Ashley’s Story

I am a wife to one of the best father’s in existence and ranks about an 11 on the hotness scale as well.  I am a mother of five beautiful children, four handsome boys and a beautiful daughter.  I am also a 36-year-old young woman, who has begun the battle of her life after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer on January 12, 2012, a day that rocked my world.

This chapter of my life began for me the day after Christmas 2011.  I was in the shower, doing the normal routine, when I swiped under my breasts to rinse the soap off.  I immediately stopped and did a re-swipe…..did I just really feel that?  I then used two hands to investigate further and there was no doubt I was feeling a pretty large lump, not just a bump.  This was a true lump that felt just like those annoying small bouncy balls I throw away on a daily basis.  I got out of the shower, put my lotion on my body all while revisiting the area to make sure I wasn’t imagining things.  It wasn’t going away.  Do I tell Chad or should I wait, I thought to myself.  Is this something serious or might it go away by morning.  Afterall, I never have to worry about, there is absolutely no history in my family, nor do I have any risk factors, and my age……..I’m in my 30’s.  I shouldn’t have to even worry about this sort of stuff at least until I’m 40!  I got dressed, but took my time, and then going out to the garage where Chad was working on the boys motorcycles.  I had small talk with him and then just casually said, “So, I found a lump in my breast.”  He looked up at me and said a lump?  I said, “Yes, a pretty big lump.”  Well, you better go get it looked at, he replied.  I said, yeah okay and then left.  I don’t know that we spoke about it anymore after that, at least not for a few days.

I mentioned it to my mom a few days later through text messaging and the things she had to say to me alarmed me and got me scared.  I called the next morning for an appointment.  I explained my reasoning for wanting to be seen and this fine young lady said, “Okay, we can see you on February 23rd.”  Umm, did you hear what I said to you, I have a large breast lump!  I’m sorry, I don’t have anything sooner.  Well, can you get me into someone else, I asked?  Eventually, I was able to get an appointment on the 6th of January, but it was only with the nurse Mid-wife.  I didn’t care, as long as I could get in and have someone look at what I had found.

The 6th came, I went in, was fondled, told I should probably get a diagnostic mammogram, but not to worry.  At my age, your body goes through changes and the lump I felt was more than likely one of those changes, probably just a cyst.

The day of the mammogram arrived, I felt fine about the whole thing.  I told Chad to stay home with the kiddos, afterall, I was only having a picture, no results read for at least 24 hours……at least that was what I was told.  The tech said what are we seeing you here for?  You are a young one…..that’s right, I am the young one.  I have a breast lump that is concerning to me I said to her.  She said, “Well lets have a look at this lump and get you on your way.”  Good idea I thought, lets put these horrible thoughts to rest.

I was all geared up for this horrible experience of the sandwich machine, but that part of it wasn’t bad at all.  In fact, I even said to the tech, is this it?  She laughed and said, “Yes, but Oh my…….you definitely have something going on here.”  I turned to her and looked into her eyes.  She said, “Do you want to come and see?”  Of course I did, so I walked around the machine and there displayed on the screen was a picture of my breast, invaded by three large pictures of white pieces of popcorn.  I said, those aren’t cysts are they?  She very softly said, “No honey, those are not.”  She went on to describe the difference between cysts and cancer and I know she knew then I was in trouble, but didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news.  We finished to procedure on the other side and then I was told to take a seat.  She was going to go talk with the radiologist.  I sat in this chair, by myself for nearly 25 minutes.  I watched many older woman come and go.  My eyes started to fill up with water as I looked at a brochure sitting right next to me that read, “Breast Cancer” that had an almost identical picture of a breast with cancer as the one I had just seen of my own.  I sent Chad a text and said, it doesn’t look good babe, I think you need to come.  He did just that after finding places for the kids.  He came to be by my side.  An ultrasound revealed that they were for sure not fluid filled, but solid.  The radiologist wouldn’t say much other than we need to biopsy these areas because they are not normal.  Three large areas and three small ones.  A total of six suspicious areas.  Can this really be happening to me……….I’m 36 remember.

Chad and I were put in a small room while we waiting for the Breast Coordinator, and a movie about breast cancer and biopsies was started for us to watch.  Not on my list for must see videos for 2012.   I cried, Chad’s arms wrapped around me and I just melted down.  I knew in my heart I was in trouble.

The first appointment they could get me in for the biopsy was the 23rd of January.  You can’t do any better I asked?  No, we can’t.  We are booked until the 23rd.

Chad and I got in the truck and he said to me, we can’t wait.  We need to go up north.  No way are we going to wait two weeks to find out what we are dealing with.  I called my OB doc, said you should be getting the results of the mammo and ultrasound.  Please look at them and then give me your thoughts.  I don’t want to wait until the 23rd.  I will travel wherever I need to travel if you can refer me to another place.  Within a couple of hours I had a call back from the nurse.  She said, you need to see Dr. Wintch, a general surgeon, tomorrow morning.  He is willing to fit you in.  He specializes in “this”.  This, I thought, what the hell is “this”?  I said what about the biopsy on the 23rd?  She simply said, don’t worry about it.  Just go and see Dr. Wintch in the morning.  And this, I guess is where my story begins.  To follow my progress, click the “What’s New” link above.

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