In October 2010, while six months pregnant with my daughter Makayla, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. After undergoing a lumpectomy while pregnant, I was induced 3 weeks early to begin chemotherapy. Following six rounds of chemotherapy with a subsequent 30 days of radiation treatment the cancer was gone, or so I thought… Over the next nearly seven years life resumed some normalcy, and I even enjoyed a “normal” pregnancy with our second child, Caden, who is now two years old.
In December of 2017 I began experiencing some back pain. I sought out consultation and met with my PCP multiple times, who believed it was some type of muscular-skeletal issue. However, following a routine breast MRI and check-up with my oncologist we discovered some abnormalities, so we obtained a full-body PET scan. The PET scan revealed a large mass in one of my lungs, in addition to multiple spots elsewhere throughout my body (spine, ribs, pelvis, liver, and others). The spine and ribs were deemed to be the likely culprit of the back pain. A biopsy procedure of the mass in the lung (which resulted in a 3-night hospital stay due to a complication involving a collapsed lung) confirmed a cancer diagnosis identical to the previous type (breast = ER+, HER2+). Subsequent testing in the hospital revealed the cancer had also metastasized to my brain. It’s pretty much everywhere except my breasts.
Routine bloodwork, mammograms, and scans over the last several years have all been negative, so this has all been quite a shock. After nearly seven years of believing I was cancer free it’s hard to imagine it’s been hiding in my body the entire time, particularly following my pregnancy with Caden.
I’ve obviously been riding a bit of an emotional rollercoaster lately. However, I’ve begun to feel better after meeting with my oncologist last week, at which time we laid out a plan of attack to start the healing process and beat this thing back into remission. The next day I had my port put in and the following day I began my cocktail of chemo. While I expect some side effects, I hope they’ll be manageable. Over the next several weeks I have an additional several procedures that I am anxiously awaiting. The first will be a targeted radiofrequency ablation treatment on my back (this Wednesday March 7th) which will target the area of my spine, and potentially my rib as well, to hopefully provide some more immediate relief of back pain. The procedure uses electrical energy and heat to destroy the cancer cells. The next procedure will be what they call a gamma knife radiation treatment to target the multiple spots of cancer in my brain. My consult with the neurosurgeon is later this week with the procedure scheduled for Tuesday March 13th.
I’ve taken a leave from work in order to focus my energy on healing for both myself and my family. We’re so incredibly fortunate to have so many amazing people in our lives who have already reached out and offer so much support: family, friends (old and new), neighbors, co-workers, and more. Thank you for all that so many of you have already done and continue to do. My hope with this page is to help keep you all informed because I know it will be challenging to always respond to each of you individually as things progress. While we don’t want this to be received as a solicitation, so many of you have also asked how you might be able to help (which we greatly appreciate), we thought this might also be a way to highlight things that could be helpful for us at this point, allow us to relax and spend more quality family time together. And I’m sure our needs will continue to evolve over the coming months. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts ❤️
Ways to help:
Food - During treatment the Nebels would like to keep life at home as normal as possible. This will be hard, but one thing that will help make this easier for them is if they can get some help with food.
1. The easiest way to help with food is to send them a gift card to a nearby restaurant where Scott can stop for some quick takeout. Here’s a list of the restaurants in their neighborhood that they like:
· Whole Foods
· Corner Bakery
· Panera Bread
· Mod Market
· Noodles & Company
· Pei Wei
· Tokyo Joe’s
· Mad Greens
2. Another wonderful way to help is by providing them with some home cooked meals. Please reference the planner on this site to find out when they need meals. They are initially asking for a home cooked meal once a week on Sundays. They prefer no red meat, nothing overly spicy, and no nuts (no strict nut allergy, just not a fan). They like soup, pasta, chicken, fish, vegetarian, beans, turkey, and are open to new things too!
Massages – If you’d like to give Emily a relaxing massage, feel free to send her a gift card to Massage Envy.
Amazon Wish List – Here are some additional ideas to help make life easier for both Emily, Caden, and Makayla: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/200HW8IHEDE4T
Please send all gift cards and deliver any meals to Emily and Scott’s house:
Emily and Scott Nebel
9951 Spring Hill Place
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129