The Ultimate Showdown – Emily vs. Cancer

The Stylish Geek - Breast Cancer Post

This is the post I’ve been dreading to write, the one I have no idea how to even start. I mean, how do you go about telling people news about your health? “Hello, I have breast cancer.” At first I was telling people in person, one by one, but quickly realized that trying to hold it together was impossible. I wrote a mass email to some close friends, but that was equally difficult. Every reply back I received made me break down in tears and needless to say, I was an emotional mess. I guess there’s just no easy way, so I guess the best way is just to start at the beginning.

Back in June, I felt a lump in my breast. Many doctors have mentioned to me that I’m “lucky” to have found it. I guess self breast checks are not as common as I thought Ladies, lesson learned, do your monthly self breast exams! My general doctor said it was “no big deal”, but that I could follow up and get some checks done for peace of mind. I continued on with life, focusing on the important things – you know, like the Her Universe Fashion Show and San Diego Comic-Con! Once all the madness calmed down, I decided to finally get those follow up tests only to find out that I had not just the 1 mass, but actually 4. When the doctor said to me that I had a “good” chance that they were benign since something like 20% of masses are cancer, I did the math and knew the odds were actually against me. With 4 masses, that meant I had an 80% chance that 1 of the masses was going to be cancer (damn, statistics classes). I wanted to be wrong, but when the doctor confirmed that the initial mass that I found was indeed cancer, I knew my life was never going to be the same.

At first I was in denial. Was this considered breast cancer? I wasn’t even sure! But once I started seeing all the doctors, having them explain most of the same things over and over to me, it really hit me hard. I have breast cancer. I just couldn’t believe it. How was it possible that someone with no family history, watches what they eat, is condoned for being too skinny, and always passes her yearly physicals with flying colors, could get something like this? Wasn’t I too young for this? Was it all those boba drinks I had? Maybe that new cream that the dermatologist gave me to use? I spent all of September in and out of the doctors – getting MRIs, ultrasounds, mammograms, and a grand total of 7 biopsies (not fun). Not only was waiting for all the results nerve-racking, but just knowing I still had this cancer in me for so long made me sick to my stomach. By the end of September, things had settled and I was ready to make one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make so far in my life – what kind of surgery to have. I guess you could say that at least I had options, but it was still one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to face. Everyone has different thoughts and preferences about it, but for me, it mattered the most that I had peace of mind.

Last Thursday, I ended up having a single mastectomy and although I’ve been on a good road to recovery, it’s still sad to face the fact that you’ve just lost a part of your body. It’s not that I was even that attached to my breasts or anything, but once I realized I was going to lose one, I have to admit it still made me sad. Luckily I have some amazing friends, family, coworkers, and people that by no coincidence God has placed in my life to help me along the way. It may sound cliché, but when it comes down to it, it’s really the people that surround you that matter – in person, online, and even the voice on the other end of the phone. Having some really awesome people in my life has kept me strong when I’m weak, sane when I’m emotional, and brought me joy in times of sadness. I wish I could say the journey is over now, but it isn’t. Who knows where the end of the road is, but I appreciate being able to share it with you guys. Thanks for listening.



51 thoughts on “The Ultimate Showdown – Emily vs. Cancer

  1. Oh, Emily. It hurt my heart to read this post. Thank you for sharing something so personal. The world is better with you in it, and I’ll take you in this showdown any day.

  2. I’m sure it took a lot to share this! But thank you for doing so! My aunt was just diagnosed as well and it’s crazy how many appointments she’s had. It sounds like you have a great support system and I wish you a great recovery!

  3. Emily, it was a pleasure meeting you last April at Wondercon while you were cosplaying as Honey Lemon. I just wanted to send you good vibes and wish you good health. Stay strong !

    – Michael (I think I was wearing a TMNT shirt when I met you)

  4. Oh my gosh, Emily! I can’t even begin to imagine how shocking and emotional this has been for you. As you know we are around the same age and my family does have a history of breast cancer. Reading your post makes me realize that I need to be more proactive about checking myself and to encourage others to do so as well. Things might be different as I am on the outside looking in, but I had no idea you were dealing with something as big as this. Your strength is amazing. Thank you for sharing. You said you have a lot of support around you, but if anything ever comes up just know you have another friend who isn’t terribly far away that will be there when you need anything – a ride somewhere, a favor, whatever! <3 *hug*

  5. Hello Emily;
    My mom was in the same situation. It is great that it was detected early. As sad as the situation gets, the recovery and life changes makes you into a survivor in which you will gain strength. Step one was the willingness to share. I really want to give you a big supporting hug for your bravery and just know you have a supportive friend here rooting for you. Please do keep me updated on your recovery and keep building…that’s what you do:)

  6. This really hit close to home for me. As an avid reader of your blog since I first came across it and as a member of this amazingly close knit and (arguably) one of the best communities out there… I can’t help but feel a sense of worry but also that nagging feeling that pulls at your heartstrings like an itch you can’t scratch.

    I admit that when I read your post title, I felt my heart drop a little. Coming from a family where the big C stands as hard coded data in my genetic code, this post hits home for me… and hits it hard. I’ve lost family to the disease, my mother has it (though in remission) and I can’t help it whether stranger, friend, or even fictional character… if it involves cancer, dealing with the outpouring of emotions is like a dam holding back a raging river.

    Though I can’t say that I really know you, I can say that I have enjoyed reading through your blog and some of the highlights of my internet involve seeing just how incredibly chic you are. You’re a gem Emily, and I will keep you in my prayers as well as the rest of the Lifted Geek family.

    stay frosty,
    Justin Prince

  7. Thanks for sharing Emily. Glad you found it early. Been meaning to talk to you and Wilson. I will say hi tomorrow if I see you guys.

  8. Thank you for sharing Emily, this is such a brave thing to do. Alex and I wish you a speedy recovery and hope for the best. We’re glad that you have your friends and family with you to support you, and just wanted to let you know that we’re here too. <3

  9. Oh, I just heared that.You have many people who like alot your work and you, like a person. We send best wishes and deep thoughts from Hungary! Stay strong Em!!! We love you! Big hugs! <3

  10. Oh, Emily! I’m so sorry to hear about this. That’s incredibly scary and I can’t imagine what you’re going through–thank you for posting about it. I’ll be praying for your recovery. And I mean that.

    Also, I have no idea if this would be helpful and encouraging, or weird…but I just heard about this place this morning https://www.facebook.com/bbhealthboutique –I know they deal with prosthesis and lingerie (…it’s other side of the country…and, too soon?…but I thought it was nice to know such places exist.)

  11. It takes a lot of bravery and courage to open up about something so personal. Very glad to hear you’ve got a wonderful support network. You are an inspiration for so many!

  12. You are a true hero. God has amazing plans for you. I admire you so much for being able to be open and honest about whats going on in your life. you’re incredible. thank you.
    stay strong!

  13. You’re a real life superhero. It’s great that you’re sharing your story and helping others through your experience. My stepdaughter and I met you last year at Comikaze and ever since then we’ve been huge fans. Sending much love during your healing process and maybe we’ll see you at another comic convention.

  14. Emily,

    I understand what you are going through. I went through something similar to your situation about 5 years ago. I found out I had tisticular cancer and they had to remove on of them. We all bounce back and grow stronger from our experiences in life. Just continue to be strong.

  15. Hi Emily,

    First *hugs*
    I’m so sorry to hear about this. Reading through this post was very eye opening and scary. You’re an incredibly brave person and you’ve only gotten stronger bc of this. I’m thankful for your post to raise awareness that this can happen to anyone. I’ll be sure to come up and say hi to you at the next convention I see you at. Lastly, so happy to know that you have a strong support group of famiy and friends around you.

    Hugs,

    Kathy

  16. Hi Em,

    Thanks for sharing. I was shocked to read this. I’ll be praying for you both for a good spirit and also that you are able to overcome the cancer. Take care.
    Jon

  17. I truly, truly believe everything happens for a reason. And somebody somewhere at some point in time will take your experience to heart and get themselves checked or encourage a friend or family member to do so because of what you shared, with family, with friends and with fans like myself.

    At that point in time you won’t need your costumes to be a hero (which are pretty great btw, I took a pic with you in your Robin costume, you’re pretty tall ?)!

    So be Blessed (God loves you), be happy (you have a awesome support group) be an inspiration (you have a great attitude) and last but definitely not least, continue to be “thestylishgeek”.

    Sincerely,
    A fan and supporter

  18. Can’t say this is my favorite blog post, but this will be thr one I will never forget. Ugh!

    You are so blessed to have a loving support network. Don’t know if it is our age or just our “luck” but our family and friends have also been going though cancer (including breast cancer). Mindy and I will be praying for you too in our daily prayers – healing, comfort, strength, and hope. God be with you, Emily!

  19. Thanks for sharing, Emily. I know we’ve never met in person, but your confession really touched me as I have a family history of breast cancer and it’s rare to think that someone so young could be touched by the disease. I wish you and your family all the best for a successful and lasting recovery.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration even in your time of distress. I’ll be praying for you. I have not had the pleasure of meeting you in person but love to watch your creativity.

  21. Hi Emily,

    I just happened to stumble upon this page via an acquaintance of yours. But first off, *hugs* to you.

    It’s very brave of you to talk about something so deeply personal and something that can happen to anybody. Take care of yourself and never lose the will to strive and forge onwards. Always look to your ever-supportive group of friends and family and anyone who genuinely cares and wishes for your good.

    And most importantly, you will beat this! March on and forge your own destiny!!

    -Darius

  22. Emily,

    No problem. Forgot to mention that mine had spread and most of my body was riddled with cancer. We learn to fight and grow stronger cause of it. I’m glad you’ve had good friends and family around you. That’s what’s important is the people around you when your going through these things. I do hope one day to meet you in person and see the amazing person.

    KagatoSama

  23. Hi Emily, we don’t know each other, but you are not alone. I know it sucks monkey balls and I can’t even fathom what you are going through. I do relate in a small way, b/c I have been fighting a stage II brain tumor (radiation/chemo) and I want to send you a virtual hug. We will get better together. You can do it. <3

  24. Dear Emily, be strong and never let go what you love to do in your life! I lost my dad this summer to cancer and I know how difficult it can be and how unreal it seems. *warm hugs*

  25. What an amazingly honest and insightful piece of writing. 18 years ago I was diagnosed (after many tests and much waiting) with a fairly rare disease that was destroying my kidneys. In the years since I have undergone surgeries, dialysis and transplantation. I have known fear and courage, rage and acceptance. The experience changed me. It set me on a different path than I had been traveling and sculpted me into a different person than I otherwise would have been. This event will indeed change you, the trajectory of your life will be altered but the new course will not be without its consolations and though I doubt you will ever appreciate your unhappy circumstance (who could?) You will find these events will forge your spirit into something even greater than it currently is. To show kindness, calm and curiosity through this time of uncertainty will be the most meaningful and creative act in your already meaning and creative life. Good luck my talented friend.

    • Wow, thanks for all the encouragement and for sharing your story as well. Sounds like you have been through a ton and hopefully you’re doing well now. Yes, this kind of stuff will change your life for sure. And not just yours, but those around you. Hopefully we’ll all come out stronger. :) Be well!

      • I have every confidence in your emerging from this stronger. It is certainly consistent with the attitude that infuses your work. You take care and remember that it’s ok to put your needs first for a while, it won’t turn you into a tyrant :) By the way I’m doing well, thank you for asking. Take care my friend.

  26. Girl, you got this. Stay strong and simply refuse to back down in defeat but look at it in the eye and say ‘You won’t stop me.’
    All the while, you’re in my prayers
    Love Peace

  27. Wow Emily. I am so terribly sorry to hear this. Nothing really prepares you when life throws these curve balls your way, but it is also these times that show you just how strong you are. Thank you for being brave enough to share and I wish you nothing but love and strength.

    http://www.melificent.com

  28. You find out how strong you truly are when you are your most vulnerable. I am sorry you, and anyone who has been in the same situation has had to deal with this, but happy that you are here today to give us this news that you are on the road to recovery.

  29. I have no idea who you are (I was Google image searching something on Star Wars and your ‘Han Solo’ outfit picture came up – I thought you were cute :) but I wish you all the best luck with your health and well done for being proactive, you’re doing the best thing for yourself and, generally speaking, that is not something that a lot of people do when it comes to their health!

    All the best, and remember that falling down is not a problem until you decide you aren’t going to get up again, stay strong!

  30. Hi Emily! Hope you have fought breast cancer because of the blog you posted! I appreciate your lifelong support by your followers and I hope there will be hope for the other girls who support breast cancer awareness. Thank you for the speech!

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