Bad News

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer.  Earlier this month, after weeks of scans and tests I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer.  The cancer has spread to my bones.   When I finally got the news of the diagnosis, I was not surprised.  My moment of shock came about 4 weeks ago when I met with my oncologist for the first time after the initial scan.  I could tell from the moment he walked into the room that something was wrong.  Of course, we had to be sure, so weeks followed of more scans and tests until the diagnosis was finally confirmed.

I feel like I ran full speed into a brick wall and ever since I’ve been stumbling around, trying to come to my senses.  My thoughts and feelings have been sluggish, as if my brain (which thankfully is not affected) is sitting in a pool of glue and the neurotransmitters are struggling to reach the proper destinations as they slowly wade through the viscous environment that my brain has become.

I am starting this blog as a way to communicate with those who may be interested.  I am not a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, but I am going through some things that I think others can relate to.  Writing also helps me sort out my thoughts.  I’m anticipating posting my thoughts on dealing with cancer and young kids, family relationships, working with cancer, my faith and feelings about death, politics (ha, just kidding), and my experiences with the healthcare system.

I will close out today by providing a quick summary of my experience thus far.  I was initially diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, or a pre-cancer of the breast.  After a double mastectomy and removal of some lymph nodes, pathology results determined I had breast cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes.  More lymph nodes were removed and it was determined that, as far as anyone could tell, I was cancer-free with a 13% chance of recurrence in the next 5 years.  I did a course of chemotherapy and started hormone therapy to prevent a recurrence.  About three years after the initial diagnosis, I noticed I was having some pain in my sternum and decided to get it checked out.  Scans and a biopsy confirmed the breast cancer had spread to my manubrium, which is the bone that connects the sternum and clavicle.  Because the cancer has spread, or metastasized to a different organ, it is stage IV cancer.  There is no cure at this point.  I am hopeful that radiation and a few different drug therapies will put this into remission for some period of time, but we really have no way of predicting what will happen at this point.

My husband recently asked what I was most afraid of.  My primary concern is my sons, ages 4 and 7.  I am by no means a perfect mother, but no one should have to lose a parent at a young age.  Up until this point, my life has been preoccupied with raising my kids to be decent human beings and planning for the future.  Now, I don’t know what to think or how to proceed.  My mind has paused as I struggle to modify my plans.  The only thing I can do is take one day at a time.

Author: katiewardstage4

I am a 42 year old pharmacist and mother of two currently living in Madison, WI. In my spare time I enjoy running and baking. Starting this blog has enabled me to record some of my feelings about being diagnosed with breast cancer and has also given me the realization that writing for a living would be much more difficult than I would have guessed.

21 thoughts on “Bad News”

  1. Katie, know that you and your young family, as well as your extended family, is in our hearts and prayers…. we love you and want only the best for you. Writing has AlWAYS helped me deal with tough personal feelings and I’m praying for the same for you…. don’t worry about not being a “Pulitzer Prize winning author” – instead just write your feelings (even your dark ones) – I find they become more manageable in print, whether you choose to share with others or not.
    — Deb

    The most any of can do is to try and find the brightest spot of any given day….and close ourselves off to things that don’t really matter.
    — Jim


  2. Just read this blog Katie,so sorry you have to deal with this again. Praying for answers and successful treatment. God is good
    Love Uncle Auggie and Aunt Cheryl


  3. We are saddened to hear the news, Katie. You are always being upheld in our prayers; your family too. Thank you for taking time to share with us through your blog.


  4. Katie—-

    Our thoughts and prayers continue for you and your family as you begin this journey once again. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and information on this blog.


    1. Thank-you Sarah for all of your kind words and support. This idea for a blog was directly inspired by you and the writing has been therapeutic for me. I feel like you are someone who knows what I’m going through and I really appreciate it.


  5. Katie your always in our thoughts and prayers everyday!
    Your such a beautiful caring strong young woman .
    I also think your a wonderful writer . What makes you so special is you write from your heart.
    You have such a wonderful caring family and friends to help you get through all of this.
    I have read your blog many times.
    It’s also very inspiring to others.
    I also have come to realize in life that living each day one day at a time is how we really do live .
    Thinking only positive thoughts for you!


  6. Katie,

    So sorry to hear the news again! I will be praying for you and your family. You are a beautiful woman inside and out!!! And a very intelligent woman who deserves the best. Having positive thoughts for remission for you. That is possible sweetheart! And I’m far from a Pulitzer prize writer too. It’s good to express your feelings, and concerns. God bless you sweetheart!
    Love You,
    Your Cousin Lori


  7. Hi Katie, My own words expressing my emotions seem so inadequate. Music seems to say the feelings so much better. Today I heard an an old Irving Berlin song with lyrics that went. “How deep is the ocean, how high is the sky?”
    I hope you’ll always, always remember that describes our for you, our beautiful daughter.


  8. FUCK. We’re so sorry to hear this. Sending hugs and all the positive energy we can muster. You got this though.


  9. Katie,
    I’m so very sad to hear your news. My heart aches reading your blog. I wish I could take it all away for you and never let it return. I will be praying for you and your family. Please let me know if there is anything specific you’d like me to pray for. Right now I’m asking God to give you a peace that surpasses all understanding, to provide you with His loving comfort, and to be your Guide and Hope over the months to come. I pray you turn to Him each step of the way, relying on His strength when you feel like you can’t make it another moment. I’m also praying your sweet boys would know and feel Jesus’ love during this time and that your awesome husband would be a rock for you pointing you towards God’s promises every day. I believe that God is good, that He loves you unconditionally and incredibly, no matter what the outcome, good or not so good. However, this doesn’t stop me from asking the Lord to take this from you and heal you and make you cancer free! Hugs to you my friend. So glad you decided to blog so many can go on this journey of prayer with you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: