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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

The loss of privacy, the gaining of strength and the great itch

A lot has happened since I last wrote. I've been doing my best to keep people updated through my Instagram videos ( so be sure to check there if you haven't heard from me in a while.


For a person who has valued her privacy her whole life, I sure have had a ton of people look at and/or touch my boobs these past few weeks! At this point, it has just become a given: when you have breast cancer, your boobs are going to be looked at A LOT. Another aspect of my new normal!

But for all the things I've had to adjust to and change my life for, there has been one amazing gain: strength. My dad has always said to me "There's a strength in you yet to be revealed". And honestly, if you told me two months ago that I was going to be diagnosed with breast cancer but that I would be stronger than ever before I would have looked at you like you were crazy. There is no "rational" explanation for the strength and peace I've felt -- it is absolutely God.

That isn't to say that I haven't had moments where I have completely broken down -- I have. But my typical MO is to question everything ... why me, why now, why why why? And I can truly say I have not asked those questions a single time. I just feel peace. This is another part of my journey and it certainly doesn't look the way I thought it would, but it is strengthening me and I believe there will be good that comes out of this.

Now onto the great itch ... At the beginning of the summer, I started getting really intense itching on my legs. It would get so bad that I would scratch until it bled and scabbed over (gross, I know). My husband and I figured it must be heat rash and there was probably nothing that could be done. Well, yesterday at my oncology appointment I found out this could be caused by my cancer and I was told in no uncertain terms that I MUST STOP ITCHING. Like, seriously. My oncologist was adamant about it. Once I start chemo, my immune system will be greatly compromised and if I create an open wound it could become infected and lead to really bad things. So while this is a strange prayer request, I am asking for prayer that I would be able to handle the itching without scratching or better yet, that the itching would stop.

Now that I've explained the title of this post, onto some details:

  • The second biopsy for the 1/2 inch mass came back BENIGN! This is great news and leaves the possibility of a lumpectomy on the table.

  • My official diagnosis (until after surgery) is stage 2B invasive ductal carcinoma. It is also something know as "triple negative," which means I do not have estrogen, progesterone or Her 2 neu receptors. This is found in about 10-20% of breast cancers.

  • What my triple negative diagnosis means for me: Hormone blocking pills do not serve a purpose in this type of cancer, so hormone therapy is not an option. My cancer has the potential to be more aggressive, and therefore I will be starting chemo ASAP.

  • I was tested for 19 different common genes linked to breast cancer. The 9 most aggressive (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) have come back NEGATIVE. I am still waiting on the last ten results, but so far, this is fantastic news!

  • There is one procedure I have opted to undergo before chemotherapy starts. I do not want to go into details right now, but please pray that this is successful. I am being given a very small window of time for this and it can be costly (but it looks like our insurance will cover it!) and unpleasant.

  • The plan of treatment is chemo, surgery and then either radiation (if I have a lumpectomy) or possibly chemo.

  • I have chosen my surgeon and my oncologist. They both seem wonderful.

Looking ahead:

  • Today I will be having blood work done. Please pray they are able to find a good vein without trouble, as this is often an issue.

  • They are scheduling an echocardiogram and the insertion of my port for chemotherapy. I am not sure if those will happen today or later this week.

  • We are considering going to Dana Farber in Boston. We have gotten second opinions on surgery and oncology locally, but there is a possibility we will go to Boston for a third opinion.

As always, thank you all for your love and support. All of your texts and phone calls are so appreciated-- please know, if I don't respond it is simply because I have been running around so much that I feel like I hardly have time to take a deep breath. But please know how much they mean to me!! Thank you for the cards and gifts. I love you all and am so blessed by all of your thoughtfulness and generosity.

I will try to update again soon.

All my love,


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