My Breast Cancer Journey Part 44: My Twin Sister’s 36-Week Pregnant Breast Biopsy is “All Clear!” & Baby Harold Robert is Almost Here!

This blog post is the 44th in a series about my (and twin sister’s) breast cancer journey that began when we were 30 years old in July 2019. In 2019, I also started documenting our younger sister’s breast cancer previvorship journey. Here is a list of all of the posts written about our journey at Mayo Clinic’s Breast Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to date. To keep tabs on new posts, sign up for the “A Daily Miracle” email list at this link. You can also follow on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Here is our most recent miracle story:

1) Miracle Report!: A lump my twin sister Steph found on her left implant two weeks ago is benign!!!!!! Specifically, pathology defined it as: “Nodular adenosis with secretory type changes. Comment: In an appropriate clinical context, the findings may represent lactating adenoma.” In plain English, this means Steph’s breast / chest tissue is expanding in response to her pregnancy, and it is NOT a malignancy / breast cancer recurrence. We are praising God for His protection and deliverance!

2) Praise Report / Prayer Request!: Steph is 37 weeks pregnant and baby Harold Robert is doing well!! He is coming any day now and you can see his 36 week ultrasound photo above!! 🙂 Prayers appreciated for peace for Paul, Steph, and Harold, and for protection and favor for Steph and Harold’s safe and speedy arrival whenever labor comes on! 🙂

Thank you so much for your prayers for Steph as we prayed, waited, cried, prayed some more, cried some more, then finally received news that her ultrasound-guided needle biopsy result was benign. Here’s the full miracle story starting at the beginning!:

Day 1: A “suspicious lump”

On Sunday, January 15th, at 36 weeks pregnant (!), my twin sister Steph texted me: “Hello so I found a pea sized small bump along my left implant by my left armpit and am thinking it might be fat necrosis? But I don’t remember feeling it before and sent a message to Mayo just in case they want me to come in for physical exam / ultrasound.”

My stomach felt like it fell out of my butt, once again. I was having deja vu to the time I was 8 weeks pregnant and found a lump near my left implant in 2021. I had to have a biopsy at 14 weeks pregnant, and that was no fun–especially while pregnant!–but at least my biopsy result was “all clear” as “fat necrosis” after a week of waiting! You can read my pregnant biopsy story at this link.

After I took a deep breath and buckled up emotionally for what was sure to be another emotional roller coaster ride, I told Steph I was so thankful she did a self exam and messaged Mayo, and that I was sure she’d hear something back soon!

Day 2: Waiting

The next day–Monday–came and went with no news from Mayo. Steph called to check in at the end of the day Monday, and got an oncology secretary on the phone who confirmed that her care team had been reviewing her file and corresponding with each other in response to her message as recently as 2pm. Apparently they were waiting on her oncologist to give a directive on how he would like to proceed. 

Steph told the medical secretary that she was 36 weeks pregnant, and could be induced as soon as this week, or in the next two weeks for sure. Steph just wanted the team to be aware of that timeline. She also added a comment onto the existing internal chain so the team was aware of that.

“I expect I’ll hear something tonight or tomorrow!,” Steph said.

Day 3: Baby Harry’s 36 Week OB Appointment!

Then Tuesday rolled around. Tuesday morning, Steph went to her 36 week pregnancy appointment. Because Baby Harry is an IVF baby with a velamentous cord insertion, her OB ordered a weekly ultrasound and biophysical profile every week until 40 weeks. If Harry shows any sign of distress, she’s getting induced and he’s coming out!

At 36 weeks, and then at 37 weeks, Harry was doing well :), so he got to stay in there cooking a little longer! Steph talked with her OB–who is also a cancer survivor!–about her situation with the spot by her implant. Her OB told her: “When you’re pregnant, things are changing all the time. I’m sure it’s just a change in your tissue.”

That was very encouraging to hear! (and ended up, providentially, being correct!)

Then, finally!, on Tuesday, Steph got an appointment set in her portal: a 7:15am ultrasound on Wednesday, followed by appointment with her oncologist Thursday morning at 8am. Steph and her husband Paul had hoped she could get all of her appointments for the same day so they didn’t need to travel down twice, but were glad to be on the schedule for Wednesday morning. And off they went on Wednesday to investigate what was going on!

Day 4: Wednesday 1/18/23 at Mayo Clinic: Ultrasound, biopsy, and scheduling miracles abounding!

I sent out a prayer text to our prayer warriors on Wednesday morning:

“If you could pray for Steph today she has an ultrasound at Mayo this morning at 7:15 AM to check out a bump she recently found on the left side of her chest! She also has an appointment with her oncologist tomorrow morning at 8am! Prayers appreciated for the ultrasound today and for peace and wisdom for the doctors on the case to be thinking clearly, and to know exactly what’s going on without a biopsy!!, and that if a biopsy is needed that the schedule would open up for that as soon as possible perhaps even as early as tomorrow!!! She’s also 36 weeks pregnant so baby Harold could come any day now!!”

Prayer moved mountains!! First of all, Steph had her ultrasound with the chair of Mayo’s breast radiology division. He also so happened to be the doctor that helped drain our baby sister’s breast abscess in 2022 (more to come on that miracle in a future post :)). He came in to see Steph after her ultrasound tech took some photos and he took some more photos.

He thought the 1.7×1.3cm bump might be tissue that responded/expanded to the Alloderm and implant, but he recommended a needle biopsy or MRI “to rule out anything serious.” Steph asked if he thought it might be tissue responding to hormonal pregnancy, and he thought about it and said “Theoretically, that could be the case…”

We were hoping she wouldn’t need a biopsy, but I knew that she’d need one, mostly because I had to have one when I was pregnant, and we’re twins, so obviously, she’d need one too. 🙂

Steph’s radiology asked Steph if she’d like to see if she could be induced early, have the baby, then have an MRI to investigate further, or if she’d prefer to go straight to biopsy.

Steph said that she’d much rather have results now and would like to go straight to biopsy–making sure that she’d be able to have her biopsy with a seasoned professional due to the proximity to her implant, and that she’d be able to have it done sooner rather than later.

Her radiologist smiled and understood, and told her that he’s “never seen a Mayo radiologist rupture an implant!” 

The second scheduling miracle of that Wednesday at Mayo Clinic was that Steph’s ultrasound tech and schedulers got to work, and as soon as she got out of her ultrasound at 8:20am, she already had a biopsy scheduled for 8:30am! That was a miracle because, as one of her schedulers told her:

“You’re lucky they got you in today for biopsy–usually we are booking out 2 weeks!,” one of her schedulers told her.

Jesus made it happen!!!! 🙂

Pregnant biopsy time!

Steph requested a seasoned professional do her ultrasound guided needle biopsy, and she had a wonderful radiologist who got right down to business. 🙂 They talked about student loan forgiveness and the Chanhassen dinner theater. And they even gave her an adorable little stress ball that looks like a hedgehog or a small pig to help her hand not fall asleep as she had to keep it above her head for a half hour or longer while they took the samples (pictured below).

Steph’s update after biopsy was:

“All done! They took 5 samples and left a ribbon as the clip! Like a breast cancer awareness ribbon! She said they took tiny samples from all over the area which was 1.3 x 1.7 cm but mostly avoided the core. Probably bc it was closest to the implant. She said pathology dept is “very good” and will have very reliable  data / report in a few days!”

Then, even though pathology results weren’t in yet, they got to go see Steph’s oncologist in person. This was the third scheduling miracle of that Wednesday at Mayo Clinic: That Steph got to see the chair of Mayo’s radiology department, she miraculously got a biopsy appointment scheduled right after her ultrasound, AND she got to have an in-person appointment with her oncologist that same day!

“Hang in there!,” Steph’s radiologist told her. Mayo Clinic doctors and techs are the best, especially expressing empathy to a 36-week-pregnant-34-year-old-breast-cancer-survivor who just had a biopsy to check for recurrent cancer. 🙂

Here is “CJ” the hedgehog, the stress ball they gave Steph during her biopsy to hold! She affectionately named him “CJ,” after Caleb and Joshua in Numbers 13 + 14 in the Bible. Caleb and Joshua are the spies who came back with a “good report” and told Israel that they could have victory in the Promised Land if they’d believe God’s provision! She said CJ is there to remind her of the “good report” that was coming with her biopsy result! 🙂 Praise God!

Oncologist appointment #1

Steph’s notes after her oncologist appointment were:

“Good meeting! He is glad and was surprised that we had the biopsy done already. That is what he would have recommended! He is amazed we got in today quite frankly! Usually they would need him to order it and then it would get scheduled and then we’d need to come back but apparently because the radiology chair recommended / authorized it they made it happen today right away. He said it will take at least overnight to get results and expects we will know results by Friday, so he scheduled a conference call for 1pm. If the results aren’t ready by then, he will push out the conference call to next week. I will get the results in my portal at the same time he gets the results (due to a federal law put into place for patient access to records) – he said it’s up to me whether I read them before our meeting or if I wait to read them.”

Her oncologist did a physical exam of areas other than the biopsy site and didn’t feel anything suspicious but wouldn’t be able to share anything definitive until the biopsy results came in, which would be in 1-3 days. He said there was a chance it could be a malignancy, and if it was, they’d do three things. First, the biopsy would confirm hormone receptor status and stage of the cancer recurrence (if it was cancer). Second, Steph would need to have a PET scan after delivery to check for metastases. Third, they’d bring in Steph’s breast surgeon and proceed in conjunction with her breast surgeon with developing a treatment plan.

Steph and Paul asked Steph’s oncologist if he thought it could be tissue responding to pregnancy hormones, and he thought about it, and said he wasn’t sure. It seems the only doctor who thought that could be the case is our OBGYN!

We were all terrified, but trusting God for a good report. The day at Mayo was miraculous but stressful, and featured concerning lines from the radiology report including:

“This mass shows reproducible internal blood flow on Doppler analysis and does not demonstrate features suggestive of AlloDerm. Findings are suspicious for malignancy,”

Steph’s husband Paul began fasting and praying and continued doing so for several days with the hope and confidence that God would deliver a benign biopsy result.

Steph and Paul and the rest of us closed out Wednesday by sending out messages for prayer heading into the rest of the week, and had a large share of praises as well! As Steph said:

“Praises that God moved administrative mountains today to get in all the needed appointments in a short period of time so we didn’t have to go down another day! Multiple docs, techs, nurses etc. kept telling me and Paul how unusual it is to see everything line up like it did today as they’re usually booking weeks out. Now we move on to praying hard for a benign / non cancerous biopsy result!!!”

Trusting God in the waiting: Pregnant biopsies x2

In April 2021, when I was 14 weeks pregnant, I (also) had to have a biopsy of a “suspicious” spot on the left side of my chest, in the 2’o’clock position. It turned out to be fat necrosis, but the waiting for pathology / radiology results was incredibly stressful.

Then, this past week, my twin sister had to have a biopsy of a “suspicious” spot on the left side of her chest, in the 2’o’clock position. As it always is, waiting for pathology / radiology results was incredibly stressful.

This verse from 2 Timothy 1:7 came to mind frequently in times I was tempted to doubt or despair: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Waiting for test results is the hardest part. Our minds tend to wander to the “what if?” scenarios. And then there are actual events that feel like a gut punch.

Sunday, Steph found a lump.

Monday, we had to wait for an update from Mayo, and had none.

Tuesday, my twin sister lost one of her coworkers to metastatic breast cancer.

Wednesday, Steph and Paul went to Mayo where Steph got her ultrasound and biopsy of a suspicious spot on her left breast implant at the 2’o’clock position.

Thursday, a family friend had to go to the hospital with a potential recurrence of her breast cancer.

Friday, our aunt got called back for “suspicious” imaging on her mammogram from earlier this week. Ultimately, our aunt received an all clear as it was scar tissue from a biopsy she received last year, praise the LORD!!! While God is good regardless of test results, we are beyond grateful for every encouraging reminder we receive of healing and deliverance we can experience this side of heaven 🙂

Sometimes we don’t understand all that God is doing. “Why God?” questions are scary to ask, mostly because the answer isn’t always clear to us. Instead of a clear answer, we’re often prompted and encouraged to trust God more in the pain of the unknowns.

For example, Check out Matthew 8. In this chapter of the Bible, Jesus runs around and talks to a lot of people and heals a lot of hurting people. Then, there’s a massive storm on the sea when Jesus and his disciples are in the middle of it. Jesus stays calm, and his disciples do not. Even though his disciples had seen him heal dozens of people from life-threatening illness, they chose to doubt instead of trust. How prone we are to do that, too.

Like my husband preached about once, sometimes when Christ is shining most brightly–when God brings his light into the world–darkness seeks to overcome it. Like right after Jesus was born and his human dad, Joseph, and his mom, Mary, had to flee to Egypt to escape from King Herod who wanted to murder little baby Jesus. Our week was perhaps not quite as dramatic as Jesus’s birth story, but we faced a whole lot of darkness this week. My husband also reminded me this week: “What is the point of life, as a Christian? Is it to be comfortable and ‘safe?'”

“No, not necessarily, I know,” I said, “but I’m so scared and it just hurts so much to think about all the suffering Steph is going through,” I told him as I cried. He understands, and he cried too.

It’s like it says in James 1–which is much easier said than done:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

“I just don’t want this trial to steal my joy!!!” I texted a friend through tears.

“You say that as if you are the source of your own joy,” she responded. “Read Psalm 121. Eyes up!”

Clinging to joy in suffering is MUCH easier said than done.

Day 6: Friday: Even more waiting…through the weekend

On Friday 1/20, we had a conference call with Steph’s oncologist at 1pm. He’d hoped to have some results by then to share with us, but he didn’t. He didn’t have any updates from pathology, and unfortunately didn’t know when results would be in. He asked if it would be okay for him to call Steph “on the fly” as soon as he received any updates, or if she’d like him to formally schedule an appointment to go over things. Steph said she’d be okay hearing on the fly, so I sent out this prayer update to our prayer warriors via text and social media:

“UPDATE Friday 1/20/23: Continued prayers appreciated for Steph, as pathology / radiology results were not final yet today (Friday 1/20)! Her oncologist will call Steph “on the fly” as soon as he hears anything, hopefully early next week. Thank you so much again for your prayers for peace in the waiting, for wisdom for Steph’s doctors, and above all, for a cancer-free, benign biopsy result as Steph prepares to deliver Baby Harry into the world any day now! God is our faithful healer and provider and He’s carrying Steph, Paul, and Baby Harry every step of the way!

I got home Friday evening after spending the afternoon with Steph waiting for news from her oncologist–which never came. I started writing this blog post, hoping to see God’s promises emerge from the week, and was reminded of a devotional I read on Wednesday called Streams in the Desert. Wednesday’s entry, and really the entire week’s, was full of encouraging promises during a week full of trials. For example, on the Wednesday of Steph’s biopsy:

“If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conquerors, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name…defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out. When the great oak is straining in the wind, the bows drink in new beauty, and the trunk sends down a deeper root on the windward side. Only the soul that knows the mighty grief can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come to stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.”

This reminder was a good one, but I couldn’t shake a feeling of heavy darkness and fear of the “what if’s.” Until I remembered that the Lord promises to give us the “treasures of darkness” when we trust Him, as it says in Isaiah 45:2-3:

“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

So I started looking for those treasures of darkness vigorously.

I got on social media to check our comments from prayer warriors, and it didn’t take me long. Some friends had left songs for us to listen to about God’s promises. One of them is “You Already Know” by JJ Heller, sent from a friend who was in the hospital with a potential recurrence of her cancer. You can listen to the song below, but know that it’s a tear jerker–I cried for 2 hours listening to it on repeat, but sang it to myself as a prayer all weekend long!:

Day 7: Saturday: Reminders of God’s faithfulness

On Saturday, after four days of waiting for test results, I went to Trader Joe’s and bought Steph and my mom flowers (pictured above, with a card that says “what a complete and total dumpster fire,” which encapsulated our week to date well :)).

My mom, having to watch her daughters go through all of this, always appreciates a nice bouquet of flowers. 🙂 Steph liked hers too! I also picked Steph up Portillo’s for lunch because she wanted a hot beef sandwich and a strawberry chocolate shake. 🙂 She gets whatever she wants this weekend (and beyond)!!!!

I shared with Steph an entry from the devo Streams in the Desert again today that I hoped was encouraging:

“God never uses anybody to a large degree until after He breaks that one all to pieces. Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations. For this reason, the Holy Spirit said of him, “Joseph is a fruitful bough…by a well, whose branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22). It takes sorrow to widen the soul.”

She laughed and said, “I know, that is all true, but I thought I’d suffered a lot already.”

I gave her a hug because she had a very good point.

Here is “CJ” the hedgehog again, in his “permanent” residence at Steph’s work at her law firm in her office! CJ is the stress ball they gave Steph during her biopsy to hold! She affectionately named him “CJ,” after Caleb and Joshua, the spies who came back with a “good report” and told Israel that they could have victory in the Promised Land if they’d believe God’s provision! She said CJ is there to remind her of the “good report” that was coming with her biopsy result! 🙂 Now she can be reminded about the good reports at work, too! Praise God!

Trusting God for a “good report”

Also on Saturday, Steph told me she’d been prayer journaling and napping with her puppies all day, and that she’d been reading a family friend’s blog about her cancer journey.

Steph told me that as she was reading the blog, there was a post about Numbers 13 and 14, when the spies went out from Israel to look at the Promised Land (you can read her full post at this link). In summary: 10 of the spies God sent out came back with bad reports saying Israel should not proceed, but Caleb and Joshua, two faithful and faith-filled spies, came back with optimistic reports, saying that, even though there were adversities ahead, the Lord would be with them, and that they should take the land.

As our family friend wrote on her blog: “The lesson I see here is to refuse to look at the bad report and instead look to God and His promises. Do I trust the bad report? Or do I trust God’s plan for my life? He has not promised me that I will remain cancer free, but He has promised me that He has a plan for my life and that it is good. It all comes down to this – do I trust God’s plan no matter what that looks like?”

In Numbers 13 + 14, the Israelites did not listen to Caleb and Joshua, but they listened to the 10 negative reports instead. As a result of their lack of faith they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years when they could’ve been delivered if they would have just listened to Caleb and Joshua‘s story of God’s deliverance and provision for them. Not to mention God struck down the 10 spies who gave a negative report with a plague as a result of their faithlessness.

20 minutes after Steph finished reading this blog on Numbers 13 + 14 and was prayer journaling about it, Charlotte Gamble started talking about Numbers 13 + 14 on Air1 Radio! Steph took that as a sign from the Lord and she named her stress ball squeegee toy that her nurses gave her in her biopsy “CJ” in honor of Caleb and Joshua, the spies who trusted in God’s provision and brought back a good report!

Steph said, in the same way as Caleb and Joshua, Steph was trusting and believing for a good report and no more cancer!!!!!! She also said if it ended up being a report we didn’t want to hear from pathology, that they would trust God is good and know He will deliver her anyway!

I think God led Steph to Numbers 13 and 14 on Saturday to remind us how important it is to trust God’s deliverance and protection like Caleb and Joshua did in facing all seasons and circumstances, no matter how dire. Here’s part of the Numbers text:

“And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large…” But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we.” So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size…we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.””
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭13‬:‭27‬-‭28‬, ‭30‬-‭33‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

Thanks to these encouraging reminders, when I got home Saturday night, I felt a peace and confidence for the first time that Steph’s pathology result would be fat necrosis / benign tissue with no more cancer!!!!!!! I fell asleep reading Numbers 13 and 14, so grateful for God’s faithfulness and for our opportunity to trust Him more fully through this trial.

Our mom, Mama Jane, hanging with Steph’s pup Gizmo, watching HGTV with us!

Day 8: Sunday: More Waiting / The Dark Before the Dawn

Sunday morning, Steph and Paul came to church where my husband Chris was leading worship and lots of people were praying / prayed over them. 🙂

We spent a lot of time together over the weekend in an attempt to distract Steph from her forthcoming results and to distract ourselves, too. I listened to lots of songs that reminded me of God’s faithfulness, including “Wonderfully Made” by Ellie Holcomb, “Thank You Lord” by Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line, and “You Already Know” by JJ Heller, and “Back to Life” by Zahriya Zachary. I read and prayed Psalm 139, Psalm 121, and Psalm 23, and wrote out questions we had for the doctor if it was a recurrence of some kind.

Questions we were prepared with and had written down in our notes for the oncologist when he called with test results included: What are the options of what this could be? Is it possible it’s leftover breast tissue? Fat necrosis? Scar tissue? What do YOU think it is? Is this what recurrence looks like? What are next steps for follow up if it’s fat necrosis or scar tissue? Is this type of Inflammation could be any reaction to pregnancy hormones? How can you tell if it’s a local, regional, or metastatic recurrence? Can radiation and surgery take care of local and regional situations? Why would a PET scan be needed when there are risks for false positives? What about an MRI to check for metastases instead? If it is a local recurrence can’t we just treat this spot right now locally instead of looking for other problems and potentially over treating? If it’s nothing, is there any reason to follow it or what is follow up and is there any chance it becomes something malignant or could transform into that? Would surgery to remove it and/or the implants be advantageous? Do implants increase chances of recurrence?

Like my doctor told me when I asked her if risk for breast cancer recurrence increase with every pregnancy, she said: “No, it actually decreases every pregnancy, because as you get farther away from the time you had cancer, chance of recurrence gets less and less. Recurrence would happen sooner after your first diagnosis. Also, if there were any estrogen receptor cells in your system, they would have been woken up by your first pregnancy, so here we are checking things out!”

All that to say, our minds were racing and by day 9, we were ready for results!!! Maybe Monday would be the day!

Here is Steph’s cat, Bart, over the weekend, letting us know we should all just “chill out!” 🙂

Day 9: Angry tears and then…MIRACULOUS RESULTS!!!!

Monday morning rolled around and we didn’t have any answers…yet. I went to see my nutritionist, then got home, still nothing. I made Steph an appointment with our nutritionist to make sure she was ready for childbirth and then I went home and got on my elliptical. I worked out and read Scripture and cried some more, mostly angry tears, because while I was believing and trusting for a good report and I knew God was in control, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was still so scared of whatever news we were going to receive.

As soon as I got my son up from his morning nap, I got three texts and a call–Steph’s pathology results were in!:

“Breast, left, ultrasound-guided core biopsy: Nodular adenosis with secretory type changes. Comment: In an appropriate clinical context, the findings may represent lactating adenoma.

Then, a few moments later, a call from Steph:

“We’re still waiting to hear from the oncologist, but the pathology result looks good! There is no sign of malignancy anywhere!!”

I couldn’t believe it!!!!! I felt like I was dreaming!

Sure enough, an hour later, a phone call from Steph’s oncologist:

“Good news! So we have a nodular adenosis, which is completely benign. There is no malignancy with this result. I am not concerned at all with this result.”

We were shocked!

He continued: “I did not expect these results, and I was delighted to see them. It is absolutely the best case scenario, and there is no risk of malignancy.”

We all couldn’t believe our ears!

“We are so excited and thankful!!,” Steph said. “We think this is a total miracle!”

Her oncologist laughed, and said: “You were the ones who came into my office and told me it was just tissue changing due to pregnancy! You knew the answer before I did!,” and he laughed some more.

We all laughed. And I told him how terrified we were and how a lot of prayers were said and tears were shed before we finally heard. Then we had a few questions–because it seemed to be too good to be true, but also that it had some interesting words in the report, like “lactating.” So here are the clarifying questions we asked:

How does the report say “lactating” if Steph doesn’t have any breast tissue remaining?

Double mastectomy removes 95 to 98% of breast tissue. There are always some cells remaining, so this is from the 1-2% that’s left.

Is there any reason this could turn into a malignancy and/or should it be surgically removed?

I am not concerned at all about malignancy, and it may even resolve on its own after birth. You are more than welcome to reach out to your breast surgeon’s team if you’d like to hear their thoughts on removing it, but no matter how many times you go in for breast surgery, you will always have some breast tissue remaining.

What does follow up look like?

Clinical exams, and imaging as needed. As I mentioned, I am not concerned. It may occur again in a future pregnancy and is something for us to keep an eye on, but is not concerning.

Then we had no further questions so we told him thank you and that Steph would see him in a few months! Then we sent out a celebratory text to our prayer warriors that said:

“We just got off the phone with Steph’s oncologist, and her test results were totally negative!!!!!! It’s a medical miracle!!!!! Her oncologist said “I did not expect these results, and I was delighted to see them. It is absolutely the best case scenario, and there is no risk of malignancy.” Praise God!!!!!

Here we are with our prayer warrior nutritionist on Monday afternoon after we shared the good news of Steph’s good biopsy report! She prays for us and has an awesome portrait of Jesus in her office. She is the best! 🙂

Next steps

We are still recovering from all of this miraculous news. We understand that God is good and would still be good if the test results had been different, but we are in so much shock and relief that we can hardly believe it still.

All of this was an incredibly sobering week, especially the part that we have 1-2% of our breast tissue remaining, even after a double mastectomy! This is motivating to us to double down on our commitment to health and survivorship: Exercising consistently, keeping stress at a minimum, eating clean and organic whenever possible (with the exception of the occasional Portillo’s shake :)), maintaining a positive mindset, being aware of toxins and chemicals in the environment and consumer products; and living a nonalcoholic lifestyle.

We celebrated with Station Pizza on Monday night as a family, then a few of us came down with colds as a result of our immune systems being pounded by the stress of this last week. But that is small potatoes in light of the glory of the Lord we experienced in delivering Steph a miracle: a benign breast condition typically only seen in lactating women during pregnancy or postpartum! A notable thing about that is that none of the Mayo Clinic doctors thought it could be tissue responding to pregnancy hormones until Steph and Paul brought it up to them. And here we are!

God is our faithful healer and provider, amen!

We will put out a post with Baby Harold Robert’s Arrival SOON!!!

Then, we have a few things coming up in February:

+My next every-6-month preventative ovarian cancer screening

+Jennifer’s first mammogram and ultrasound!

This blog post is the 44th in a series about my (and twin sister’s) breast cancer journey that began when we were 30 years old in July 2019. In 2019, I also started documenting our younger sister’s breast cancer previvorship journey. Here is a list of all of the posts written about our journey at Mayo Clinic’s Breast Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to date. To keep tabs on new posts, sign up for the “A Daily Miracle” email list at this link. You can also follow on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Here is Steph with baby sister Jennifer and niece Madden Jane at our family pizza party!! We are all so thankful for Steph’s good report!
Here is Steph walking up to see her nephew Zephaniah and fur nephews Bear and Thor on Monday, waiting to greet her and celebrate her good report!!! <3
Here is me with baby Zephaniah smiling so big after Steph’s reports came back all clear on Monday! Praising God all day long!!!! 🙂 <3

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