beat-breast-cancer I have breast cancer.

(Sorry for the abruptness. I have debated for days of how or even if I would blog about it. I can’t beat around the bush. It’s just not me. And I can’t NOT blog about it. It’s just too big.)

I found out on Thursday, August 13. I cried when I found out, sitting on the front porch with Peter. I had just come home from Finn’s karate lesson. I got out of the car and Peter handed me the phone. I immediately fumbled for my notepad in my purse and a pen so I could scribble down what she was telling me.“breast cancer” I wrote and showed Peter.

I was really quiet and shocked for a few days. Literally shocked. My body was heavy and I felt like I could hear the air moving around me.

I am the medical enigma. And now add one more ailment to the list.

It made me think of that song “wonder” by Natalie Merchant.

Doctors have come
from distant cities
just to see me
stand over my bed
disbelieving what they're seeing
they say I must be one of the wonders
of god's own creation
and as far as they see they can offer
no explanation

Breast Cancer.


Honestly though, I expected it. Truthfully, not this soon, but I expected it.

Luckily, they caught it REALLY early.  My doctors have been ALL over MRIs, Mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies (5!) this past year, much to my annoyance but now the reason is clear.

It is only in my left breast but I will have a double mastectomy with breast reconstruction as soon as possible.

We met with my surgeon yesterday and she is the same woman who operated on my Dad. This fact comforts me. My mom said both she and Dad really liked Dr. K. That makes me feel safe. She is also a really smart, direct, and caring woman.

I’m smiling as I type because growing up there was a running joke in our family. If we had to wait for anything, my Dad would say “Well, did you tell them who you were?” As if saying “I’m Emily Padden, Roger Padden’s daughter” would get me faster service. It’s always made us laugh.

And now, after telling this surgeon “who I was” (Ellen and Roger Padden’s daughter) it has fast tracked me to the top of the VIP list, a fact that my Dad would love. He’s loving it now. Dr. K said “I will do anything and everything I can for you. You are from a very special family.”

After my Dad died, she sent my mom a card. She also came to the funeral and said she had never seen such a great send off. She remembered that the first letter of all of our names spell AMEN.

“I can’t remember the N!” she said.

“Neil” I said.

“Ah!” She said.

She put her hand on mine and said some other nice things before delving into the exam, as I sat in my paper gown, open in the front.

We meet with 2 plastic surgeons tomorrow, which should be interesting. Maybe I’ll bring my camera.

I’m just looking forward to getting this over and done with. I don’t have time for you, cancer, you asshole.

I’m in a good place emotionally. I feel strong and calm. And positive. As ELK said so eloquently “now is the time I need to be surrounded by positive positiveness.” Pretty great, eh? Positive Positiveness.

Also, my friend NW said “You are strong and surrounded by love and light.”

I love that and told N that I want to blow it up and print it out.

I have amazing friends and family.

more to come…I will try to keep you updated with information as I get it.


Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer, Crazy Woman | August 19, 2009 at 10:48 PM

Emily - I honestly don't know what to say ... except that I am so very sorry. Good people should not have to deal with sh--ty things, but it doesn't always work that way ... so unfair, right? So, I will say it sounds like you are in very good hands and I will be thinking of you and checking your blog to see how all is going. I am glad you have amazing friends and family; that goes a long way. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts during this journey. Your writings prove you are a strong person and I know that will serve you well.

All my best, J

Brad | August 20, 2009 at 12:20 AM

You know your friends all love you, and if there's anything that's needed, we'll be there for you.

Anonymous | August 20, 2009 at 8:31 AM

Oh, Emily. I prayed for you last night (and this morning on my walk). You'll beat this. The Paddens are strong.

Love, Tracy Drake

amanda savage | August 20, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Emily, you are of course in my thoughts and prayers and have been on my mind a great deal the last few days. Don't go changing locks I am really not a stalker! I just finished a book called the Middle Place...I would LOVE to drop it off to you if you would read it, or I'd happily put it in the mail for you. Its about a daughter and father who suffer cancer at the same time...I know not the case for you but I saw you and your dad in this book the minute I started reading it. Its more about this women's relationship with her dad...how much she enjoyed being known as his daughter...I'll pop it in the mail today if you will email me your address.

Sheri Nugent | August 20, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Oh Emily - I wondered what was up when your blog went quiet for so long. You are such a strong and amazing woman - and it's early! - so this is a fixable problem. That's what I'm grateful for. I'm so glad you have the same doctor and got fast-tracked to the front of the line like the superstar that you are. I will be thinking of you and am with you in spirit.

Taylor | August 20, 2009 at 10:52 AM

You will kick cancers ass, I just know it! The Seattle/Long Beach crew are thinking of you and sending you our postive positivness. Please let me know when I can be the most helpful to you...I love you so much EP. Now, I am green with envy about the hot 18 year old tits you are about to receive:) Missing you....Tay

Anna | August 20, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Oh, Emily. I won't say "I'm sorry" because that sounds drastic and implies defeat. Rather, I'll send some good thoughts to you and your family. This, you can handle. :)

amanda | August 20, 2009 at 3:19 PM

thinking of you Emily- sending you big hugs....

Kate | August 20, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Damn, damn and double damn, Emily. I love all things Padden because of the incredible strength, resilience and humor, even in the darkest hour. You come from strong stock, lady.

I'm thinking of you and your family, and hoping and wishing for the best outcome possible.

Now get out there and kick cancer's ass,

Katie (and Brian) Hendrickson

Amy | August 21, 2009 at 7:33 AM

Don't think I've ever cried reading a blog post but you got me! I'm thinking about you and knowing you are a strong woman.

Northern Cousin | August 21, 2009 at 7:16 PM

Dearest Emily, I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this. As you know I am a breast cancer survivor (four years now) so I know a little about how you must feel right now. Getting the news is unspeakably difficult.
I wanted you to know that during the entire eight months of my treatment, I had only one day in which I became completely discouraged. I know it seems cliched, but the trick is to take it one day at a time. Doug, Ted and I think of you,Peter and your gorgeous children often. We're sending you love and prayers.
Valerie Cousins

Anonymous | August 22, 2009 at 2:42 PM

cup half full: life in the face of breast cancer


Anonymous | August 23, 2009 at 7:42 AM

Emily - I heard the news and can't stop thinking of you, Peter, Hadley, and Finn. You are amazing, and I have no doubt you will conquer this battle and come out even more powerful, even more zen, and even more beautiful.

You have so many people rooting for you -- everywhere. We love you tons, and will be with you every step of the way.