Sara Stelmacki

First post: Dec 12, 2018 Latest post: Nov 7, 2019

Where to begin.... the past two months have been such a whirl wind of emotion. On October 26th, 2018 I went to see my Obgyn because I felt some sort of lump on my breast. It was a last minute appointment so I did not get to see my normal doctor and this made me a little nervous. All I kept thinking about was the awesome Keys trip I was going on with my husband that day for our 6th wedding anniversary. After a thorough exam she informed me that she would like me to have an ultrasound because it was definitely something. All I remember is walking in like it was no big deal and walking out of the appointment confused and wondering what was really going on.

The ultrasound was scheduled a week later but I had to reschedule. Therefore, my ultrasound took place on November 21, 2018 the day before Thanksgiving. I still was in the mindset that this was no big deal and that it was going to just be a  fatty tumor. Well the Ultrasound tech said she would be right back.  When she returned she was with Dr. Goodwin who then informed me that the tumor that he saw on the ultrasound was extremely concerning, especially for my age. He wanted to schedule me for a biopsy the following week. I was then given a mammogram to make sure all tests had been run to get the ball rolling in case it was the worst case scenario. As soon as I had the ultrasound write up  I called my best friend Shannon who is a nurse practioner and told her what was going on. Her mother became my saving grace. She knew this really good surgeon that specialized in breast cancer, Dr. Rimmer. I had heard nothing but fantastic things about him and was desperately hoping that she could get me in to see him. Well luck has it she ran into him coming out of surgery. She filled him in on my case and what Dr. Goodwin had seen. He insisted on seeing me that day. Of course I dropped whatever I was doing to accept an appointment for a well sought out doctor. Hahaha..... except I must of heard the appointment time wrong because I showed up 45 minutes late. He gave me another ultrasound of the breast and explained that the area that he saw was very concerning. He was concerned because of my age, and the size of the tumor. He went through all the worst case scenarios and best case scenarios. As he left the room I turned to my friend Shannon who had joined me at the appointment and said, "Is it just me or did he direct all of his responses to me having Cancer?" She agreed with me but kept telling me that we did not know for sure until the biopsy.

I returned to Dr. Goodwin on November 30th, 2018 with Blake for my biopsy. I had only had a biopsy done 4 years prior for pre-cancerous cervical cells so I was kind of nervous. I remember starting to get really nervous laying on the table nervously shaking and lightly crying. Blake held my hand through the whole thing. I never felt the needle with the local anesthetic but I did feel when he probed an area that had not been numbed (twice). He took 4 samples of different areas of the tumor. At the end of the procedure he shared that since it was a Friday he would know something by the following Tuesday. 

Monday December 3rd, I will never forget. I had just returned from grocery shopping with Blake and the kids...… what a nightmare that was. Jackson was refusing to ride in the cart but wanted to run down every isle and Kinzie kept whining for all the snacks. Needless to say I was nervous about my report, and stressed from the kids. As I was bringing the last bag into the house my pocket started ringing. I know how difficult it is to get a hold of doctors so I ran outside and answered the call without Blake (he was not happy.) As I started to listen to Dr. Goodwin things started to blurr and that's right when Blake came outside to listen. He shared with me all of his findings but the one thing that he said that stood out was: YOU HAVE INFILTRATING DUCTUAL CARCINOMA the most common form of breast cancer. In that moment I didn't know what to say or do except ask Dr. Goodwin to repeat it 4 times so Blake could get it on recording. All of this is going on while the kids are in the house screaming (Jackson primarily). I was scheduled to already see Dr. Rimmer on that coming Thursday so I was extremely eager to find out what was next. 

Thursday December 5th, I remember walking into my appointment all calm and collected. Blake and my mom went with me because they both thought I needed someone to remember the information since I would be overwhelmed. Well, they were right I knew from my last visit I had Cancer but we needed that piece of paper to define the next year or so of my life. Dr. Rimmer went over all of the results and explaining that I caught it very early (thank god for my self checks). The pathology diagnosis was triple positive with a predicted grade of 3. It was positive for Estrogen, Progesterone, and HER2. It was labeled stage 2 (meaning the tumor was larger than 2cm or had spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.) An MRI was then scheduled to figure out the tumors true size and to learn how far it had spread. His office staff took all the guess work out of making appointments and got me scheduled to see Dr. McKeen (Oncologist) and scheduled for MRI right away.

December 7th Blake was in a car accident on the way home from work. Both drivers were ok. Blake’s truck not so much. God was definitely watching over him.

Monday December 10th, I had my MRI. It was an easy process, just very very loud. The MRI technicians asked to see all of my previous paperwork. Turns out I have a spot in my right breast as well but Dr. Rimmer feels it is benign. Update: Biopsy was done 12/17/18 and was benign.

Tuesday December 11th, I met my new best friend Dr. McKeen. She was extremely patient, and thorough. She made the recommendation to start an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy first ( over the course of 3-4 months),  a double mastectomy due to my age, family history, and small breast size in relation to the tumor. I will be on two antibodies, and two types of chemo to kick Cancers ass!

Side note: I started doing weekly self assessments of my breast’s  after I had kids and breast feed. My aunt has stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. She brought awareness to me. I hope my story brings awareness to others as well. 

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