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You have a huge support group behind you. However, I know you will kill all the bad cells and make a very speedy recovery. My thoughts are with you.

A Blogging Resource for People Transformed by Cancer

So sorry to hear bout your diagnosis. Good for your partner for recognizing it and making you face it. My wife of 33 years died from complications of Breast Cancer. The good news is we had 10 good years before it took her. Big Hugs. Best wishes to you and looking forward to positive updates. BTW, I really liked being bald when I underwent my chemo treatment. I kept touching my noggin and would buzz the fuzz every other day until I realized I would have to let my hair grow back.

Keep in touch! With good medical care and loving support, there is so much that can be done. But I guess helping others is really what you do with this blog anyway. Praying for you Julie, your such a nice person, my girlfriend, Stacy is participating in relay for life if you would like to be added to her list..

Dr. Jerilyn Swann | Leukemia Pages

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Hang in there, and fight that cancer! I expect many more years of insightful reviews, editorials and commentaries from you. I look forward to many more years of case and bag reviews.

I hope all goes well for you. I appreciate and enjoy this site which I visit daily. Always puts me in a good mood. Maybe gagets are the best medicine. Maybe gadgets are the best medicine. Be well. Julie, Sorry to hear about this. I have been following your site since around and you feel like a friend. I lost my wife about 6 years ago from complications involved with the return of her breast cancer. She found her lump while in the hospital for a heart procedure in On recommendation I can make during chemo is that try to avoid some of your favorite foods.

If you get sick from the chemo while eating your favorites, it takes a long time to get that sense memory out of your head. Take care. Julie, I am sorry to hear you have cancer. I am glad you told us, your self-selected audience. I think of you as a friend, whose work here I appreciate. Please take good care of yourself.

Sending you BOTH warm positive thoughts and hoping you and your team can find and defeat every one of those invaders. Be well, get well and take it easy for a bit. Let your body have a chance to recover. Keep your head up! You seem to have it caught it early and their many successful treatments out there to help you. Your a person of extraordinary talent, stay well and be strong, we are thinking of you.

Hey Julie, l as if I know you from reading all of your posts. From what I have read you are one tough lady and if anyone can make it through this you will. I now have another person to cheer for when we do our Race for the Cure in May. Good luckChickie!!! I feel for you — its scary.

Good luck to all. I wish you strength and good luck. Julie, I feel like I know you personally after having read so much of what you have written for all these years. I will think of you often during your treatment, like I would any of my other friends. Be srong and get through this.

I had a similar experience, but with me it was testicular cancer. I found all sorts of excuses for the pain. If I had gone in earlier, I would have avoided the chemotherapy. That was in And get well quickly! Beat that cancer!!! Fingers crossed. A colleague at work recently went through this starting back in Sept and things have turned around for her for the better. May the same happen here. Everyone here will be sending their good vibes your way until this is over. Cancer is like owning a boat, well in reverse! The day you find out you have cancer is the worst day of your life.

The day you finish your treatment is the best day of your life. Julie, your friends, family and partner will be a great support in the days ahead, as you now find. There will be some difficult days ahead and then the sky turns blue and you move forward. The short time I was in hospital I quckly realised I was one of the lucky ones others have far worse conditions in cancer wards and even with outher illnesses. As a Cancer survivor myself the best advice I can give…take the medications the doctors give you. Take care of yourself. Julie, I have read the Gadgeteer posts and reviews every day for the past 2 -3 years.

I have purchased or looked for further info in to many products that you have reviewed. I have bought many LED lights and small unique tools as per your recommendations. Positive thinking in combination with the care of your oncology team will get this carcinoma out of your system. Keeping your mind busy wiil help you thru the chemo process.

Your strength will come from those around you physically and spiritually. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Julie, Almost six years ago I was where you are today, facing the first of eight chemo treatments and radiation, surgery, etc. Find a local support group if you want great advice and some camaraderie. I hope your post helps others face their fears. Hang in there! I wish you a speedy recovery and best wishes. I have read and enjoyed your blog for years. Thank you so much for sharing such an important and very personal message.

If it is of any comfort, my wife, my mother, my father and myself are all survivors of various forms of cancer. The main reason that all of my family survived was early detection. For some, it was self-detection. If just one person uses this message for what you meant it for, then you deserve a hugh thank you. Your courage to write this post, take on this personal challenge and still find time to make a contribution to others is … inspiring! I have no doubt your reaching out will affect someone in an important way.

Good luck. Stay strong. Julie, hang in there.

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Best wishes on a speedy recovery. Great words, Julie. Thank you for posting this!

Gadgeteer Time Machine

I know it was not for pity etc, but I really hope that someone else is reading this and will have their self checked and in turn save their life! I started tearing up while reading your post. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will be here for many years to come. On a side note…once you kick cancers ass, do you get to keep the Cyborg port? Because I think it would be the coolest gadget that a gadget geek could have. Sad situation, my prayers are with you, but a beautifully written post.

My heart goes out to you. I cannot relate to your pain, but I definitely feel for you and will be praying for your speedy recovery! Prayers your way, Julie. You will be too. Kick some cancer butt! Perhaps during your journey through treatment you will come across gadgets in the medical field. Kick some cancer butt while doing what you do best. Best wishes. Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery. Recover quickly with a positive attitude, a good diet and vitamins. If there is any time that you benefit from vitamins, it is before and after surgery.

Get your Vit D level checked! As an Internist with years of attending a weekly Tumor Conference I can tell you it is good to thoroughly discuss the options of treatment and have a medical advocate to help you make choices. My prayers for your complete recovery! Thank you for sharing your story and the risks of avoidance and denial which is very human and universal. My good friend did the same thing because she has had so many benign cysts over the years, and by the time she dealt with it, her cancer turned out to be in Stage 3.

In fact, I have had 3 friends in my workplace struck with breast cancer within the last year and a half. I am wishing the same outcome for you—sending lots of love, light, and prayers your way. And thanks so much for The Gadgeteer—I really enjoy it. Best of luck with your recovery. My mother was a long term cancer patient. One of the best things that she did for herself was to proactively monitor and change her diet to a chemo friendly regiment.

Your Oncologist can probably point you to a good reference for diet. Thank you for sharing this and for encouraging others to take good care of themselves. Best of luck for a speedy recovery, Julie…you can do it and you will come out of this strong! Chris x. Prayers with you and your partner, Julie. I had two very close friends in the past year receive a similar diagnosis, and both are doing well with treatments. Stay positive and stay strong. All the best. My thoughts are with you, thanks for sharing your story.

I have four long-term cancer survivors in my immediate family, and have confidence that your treatment will have a good outcome. I look forward to reading your great informative articles everyday!! My thoughts and prayers are with you!! Julie, your site has been one of my daily Internet stops for almost as long as I can remember.

I have found many, many of my gadgets by reading your site and I have avoided getting bad gadgets by reading the reviews here.

Sally L. Wilke, Author at Sally's Been Thinking

I know that you will do well, that you will come to this with flying colors but just in case—are family will add you to our prayer list. Goes to show you that you never know what a person is going through. Wishing you all the best. Stay strong and know that so many near or far do care about what you are going through. We are all here to help each other along the way…….. The very best of luck Julie although I am relatively new to Gadgeteer I have thoroughly enjoyed reading my daily copy. All the best for a speedy recovery. Our differences aside I wish you nothing but the best and a safe and speedy recovery.

Have been following your site since the beginning. Sending you best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery! Keep positive thoughts, eat well, and lean on your partner for support. We lost my mom in-law to cancer a little over a year ago. She fought the odds and won for 10 years. At every step and every turn she defied the doctors for 10 hard and long years. Try to get in every trial you can. I recommend them highly. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

I fully expect you to beat this with one hand tied behind your back and I look forward to continuing to read The Gadgeteer for many more years to come. Best wishes for a safe, speedy, and complete recovery. Thank you for sharing this with us. Another kick in the pants to those of us who tend to procrastinate when it comes to our health. Coming from someone who seems to have a family full of this horrible disease, I sincerely wish you all of the luck, love and strength that I know you will need and cherish. From experience, staying positive, speaking to survivors and most of all, doing everything within your power to keep your body fighting strong will help.

Hi Jules, Wow, what a plethora of support! Love at ya, Murray. Julie, Another long-time reader here. Thank you for sharing and I hope you conquer the cancer. All of your comments have hit me square in the heart. I did not expect this at all. Sure, I thought there were would be comments. But not this many. Thank you! BTW: I updated the article with some info on my first chemo session today. I may continue to do these updates periodically.

Thinking of you everyday. Stay strong, do what the doctor tells you and keep that great attitude! I absolutely love your site and have been reading it for quite a few years now.


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I am praying for you and truly believe you will beat this for sure. Read your site since the early day palm iiie is my first PDA but never post a comment. Well just want to let you know that I and your reader are with you. Thank you so very much for sharing your story with us, Julie. May you be as blessed in all ways. Hang in there, I know you are going to beat this thing. I am glad to hear that your first round of Chemo went well.

I hope you keep your sense of humor throughout this ordeal. I wish you a fast recovery. My mother has been diagnosed with a similar condition and had surgery twice in the last two months but things look good for her, and I hope for you as well. Thank you for sharing your situation and your story.

It will help others- either to seek diagnosis or to give support to those who are going through something similar. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Get well. My sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and she is doing great now, I wish the same for you! Blessings and lots of love. You will be back and in greater health than ever. She was not local either, but she, like I, had traveled for this celebration.

It was not her first time. She had been around for almost 10 years. About 10 years ago the woman, who was an infant when her father died a hero in Vietnam, met the men he served with. She had never met her father, but here were father figures galore ready to embrace her.

And they did. She shared it with me and the last entry written before he died was about the thought that so many of them must have had daily. Once you have looked your own mortality square in the eye, you can not walk away the same person. I will not choose reckless living, but I will daily live with the knowledge that there is no guarantee of tomorrow on this earth. Whether facing your mortality is something you endured, something you will live with daily, or something you are yet to face, how it changes you is really up to you.

As for us, in this house, we choose to remain focused on. What are you going to do about it? And you know what? I could have kept quiet about things. I could have plodded along removing lumps and bumps as they surfaced, praying they remained benign. But, you crossed a line. You messed with my girl. I went all those years not knowing. So when my then 8 year-old was introduced to you at an incredibly tender age, the mother beast in me came alive.

Before I could even contend with your existence I had to run damage control and get out in front of the storms you were plotting and planning. I had to read and research and learn, because with an occurrence rate of 1 in ,, I typically knew more than any doctor we met. And with our PTEN tumor suppressor gene officially listed as broken, the words cancer, cancer risk, and potential malignancy became part of our every day vocabulary.

That entire first year I was sure we had lost our very existence to the routine screenings you require. A doctor for every body part, and a pediatric and an adult version of each no less. Scheduling was a nightmare. And my girl, almost like a deer in headlights, tired of being poked and prodded and treated like a pincushion was getting plenty annoyed. Now there was this road ahead that was just flat out exhausting.

There were worries heaped upon worries. And it got old real fast. Our friends have tried to hang with us. And they are an incredible lot. Their own lives are busy. We miss socializing. We miss casual get-togethers. The unforgiving knee pain that affects every aspect of her life. The knee! The right knee. The one that has hurt since birth. The one where the AVM arteriovenous malformation was supposed to be resolved in or or two embolizations. Until they learned of you. You would be the reason it continues to plague her, change the course of her life, and cause her undue agony on a daily basis.

You would be the reason the 5th attempt to fix it in November after 50ccs of blood leaked into her knee joint essentially failed. You would be the reason we are awaiting a 6th surgery on the knee. This one with the orthopedist and the interventional cardiologist at the same time. One will assess the damage from all this blood, and the other will have another go at this AVM. The AVM. The likely reason the feet are now a size and a half apart. We beat you. We got it out in time. And as payback, 13 months later, the synthetic hormones still leave her chronically wiped out, and running on raw nerve.

The endocrinologist is confused. They offer me no answers about the effects on the body. But, you know what? Not here. Not in this house. Not with my daughter and I fighting you every step of the way. And we will continue to. After we dusted ourselves off and learned to schedule the screenings and tests and surgeries on OUR time, we started to breathe a little. There are so many. Plus, I went on ahead of you and got some things removed. And the hysterectomy before the uterine polyp could change its mind from benign to malignant.

My daughter has decided to become an advocate for rare diseases. Her work has begun small, out of a need to educate the people who judged her for sometimes needing a wheelchair to contend with that knee. It blossomed into assemblies at school, newspaper articles, and a friendship with our Borough President. She carries hope that one day their work will affect change directly in our lives. She met up with friends through my online connections. She corresponds with Colorado and Australia.

Over people attended that event. Community support was overwhelming. Oh, and the heart of an athlete you tried to take from her… you lost there too. She is a swimmer now. And this year she qualified for Silver Championships in the butterfly for her age group. So, despite what you may have tried to do to our lives, you are losing terribly. You may try to be pushy. You may be downright rude, hurtful and insensitive at times. As a matter of fact, maybe I should say thank you.

Thank you for lighting the fire in our bellies. Thank you for helping us find our self-confidence. Thank you for giving us the fight that forces us to never ever give up. Thank you for teaching us that we can make a difference. Thank you for empowering my beautiful young lady with a forceful strength that WILL change the world. It was about 4 in the morning on March 5, I was dizzy, lightheaded and weak. The task looming ahead that morning was unlike any I had ever been through.

As I lay there, trying to gather every ounce of strength in my body, I thought about the whirlwind that had been the last 6 months. I digested elevated cancer risks in just about every body part — some of them astronomical — as I tried to triage the onslaaught of new specialists taking over our lives. But now that it had a name, and a definition, now that there was knowledge, there was also responsibility. We had Meghan to the endocrinologist almost immediately and 4 nodules were discovered on her thyroid. Emotionally scarring biopsy followed.

We met an oncologist for intake as well. I sat up when Felix came into the bathroom. Somehow I got myself up and dressed and into the car. We drove to NYU in a good deal of silence. I am sure I cried a lot. I shook quite a bit too. But it was time. The decision had been made. I forwarded her my medical records before the appointment. At the age of 38 I had racked up 7 breast biopsies and had a mother who was a bilateral breast cancer survivor 15 years earlier.

I asked if it could wait till July. She said absolutely not. March 5th was as late as I could push her. The MRI was clean. I met with the plastic surgeon, arranged for the implants. I blatantly refused tissue expanders, much to her chagrin. We got checked in at the hospital before 7 AM. There was a whirlwind of doctors and nurses traveling through. Some had me signing consent, others were checking various things. I wanted to run, and scream. I felt like I was stuck in a bad horror film. But, I sat. And I signed papers. And I waited. It was a long walk to the operating room after I kissed my husband.

I was terrified. There is NO other choice for you. Even now, as I think back three years later, I am certain that was my first, and most genuine emotion. I felt relieved. I felt empowered. I felt victorious. I knew of too many lives lost to breast cancer, and I would not be one of them. One less worry. More time to be the Mom and help my girl through this genetic mess.

I left the hospital about 28 hours after I got there. The drains were the worst of it all. There was pain, no doubt, but it was all tempered by the peace in my soul. Mom stayed by my side for days, and we had some of our best conversations as I sat in the glider I had used to rock my baby Meghan to sleep 8 years prior. At first I was confused. I thought maybe she was just advocating my decision.

There were all sorts of other markers too. Cellular changes to indicate things were starting to go very wrong. Now, I was being declared cancer free. I stepped onto the street in NYC with my husband and my daughter. We all took a moment to digest what had gone on. We hugged. Then I grabbed hold of Meghan. I would have found the cancer much later. Possibly too late.


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  6. The steps that put us in line to have her, and ultimately me, diagnosed were life altering in so many ways. Every piece of our past is a bit of the puzzle we are forming with our lives. But, sometimes we just have to wait patiently and watch. Play sample. The end of and well, , and… well, you get the idea… held some tumultuous times for our family.

    Adjusting to the diagnosis was not easy. Finding balance within the labels, and the risks, and the screenings, and the surgeries, and the appointments was and sometimes still is a struggle. We discovered nodules we never knew were there and learned the early risks of thyroid cancer were real, and ever-present.

    She soon underwent the most horrendous of what would be 4 thyroid biopsies over the next 2 years. Scarred physically and emotionally, we began to wonder about this beast we were up against. In February of Meghan had her 4th knee surgery for an AVM arteriovenous malformation in her right knee. While we balanced the screenings for Meghan, I was sent to my own set of initial screenings. Being 38 and newly diagnosed, I was in the battle full on, and I had had no idea. No stranger to doctors, I was trying to figure out how the diagnosis helped explain the roadmap that was my own medical history.

    I had breast cancer. They found it by accident. I needed no treatment. I left the room that day holding the two people I love more than anything. Unaware of the plans clearly in place for us, I was so filled with gratitude, and so in awe of the reality that if I had never had Meghan, I would have likely never known. Ten weeks later I was back in the hospital for a complete hysterectomy.

    I had begun to scour the internet looking for places to go. I found Facebook, and a beautiful support network there. I found a yahoo group, and a mom there who has consistently gone above and beyond for me, simply out of goodness. Finally, there were real people I could talk to. One day that Spring I received a Pandora necklace with a pink ribbons on it. After years of advocating for my mother, a bilateral breast cancer survivor, holding the pink ribbons that belonged to me felt strange. Yet, so did the new boobs, smaller, but perkier than the old ones, and all the clothes I was learning no longer would fit quite right.

    So, I took comfort in that necklace and I wore it a lot. The gold ribbon is for childhood cancer, the pink ribbon is for breast cancer, the puzzle piece is for autism. What about me? What about people like me who are dealing with this Rare disease every day? I NEED something mom. Not to have a thing, but for my identity. Stunned, as usual. I realized I had begun to heal myself, to seek comfort for myself, but I was leaving her behind. So I happened to be retelling the story at lunch. So I gave her a denim ribbon sticker from the Global Genes Project, and they were on a hunt.

    Which turned up nothing. There seemed to be no piece of jewelry worldwide to symbolize those with Rare Genetic Disorders. For Meghan. So he did. It took months. And it was perfect. Absolutely perfect. There have been lots of EMails exchanged. Lots of conversations. Lots of people.

    But, business decisions are what they are, and this one was not in my control. She will be 11 soon, and is quite the young lady. She understands life on levels deeper than she should. Most impressively she understands that despite our struggles, there are many in the world who struggle in heart, mind, body, and soul. This past year she organized an assembly at our school. She worked with Student Council to arrange an evening fund raiser. We sold T-Shirts. We received intense support from faculty, and parents and students.

    We sent thousands of dollars to The Global Genes Project. She has already begun to plan for next year, and wants a much bigger fund raiser. She has a mind that never stops. She has the heart and voice of an advocate. If you scroll down, the teens are close to the bottom. Champions of HOPE indeed. So proud of her. My math mind is full of numbers. It is full of lots of things actually, and sometimes I wish I could get a few of them out… quite a few.

    Today marks three months since my father died. Flying free with the angels I am sure, yet I miss him. A lot. A blink of an eye, and an eternity. The one that ended up being stage 1 DCIS. Quite the surprise party. They will have their chance — years from now when these girls have to be replaced. Maybe then I will have time to care more.

    DCIS, KANCERI I GJINIT MA VDEKJEPRUNES

    The last 2 years have been a whirlwind. Well…maybe even before that. The scope of the changes in our lives in recent years require more than I can muster in a 10 PM post. But, being a numbers person….