband
*my family
*my inlaws
*our friends
*my girlfriends
*my dogs
*my life
*my job
*my drum line kids
*catching it early
*my band kids
*having humor and sarcasm
*taking it all with a grain of salt
*the fabulous shoes that Bob, Britney, Evie and Luke sent me
*the GORGEOUS scarves all my girlfriends gave me
*the beautiful plant my girlfriends gave me
*not having any cancer (that they can see) anywhere else in my body
*finally getting started with this whole chemo thing cause the sooner we start the sooner we're done
*going for a walk this morning
*sleeping well last night
*enjoying a cup of coffee on a quiet sunday morning
*Lilly-dog snuggled up at my feet on this quiet sunday morning
*Buck-dog still upstairs in bed (*yes!)
*feeling like I can actually get some yoga done today
*taking control and shaving off my hair. so glad my head doesn't hurt anymore.
*getting closer to setting up my foundation

things that suck...

haha....this shall be my ongoing post of things that suck. at any moment at any time I will post to this.

*finding a lump
*being told it's breast cancer
*knowing that we haven't even begun this journey
*knowing I'm going to lose my hair
*the uncertainty around it all
*knowing that I'm not going to be able to do everything I want to do this marching season
*feeling helpless
*being pissed off at the universe
*not being able to do hot yoga during chemo
*knowing that cancer terms are about to become an embedded part of my vocabulary
*having to have to tell everyone from my principal down to my kids
*the fact that it's still dirty dog time of the year...I'm tired of dirty dog time!!!! hahahaha!!
*the fact that my hubby had a cold sore right now and so I can't get any kisses
*the fact that I think I'm getting a cold sore
*the fact that I start chemo next Friday
*the fact that I'm going to lose my hair...
*taking the first chemo drug last night
*realizing that chemo day is here
*not being able to go for a run because my biopsy site is still a touch tender
*not knowing how I'm going to feel when I get home today
*being officially bald
*the body aches
*the nausea
*having to avoid crowds
*having to do my own freaking pedicures
*waking up at 530 on a Sunday morning feeling nauseous
*the fatigue (although I am a big fan of naps anyways so this is slightly okay)

mother trucker...good bye Granite City

Damn. She told me something I didn't want to hear; I can't work at Granite City while going through chemotherapy. *sigh* that sucks big time. I know, I know, I life is more important than a job...I have my whole life to work...I shouldn't worry about the money...well folks *NEWS FLASH* I do worry about those things and I KNOW (*trust me* I KNOW) my life is more important than a job..and it's not so much the job I'm going to miss as the people; my regulars and my friends. I was really honestly hoping that bartending would be one of those *normal* things I could hold onto throughout this whole experience.

What the truck am I gonna do on the weekends for six months?


Today's the day. My last shift at GC behind the bar until I'm done with chemo and I'm released by my doctor to go back and have my "triumphant return". This is gonna be weird. It was already weird enough yesterday having to tell some of my regulars what was going on and *why* I wouldn't be back behind the bar. Pete cried, Rick and Linda looked shocked, and Ben was dumbfounded.

I am truly going to miss bartending at GC. It was one of those things that even though it could be a pain in the rear at times, and other times I was so tired from working 7 days a week I could scream, it was one of those things that I really truly enjoyed doing. I never lied when I said "I do this for fun. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't do it".

*sigh* I'm gonna miss you GC; Dana....take good care of the bar while I'm gone. <3

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Kids, I have something to tell you, part 2"

And then the time comes to tell the Band. Yesterday, after their final to be precise. If it's possible I was even more nervous about telling the Band, don't know why but I was. In all honesty I really really felt like I was going to vomit, but thankfully I didn't. ;)

As I was looking around the room, and as the words "I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Stage 1C Infiltrating Ducatal Carcinoma" I felt as though I was having an out of body experience. Everyone was kind of staring at me with this look of shock, mouths halfway open, some holding their hands in a prayer position, and I think I heard a few sniffles around the room.

I told them that everything is going to be okay and that it's just going to be one b!tch of a year for me and then I told them that I most likely am going to lose my hair, and I must admit I lost it a bit there. I became very serious with the girls telling them to become familiar with their boobies if they aren't already because early detection truly is key. I even told the guys to be familiar with theirs cause it happens to men as well. I told them the plan so far, and everything I knew up till to that point then asked if they could either put me on their prayer list at church or at least just send up some good positive vibes into the universe.

I'm sure they'll do both cause I know they'll help pull me through as well. They're a great group of kids and I love each and every one of them.

"Kids, I have something to share with you....."

The day had come. Time to tell my kids on the Drum Line. *sigh* Ever since I was first diagnosed I had been contemplating how I was going to do this. I knew I wanted to do it privately, and I knew I didn't want it to distract them from their audition preparations. I also knew I didn't want to tell the Band until after the final on Tuesday. I didn't want to distract them like that...

The day I found out was May 14th, remember? It just so happened that it was the day before graduation. I had gone home early that day because I was just plain worn out from my surgery. My really good friend Dana was my chaffeur the day after surgery. *She's such an awesome chick* It was a really important day for us. Ruskin's band was coming over to rehearse with us; (for those of you that don't know, our high school's are consolidating down to one next year...but that's a story for another day ;) and I felt very strongly that if I was not there I was "shooting myself in the foot" for the rest of the year. So Dana graciously agreed to take me to school and drive me to my various buildings for as long as I was able to manage. For that I will always love her. We had blast that day; even though I was off in Vicodin "la-la land" for most of it. Hahahaa!!

Moving on...

Anyways, the day I found out was the day before graduation. I remember standing in front of my mirror Saturday morning and having a *chit-chat* with the universe, if you will. I had a few choice words that I had to get out of my head and off my heart before I could move forward. We're good now, the universe and me; there's something here I'm supposed to learn and I've just been given a *nudge*. So I'm standing there in front of the mirror and am thinking "This is gonna be weird today." There was only one person at that entire graduation who knew how far the earth had shifted for me in under 24 hours; and possibly a little for her. Jennifer has been a source of comfort and strength for me during these early whirlwind days of diagnosis and for that I am eternally grateful.

So I walk into graduation and it's all so surreal ya know? It was almost as if I had this bright pink sign pointing at me yelling out *Cancer here! She's got the Breast Cancer here!" I handed out some programs then went and sat down. I managed to steer my thoughts away from the fact that I'd been told I have breast cancer, and I was able to concentrate on my Drum Line and Band kids graduating.

Throughout all of the weeks from finding the lump to the first surgery to the diagnosis to *now*, the underlying current has been, "How in the world am I going to tell my kids?"

How do you do that? How do you tell a group of teenagers who are growing into young adults that you have cancer? I'm not saying that they think I'm a superhero or anything, but I believe that there is that image of "Nothing can hurt Stout. She's one bad mama jama!" ya know?

Maybe that's what the universe is telling me cause I'll admit I've felt that way about myself before. That I was strong, young, healthy, doing everything right to stay healthy, and WHAM! *can you hear the laughing in the cosmos? I can*

The only way I knew how to tell them was to just do it. I've always been straight with them, why be any different now? So I started with Azsa and DeWayne; two of my seniors who graduated. (They made me so proud!!) They came and helped me clean out the percussion section at Ruskin one day; and I told them when we went to get lunch. We went to one of my favorite parking lots to eat in and after a couple of minutes I just told them. I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on their faces; yeah, don't think I'll be forgetting that. They were so stunned I felt badly for a second, and before I knew it they were saying "We'll do whatever you need this summer to help with rehearsals; just let us know when and where and we'll be there" and "Whenever you need anything from me over the course of the year, just call and we'll be there to help".

What good kids. :)

After Diante's audition I let him know. I felt like he took it very well, although I could tell he was like "Wha?" *snort* I told him that because he was going to be the only senior from Hickman next year and because he was done with his audition I wanted him to know what was going on. I know he put his hand over his heart at one point and then gave me a big hug and said "It's all going to be okay". Aw!

A couple of days later it was time to tell my boys; all my sophomore boys (and John the silent Freshman ;). I told them that if they could all hang out until all of the auditions were done I'd like to have a *pow-wow* with them. (That's what we call our meetings...*pow-wow*'s). My heart was literally pounding out of my chest as the moment grew closer, as the sentence "I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer" was going to have to pass through my lips and into their ears. It was almost like I could see it physically move through the air towards them, hit them in the face, whip their faces back, shake it all up a bit, then blankly stare back at me with this expression of "Excuse me. What'd you just say?"

I felt sick to my stomach and I felt like I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I explained to them everything I knew up to that point. I kept reassuring them that it will all be okay...BECAUSE IT WILL UNIVERSE!!! YOU HEARING ME?!?!?....oh, *ahem* excuse me... ;) The looks on their faces as I was explaining everything...Forrest looked mad, Tevin looked dumbfounded, Kris looked confused, Jeff looked stunned and worried, Sean almost looked like he wanted to say something funny cause he didn't know what else to do, and John...well John had kind of the same expression he always has...haven't figured that one out yet ;)

I then went quickly onto more positive things; mainly about the non-profit, shirts, and race for the cure idea(s) I have. They're super excited about everything and are chomping at the bit to get going, and it makes me so happy. Plus, they wrapped me up in a big bear hug and said "We're not gonna let it get you Momma". Awww!!!! *tear*


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CAT Scan's, Bone Scan's, Radioactive Dye, and Barium Milk-shakes; Oh My!

What a phenomenally interesting day.

Experienced two things that I've never had done before; a CAT Scan and Bone Scan. One involved radioactive dye injected into me (I'm still disappointed I'm not glowing...thought I should've gotten *something out of the deal ya know?) and the other..."Barium Milkshakes! Get your Vanilla Barium Milkshakes here!" *gag* It actually didn't taste that bad but there was just that hint of something like "Mmm...I'm not so sure about that..."

So you get there and they give you your wristband and you settle in to wait. The waiting rooms are quite nice, chairs are pretty comfy (I was able to take a nap between two today so they're comfy enough for that) maybe I'll take a picture of them here soon. Don't want you to feel left out ;) Anyways, they took me back to the "Radioactive Area"...that makes ya feel good. At least they didn't put lead suits on and stand behind a wall...The gal unfortunately missed my vein the first time with a VERY large needle, and had to poke a second time. (I'm almost looking forward to the port. No more pokes in the arm with that thing). But she got it in the second time and gave me my dose of radioactive dye. Anyone know what I'm talking about when I say that there's an aroma that has a medicinal taste to it whenever medicine is administered through an IV? Kind of smells/tastes like laughing gas. I always have that experience whenever I'm given IV drugs. *shrugs*

Then the other nice ol' gal took me to my own little private lounging area, I had Lounge #1, and produced two BIG bottles of a vanilla flavored smoothie texture like drink with Barium in it. The nurse gave me the instructions on what to do and said "I have to do it once a year. My advice is to just drink it as quick as you can." She then went on to joke with me about gags I can pull on people when I've lost all my hair. ;) So I drank it like I do my breakfast drink in the morning on the way to school. I just drank it. *Oof* That was a lot of blech.

I don't know if I can fully explain what that was like. In all honesty it didn't taste all that bad. Rather it was the consistency of it, slightly *thick* like silky pudding or something; and there was this slight element of "Yeah....I'm not so sure about that..."

After about an hour and a half or so, she came to get me and take me into the CAT scan room. What an impressive machine. I've only ever seen them on TV and to be standing there looking at one in real life was surreal. I must admit I was a bit disappointed that we weren't all dressed in blue scrubs in rooms only half lit looking all serious with dramatic music playing...sorry, too much TV. Ha!

They had me lay down, and started telling me what to do. "Put your arms above your head and don't move", "Just do what the machine tells you to do. When to hold your breath and when to breathe". So they do that part; lasted about 10 minutes. Then she comes back in and says to me "Now I'm going to put the "chaser" into your IV. You should start to feel warm all over and you might feel like you need to go to the bathroom, or that you peed your pants". "OOOOoooookayyyy"........W...T...F... About 10 seconds later I felt this incredible warmth just, like, bubble up inside of me. It flew up and down my torso and I *swear* I peed my pants! Hahaha! Then it moved down my legs and "out my feet", so to speak.
That was one *weird* experience.

So then I had about two hours or so till it was time for the MRI, so I wandered to the cafeteria then hunkered down in two of the chairs and took a short nap.

The Bone Scan was next and a very nice man took me back to the "Hawkeye 4" Bone Scan machine. An impressive one as well. This was a very relaxing test. I just laid down, he strapped my arms and feet in such a way that I could just totally relax and I took about a 20minute snooze. What was pretty cool was he showed me the pictures of my skeleton afterwards. I have pretty good lookin' bones if I do say so myself! ;)


Overall it was an interesting, if long, day. The only bad thing about the whole thing is my tummy's been a little bit messed up since having to chug those two Barium shakes. I wonder what Thursday will hold.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cast of Characters

Since I'm not really tired yet, I thought this might help people keep things straight...I'm sure I'll be adding to this as we move through this journey...

Dr. Carol Connor: My surgeon
Dr. Sharma: My oncologist

Ruth: Dr. Connor's Nurse
Yvonne: Dr. Sharma's Nurse

Rosie: The Sonogram Nurse

DeLice: The secretary at Dr. Connor and Dr. Sharma's office

Dr. Kim: The fertility specialist

Boobie gel and sonograms

So today was the first day of tests. First up, three vials of blood drawn to test for various things. With all the CBC's, and ABC's the nurse rattled off I felt like I was stuck in a PD meeting with someone talking about AYP, PBTE, HSTW, QAR's, PLC, and BLT's with the bacon on the side!

She did a good job though. Just a slight prick and no bruising to speak of...although the lady at the other clinic didn't even prick me. I was watchin' her and everything. This gal, I had to turn away...I'm just sayin'.

After the blood draw, I went back downstairs into the Breast Imaging suite. This is where the fun began. I got to sit and tap on my fun netbook for a minute or two (feeling very cool and trendy but not understanding a damn thing I was trying to do), when the gal called me back to the "Gown Room". Oooooo....I get a gown?!?!?!?!?! I think I rocked it. Don't you? ;)

I was then ushered into the "Gowned Waiting Room"...this just gets more awesome by the minute! ahaha! Shortly after I was taken by a very nice gal to a "Sonogram Suite" (I just absolutely love the names in this place. Makes me feel like I should be at the spa). She very nicely told me what she was going to do, then squirted me with sonogram gel and went to town. It's so odd isn't it. I really thought that the next medical journey in my life would be having kids. I honestly thought that if I were to ever have sonogram gel squirted on any part of my body it would have been my belly and yet here I sit having had two sonograms in about three weeks. Both on my boobies. Weird.

After a lot of time on the right side, and I think about 35 pictures taken, she moved over to the left and the fantastic news there is that there is nothing to be seen in my left breast. Hallelujah! She did go back to the right again and looked closer at a few areas, and came to determine that there is a lymph-node that is slightly enlarged/swollen and irregular in shape. This could be due to anything. The fact that I had surgery a week and a half ago, there could be more cancer in there, or it could be this way because I currently have a brush cut on my thumb (from the spinning brushes at work behind the bar in the sink). SO...we have a lymph-node biopsy scheduled for next Tuesday, June 2nd, in the morning.

I'm not worried. Don't you be. It'll all be okay.

I then moseyed (yes I did just use the word mosey ;) up to the 2nd floor where I met a wonderful lady by the name of Lynn Myrzenski (I sincerely hope I have spelled her name correctly). She was fantastic. Warm, inviting, funny, and very intelligent. She gave me such a wealth of knowledge from reputable sources that the bag was so heavy the bag almost ripped! She was so funny...she would pull out brochures/books and while handing it too me say "You really need a book on Chemotherapy but don't read it. Oh no, don't read it. It'll scare you to death!" Hahahahaha!!!

Too funny...but yet I definitely agree. You see, I had decided to put all of the information given to me by Ruth (Dr. Connor's have to get to know these people's names and who they are because I'm quite certain that I will be on a first name basis with them very very soon and you have to know who they are too so you can keep up with the story) :) into the binder I made for myself. I did this Sunday at work while it was slow in the morning. I then started flipping through it and read about Chemotherapy for a while. I hope you never have to read about that. It was almost like a bad car wreck at don't really want to look but you have too and then you freak yourself out. Yep. That's what happened. I finally had to tell Dana to take it away from me, that I had to put it up. Haven't cracked it since. ;)

Anyways, Lynn was fabulous and she even had a book she thought would help me with starting "Drummin' for a Cure; The Stout Foundation". (That's copyrighted peeps, ;) don't you forget it). Can't wait to go through some of her material and meet her again, she was great.

So tomorrow is the Bone Scan and CAT scan. The first I get injected with dye, the second I have to drink a Barium solution. What's that? You're jealous that I get to be injected with what I think they said was radioactive dye and drink Barium? Phish-tosh! I don't believe you.....okay, okay...I admit. It is going to be pretty darn cool if I glow when we go to bed tomorrow night. I'll take pictures just for you. :)

KU Cancer Center

Last Thursday, the 20th, we took a trip to the KU Cancer Center to hear what Dr. Connor and Dr. Sharma had to say. Talk about information and emotion overload! *Wow* That's okay though because this is all part of the journey right? I decided to stay with the KU Cancer Center because, really, where else would I go? I'm a Jayhawk for crying out loud! I think it's only right that I have Jayhawk's working on me! I parents paid a lot of moola to put me through school at KU, I think it's only fair that the mighty Jayhawk spirit return their good karma in kind and help me through this journey.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!

"I gots the cancer but what kind?"

So people have been asking me all the questions that pertain to having breast cancer. What type, what size, prognosis, etc, etc, here ya go folks! Here's the 411 on my boobie tumor! (I'm gonna name it...still thinking on that one so if you have an idea please share!)

Size: 1.6cm

Stage: 1c (this is VERY good. early detection)

Prognosis: It's gonna be one hell of a year, but prognosis is good. I'm gonna kick it.

Type: As of right now my tumor is diagnosed as "Triple Negative". What does that mean? You ask?

(Colleen: Please correct anything I might have wrong in here...thanks :)

**There are 3 indicators/markers they test a breast cancer tumor for. The first two are whether or not it is estrogen or progesterone reliant. If it is ER/PR positive then they can do hormone therapy on me. If it is ER/PR negative it means chemo. So there's the first two negatives. Second indicator/marker they test is called the "Her-2-neu" test. I hope I've spelled that correctly. If this comes back negative (which mine did) then this means that they are going to be more aggressive w/the chemo treatments...Joy...Now, they are going to run the Her-2-neu test again through a more sophisticated test called the "Fish", or perhaps the "Phish" test. If the Her-2-neu comes back positive through the Fish/Phish test, then they can treat me with the chemo drug Herceptin which would be more of a *targeted* chemo drug. If it comes back negative again then it's more of an all over aggressive chemo treatment....So there's the three "negatives".

I know you're jealous. Go on, admit it. You wish you could be like me right now don't you...Ha! I knew it! ;)

So that's the skinny on the boobie tumor. We are still in the process of testing and determining exactly everything about it and will hopefully find out the plan of attack this coming Thursday.

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

how it all started...

I was practicing my yoga one February morning when I noticed it. I was coming down through chattarunga into cobra pose, and a sharp pain went through my chest when it hit the floor. I felt around and found it...a lump in my right breast. I was confused..."when did that get there?" I knew that at my yearly in January I didn't feel anything and my gyno didn't either. Weird.

Finally by about mid-April I decided to go to my doctor and have it checked out. As my wonderful husband said "Only thing we can do right now is to go to the doctor and get it figured out." So off I went to the doctor full of trepidation but hopeful it would be nothing more than a benign cyst.

My doctor checked it and said..."You need a mammogram."

The mammogram doctor said..."You need to see a surgeon."

The surgeon said..."This is nothing. Related to your reduction. We'll get it out...everything will be fine."

Would that it could...

too bad what the surgeon wound up saying in the end was "It's cancer.."


Not what you're expecting to hear at 32 years of age. Just when you're hitting your stride in your life, your job, you marriage, and your self-image you get hit with a bomb like that...nevermind the fact that I was taking a nap and was awakened with *that* news. Sheesh. :)

As the surgeon was talking to me he kept saying the same things over and over again..."Everything's going to be fine." "You're going to be fine." "Do you have any questions?...Emily?..Do you have any questions?"..."hello?"

"I'm sorry....what? The earth just shifted...let me get this're saying I have breast cancer? What stage?! What size!? What's my prognosis?! What are you/we going to do?!?!?!?!"

At least that's what I wished I said. At least what people tell me I should have said...but instead all that came out was..."Wow."..."Wow".


Going through this, in a way, with my college boyfriend's family...well let me just say I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be the one staring chemo, radiation, sentinel node surgeries, possible mastectomy, tiredness, nausea and losing my hair (among many other *fabulous* things headed my way I'm sure...) in the face.

After I got the news, I called both my sisters and got voice mail. I then called my really good friend Dana and got voice mail and I wasn't going to call my folks at that moment in time because they were on the road to Chicago. Never was I more frustrated with technology and the fact that *everyone* has a cell phone but it always seems that when you *really really really REALLY* need them to answer it you get the voice mail! HA! It's so stupid.

My sister Julia called me back almost immediately and I actually said the words "It's cancer" out loud for the first time. Now, I will admit that I went into a very heavy and long "ugly cry" over the phone with my Julie, and I am forever eternally grateful that she endured that. I'm sure it must have been the most powerless, heart-wrenching, desperately sad things she has had to ever sit through. And for that I love her tremendously.

I then called my parents and while my dad laughed and joked about having a different phone and a different daughter up to each ear I tried to figure out an eloquent, smooth and strong way to tell my father that his youngest daughter, his baby, had breast cancer. If I remember correctly it came out as kind of a sobbing..."Daddy, it's cancer."

"Oh Dear" came the voice of my father, and the "What what, WHAT?!" of my mother in the back ground. I'm glad they didn't run off the road...I can't even imagine the shock and quite possibly the feeling that they were sucker punched when those words left my lips.


We are all still reeling from the shock a bit and have had many emotionally draining and information overloading days. I can only hope that we will begin to make some sense of this all and begin to really move forward. It's gonna be a long long year, and at times I'm sure it will be really sucky...but with the love and support of my wonderful hubby, my family, his family, all my friends, and of course my dogs Buck and Lilly, I'll make it through and be stronger for it.