"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. " ~ James 1:2-3

Breast Health

It's been a very long time since I've posted, but I need a place to share the experience I had, since I had a difficult time finding pictures as I was doing my own research a month ago. 

I am 31 years old. My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at her first mammogram at age 39. It was long since recommended to me that I begin mammograms at age 30. As I was still breastfeeding, I waited until my annual ob/gyn appointment post-breastfeeding to request the referral. My midwife, whom I trust and adore, took one look at my family history, and referred me to a surgical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer. This way, each year, my mammograms and breast health will be monitored by a specialist. There is no such thing as being too proactive, when the last three generations of your maternal line have died of cancer.

The Monday after Christmas, I went in for my first mammogram. To say I was nervous is an understatement - I knew my mother's first mammogram came back with cancer, and it's all I could think about. I fought the tears in my eyes.

The tech warned me that first mammograms often result in a "callback" because anything that is not 100% obvious is double checked - so that the doctors understand what is "normal" for you. Each of us has different breasts, different densities, different goofy spots of fibrous tissue. 

It didn't stop me from panicking when I received my own callback. 

Thankfully, when I had my second mammogram (which was much squishier than the first and hurt just a bit), the tech took the time to show me the area of question on the image of my left breast, and then, how that questionable area went away when I got the higher compression scan. 

And a few days later, I received the "all clear."

I was relieved. 

A few weeks later, I had my "Establish Patient" visit at the surgical oncologist, whom we'll call Dr. E. The visit with Dr. E was pretty basic, a bit about my family history, went over my mammogram images, and of course, she did a breast exam. When she was done, she asked if I had any questions or concerns. 

I just had one. For the last few months, I have been noticing that one duct on my right breast (note this is NOT the breast that needed re-imagining) will bleed. Many of my ducts still express milk, though it has been months since I last breast fed, and I check occasionally to see if they've dried up yet or not. Which is how I discovered the single bloody duct. 

My midwife took a culture, said it was a common staph bacteria that often lives on the skin, and offered me an antibiotic. But once I'd finished the medication, that one single duct still expressed blood. So I mentioned it to Dr. E. 

She doubled checked, and was able to also express a very dark red blood from that single duct. And, had I done my research ahead of time (and as a medical researcher, I have a large database at my exposure), I would have known what came next. 


I walked into a Establish Patient visit and walked out with an outpatient surgery date for 4 days later. Dr. E reassured me that in over half the cases, a single duct bleeding is the result of a papilloma, and it is rarely cancer. When I began to do my research, I realized two things:
  1. A "unilateral, uniductal" bloody discharge is an immediate candidate for surgery, as it comes with a (not quite as rare as I was told) 3-5% risk of breast cancer. 
  2. I could find very little in the way of pictures/experiences, etc from other women who had experienced similar things. 
So despite the anxiety I felt, I was sure to document my experience, in hopes that others might be able to know just a bit more about the procedure, the experience, the healing, and my own own thoughts on the matter.

Below the jump are pictures. They are pictures of my right breast at various stages, which may make them NSFW (Not Suitable For Work), but they are also 100% medical. There is nothing sexual about the following images at all.



Semi truck or ditch? The choice was easy, but not fun.

Making a trip to Florida on a rainy Friday was less uneventful than we had hoped. Tom was merging onto 95 from 74 and as he began the turn on to the exit ramp, the sky opened up. Visibility shot down. As he tried to merge into the right lane of 95, a semi truck decided at the same time to changes lanes into the exact spot we were trying to merge. Tom tried to slow down, but hydroplaned and started sliding towards the semi truck. He was able to guide the van away from the truck, but at the cost of driving into this ditch.

The rain made the ground so wet we are sitting in about 5 inches of sandy water and completely incapable of freeing ourselves.


So we got a hold of highway patrol, who called a local tow truck, who we had to follow into the nearest town so that we could pay him in cash, and over an hour and a half later, we were on our way, with no more than a flat tire.

So while the cost of the tow was disappointing, we were blessed that the car was still drivable, and most importantly, no one was hurt.

4 Year of Motherhood


H Bday - Beach Smile

This boy. This beautiful boy is started my journey into motherhood. He is funny, sweet, snarky, sensitive, clever, difficult, cuddly, and stubborn. And he is now four years old.

He wanted to go to the beach for his birthday, despite it being a cold and windy day. So we did. And he wore his jacket and huddled under a blanket, yet still decided he had to wade into the water.

I love this boy!

Family Reunion



We were fortunate enough to meet up with my family in Charleston a few weeks back. We stayed only about 24 hours, but were able to go out to dinner, go to the beach (albeit cold and windy), open presents, take a carriage ride around Charleston, and then do some browsing around the city’s shops and market.

But all that paled in comparison to seeing family I haven’t seen in far too long!



019 - Copy

When Tom’s mom came down, we tried to fit in some basic entertainment. On the day she left, we putzed around Myrtle Beach, and took a nice family picture! The boys fed the fish, and got lots of exercise!

Happy Baptism


Corbin Baptism

We recently had Corbin baptized at our church. I know he’s a little old, but this way, his Grandma was able to witness his baptism! When we don’t have family near by, little things like this really make these events special. We were so glad to have our church welcome Corbin (although he was plenty welcome before!) to our spiritual family.




Grandma came down to visit and help out while Tom had a two week full time internship at a local elementary school. On the weekends we took little trips. Here she is in Southport, with a potted flower that Harper put together at the town’s children’s festival. The flower is currently blooming magenta and red flowers on our porch.