Rachel Knippenberg

First post: Dec 9, 2020 Latest post: Jan 12, 2021

On Sunday, November 29th I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer that has spread to my lymph nodes. I have been through every emotion imaginable the past 10 days, but am in a very good strong place right now and am ready to fight this cancer with everything I've got. I have had SO many tests/scans/consultations I can hardly remember everything. Serious information overload. I will be starting a 5 month chemotherapy regiment on Monday, followed by a surgery (not sure what kind yet) and then 6 weeks of radiation. So...if everything stays as planned and no more curve balls are thrown our way we are looking at a 7 month treatment to kill the cancer. I'm not going to go into great detail here, but the only bad news we've received (other than the cancer being there) is that it has spread to the lymph nodes which is why I have to do Chemo. My bone scan came back clean today (praise Jesus) and we are still waiting on the radiologist to read other scans to make sure those are clean as well. If all we are dealing with is breast cancer and some lymph nodes, I consider myself blessed because it is then curable, not just treatable. I also had a day surgery today to put in my chemo port that went very well with little to no discomfort. I have seen God's Grace and God's Timing through all of this. Matt has been my rock, my shoulder to cry on, my punching bag, my medical consultant and the BEST husband I could ask for. His mother passed away two days after my diagnosis. I know she is in Heaven watching down on all of us and I have felt her presence through all of my procedures. My kids are WAY more resilient than I gave them credit for and they are the reason I will fight this with everything I've got. My Mom....well, she's the best Mom a girl could ask for and will be here to take care of me every step of the way. My friends have stepped up BIG TIME. My oncology team is amazing. My employer has been so supportive and I am so Thankful for the team I work with and the company I work for. SO many blessings I can't list them all. The most asked questions is "how did you find it". Well....my story is somewhat unique. I felt a difference in denseness in my breast about 2 months ago. Not a mass, not a lump or bump, just a change. I wasn't going to go get it checked because I figured it was nothing. Matt urged me to go get it checked out (hand of God) and my OBGYN didn't think it was anything either but said I should go get another mammogram and a sonogram (hand of God) just to make sure. Note, I have gotten mammograms every year like clockwork since I was 38. I went in and the mammogram was clean. The sonogram was also clean, but thankfully I had a very observant sonogram tech who went into my arm pit (further than normal, once again hand of God) and she noticed a questionable lymph node. Through all of that ONE lymph node. That then prompted an MRI which is where the tumor finally presented itself. For you ladies wondering, yes I do have dense breast tissue and they don't know if that is what was "hiding" it or not. The tumor is about 6cm so it's not small. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT skip you mammograms. My case is unique and most often mammograms will detect these. Also please do self breast exams. If I hadn't noticed the difference myself it could have spread much further and been much more serious.Immediate prayers are needed for the rest of my scans to come back clean, my BRCA genetic test to come back negative and for strength to get through the next 5 months of chemo. They are hitting me with a strong dose because I am young and healthy and can handle it - it's the best chemo out there, just not the easiest to take. My attitude is that if it's the most effective let's hit it hard and get it gone.I know God is with me on this journey and it is His will that will be done. I know there is a reason He chose me to have Cancer, just not sure what that reason is yet. You all know I'm not quiet, so when I kick cancer's booty, AND I WILL, I will be the loudest, strongest advocate for other women going through the same.



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