Danielle’s Story

Newlyweds Off to Thailand

Danielle Schmitz was a young newlywed anxiously awaiting her honeymoon when her gynecologist felt a lump.  Her mother had often had benign lumps.  With no family history of breast cancer, she decided to wait until life calmed down to get it checked.  Instead, she focused on their trip of a lifetime to Thailand.

On the day they returned from their honeymoon, her husband, Joshua, discovered a concerning lump, which was determined to be testicular cancer.  Unfortunately, his tumor had advanced to his lymph vessels and required chemotherapy.  Because of Joshua’s diagnosis and urging, Danielle revisited her own lump.  She was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer.

Danielle feels fortunate her cancer was detected early.  Her treatment plan was a double mastectomy followed by Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat certain breast cancers.  Both were challenging, but ultimately positive.  Strangely, the most trying complication was due to being diagnosed at such a young age.

   “Both my husband and I getting diagnosed before we had kids added another element to our process.  We had to freeze our sperm and eggs in the event we wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally after treatments. Emotions were already running high.  Then having your husband give you shots of hormones for two weeks after his chemotherapy treatments was very difficult.  It was not what we envisioned our first few months of marriage would be like, but it was important that we didn’t lose out on the opportunity to have our own children.”

Finding Perspective Through a Difficult Diagnosis

One cancer diagnosis is overwhelming, let alone two consecutively.  Danielle encourages anyone facing breast cancer to take it one step at a time and allow yourself to feel all the emotions.  It was after recovering from surgery that she developed a love of running.  Exercise supported her physical recovery, but it also helped her process the various emotions. 

Today, Danielle and Joshua are healthy and cancer-free!  She is training to compete in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this October with Team Lynn Sage and focuses on the positives gained from this unfortunate diagnosis. 

“It made me realize how lucky I am to have such wonderful family and friends.  Without their love and support, I would have struggled much more emotionally during diagnosis and treatment.” 

 “Having cancer also helped me recognize that you never know what turns life has in store. We all need to live our life to the fullest.  I don’t sweat the small stuff like I did before being diagnosed.  The little things, like missing my train or my dog having an accident in the house, are just insignificant.  I know how much worse it could be.” 

The Power of Research

It was during medical leave that Danielle was introduced to The Lynn Sage Foundation.  A friend from work invited her to attend Summer Toast.  She knew she was benefiting from the progress of research and was excited to get involved once she was fully recovered.

“Unfortunately, breast cancer will likely touch someone you love at some point.  The more you learn about the disease, the more you’ll be able to help.  By supporting research with your time, energy and resources, you make a difference in the lives of those diagnosed.  Or possibly even prevent a diagnosis!”

Join Danielle at Summer Toast next week, or follow her marathon journey with Team Lynn Sage.  Your support can change the trajectory of breast cancer.

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