Liz Stoeckmann BreatheYouGotThis

First post: Feb 27, 2018 Latest post: Aug 31, 2018
A “lump” in the road.
I am 44 years old, happily married with two beautiful children. I am healthy, active and living a wellness life of yoga and meditation. Reactions were “but you’re so healthy, how can this be?” No one is exempt from cancer. Early awareness and detection was key for me.

October 2017: I felt a pea-size lump in my left breast as I was lying in bed, Randy felt it as well. I left it alone for a while not thinking much of it, but noticed it wasn’t going away.

11.15.17: This day my life changed forever. I had a mammogram followed by a sonogram. The radiologist said she was concerned with the amount of calcification and that pea-size lump, now called a mass, indicating breast cancer. I was shocked by the words “breast cancer” and it took a bit to sink in.

I never thought this would happen to me. I left feeling alone and scared, and I had no idea what to do next – everything was a blur. I called Randy, he was TDY, and didn’t answer his phone. I called my twin sister, Cari, and by the grace of God she answered. She was there when I needed her most. As I look back, I have no idea how I went on with my day, I was numb, smiled and faked my way through the rest of my day. Randy and I finally talked that afternoon and he was on the next flight home; a biopsy was scheduled.

11.17.17: I never had a biopsy – this was an experience. It was as if someone was invading my left breast with an electric carving knife (relieved to not feel a thing). The mass is nestled on the left breast, upper chest wall so the radiologist had her work cut out for her, especially with the audience of Randy overseeing the entire procedure.

11.24.17: Radiologist confirmed the biopsy was positive for breast cancer, stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma, estrogen/progestogen positive (HERS negative).

12.05.17: I met with a breast surgeon for consultation. There were several options, but nothing was definitive at this point. I was instructed to get a genetic test and MRI for further determination. The MRI confirmed the known breast cancer in the left breast and also determined “new” enhancements in the right breast.

12.18.17: Back to the radiologist for another sonogram – they didn’t see any new developments.

12.20.17: Thanks, but no thanks Mom & Dad - genetic testing results confirmed positive for CHEK2 gene mutation. Meaning 30 percent chance of getting breast cancer, colon, thyroid and 50 percent change of siblings and children having the same mutation.

01.05.18: Another MRI guided biopsy to rule out the new enhancements – results were benign.

01.12.18: Met with breast surgeon to discuss surgery options. Determined my situation is “very complex”- deciding between lumpectomy and mastectomy because of my (younger) age, location of tumor near chest wall, dense breasts, body weight, positive genetic results and suppressed immune system.

01.23.18: Met with a plastic surgeon and discussed options for reconstructive surgery. Doctor was very compassionate and felt she had my best interest at heart.

01.29.18: Received a second opinion with a referred breast surgeon, confirmed what my current surgeon diagnosed correctly and all signs pointed to a bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery.

03.01.18: Bilateral mastectomy, sentinel lymph node removal, reconstructive surgery, 8 a.m. at the Fairfax Hospital, Women’s Center, Alexandria, Virginia. Pathology of the cancer will determine chemotherapy and radiation a week after the surgery.

My life that is blessed with loving family and special friends. Support pouring in for the cure – genuine and generous; I feel special.

Yes I am scared, but ready to stand with perseverance for my children and husband – they need me, I need them. They see me happy, sad, silly, mad, crazy, hangry, tired – but in the end, always coming back to LOVE. I look forward to hugging them every day of my life.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

I’ll see ya on the side of this as a brand new & perky Warrior Girl ~ Namaste

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