10/27/21 Remodeling This 30 Year Old

The other day I was “reading” my daily devotional.. that I am terrible about reading daily. My husband was talking to me while I was reading it and I remember thinking that I was not fully grasping what  I needed to be taking in. 

I had to go back and read it last night. It was about when things are not necessarily going your way and to trust god in the process… because your life is like a remodel. You have to tear down the old in order to build back up the new. You have to see the bad before you can begin to see the good. 

I totally should have paid more attention to that devotional last week when I was reading it. 

I got infusion #8 and things went great. I was feeling a tad bit under the weather but recovered enough to go to my sister in laws rehearsal dinner on Friday, wedding on Saturday, and then a breast cancer event on Sunday. (Pics below)


I got infusion #9 and spiked a fever after treatment. Fevers in cancer patients are apparently really bad. 🤷🏼‍♀️ After Covid tests, influenza tests and an overall look over, they sent me home and my fever didn’t last more than 24 hours! We thought maybe some sort of virus had hit my body. 

Fast forward to this week, I got infusion #10. I started out neutropenic (my neutrophils were below 1.5) and got that darn fever about 5 hours after treatment. This time,  I had to get the full work up of blood work to check for infection and my neutrophils went down to 1.0 a day later.😩 As a precautionary measure, they started me on IV antibiotics and sent me home with oral antibiotics while they wait for the blood cultures to return. I was instructed to come back in the morning (this morning) to check my wbc/neutrophils again. My WBC have come up slightly but my neutrophils have gone down again. 😭😭 

I don’t think I realized the extent of the severity of not having any wbc to fight off infection. Pretty scary to think that in a Petri dish world full of germs, even a slight cold could be detrimental to my health. 

The nurses have been telling me that I need to rest. That I need to stay away from stress and just relax. 🙄  I don’t think I have been stress free at all for the last 20 years! (Seriously wondering if that’s a cancer cause.)

My body is fighting back after 10 rounds of chemo. Luckily, I only have 2 more weekly rounds before I get 2-3 weeks to “refresh” before starting the last half of my treatment. At home, I have to quarantine from my family… which makes me super sad. Beau’s only word he says is “mama”. All I hear is mama being screamed from outside the door. To be fair… He yells it all of the time.. especially when we wants more food..  which is basically all of the time. So, who knows if he’s yelling for me… or just for more snacks. 
We all are being super careful to stay healthy. While I’m locked up in my room, JR FaceTimes me so I can see my babies… and then of course has to keep me giggling with his memoji facetime capabilities. 


JR and I have done our fair share of remodels over the years. Well, JR has done them and I just project manage and try to help where I can. For God’s sake, I put a power drill through the wash machine one time. I don’t even know how it happened. I am not made to touch power tools. 

I will never forget the first remodel we did. It’s a joke in our household nowadays. In our first house we had this absolutely terrible bathroom. It had asbestos floor tiles, it was blue, the vanity was made level by a piece of cardboard under one side of it, and it had a window in the shower. It was awful…and we took it down to the studs. At some point we needed to do some plumbing. JR had some questions so we called my dear old dad. His advice was to tear the wall out and “just look at it”. Just look at it! Seriously!? What the hell kind of advice is that!? But, that’s what we did. JR tore all of the walls out and just looked at it and was able to figure out the plumbing situation. The bathroom had a good foundation, we just had to build upon it. The bathroom was our first big project as a couple. We learned a lot from that bathroom… like to never let JR drywall and never let Nichole paint. 😊 When it was all said and done, we were so proud of that bathroom. 


In a way, I feel like this is my body.. stripping itself down of all the bad so we can just take a look at it… Take a look at the foundation so we can figure out how to build it up going forward! 😊

Fingers crossed we are at the low point so we can start moving up tomorrow! 🤞🏼🤞🏼

Prayer requests: 

 1. Please pray for my bone marrow to get its act together and start producing like it should. I have to come back tomorrow morning to be checked again. 

2. Please pray that my fever stays away and that I do not got any sort of infections and stay healthy. 

3. Please pray that my family stays healthy! 

10/11/21 Halfway Through Treatment.. Cheers to All of You!

Another big milestone treatment day! I officially completed my 8th round! I’m halfway through chemotherapy! JR bought candy corn cupcakes! It’s like the perfect balance of old people candy with cake! 

It’s been a hot minute since my last blog. There has been so much going on! Beau got a stomach bug that landed him in the E.D., Tinleigh had her first soccer tournament out of town, my mom (who has been the biggest help with the kiddos) got the stomach bug next, then Tinleigh got it. Gah! It has been a rollercoaster of health issues over here and I’m just trying to make sure I stay as healthy as can be. 

In terms of side effects- I’m still rocking and rolling! I did CrossFit one day that I was feeling good, have been on the peloton more, and even had enough energy to go on  a hike one day! I truly believe that staying as active as possible really helps with chemo side effects! My biggest side effect has been fatigue. One moment I’m feeling great, the next I feel like I need to tape my eyelids up to my eyebrows to keep them open! I also have a very odd taste in my mouth for a few days after chemo, so I do find that I have to force myself to eat because nothing really tastes good. 🥴https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1CQcXrjtpI43QEZ1S0ZxVMuGtdzIXfbUw

All in all though, I’m feeling pretty good! I owe a lot of that to my support system that jumps in to allow me the opportunity to sleep when my body is trying to tell me to rest. My mom has been over at the drop of a hat to watch the kids (even when they are sick), my SIL started the food train, my mother in-law stocked my freezer with food which has allowed us to not worry about dinner! Holy cow- not worrying about food has been a lifesaver. 

Throughout this whole cancer journey, J.R. And I have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received. Friends and family have rallied together to help us in as many ways possible. You guys are all amazing! Whether you purchased a t-shirt, showed up to the gym on treatment days in pink, have been part of the collections people have taken up for us, or simply sent over a text message or Bible verse- please know that we are incredibly thankful! Our hearts are overflowing with love. Your support is what is keeping me motivated to KEEP GOING!

I cannot imagine how anyone could go through this without a superior support system. I have been incredibly blessed with an amazing husband who steps right in to take care of sick kids, gets up in the middle of the night with the kid that can’t seem to figure out how to sleep through the night, and makes soccer practice runs. He makes sure I eat, tattles on me to the doctor when I haven’t been drinking enough water, and refuses to let me drive to chemotherapy alone. He wears pink from head to toe every Monday and supports me in every decision I make. He is absolutely the most amazing father, caretaker, and husband that there is. I could not do life without him. He’s our rock over here! 

When all of this is said and done, J.R. and I want to find a way to give back to all of the folks that have supported us. So- giant party is coming your way when we return to normalcy! Drinks on us! 

9/18/21 1/4 of the Way Through Treatment… Let’s Order Cake!

Guys! I have 1/4 through treatment! In true Nichole fashion, I ordered a cake to celebrate! 

(It’s a mini cake… not like a sheet cake… and also if you’re judging me.. take your judgements elsewhere because you only live once! ✌🏼)

Overall, in terms of chemo- round 3 was probably my hardest. I think for a couple reasons: 

1. I got the Covid booster shot a few days before my third round and it did make me sick. 

2. I got into my head a little bit too much about the Covid shot, it impacting my WBC counts, and the stress and worry I think produced a mini panic attack of some sort while I was getting pre-meds on round 3. I was TOTALLY fine but had a little reaction of some sort and they had to slow the drip down on my pre-meds. 

4. I didn’t get up and move as much as I did before. I was definitely more sleepy after round 3. 

While I was getting infused with round 2, a lady who was at least double my age and then some was getting the dreaded “red devil” chemo. (That’s what I get in 8 more weeks.) We were discussing the treatment, what I could expect, etc. and she said that she has had almost ZERO side effects from that drug!  She said she attributes it to walking 10,000 steps a day! 

Wow! What a powerhouse that lady is! If that doesn’t inspire you to get up and move, I don’t know what will! This “red devil” is rumored to be one of the worst chemotherapy drugs to get and she is literally a boss going through it.. just walking her 10k steps and eating her ice chips through treatment! (That helps prevent mouth sores.) Yesssss queen! You go girl! 🙌🏼

Working from home definitely makes it hard to get 10k steps in a day but I’m going to try for 7k daily to see if that helps! I also need to get my booty back on my Peloton. I am getting super close to my century ride and I want a shout out! My goal is to get back on the Peloton at least twice this week. Since I’ve put it in my blog which will get published to others.. I have to stick to my word. If you have a peloton- add me as a friend and keep me honest!!! (Nicholell)

Last week, I got my genetic results back! Out of 80 some genes they tested, mine were ALL normal! Praise god! While that means we have no idea what caused my cancer, it does mean:

1. I don’t have the BRACA gene that I could have passed to my kids. 

2. I don’t have Neurofibramatosis 1 or 2! That means that Beau’s genetic disorder was a spontaneous genetic mutation and since I don’t carry the NF genes, he does not have an even more increased risk of developing breast cancer! 

Although it left us with some missing links.. I am very grateful that this is not something that can be passed to my children. It also means that in the event that I need more treatment (radiation) after my mastectomy, there is not a genetic mutation that would prevent me from being able to do that! 

Also in the good news department, Dr. Gupta did a breast exam before treatment #4 and agreed he could not feel the lump! JR said it was like golf ball sized before! How amazing is science!? My WBC counts also came UP this week! They had dropped after the Covid shot but this week they were back up! My vessel is holding up well! All the glory to god! 

This week I got round 4, which included the new FDA approved medication again! I started out super worried that the drugs weren’t working. Now, I have to keep telling myself that I have to keep going with treatment despite the tumor shrinking in order to try and prevent and lower my recurrence rate. It’s like starting antibiotics and quitting the round of antibiotics as soon as your symptoms clear up. You have to take the full round in order to ensure you get all the nasty stuff killed. 12 more rounds of chemo to go! We are going to do an ultrasound in 8 more weeks to check the status of the tumor! 🤞🏼🤞🏼Fingers crossed it’s M.I.A!

Everyone warned me that going through cancer was very much a mental game.. everyone was right. It really is a mental game. You have to push yourself to keep going even when you don’t want to. Even though my symptoms have been minimal (IMO), I still don’t feel 100% and no one wants that! I guess this really is the “fight” everyone talks about. 🥊

You all and god are doing wonders to keep me motivated!  The tribe of people that are rallying behind us in every possible way, is literally amazing. You all do not know how appreciative we are of each and every single of one you. I am in awe. I am undeserving of the immense love and support that we are receiving from everyone. Whether you’ve started a fundraiser of some sort, took part in our meal train, worn pink to CrossFit, dropped off something special, or sent me a text message to check in… please know that I am so grateful and so appreciative of your love and support. I want to find a way to thank you all because you have no idea how much it all means to my little family.  💕
My Horace Mann IT family delivered some cardsto my house the other day. Someone wrote in a card that they can’t wait to hear the retrospective after cancer! I promise that the retrospective for all of you will NOT be filled with questions about things we can do better in the next sprint but instead lots of cheers, beers, and celebrations! At the end of this journey, you are going to find me with a big cake for everyone to share!

Prayer requests: 

1. My hair is continuing to fall out. Tinleigh has declared that she hates it. I’m sure that having a mom going through chemo is hard on her. Please pray for Tinleigh, that she finds love and support around her as well. 

2. Please pray that my vessel continues to stay strong through the remainder of this treatment. 

3. Please pray that god continues to open our eyes

To the good he has in store for us. I know there is a lesson to be learned. Please pray that our trust in god remains, that we continue to follow his lead, wherever he plans on taking us. 💕💛💕

9/6/21 Mullets & Rat Tails

Chemo #2 did not disappoint! Last week I was feeling a bit down because my tumor hadn’t shrunk yet. (Literally laughing at myself because I had only one treatment). When I went in for my pre doctors appointment before chemo #2, Dr. Gupta asked if I could feel the tumor shrinking. I told him not really and he confirmed it typically would take about 4 treatments. We also talked about recurrence since that was a big item weighing on my mind. Dr. Gupta put in some calculations and based upon all of my data elements, he advised that my recurrence rate was 15% NOT taking into consideration the new medication I was receiving! So, that should take it down even more! I will likely have a 90% chance of the cancer NOT coming back! I’ll take it!!

I was feeling pretty good after my treatment on Monday! My blood counts were all good and I was able to work again during treatment! On Tuesday morning, I woke up and to much surprise… felt no massive lump in my breast! Praise god! I texted JR (who was at the gym) and when he got home I had him cop a feel—- he couldn’t feel the massive lump either! It literally had been zapped down to not being detectable by touch in less than 24 hours from the day before! The chemotherapy is working!!!!

I made is through last week with little to no side effects! I was pretty sleepy a couple days but getting to bed at a decent time seemed to help! I was even able to gather up my family for a little photo shoot of the kids. It was a total fail, per my daughter. It started to rain while we we were outside, Beau fell off of a chair I was using for a prop, and he cried 95% of the time. Despite the chaos, I did get some great photos! I cannot wait to get the prints in that I ordered! 

👇🏼 one of my favorites!


On Friday, I got my Covid booster shot. I didn’t get sick with shots #1 and #2 so I wasn’t worried about feeling terrible. Unfortunately, #3 did me in. About 36 hours after the shot, I started to feel better! I am very thankful that the booster side effects didn’t last long! 
Also on Friday, my tribe of people walked into my house wearing #teamnichole shirts! Even baby Beau had a shirt!! Special shout out to my girl Brea for organizing a T-shirt fundraiser! The overwhelming support from everyone makes my heart so happy! ♥️♥️♥️
Today, the inevitable happened. We had plans to go to lunch and do a little shopping. I went to take a shower, had big plans to do my hair up real nice, and when I was showering I noticed that my hair was coming out in copious amounts. They said my hair might just thin and I may not lose it all for the first 12 weeks, but seeing your hair coming out in chunks is nauseating to me. I also wanted to make sure I could donate as much as possible…so.. the emergency phone call to my bestie for the dreaded hair cut was made. Tinleigh even got in on the action and helped to give me a cut!
I highly recommend you find yourself a best friend that will give you a mullet when your hair is falling out from chemotherapy. A friend that will cry with you, give you big hugs, and then shave off the mullet and braid your rat tail for you. https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Gv3pzB-V2YcEvsUPpXgCR92f9Xw2_ejbhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1PXAWbkJMkHRJYPkePQkFREmjm6OOzk9vhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1_TOfGhwvNYs4iAykAK5WT57CP677vRkB

..on to round three. 💗💗💗

8/30/21 Tell Your Problems How Big Your God Is

Chemotherapy is officially underway! My first round started last Monday! I was SO ready to begin! This cancer needs to GTFO of my body! 

Prior to chemotherapy, blood work is done to make sure your healthy. The great thing about a port is they can pull blood from it OR give you an infusion! The artery that the line is in goes straight to your heart! When they pulled the blood out, my blood was bubbling. What in the world!!?? Why is my blood bubbling!? Ends up… that was cholesterol! It was fat that was in my blood! It ended up all forming together and making a solid before they even could get the blood into the vials! Apparently, this is normal… and honestly there really wasn’t that much but my goodness- If I’m not worried about breast cancer… I’ll be worried about my heart health next! ♥️♥️♥️ 

The chemotherapy infusion was a breeze! Almost a bit relaxing! I sat there curled up with a big fluffy blanket and got some work done during the 4 hours I was getting infused! 


(Don’t mind the white lint all over me… it was from my fluffy blanket) 

The doctors advised me to stay as hydrated as possible. I ended up consuming about 80 ounces

Of water that Monday and probably another 64

On Tuesday. I hate plain water and typically opt

for carbonated water but I forced it down and I really think it helped. 

In terms of side effects, I had a bit of nausea but nothing too severe. I realized that if I kept something in my belly and stayed hydrated I felt much much better! On Thursday, I was pretty tired. I ended up taking a few hours off of work and took a good nap. I went to bed right after putting the kiddos to bed on Wednesday and Thursday but by Friday I was feeling much better! On Saturday, I felt like my normal self! Praise god! 

All in all- I did extraordinarily well with chemo round 1. My biggest issue ended up being myself. My anxiety about not being able to already feel my tumor go down in size, coupled with fear of the cancer not responding to treatment or coming back had me in a Google frenzy and mental spiral down a black hole.

I was in tears a lot of Thursday.. and my Google doctoring was not helping. JR pleaded with me to stay off the Google and made me promise to write down every question for Dr. Gupta instead of looking it up. So far, I’ve kept my promise. 

On Sunday, we had our usual routine… we had our coffee and turned on the TV to watch church! I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the sermon… but JR did. I was outside picking crops and when I came in JR told me I needed to watch the sermon— that it was speaking directly to me. 

Boy was he right. First, my FAVORITE song was played and the sermon.. oh the sermon… it was god speaking right to me. Pastor Roger talked a lot about anxiety… about trusting in god. It was the message I needed to hear. He said: “Instead of telling god about all of your problems… start telling your problems how big God is.”  

How powerful is that?! Start telling your problems how big god is. Well, cancer- my god is stronger than you. He heals the hurt and gives strength to the weak.. and anxiety.. well Jesus will guard

My heart and my mind! (Philippians 4:6)

People might think it’s coincidence that the sermon Sunday was about anxiety.. or that my favorite song was played at the beginning. I don’t think so. That’s god talking straight to me… and I need to listen!

So.. here’s to round ✌🏼


8/17/21 Back to School

So much has happened since my week scans! 

I got an echocardiogram of my heart to ensure my heart was in good enough shape for chemotherapy. Good news, my heart is strong! 

I got an minor surgery to get my port placed in. 

This is me before surgery:


The surgery went well! I was sore afterwards but nothing too terrible. It definitely is a weird feeling having this device in your neck/chest area but I’m getting used to it! 

The port is a little device that is implanted under the skin. It allows the ability to essentially have an easily accessible vein that you can do blood draws or administer medications through. 

The procedure was really quick. They give you the anesthesia that puts you into a deep sleep.. but you’re still breathing on your own. When you wake up… all done! I woke up asking when the surgery was going to get started.. so those meds must work real good! 

This is the aftermath:


Bruising and tenderness but all manageable! 

I have been bugging the doctors office for a chemo start date for a couple weeks now. Apparently getting chemotherapy approved by insurance and all that jazz is quite the process and they couldn’t start the process until all of the scan results we’re back. 

On Friday last week, Dr. Gupta had me come into the office to discuss my treatment plan. I originally thought I would be getting 4 rounds bi-weekly of the “red devil” and then 12 rounds weekly of another drug. However, I was advised that a new study, that was published last year, had JUST been FDA approved. The study results found that by switching the order of my medications, while adding a couple other medications, AND adding immunotherapy to the mix increased my chances of eliminating all breast cancer prior to getting a mastectomy by almost 15%! The previous “standard of care” for triple negative breast cancer had about a 50% chance of eliminating the cancer but this new study and game plan bumped up the odds to 64%! I’m super jazzed about it! So, I will begin with 12 weekly rounds of Taxol and Carboplatin combined with an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda which will be administered with my chemo drugs every 3 weeks! After the first 12 weeks is up, I’ll switch to the “red devil” chemo and Keytruda  combo once every three weeks for four rounds! 

After all the chemo is done, I’ll take a short break and get surgery. I opted to get the double mastectomy with nipple removal as well. I want as much of the breast material out of my body as possible! During the mastectomy, they will remove breast tissue and then remove a few lymph nodes. If all is good and clear, they will begin the reconstruction process. If all is not good… well we will just cross that bridge IF we ever get to it. 

I got to meet with the plastic surgeon about reconstruction. The options made my head spin! There’s one option where they can take fat from an area of your body and make new breasts. The benefit is that your breasts look and feel natural and you can get a tummy tuck in the process. That all sounds fine and dandy until you realize it’s like a 16 hour surgery with the mastectomy, and they have to take some rib bone… and you have to be in the hospital for like 5 days… and when you get old they will sag! I was like Uhm.. doesn’t that defeat the purpose of getting a breast augmentation!?! I have nursed two kids. I want these bad boys perky for the rest of my life if I really get a choice! Implants it is! 

To get prepped for the big chemo day, they sent me

To Chemo school. JR walked out of the house with his backpack on! I reminded him we weren’t literally going to school! He thought he was going to get work done in this class! He thought wrong! We spent almost 3 hours with the sweetest nurse who gave us all the ins and outs of chemo and what to expect. I will say, Springfield Clinic has done it again! The chemo school program was super informative and was the last step to make sure I was all prepped for the big infusion day! 

In the midst of all the craziness, our Beau boy had an appointment at the Neurofibramatosis clinic in STL. It was basically our establishment of a new patient appointment. It went extremely well! They checked Beau’s legs for bowing.. no bowing! They checked him for plexiform neurofibromas.. he seems to look good on that front… and she said he seems to be right on track developmentally.. which is also great news because kids with NF typically have learning disabilities! JR was super excited when the doctor came in and said “Oh my, look at that little linebacker!” .. and she later said that NF would not stop our big man from ever playing football, if he so wished to do so! Dad was super excited! We go back in 6 months for another check up and to meet with the pediatric opthamologjst! Overall- all good news and we got to go to the Hill in STL and grab lunch!!

Now that everything is winding down… we are trying to enjoy a bit of normalcy before the storm hits! 

5 days until infusion day! I am ready to get this process started! 

Please pray for: 

1. Tinleigh as school starts back this week. 

2. That I manage chemo well and my white

Blood cells stay high! 


8/17/21 Where I Found God

Have you ever heard the song “Where I found God” by Larry Fleet? It’s a song about the different places where this gentleman finds/speaks to God. Highly recommend if you like Country music! 

I didn’t grow up religious. We were the type of family that attended church for holidays and only prayed at Thanksgiving meals IF my Uncle Jimmy or Uncle

Mark was there to lead the prayer. 

JR and I started attending church shortly after we moved in together but then stopped going when we found our beliefs differing from the church we were regularly attending. 

Going back to church had really been weighing on my mind. One day, I randomly got a request to photograph a baby’s baptism. I sat through the service and for the first time felt so moved by the preaching, the music, and the church as a whole. (Where I found god) I went home and told JR that I planned to return the following weekend. So, the next weekend, we went together! Come to find out, it was the church that I was baptized in, the preachers were friends with my sister in law and the lead pastor had close connections with JR’s grandfather who he loved dearly! We felt SO at home! 

Our Pastor at Springfield First talks a lot about “talking to God”. I pray regularly but sometimes I find it hard to understand what it means to “talk to god”. These past couple years, I have found God and talked to God more than I have in my entire life. 

When I got pregnant with my daughter, we were at a 20 week ultrasound when we found out she had a cyst on her brain. A cyst that was a marker for a disorder that was incompatible with life. Testing concluded that she was perfectly normal with a touch of sass… but then I had severe preeclampsia 12 weeks later that landed me with a 3 Lb baby 8 weeks early. 

That pregnancy scared JR and I to death. We always thought we wanted more than one kiddo but we did NOT want to go through that scare again. We talked to my OBGYN about having another baby and she said “if you want to test fate”. YIKES. 

One day, JR and I were sitting in the church pew when Pastor Roger asked everyone in the congregation to turn around and ask the people behind them what was one thing they wanted you to pray over them and vice versa. This sweet older couple was behind JR and I that day. They had been married for an insane amount of years and the old man asked us to pray that his wife could walk again someday. When he asked us what he could pray over us, JR said to pray for us to make the right decision if we should have another baby. 

A few months went by and JR and I decided to get a second opinion on this baby making ordeal. In preparation for this appointment, I had to go to the hospital to collect all of my medical records/notes from the delivery of my daughter. It was a beautiful sunny day when I walked into the hospital and who do I see sitting in that lobby!? The sweet old couple that prayed with us in the church for that right decision to have another baby! Coincidence? Maybe. But, I knew that was god’s way of giving me the sign I needed to push forward for that baby. 

Beau boy couldn’t be outshined by his sister’s dramatic appearance into the world. 7 weeks early with Beau, my water broke. 3 days later, the preeclampsia returned and I had to deliver only to hemorrhage on the operating table. The same doctor that told me I would only be testing fate by having another kid, who basically saved my life the first time around..saved it yet again! This time she was very adamant.. no more children. 

Thinking back on this situation as a whole has really made me realize how this is really all god’s plan. 

6 months before I got pregnant with Beau, a month before I got that second opinion, was when I went to the doctor for a lump in my breast and a leaking nipple. In hindsight, I should have pressed the doctor more testing. But if I had… there wouldn’t be a Beau. 
While I was getting ready for the first doctors appointment after my diagnosis, I prayed harder than I ever had. That morning of the doctors appointment, I woke up with a voice in my head that kept telling me to just open and read my bible. So, I did. I dusted that puppy off and sat in my favorite front porch rocking chair and just opened the Bible. I didn’t search for a chapter… the voice in my head told me very clearly to just open the Bible. 
The first page I turned to had a summary about multiple Bible verses. This summary talked about how you can have the best laid out plans but always be rest assured that when things are not going according to your plan… it’s never outside of god’s plan. This summary talked about Mary and Joseph.. they were real people with real hopes and dreams for their family but they believed in god and followed where he led… even though it was outside of their plan. 
The summary ended with a short prayer.. it said “I pray our faith, too, would hold fast under pressure, resting on God’s plans and not our own. Amen”
Hmm.. boy that was fitting. I plan everything. I get paid to plan for goodness sake! But right there it was telling me to keep the faith under pressure. Cancer wasn’t my plan… but it was god’s plan and I needed to keep my faith when I probably wanted to lose it the most. 
I continued to randomly flip through pages and came across another summary titled The Throne of Grace. It was nestled in the book of Hebrews. In big bold letters it said “Jesus knows the battle you’re fighting”. Hebrews 4:15 and 5:2 tell us this. Jesus knows because he fought the fight too. He did it before you and for you.    
I drew a big circle around a piece of this writing that really stood out to me and noted that I needed to remember reading this on 7/28 before my first cancer appointment. 
This is what I circled: 
“Daughter of the most high priest, your tears, fears, and weakness are welcome at the throne of grace. This is not enemy territory where you have to be tough or keep up your guard. This the place where your deepest struggles are known— where you are deeply known.” Page 2087 in my Bible. 
I suppose this is what it means to talk and listen to god… The voice in my head that told me to open that Bible… The handful of pages that delivered the clearest message that I needed to hear that day. Out of thousands of pages… my fingers happen to flip to the two pages that had the strongest message that I needed to read that day. I have never felt my anxiety clear as much as it did at that moment. It has set the foundation for my entire outlook of this whole cancer process. 
I truly feel at peace knowing that this is god’s plan… and I suppose for once, I’m going to try to stop planning every minuscule aspect of my life and trust the plan that has been set out for me. ♥️

8/7/21 Radioactive

The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of emotions, doctors appointments, scans, and treatment planning. 

My first appointment was with the cancer surgeon. Everyone that I possibly know that had ever seen this doctor forewarned me that the surgeon was extremely blunt, may make me cry, and did not sugar coat anything. 

After the initial diagnosis (which I essentially found out via text message when I was getting appointment reminders for upcoming cancer surgeon appointments) my information was minimal. I didn’t know the staging, prognosis, etc. I literally was scared sh*tless, had zero information, no plan (doesn’t work well for me.. I need plans) and felt like I was walking into a dark hole of death.. until I met with Dr. Mai. 

Dr. Mai was a straight shooter…

Me: “Do I likely have the worst type of breast cancer? “

Dr Mai: “Yes”

Me: “Uhm.. Okay, great! Next question…”

But more than anything, Dr. Mai was EXTREMELY knowledgeable. She is clearly a powerhouse of a woman and was rattling off statistics like it was nothing! I left her appointment feeling SO much better, like I had a plan, and really felt like I was in GREAT hands. Also.. she did not make me cry! 🙂

I already knew that I had an amazing army of people behind me.. but everyday I am reminded that there is so much more kindness in this world than I could have ever expected. I wasn’t supposed to meet with my oncologist until 8/6. However, a dear friend of mine contacted a friend, who contacted a friend (who happened to be my oncologist’s nurse) and she asked the oncologist to get me in sooner. My appointment got moved up from, 8/6 to 7/31! 

Dr. Gupta, the captain of my ship, was equally as amazing as Dr. Mai. He listened to every concern I had about my body and outlined a series of plans that I could expect based upon some additional testing that he wanted to run. I left that appointment feeling even better than I did the day before! I had a project plan fully outlined and mitigation plans in place for my concerns that I had expressed. 

The first test result that I was waiting for came back early the following week. It appears that the type of breast cancer that I have is triple negative. In a nutshell that means that the cancer does not feed off of estrogen, progesterone, or the HER2 protein. It’s the worst type of breast cancer to have because there isn’t a targeted therapy for it. However, it is still VERY treatable and curable! PRAISE BE!

The remainder of the week consisted of scans. First up was the MRI. I was fully prepared to have a claustrophobic heart attack, even though you are on your stomach for a breast MRI.  Luckily, they gave me some medication to ensure I didn’t have a freak out in the tube. I told my hubby if they backed me into the machine, I would do much better than if I went in head first. He told me that I most likely would have to go in head first.. but LUCKILY they backed me in, turned on some country music and I did just fine! 

When I walked out of the MRI room… a sweet friend and neighbor of mine was standing in the hallway! She had seen that my oncologist had scheduled a PET scan but that it wasn’t scheduled until the following week. She told me not to get my hopes up but to start eating low sugar/low carb in the event that she could potentially help me get that appointment moved up too! 

The next morning, I got the news that my PET scan was moved up to be 3 days earlier and would be 6 am the following morning. If you know me… you know my patience is basically non-existent. So, these acts of kindness to get this process moving quicker for me means SO much! I am forever grateful! 

The next morning, I arrived at Springfield Clinic so early that the receptionists weren’t even there! The PET scan process was not what I expected. They started an IV for me and injected me with some sort of radioactive glucose. Then they gave me a warm blanket and told me to take a nap for 45 mins (give or take) so my body could absorb the radioactive glucose “stuff”. I don’t know if this is like everywhere but I felt like I was getting first class service at the doctors office! A warm blanket? Dimmed lights? AND.. the chairs were HEATED…like the type of heated seats that are in my car! Seriously- hats off to Springfield Clinic. My 45 minutes in that little room while my body absorbed radioactive material was blissful. 🙂

After that 45 minutes was up, the nurse brought me to a room that had a massive sign on the door that read CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL. Jokingly, I asked her if I was the radioactive material and she said YES!!!! It is absolutely amazing how far medicine has come! 

The PET scan was much easier than the MRI. The tube was much wider and much shorter than the MRI machine, much quieter… and… I got another warm blanket to cover up with while I was laying on the table! They scanned me from my “eyes to my thighs”. Apparently, cancer reacts to glucose. When they inject you with this radioactive glucose, it makes everything that is reacting to this glucose light up on the scan! When I arrived at home following the PET scan, my family had the song Radioactive playing! 

The goal of getting the MRI and the PET scans were to double and then triple check that the cancer had not spread. By the end of the day, I had my results! ALL the glory to god.. the cancer seems to be contained in just the breast! 

My last appointment of the week was with the plastic surgeon. In true Nichole fashion, I couldn’t end the week without some sort of mishap. On the way to my doctors appointment, I got pulled over for speeding on the off-ramp of the interstate. I mean.. I was TRYING to slow down but apparently going 68 in a 45 is frowned upon.. even if it is on the off-ramp.

The police officer was very nice. I told him I was on my way to a doctors appointment and told him if he was going to write me a speeding ticket to please do it promptly because I was late for a doctors appointment. After going to his car for a few minutes, he politely returned with my citation and a reminder to renew my drivers license… 🙂 

Silver linings.. these days you get to go to zoom court!

Next up: Echocardiogram, port placement, and the beginning of chemotherapy! 

8/6/21 #checkyoself you are your best advocate

Ladies and Gentleman-

 I do not own the rights to the hashtag #checkyoself. 

It was actually created (to my knowledge) from my dear friend, Elena who was also diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age! 

Do you know how many people have said “Oh.. you’re so young..” but let me tell you cancer doesn’t discriminate. Did you know that most breast cancers are detected first by YOU!? 

Reading someone else’s blog is what prompted me to start feeling around my body about 8 years ago. I could have sworn I had cancer 8 years ago when I had a swollen lymph node in my left armpit… and then a couple in my neck.. and then a lump in my breast that was biopsied and came back as benign… and the list goes on. Getting to this date, I have probably seen 10 doctors in the last 8 years all for cancer concerns. I’m certain everyone thought I was crazy, but there was something in my gut telling me something was off.

I am not going to lie- I truly believe we all have some sort of “sixth sense”. That feeling in your gut that won’t go away.. yeah, that. I believe it. 100%. Trust that gut instinct. 

When I had my daughter, my left breast was a super milk producer. I literally could have fed an army of babies all with my left boob. My super boob. Flash forward 2 years later…5 years ago, I thought I felt a breast lump on the right side. I went to the doctors and due to being young, they did an ultrasound. They ended up finding a mass in my left breast that needed to be biopsied. Biopsy results were benign. My super boob was spared! 

Flash forward another two years.. my super boob is still able to get milk out of it! I think I feel another lump and I go to my doctors office. The nurse practitioner tells me she feels it, it doesn’t feel concerning, and would recommend the wait and see approach. I mention that my super boob is still able to produce milk, I ask if this is normal… and her response was just don’t play with your nipples. Got it. Good plan. 

The lump doesn’t seem to get bigger so I go on about my life. 

Now here we are… I’ve been pregnant a second time and my baby boy is 7 months old! Super boob did not do near as good of a job as it did last time when nursing. I can feed my baby but not an army of babies. 

On July 4th, I turned 30. A few days later I was in the shower and felt a knot. A new knot. A big knot. I made an appointment and went in. The nurse practitioner didn’t seem concerned but said “Now that you’re 30, you need a mammogram”. A couple days later I had a mammogram and ultrasound.. that knot was 3 cm and lymph nodes around it were slightly enlarged. A week later I had a biopsy, and a few days later the diagnosis came in.. invasive ductal carcinoma. 


Public service announcement ladies- do your breast checks.. and if you go to the doctor because you’re leaking milk 6 years after your baby… don’t take “just don’t play with your nipples” as a sign that you should just wait and see and things are normal. Actually- don’t EVER wait and see. Get the damn mammogram, ultrasound or whatever and GET IT CHECKED OUT.

7/28/21 Hello, It’s me


I’m Nichole! I am a Jesus lover, wife to the greatest fine wine out there, momma to the two best kiddos, dog lover, photographer, and super outdoorsy person! … and by outdoorsy, I mean I like to sit outside on my front porch in a rocking chair with a cold beverage in hand… but like all day.

Okay, there’s my introduction… but let’s take it a bit deeper. 

10 fun facts about myself: 

1. I was once asked to move to LA to be on a show after I randomly stuck my tongue out to a man starting at me on an airplane. 

2. My heart used to beat extremely extremely fast. Like 200 beats/minute… but I had a heart ablation done at 16 to stop that! 

3. My nickname is my name (Nichole) but pronounced as Nee-chole-aye. People in high school called me that and then it kind of left me only to return when someone at work literally thought that was how you pronounce my name. 

4. I used to be the “manager” of my husbands semi pro football team. My job was to collect car keys or “gold chains” from the players who needed to “rent” a jersey. 

5. I am a NICU pro. I had my first baby at 22. She was 8 weeks premature and weighed 3 lbs 12 ounces after I became severely pre-eclamptic. She was only in the NICU for 17 days! I had a son, 7 weeks early after ruptured membranes and then became severely preeclamptic again! He was only in the NICU for 9 days!

6. I once lost 40 lbs… only to gain it all back! 

7. My son was diagnosed with Neurofibramatosis at 4ish months! It’s a disorder that causes benign tumor growth throughout your entire body!

8. I love all candy that your great grandmother probably eats. Circus peanuts, bit o honey, Mary Janes, candy buttons— legit my faves.

9. I love cake.. but I’m not a fan of cupcakes. They totally taste different… I’m now starting to realize how I gained that 40 lbs back…

10. I just turned 30 and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 23 days later: 7/26/2021.

I need an outlet. Someplace to share my thoughts. When I set up this blog and it asked for a title.. I seriously contemplated naming it “ Nichole’s Thoughts”. SUPER CATCHY!! 

But in reality, I really hope writing about my experiences helps someone else. Have you ever heard the song Oceans by Hillsong? It’s my all time favorite. I listen to it when I’m driving in the car to Starbucks by myself, when something stressful is going on in my life, or any time I feel like I need to be grounded. I listened to it on the way to every single doctors appointment when I was pregnant with my son and today that awesome hubby of mine played it as we were driving to meet with the cancer surgeon. 

Today, this piece of the song stuck out to me.. “I will call upon your name..Keep My Eyes Above the Waves”. It’s been stuck in my head all day today. So, my hope is that for you that are reading this blog that I can help you keep your eyes above the waves, that I can make you smile, laugh, or just enjoy life a little bit more!

God has a plan for me. God has a plan for you too. I hope I can keep you inspired as I try to figure out what God has in store for me. 

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