Why Me?

I have heard from a number of friends who were shocked or even scared after they heard about my cancer diagnosis. From their perspective, I did all the right things; I ate organic, non-gmo, used natural/homemade house cleaners and personal care products, drank filtered water, etc. If *I* could get cancer, especially at my age, ANYONE could!

Those thoughts ran through MY mind and I voiced them immediately after I got off the phone when I received my diagnosis. My sweet friend, whom God placed at the park with me that morning, immediately encouraged me saying, “all that is just the more reason that your body will beat this and heal!” She was so right.

After that day, we learned what kind of breast cancer I have (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma or IDC) and that it’s Estrogen receptor +, progesterone receptor -, and HER2+. This is good in that there are targeted therapies for every “+” 🙂 We also learned that it has likely metastasized to my right hip bone…making me stage 4. Did you know that only 5-9% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time are stage 4?

Only a few decades ago, it was virtually unheard of for a woman under 40 to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Now? It’s not uncommon at all anymore. It is estimated that over 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 or younger live in the the US today. Why? What’s changed in just 1 generation? Personally I believe it’s mostly environmental (to include food and medicine). I wanted to know WHY and I asked God as much. I was still waiting on the genetics test but I had a feeling it wasn’t JUST genetics. NONE of the women on either side of the family got breast cancer at a young age and only my maternal grandmother had it of my mom/grandmas/aunts. Genetics just don’t change that fast in one generation.

I’ll be honest, I was terrified for my daughters. I wanted to know WHY so that I could make sure my daughters don’t ever have to worry about this. As I was talking to God, he put birth control on my mind. I remembered that I had taken a HIGH dose birth control for about 6-7 years before my first pregnancy. I thought, “hrm….could there be a correlation?” I did a quick search on google and came up with a number of articles that confirmed that hunch. High-dose birth control seems to increase the breast cancer risk by more than 50%….FIFTY PERCENT. What’s more, certain KINDS of birth control meds (regardless of dosage) seem to increase the risk of breast cancer more than others. Article/study link

Most women don’t take high dose birth control. The only reason it was prescribed to me was because I was taking anti-epileptic medication, which reduces the effectiveness of birth control. Ironically, the only reason I was even on birth control before I was married was to manage severe menstrual issues. If I knew then that taking such a high dose of birth control for so long would lead to this, I would NEVER have taken it.

We know now that I also have a genetic mutation on my CHEK2 gene, a gene responsible for tumor suppression. So my body had a smoldering ember in the form of a gene mutation and I threw gasoline on it for years in the form of a high dose birth control pill. I unknowingly did this to myself. When I made this discovery, I was a mess of emotions. Mostly I was relieved to know that this is something my daughters can control and won’t make the same mistake that I did. I didn’t feel helpless for them anymore. But then, I became sad and angry. This “pill” that is supposed to “liberate” women is actually CAUSING BREAST CANCER and is KILLING US. There is STILL little to no research done on the various birth controls such as nuva ring or any other hormone contraceptives that AREN’T pills. This is UNACCEPTABLE. How many more young women will  be diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer, many with NO genetic mutations or family history, before studies are performed? How many more will suffer through chemo, surgery, and radiation? How many more will lose their lives?

I’ll tell you right now that I intend to live. I intend to beat this and make sure that everyone I know is aware of the risks. If you or someone you love does or has used a hormonal birth control in the past 10 years, please encourage them to look up the exact type they’ve used and see if it is low/moderate/high dose, if it contains only estrogen or a combo of estrogen and progesterone, and if any studies have been done on their particular birth control and breast cancer risks.  **Low dose birth control does not “seem” to increase the risks but researchers won’t say that it definitively doesn’t** I am not suggesting you just dump your birth control. Do your research, get informed, arm yourself with information and go have a chat with your Dr. if you feel so inclined. Know your risks and take charge of your health.

I also believe there is another SERIOUS risk factor that affects ALL of us. It’s in all our homes, in our cars, out in public, it’s almost impossible to escape but you can reduce your risks. I will post on Electric & Magnetic Fields (EMF)…specifically cell phone radiation…at a later date but if you want to do some research on your own, just do a google search. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve talked to have NO family history but had breast cancer where they stored their cell phone in a pocket near their breast or in their bra.

Today I leave you with this:



One thought on “Why Me?

  1. Hello, you don’t know me, however, my husband Dick and I have known you mother through her business and now Friends for many years. I wanted you to know how deeply touched I have been with your honesty, spirituality and strength. Being a nurse for over 40 years, I have watched multiple patients and my husband face the fear and anxiety of disease and treatment plans. From reading your blog, you have exactly the correct faith and positive attitude to survive and thrive. I will keep you in my morning prayers, I strongly believe in the power of prayer and it has carried my family and myself through dark and scary times in like, blessing to you and your family. Continue to march on to recovery, restored health and a rewarding life, Kathy Van Slyke


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