Welcome to our newest writers, Princess Hedgehog and Stephanie! Read on for an introduction to these amazing women, and come back to check out their posts!
Princess Hedgehog, “Hedgie”
Hedgie is not really a princess, although she wouldn’t mind hanging out in an enchanted forest. After being diagnosed with stage IIa breast cancer in 2006 at the tender age of 45, this Midwestern transplant to Northern California underwent the “standard of care” as they say: bilateral mastectomy (although only one breast had a tumor), chemo (A/C, Taxol, Taxotere), radiation and Tamoxifen. A year after starting chemo she bowed to pressure from her Agent of Doom (aka oncologist) and had an oophorectomy, which is medspeak for having one’s ovaries yanked. The following month she switched from Tamoxifen to Aromasin and lasted 26 days before realizing that she was losing her mind on the drug. Arimidex was also poorly tolerated and Hedgie bailed on all hormonal therapies. She hopes her efforts with acupuncture, diet and exercise will do as much if not more than the AIs to hold recurrence at bay.
A few months after finishing radiation, Hedgie was accepted into the Commonweal Cancer Help Project , a week-long retreat in Bolinas, CA. There she met and was transformed by incredible travelers on the cancer road, some who provided guidance for the body and spirit and some, friendship for the journey.
A former book editor, Hedgie also worked as a newsletter editor for a university before accepting a full-time motherhood gig. A 6-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl occupy her time and heart, sharing space with a busy husband and too many pets to list. The children provided Hedgie with her nickname when her hair began to come back following chemo; she resembled their favorite character from the Jan Brett stories. Because their mother took the Time of No Hairto play with dramatic, long wigs, the entire family gave the different looks personalities and names (Serena worked for the CIA). Thus, Princess Hedgehog was born.
Hedgie hopes to find her way back to the writing world. She blogs here and at Princess Hedgehog Chronicles.
My name is Stephanie and I am a thirty-five year old stay at home mother of two young daughters. I’ve been married to my husband Joe for ten years and live in New Jersey. My oldest daughter Leah is six years old and in first grade. My youngest, Maya, is two and was adopted from China in 2007 at the age of 9 months.
My mother was a breast cancer survivor for thirteen years. I have three cousins who have had breast cancer. I’ve been having yearly mammograms since I was thirty. In July 2008, just two weeks after my mother died of a Leukemia-like cancer, a small lump was found in my left breast at a routine mammogram. After having spent many months visiting my mother at a leading cancer hospital in NYC, I now have found myself a patient at the same facility. In September 2008 I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, then a separate surgery to remove my remaining lymph nodes. I had one lymph node involved and have stage II breast cancer. I will be starting chemotherapy AC/T treatments in December 2008 that will last four months. I plan on having a bi-lateral mastectomy in the spring of 2009.
I have been blogging for years (first writing about my adoption journey, then highlighting some of my craft projects on-line). For the last two years I’ve been blogging at Stephanie’s Written Word www.thewrittenword.wordpress.com where I write book reviews. I also write over at C is not for Cookie www.4cookie.wordpress.com.