PurSue Hope


About Us

Immediately following my marriage to my wonderful husband, Michael, on July 8, 2006, we experienced a nearly unbroken stream of blessings.  I enjoyed a fulfilling career as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, while my husband entered full-time ministry. 

In the fall of 2006 we conceived our first child, and after a relatively routine pregnancy, God answered a life-long prayer — I gave birth to our son James on August 18, 2007.  At that time I gave up my secular career in order to embark on a more sacred role, that of a full-time stay-at-home mom. 

The following year my family gave us a four and a half acre parcel of land on which to build a new home.  In the midst of the worst housing market in the history of the country, someone offered to buy our home for more than we were going to ask for it.  Seven months later we moved in to our dream house.  Life could not possibly have gotten any better, yet it did; we conceived a second child.

Several months prior to this truly miraculous conception, during the building of our home, I  noticed a long, hard, rope like lump in my right breast.  I brought it to the attention of my OB, who immediately sent me to see a specialist.  After an ultrasound and a mammogram, the doctor decided to biopsy the other breast, seeing microcalcifications in that one, while dismissing the lump as sclerosing adenosis.  She also said if I got pregnant, the lump would change shapes and probably get bigger with the hormonal changes.  

The pregnancy progressed much like the first, and as predicted the lump did change shapes; it grew rapidly.  By the time I reached the 38 week mark, the lump was clearly visible to the naked eye and protruded from the side of my breast.  When I showed this to my OB this time, she made an emergency appointment with the specialist for the following week, Wednesday, April 28, 2010.  The specialist initially minimized our concerns, reminding us that she had said the lump would change shapes.  After taking one look at the bulbous lump protruding from my breast, she said, “I see.  We are going to do a biopsy right here, right now.  And I’ll put a rush on the results. “

The following day, April 29, 2010, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, that was HER2+: breast cancer.  Three hours later my husband took me to the hospital to have the baby induced so that I could immediately begin treatment for this dangerous and aggressive form of breast cancer.  During the nearly twenty-four hours of labor, instead of brimming with joyful anticipation, my husband, my OB, several nurses, and I spent the entire time on the phone and internet, researching and arranging for my impending treatment. 

At 8:03PM April 30, 2010, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Audrey; she concerned the doctors  immediately, being “pink but pale” when she was born. Two hours later she turned blue during her initial feeding, then stopped breathing in the nursery during her bath, then was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

Over time she was diagnosed with an “only one in the world” chromosomal disorder, severe breathing apneas, large cysts on her brain, serious swallowing disorder, the “worst reflux they had ever seen” and a host of other minor complications.  We had her transferred to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital on May 11, 2010 where she spent most of the next three months (over 3 admissions, all via ambulance).  Filled with fear and apprehension, I had my first chemotherapy treatment on May 21, 2010.  A week later I developed a neutropenic fever and was admitted to an isolation room at University Hospital for 5 days, the chemo having completely destroyed my white blood cells. 

My husband visited me in one part of the hospital, visited our daughter in another building of the hospital, took care of our two year old at night, and still went to work at church everyday.  Needless to say, this was an extremely stressful time for our entire family.

The remainder of my chemo treatments were less eventful, and on September 30, 2010 I underwent surgery (lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy).  After resting for almost a month, I moved on to phase three of my battle with breast cancer, radiation treatment, which lasted until mid-December.  Five months later I completed my last infusion of the HER2+ suppressing drug, Herceptin, and was declared to be cancer free, praise God!

During and since that time, our personal relationship with God encourages us daily.  God used the tireless hands of our moms, dads and families to keep our family going.  He also gave us a deep, inner sense of peace because we know that all things are working together for God’s purposes (Rom. 8:28).

I volunteered for a year-long clinical trial that was completed in May 2012, and I will continue taking Tamoxifen for at least 7 more years, but  my primary battle with cancer is over and God has given me peace in my soul through Him.

 Looking back on my experience, several people gave or made me tangible things that brought me comfort along the way:  a baseball hat that I wore everyday, foregoing a wig; a pink Bible, handmade earrings...Each of these tokens not only brightened my day, but became reminders that the battle was temporary. 

I launched PurSue Hope in order to provide  pink purses stuffed with gifts to women just beginning this daunting journey of treatment for breast cancer, to encourage them to PurSue Hope.