Pigtales 05: On Thankfulness + News

Family Photography by Kait Miller

Pigtales is a glimpse at the going-ons that take place (mostly) outside of the P&Q kitchen. Baby stuffs, things I love, general musings and other tales from my life as a momma, wife and semi-professional goofball.

I wanted to share this post before the holiday. Wait, scratch that. I wanted to share this post a month ago — on Monday, October 24th, to be exact. The day that, as Lana and I were driving home from ballet, singing Five Little Monkeys for at least the twenty-fifth time and cursing the already setting sun, I received the phone call telling me I had breast cancer.

I was shell-shocked. Dumbfounded. Numb. I mean, once I stopped the car and got Lana into the house, I was a snotfaced, convulsing mess. But aside from that first tidal wave of emotion (which was triggered by the singular thought that if I die, Lana won’t remember me), I kind of entered a silent zombie mode, punctuated every so often by a spoken aloud what in the actual fuck.

Fifteen days later, the electoral college determined that Donald Trump would be our next president. It was a rough couple of weeks, you guys.

But here’s the deal.

Ever-present beneath the overwhelming feeling of fear and the sans-feeling feeling of shock was the constant hum of thankfulness. That we had detected it early. (I found the lima bean-sized lump myself while nursing Lana.*) That I have access to a great team of doctors and solid health insurance. That cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was. It’ll be a rough year, to be sure, but if my new hairdresser is the Buddhist Latina Oracle I suspect her to be, I’ll be stronger for it.

On Thursday morning, I’ll bid adieu to my right breast. (As tempted as I am to do away with both, I’m clinging to the idea of nursing a second kiddo, if we have one.) A couple weeks later, if we decide it’s right for us, we’ll do the fertility preservation thing. (Chemo can send you into a kind of early menopause.) And a few weeks after that, I’ll start chemo.

But before all that, I’m soaking up these last few days as a two-boobied human, researching the shit out of how to pack for a mastectomy (oh hai thousands of cancer blogs I never knew existed!) and basking in the overwhelming show of support we’ve received from family and friends near and far. Two of my besties are coming out to wait on me hand and foot next weekend. Lana will be spoiled silly with lots of extra grandparent visits. And Chris! Well. No one will be surprised to learn that he’s been everything you’d hope a partner would be when shit gets real: composed and snuggly and steadfastly there. (To his teammates at work, who may very well have forgotten what Chris looks like when all this is over: I owe you many, many cookies.)

All things considered, I’m as blessed an individual as they come. And really, if I were anything but thankful at this point, I’d just be asking for a karmic asskicking. Because, simply put in clichéd one-liners:

It could be so much worse.
This, too, shall pass.
And my personal favorite: King Kong ain’t got shit on me.

Peace, love + hugs, friends. And Happy Thanksgiving.
xo,
Em

* LADIES THIS IS THE PART WHERE I SHOUT AT YOU TO KNOW YOUR BOOBIES AND ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION. I was certain the tiny lump I found was nothing, but both Chris and a close friend of mine urged me to check, just for peace of mind, and here we are. Also, for anyone familiar with the disease or who may just be curious about the details of my particular diagnosis, the pathology report as of this moment shows: Stage 1, Grade 2-3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC); very weakly ER+; PR-; HER2+; no genetic markers; no lymph node involvement.

p.s. photos are a sneak peek of this week’s family sesh with Kait Miller!
p.p.s. always thankful beyond adequate verbiage for this little hambone ↓
Family Photography by Kait Miller

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OH! before you go…

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Flourless Persimmon Cake with Black Pepper-Molasses Date Caramel (DF/GF)
Ultimate Fall Chopped Salad with Honeyed Tangerine-Turmeric Vinaigrette

41 Comments on “Pigtales 05: On Thankfulness + News”

  1. Ready and willing em. So thankful that our names were alphabetically adjacent on that fateful day in Miss Merrills bio class… tons of love and good good vibes!

  2. You are amazing my dear lifelong friend. Teresa sent me this quote a few days ago:

    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

    You, Emi, are a beautiful person.
    MA!

  3. Em, I’m here and I’m listening and I’m reading and I’m crying. You are one brave, beautiful, strong-ass woman and mother and your outlook on life is admirable. You are an inspiration to all of us. And, I love you.

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. (Moved – now you know how I feel reading every single one of your posts!) Love you.

  4. I don’t know you honey, only your blog, but you have moved to the top of my prayer list. Wisdom from an Irish Lapsed Catholic Oracle. Go Get Em!

  5. Emily I am so sorry to hear this!!! You sound like you’ve approached this in such a positive way and I applaud you so hard for that. You are like a shining beam of light in this world and your daughter is so lucky to have you. I have no doubt that you will fight like hell and come out of this 100%. My mom had BC and did a single mastectomy – if I’m remembering correctly she had the same kind as you, stage zero. She was also lucky to find it early and she has been clean for about 20 years now. Over the years my mom has talked to a lot of women going through this process as a kind of moral support – I tell you that because from what I’ve seen, women who’ve gone through this are usually more than willing to lend that emotional hand to people going through it for the first time. So REACH OUT. We are all here for you, and I’m sure a ton of ladies would love to tell you about their own experience to help you through yours. (You can even email my mom if you want – just let me know!) Wishing you ALL the best through this process and so much love!!!!! Thinking of you, you amazing woman!!! Xoxoxoxoxoxo

  6. I don’t know you personally (though I feel like I do through your blog, you know?) but just wanted to say you’re in my thoughts. Your gratitude with everything is inspiring. And for the record, I’ve had three family members who were diagnosed with breast cancer and all three survived, so fight that fight! You are clearly so SO strong. Lana has such a wonderful role model in you. ❤️

  7. Sending love and hugs during this challenging time, Em. <3 Super thankful that you found it early and I love that beautiful quote from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Beautiful people do not just happen – they're scarred, damaged, and have been through the ringer! Take some time to run during this whole ordeal, running is what has got me through some of the most difficult times, and I've always viewed it as my church – and where I find the most clarity. <3 <3 <3 Hugs to you and the fam.

  8. Oh Emily, what a strong, inspirational mama you are! I have no words, only tears and awe for how brave you are. I will keep you and your sweet family in my heart and prayers! Thank you so much for sharing your story and urging the rest of us to take notice of the little changes in our body!!

  9. Just wanted to tell you how much I’m thinking about you and your family during this challenging time. You are an amazing woman and strong and have the love and support of so many family members and friends. You have my heart and my love and continued prayers .

  10. Oh Emily. Sending you so much love and strength. If you ever need anything, please let me know. Have you heard of Sue Bryce and Jill? They put together a gorgeous video with Hailey Bartholomew called The Light that Shines, I think?

  11. I saw your post on IG, and was left speechless for a while before heading over here. This post made me cry… your bravery, optimism and positive energy are beyond inspirational.

    We’re not close (haven’t seen each other since HS), but I feel like I’ve gotten a glimpse into your life through your blog and IG. Thank you for being so brave as to share this… Over the coming weeks, I will be sending you all of the good thoughts and positive vibes and loving juju.

  12. So sorry to hear, but so optimistic with your attitude, support, and no lymph involvement ? sending you love, light, and only positive thoughts. Take care and stay strong! #fcancer
    Denzel could not have said it better…

  13. My heart hurts reading this post, Em. Like physically hurts, like so many others who care about you, I’m sure. Please know that I am here on the other side of the screen and several states away, cheering you on. You are a beautiful soul, a badass mama, and I know the strength and grace that you bring to this world will kick cancer’s ass real good. 😉 Sending you so many hugs and lots of love right this minute and for however long! <3

  14. You are such an incredibly strong and inspiring woman, Em. Your positive attitude and strength is seeping through each word of this post. I can’t wait for you to kick the hell out of this cancer. My heart goes out to you and your family during this trying time. Sending all my love and prayers
    xoxo
    kristan

  15. You know that you can call me ANYTIME!
    As you know I have been there, done that within the last 6 months.
    I am keeping ALL of you in my thoughts and prayers for a easy recovery and a long, happy and healthy future.
    Fondly
    Sandy

  16. So many hugs to you Emily! I’m glad you caught it early and your outlook is inspiring. Both an aunt and my older sister’s mom went through the rounds more than once with breast cancer, one with a double mastectomy. I’m a firm believer that their outlook made all the difference in their recovery and how they handled each day. Hearts and hugs.

  17. O.o Oh no. I’m so glad you caught it early! I actually wrote on my blog a few weeks ago about having had leukemia as a child. It’s rough, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    <3

  18. Emily, you are so brave and a true inspiration. I am with you through this all, if not physically, then for sure in every other way that counts. So much love and prayers for strength and healing.

  19. Em I’m totally thinking of you. You are an incredible food blogger and a huge inspiration for me! You have major fan-love coming from Hoosierland over here! Good luck with everything moving forward <3

  20. Sending so much love and support, Emily. I love your style of being. Thank you for sharing with us. <3 <3 <3

  21. Love you Em! So thankful and glad for our friendship. You set such a strong example for other women and little Lana. With you through thick and thin.

  22. Obviously, it has been many years since I’ve seen you, dear Emily, but this news moves me to tears. I’ll be thinking of you often over these next months as I channel good thoughts for a speedy, completely cancer-free recovery. God, that beautiful daughter of yours is so fortunate to have you as her momma. My aloha.

  23. Thinking of you like crazy since I heard the news. Amazed at how eloquently you were able to share it. I know you will become a stronger person at the end of this, my mom sure did. You have my full support, please please please let me know if there is anything you need. Sending love to you, Lana and Chris.

  24. Em — of course my heart and all of the positive, healing energy I can muster is being sent your way. I know you will have plenty of love and support “on site” with your Mom, Bryan, Rosalinda, John, Miriam, Kevin — and, most of all Chris. Your blog post made me so emo, but, as usual, you write with such humor and uber articulation — you are grace under fire!

  25. Hi Emily – You are an amazing woman and will get through this with your usual grace and humor. Stay positive and I will send good vibes your way.
    Lots of love to you.

  26. Emily, I am so lost for words and at the same time so inspired and awed by your positivity and thankfulness in light of everything. All my prayers and hugs go out to you. You are such a strong and beautiful human being <3

  27. I want to scream into a pillow and pound my fists into a wall for you right now. Because that’s how I would deal — like my two-year-old kid, so classy. But you — you are handling this with such grace and dignity and elegance and I am just amazed by you. I will be praying for you and your family every step of the way through this journey. xo

  28. Dear Emily…..
    My heart goes out to you darling – this WILL pass and you will be stronger once all this is behind you…. just stay patient and positive and kind to yourself.
    If there is anything you need please know that I’m here for support.
    I haven’t dealt with this type of illness but man I couldn’t walk once or hold my baby girl in my arms without falling – so I feel like all illnesses are the same. If you want to chat about that I’m open to sharing. If you’re up for it, but no pressure.
    I know you’re in good hands… trust the universe that this is just part of your journey and story… it’s just a stumbling block ~ you can do this 🙂
    Sending you lots of healing vibes and support and love for you and your family.
    <3
    ella

  29. Oh Em, I’m so sorry to hear this news. You’re amazing – I so admire your candor as you head into such a difficult time, as well as your humor and grace in the face of it all. I’ll be keeping you and your sweet family in my thoughts over the coming months. xoxo

  30. Emily…you are inspiring beyond words. Thank you for so bravely, and gracefully baring your heart. Sending you so so SO much love. Please let me know if there’s absolutely anything I can do to help you and your family during this difficult time – big or small. Seriously. I’m just a short ride away in Berkeley. xo

  31. Will be thinking of you and happy to loan out my Mir tho I will miss her. Love and healing, I know you’ll do great. Also my family loved your salad at Thanksgiving, thanks for that.

  32. Emily, holy shit. All my thoughts and prayers are with you right now — no words are adequate to convey how shitty this news is, but also how inspiring, strong, and badass you have always been to me and how even more so you are now. I hate this for you but I know that if any BAMF can come out of
    this stronger than ever it’s you. Thinking of you, Chris, and sweet Lana with all my heart.

  33. I have been in love with your words, your recipes, and your view of life since I was so fortunate to stumble on this blog a year-and-a-half ago. Praying for you and yours and absolutely positive you are gonna kick cancer’s ass. (And prolly make some awesome food in between bc that’s just how you roll.)

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