I have cancer.

Correction: I had cancer.

On March 22, I had my first mammogram. They called me back because there was some dense, weird-looking tissue in my left breast they wanted a second look at.

“Don’t freak out,” I was told. “About 1 in 5 women get called back after their first mammogram because we don’t have anything to compare it to.”

I showed up completely not freaked out on the morning of Friday, April 6. They redid the mammogram.  Then they took another couple pictures.

Then they wanted an ultrasound.

Then they were ultasounding my armpit and that is when I knew–they found something they didn’t like. Why else would they now be looking in my armpit–where my lymph nodes are? I started to mildly freak out.

Eventually the radiologist (to this date the only person who had any part in my care that I have not liked), came in and told me that they found concerning tissue and that it needed to be biopsied. I started to sweat.

When the radiologist left the room, a nurse stepped forward and hugged me and I began to cry. She held my hand and said, “do NOT worry. We will take good care of you. We will get this all taken care of. YOU. WILL. BE. FINE.”

I am so grateful for her.

For those of you who don’t know, we live in a part of Michigan that has some of the top medical professionals in the country concentrated in something called the Medical Mile about a thirty-minute drive from my house. The cancer center was able to get me in that same day for a biopsy.

The doctor who did my biopsy did a good job of preparing me for the fact that it looked a whole lot like cancer. However, she also told me that it was so very small–that it was incredibly lucky that I had my mammogram and found it this tiny. I could have hugged her, but she had needles in my bewb, so that seemed inappropriate and a little dangerous.

The results came back the following Tuesday during my planning hour as cancer. I was expecting it. I think Cortney and my mom took the news a bit harder. My first question to the nurse who called with my results was, “now what? What do we do to get it out of me?” She gave me a few options and I told her I would talk to my husband and call her right back.

I called her back 8 minutes later. I don’t think she understood that I mean I wanted to get the ball rolling NOW.

By the time I had taught my two afternoon classes, a call came back from the surgeon I requested to be referred to: they had assembled an entire team for me and could I meet everyone in one big appointment in a week and a half?

Hell yes, I could.

So we met the team on April 18. I met my surgeon, my oncologist, my physical therapist, a nutritionist, and some nurses. All badass women ready to get this cancer out of me.

Because my grandma and my aunt on my dad’s side both had the same thing (only they were about 25 years older than I am when they were diagnosed), I qualified for genetic testing. On April 30, I did that. I chose the largest panel of genes to be tested because A) it used the same amount of blood as the smaller panels and B) it all cost the same. Why not get as much information as possible, right?

While we waited for the results, my surgery was set for May 10.

Genetic results show absolutely no genetic mutations that would increase my risk of breast cancer or breast cancer-related cancers. This means there is no increase risk of reappearance or spreading. This meant lumpectomy was still the best choice and there was no need to remove my breasts at this time.

And so May 10 arrived, and I had my own correction: a tumor and three lymph nodes removed. Cancer Corrected. Hopefully.

Next week Wednesday we have an appointment to discuss treatment options to make sure this cancer does not come back. Those treatments are scarier to me than the surgery was. But it is what it is, right?

I’m fine.

I will continue to be fine.

I’m just an emotional patient right now who wants to get back to her life as quickly as possible and put all this behind me and my family.

Because through all of this, it is Cortney and my kids who I worry most about.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I am glad it was caught early enough to see this correction. Here’s hoping it stays that way.

  2. Choking back tears and swear words. Effing cancer. You got this. Love you.

  3. I love you so much.

  4. Love. Sending hugs and looking forward to celebrating you in Houston!

  5. You WILL Be fine. I believe it, and you do have such good care where you are. I’m just so thankful you got your mammogram when you did and that it is getting taken care of. Holding you close, my friend. And praying.

  6. I’m glad it is gone, but man, I so effing hate cancer.

    I hope your treatment plan goes exactly as you hope, and I am here for you, to support you however you may need. I’m sending so much love your wa.

  7. Jill Krause says

    I came here from Facebook, and I’ll give you a love and a comment there, too, but this also feels like a time for an old fashioned blog comment because this is a big deal, and you WILL BE FINE, but I just want you to know that I’m thinking of you. Keep us posted however you can. Sending all my love. xoxo

  8. You got this, Katie. You have a great medical team, an amazing family, and a stupendous network of friends. You are loved!

  9. You’ve got this. And I’m sending you all my love. You are a badass.

  10. You’ve got this and we’ve got you. Sending you some deep, intentional and cleansing breaths, sweet friend. We love you!

  11. I’m relieved you caught it early. I’m relieved you don’t have the gene. I’m relieved the team of doctors were quick, compassionate and completely pro. I also believe you’re going to be okay and am praying it’s absolutely the case. I would have been exactly like you – how soon can we get this thing out? ((hugs, Katie))

  12. dayum girl. that’s super scary!! In so glad it’s been corrected, and know that cancer has nothing on you. YOU GOT THIS. ♡ lots of love, light and prayers comin’ at ya.

    ps – my boss is an Emergency Medicine doc in GR – he’s only there 2days a wk these days, as he spends the other three on campus, but still. small world.

  13. Praying, Katie and family! This got me all choked up. But I know you WILL BE FINE! May Our Lord grant you unshakeable peace during all of this!

  14. Kathy Klamt says

    Katie, praying for you and Cort. You got this! Hugs and kisses to you both!

  15. Lauren H says

    Praying for all of you. Love you, eff cancer. You’re all fighters and it doesn’t stand a chance. (HUGS)

  16. OMG thoughts prayers, hugs and so glad you got a good diagnosis. LITERALLY the same thing happened to one of my BEST FRIENDS (Who is about 15 years older than you but still ) the takeaway is – GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM, find this crap EARLY when its small. I had one last year, when I turned 40 (loved that physical – mammograms and menopause) but they said I didn’t have to go this year, but I am thinking I should!

  17. Sending love. I’m so glad it was caught early! I got my annual mammogram yesterday and hope that your story will influence ladies who aren’t doing it regularly to get their butts, err boobs, in there. ❤️

  18. And this is why we, as women and mothers, need to make our health (all variations of it) a priority. I’m so glad you made your health a priority and found this before it turned into something more complicated than it already is. I hope the other part of your treatment is easy on you and you regain assurance in your health once more.

  19. Oh, man. Sending so much love to you and your family! Love love love.

  20. Love you so much, friend. You got this.

  21. Oh my gosh Katie! So sorry about this. Hang in there and I’m glad you took a proactive approach and dealt with it. xx

  22. Good luck. I had a very similar experience last year. I did have a genetic mutation, so I had a double mastectomy, followed by 12 months of chemo therapy (ONLY TWO MORE SESSIONS TO GO). It’s not an easy road, but early detection is so important. Glad things are going well.

  23. Sarah Garcia says

    Katie, praying all goes well and the next steps don’t have to require too much scary stuff. A Thirty-One lady who is always doing videos for consultants and such just was diagnosed also. Her writing actually reminds me of you. And her name is Katie. And she’s got a super positive outlook also. If you want to read her posts they are here. In the meantime, my favorite thing she’s said that I’ll leave with you is that the “c” in cancer is a bit smaller than the “C” in Christ!

  24. You are a badass and you are strong! I can’t wait to hug you this summer. xo

  25. Katie I am sending you so much love and prayers! You will beat this and we are all here for you.