Monday, February 16, 2009

My first letter...

To my dear friends and family,

First of all, my deepest apologies if you are hearing this story for the first time via the internet. It's not the kind of news I would normally send in an email, but I wanted to give everyone an update on my current situation. About 3 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I caught it in the very beginning stages, for which I am so grateful. If everything goes according to plan, I will be having surgery to remove the tumor in a few weeks, and can begin a treatment plan, if any, shortly thereafter. The last few weeks have been really rough on Seth and me and we are so incredibly grateful to everyone for all of your love and support. News like this can be earth shattering, but when you pick yourself back up, you realize that every moment, every day, and every week is a gift. The shock and depression that overcame me in the first few weeks was overwhelming. I can look back now and know that this happened for a reason. Not only do I see the importance of living every day to its fullest potential, and loving the people around me unconditionally, but I will also tell people my story, in the hopes that I will help another woman someday.

So here it is:

Back in September, my friend Heather was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. When I found out, I was shocked. How could a 30 year-old woman get such an aggressive form of Cancer? Heather is in treatment and is doing remarkably well, but this news sent me into panic mode. I began doing daily breast exams, and as luck would have it, I found a lump. I went to see my doctor the very next day. She assessed the lump and told me because I didn't have any family history and I was so young, it was probably a cyst or a clogged milk duct. I left feeling like a million bucks. If the doctor said it was nothing, than it was nothing, right? A few weeks later, I started to feel uneasy about the doctor's prognosis. I decided that I needed a second opinion, and switched from Rush, University of Chicago to Northwestern hospital. The OBGYN I saw assessed the situation and told me, once again, I shouldn't worry about it. I stressed to the doctor how worried I had been about the lump, and she told me that if it would make me feel better, she would refer me to a breast surgeon at Northwestern. Four weeks later, I saw the surgeon, who finally ordered a comprehensive mammogram and ultrasound, and another four weeks later, a biopsy. Even though biopsy came back as positive for stage one breast cancer, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had stopped after the first doctor's opinion? It could have taken years to grow and spread, but luckily I'm getting it taken care of now. We have to be responsible for our own health and well being and fortunately, I've learned this at an early age. I'm going to be just fine.

Instead of moping around the house, waiting for each week to pass until my next test or surgery, I've decided to be proactive and sign up for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in June. It will be the first step (39 miles, actually) of many that I take in the fight against breast cancer. If you'd like to contribute to my fundraising goal, click on the link below or send me an email. I would be forever grateful for your contribution. Also, please pass my story along to anyone you think might benefit from it.

Click here to donate to Erica's fundraising campaign!

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I wish you all nothing but joy and love. I will keep you posted on our progress.

Hope to see you very soon,


**1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Early detection is the key to survival.**

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you had to be so assertive to get the mammogram. Wow.