February 5, 2014

Pink Ribbon Makeover




I've been wanting to address what I've been up to this past year, but it's been hard to know how much to share here. People who know me from Madison have seen me out and about and have heard through facebook what was going on, but I wanted to let you guys who may have taken a class with me in the past or just found me through the blog or my book what's up and why I haven't been very active here this past year. 
So I'll share a post I made in the Craftsy forums to explain: 

What's with the sassy haircut, Steff?Lots of folks have been wondering about my new look. So I wanted to share with you that after I shot my class "Pattern Drafting from Ready to Wear" In late 2012 I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. So my 2013 was spent doing lots of chemo, radiation and surgery. In the process of chemo I lost my hair. I like to think of it as my "Pink Ribbon Makeover." But the great news is that I'm finished with treatment and doing very well now. I'm so grateful that because of Craftsy I was able to maintain my teaching work through this terrific learning environment. I couldn't be more delighted to be able to reach so many of you great students, right where you are and just as I am. What a terrific age we live in! So don't forget your Mammograms ladies. Happy Sewing!

So yep, I got the old Pink Ribbon Makeover this past year. In fact it was exactly a year ago when my first Crafsty classes came out that I noticed a lump under my arm. I had had a pretty thorough diagnostic mammogram a few years before and I guess I thought that was a good excuse to ease up on my yearly mammograms. Somehow I thought that if there was anything there, it would have been found then and that surely nothing could go wrong in just a couple of years.

I was wrong. I had been getting more and more tired, but just thought it was from being busy and working, but now looking back I should have been more concerned about my energy level. Also looking back I realize that I had been reminded to get a mammogram from my Doctor's office, but I put it off. Only when I felt a lump did I go in and by that time it had spread to my lymph nodes.
I really want to share this story mostly because I know that those of us who take care of others are so hesitant to take care of ourselves. I need to let you know this to know that by the time I got to the oncologist's office for my first Chemo treatment the lump measured 4 cm. And this is the crazy part: Three different surgeons, not to mention the multiple other doctors, but three separate SURGEONS that I saw all had the same comment. "I wouldn't have felt that on an exam." And it was 4 cm.
So the takeaway here is that you've gotta "feel your boobies" as they say, on a regular basis. And not just your breast tissue, but your underarm area as well.

I'm so incredibly grateful for all the care that I received through chemo, surgery and then radiation and now the occupational therapy that I'm getting for lymphadema. I just know that if I'd had my yearly mammograms, it would have been caught sooner and would have had more options.

So take care of yourselves, no one can do that for you!


3 comments:

Kristin Link said...

I'm so glad you're well and sorry you had to go through it. It's a good reminder to all of us. Love your Craftsy class!

steff said...

Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Yikes, Steffani. I'm taking all of your Craftsy classes and had no idea you'd been through such an ordeal. Glad you're feeling better, and thanks for spending so much energy to show us these tricks!!