the story

what everyone wants to know….

April 29, 2016 some gals and I went out (and saw Black Violin–who were amazing btw, do NOT miss them if you have the chance!) I skipped my nightly nursing of Hollis that night as G was on kid duty, and thought nothing of it. The next morning I woke up with a clogged milk duct, a small mass I could feel. I had 100’s of these along my 21 months of nursing Hollis. I spent the next few weeks trying to get it to move through/go away. All my old regular tricks that I had used for years weren’t entirely working, but still……I thought nothing of it. I was only down to nursing twice a day at that point, so I just thought I wasn’t producing enough milk to push the clog through. I spoke with midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, lymph drainage specialist, my chiropractor, educated people at People’s Pharmacy and The Herb Bar and the consensus was….hmm, that’s strange but certainly no need to worry.

I saw my Midwife for my annual well women’s exam in June and we talked about the clog extensively. We both agreed it was nursing related and we would check back in, in 6 months. She urged me to let her know if anything ever changed. Many people have asked if I felt relieved by this information. My answer: I don’t quite know. I wasn’t worried, so there wasn’t anything necessarily to be “relieved” by. I put it out of my mind and forgot about it.

Fast forward 5 months. Having been much more worried about what was going into my kids lunch boxes than what was going on inside my boob, time marched on. I began to notice (because I’m a belly sleeper) that it was not comfortable to lay on that side anymore. Also, I noticed the lump was considerably larger, harder and lumpier. I called my OBGYN office and they called me in a referral to go get an ultrasound.

The morning of the ultrasound was just a normal day. I dropped all my kiddos off at school and went to the imaging center alone. Garrett was out of town, we never thought it was serious or something he should be here for. My Mom even suggested coming up to go with me, and I was all why? no, it’s cool.

When I got checked in back to the ultrasound room I spoke with the tech about the story of the lump and my nursing history. She began her exam. Those of you that have had babies know what happens when something goes wrong on an ultrasound…..they don’t say anything, silence. All you hear is clicking and button pressing, which you know is them stopping to take pictures. She took tons of pictures all around my breast. Tons. I noticed she spent a lot of time up in my arm pit, taking lots of pictures then went over to my neck/clavicle area. More pictures. More silence. My brain was spinning and this is about the time my body went numb. She finished her exam and told me she was going to chat with the doctor and she would be back.

When we were initially chatting during intake she told me that when she left to chat with the doctor it would be very brief and quick. She was gone what seemed like an hour, but I believe was closer to 15-20 minutes. Certainly what I would not call brief or quick. The doctor came back in with her, which is never a good sign. The moment he opened the door, I knew. The look on his face said it all. He could barely even look at me. And here I was, his worst nightmare…..a 34 year old, young, healthy, mother of three small babies. He proceeded to give me another long, SILENT ultrasound. When he finally started talking this is when I officially left my body. All I remember is words like mastectomy, not a candidate for lumpectomy, already spread to numerous lymph nodes, surgeon, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then, any questions?

Ummmm, ya. Yes, I have questions. Only problem is I wasn’t there anymore and all my mind could do was spin.

They sent me one room over to have a mammogram of both my breasts. I have to say, I was extremely underwhelmed by the mammogram. Everyone complains they squish and squash and are extremely painful…..that was not my experience at all. I mean, I wouldn’t sign up for one of these daily but complaining over needing one of these once a year, come on ladies!

They informed me my other breast was clear but we needed to biopsy the tumors in my breast and lymph nodes. Sure, bring it on. My dear friend Taylor had made it up to be with me by that point and she was right by my side, holding my hand, trying to keep a straight face when the doctor was shoving 14 inch long needles and other tools in my body. I have to say, didn’t really feel a thing though.

They told me it would be about 5 days before we got the results back and that was that.

You know the rest of the story……

new life theme song

14 Comments

  1. Kimberly Smith
    January 17, 2017

    Erin, It takes courage, grace, and a bit of balls to so honestly and genuinely share your story with all of us. Thank you for doing so. We talked a bit to Robin about this day for you and we can only try to imagine what each day has been like since for you and your sweet family. You have our love, prayers, and good juju coming your way to get that cancer the hell out now and forever. Keep at it, mama.

    Reply
  2. Jenny Ellison
    January 17, 2017

    Ern, you make bald look stunning. Wearing sparkles for you, and thinking about you every day. Sending love, grace, peace, and calm your way.

    Reply
  3. Jamie Ivey
    January 16, 2017

    Hey there. You don’t know me, but I’m friends with Taylor and she has kept me up to date with you. I want you to know that I have prayed for you and will continue to do so. Keep writing your story down! It will be therapeutic for you, your kids will love it when they are 20, and it allows people all over the world to witness your journey; the good and the bad. Thanks. Praying for you girl.

    Reply
  4. kirsten
    January 16, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your telling is powerful in so many ways- I would imagine for you, but also so much for all of us reading along.
    xoxoxo

    Reply
  5. Annie frost
    January 16, 2017

    Hello friend!

    I’m glad there is a way to get updates on your status. I’ve been thinking of you quite a bit lately! I’m truly sending out large doses of strength and healing and whatever else you could possibly need!!

    P.S.-you look amazing!

    Love and hugs,
    Annie

    Reply
  6. Amber
    January 16, 2017

    Hey sweet friend o’ mine. I hope you’ve felt my love being sent your way, and if not….I’ve been sending it hard. I couldn’t help but cry through some of these. I also couldn’t help but think how badass you are. You my friend, are so strong. I love you and am here if you need anything. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of that, but know I am. Keep kicking ass and being the most unbelievable role model. Thank you for the dose of perspective and reminder to live.

    Xoxo,
    Amber

    Reply
  7. Cindy
    January 16, 2017

    First, I’m so damned impress you can add music (lights out) to this blog. You guys boggle my mind. Erin, you have a way with words. Every woman should be reading this blog. I love that Taylor dropped everything to be with you. Thank god for friends and family. Love to you all.

    Reply
  8. Angela Magill
    January 16, 2017

    I am thinking of you often.
    So sorry you are having to go through this, but of course you are going through it with jokes and a smile….. It’s just the Erin way!
    Sending hugs your way!
    You are a fighter! I admire your strength, courage, and laughter through it all.
    Love
    -angela

    Reply
  9. Robina
    January 16, 2017

    I’ll never forget that day when I saw your name on my phone, calling me in the middle of a work day. Lots of silence, lots of tears, and lots of “oh fuck”s. Now we’ve got lots of sparkly fingernails, the strongest tribe there ever was, and more love than ever. Buhbye now cancer.

    Reply
  10. Jossie
    January 16, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing this Erin, I knew it started with what you thought was a clogged milk duct but wasn’t sure exactly how it happened. It is a great reminder to always be aware of your body and recognize when it feels different than normal. I am so glad you didn’t ignore it and are now on the way to getting rid of that shit:) I love you, stay strong!!

    Reply
    1. Jossie
      January 16, 2017

      PS- I am totally buying that song!

      Reply
  11. Lindsey
    January 16, 2017

    Thank you for sharing. Thinking about you all the time! I can’t imagine receiving all that information alone.

    Reply
  12. Gina Giordano
    January 16, 2017

    Thank you so much Erin for sharing the story. I have thought so much about it, thinking back to our brief conversations in the school parking lot about clogged ducts. You are fierce, wise and strong. Walking a path we don’t know is so hard. We are all with you, holding space and admiration. xoxo

    Reply
  13. Becky Schwartze
    January 16, 2017

    You are a great story teller. I was with you the whole way….feeling sympathy pains, holding my breath, and then going numb. My heart still hurts for you. It sounds like you were doing all the right things. I don’t think anyone would have behaved any differently. I’m so glad Taylor was able to be there with you. I am also greatful for all those who have been there with you since that day (family, friends, doctors, etc…) I pray you are surrounded by love, courage, strength, laughter, and the peace that passes all understanding every day. Keep your game face on and keep kicking butt!!! You are doing so great!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    Love and hugs, Becky

    Reply

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