I’m in PEOPLE Magazine, and the Rose Bowl Parade!

Wow – what an incredible thing to wake up to – we’re in PEOPLE Magazine!

Thank you to PEOPLE and to their reporter, Tiare Dunlap, for publishing such an extensive piece about our story. This will hopefully do much to raise awareness about lung cancer.  Please share to help us spread the word and to encourage follow-up stories!

CLICK HERE for full article and videos

ALSO – watch me tomorrow in the ROSE PARADE!  I’m incredibly honored to be riding City of Hope’s float.  I used to watch the Rose Parade every year with my family, and I cannot wait to fulfill this childhood dream!

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Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

We recently headed up to the Santa Monica Mountains above our home to soak in the view, and open the envelope revealing our babies’ genders.

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We brought along the champagne Bonnie Addario sent us in New York nearly 3 years ago after my successful surgery. We had been saving it for a special occasion, and this was perfect!

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Sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what our TWO little girls are made of!

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(In case it isn’t obvious, Miles decorated his gingerbread man…rest assured, I’ll be the one dressing the twins!)

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Celebrating the wonderful news!

Can’t wait to welcome these little girls into the world.  Twin due date: April 18th!

Much love. Live in the moment.

EmBen

Reaching new heights…I’m on a billboard!

Check out this CBS LA News piece that aired yesterday (click on the video below)! Honored and grateful that CBS is shedding a light on young lung cancer by highlighting me and my friend, Sandy Jauregui-Baza.  We are both hopeful that this piece will help increase awareness for all lung cancer patients.  Thank you to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) for sponsoring this billboard campaign!
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The ALCF’s billboard – I can’t believe we are up there!

 

BIG Baby News (like really REALLY big)!

Last April, after learning I was two-years cancer free but unable to carry a child, I posted on this blog to ask if anyone would consider being our surrogate. It was a bold move, and it was hard not to consider that I might be left without a response, and quite embarrassed. Within hours, however, volunteers started responding with heartfelt enthusiasm. Over the next few weeks, more than a dozen of you offered the most unbelievable sacrifice. Still today, we are in awe and overwhelmed with gratitude.

And the surrogate is . . .

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Angela and Aaron, with their adorable boys, Austin, Aiden, and Alexander.

Half a lifetime ago, as a high school junior, I won the Idaho State Track Championship. My coaches, Angela and Aaron Stark, were a young, enthusiastic
couple with whom I remained friends well after graduation. They now live in Kentucky, where they are parents to three darling boys; and as luck would have it, both are readers of the blog. When Angela made the decision to help me become a mother, her enthusiasm was irresistible. In true coach fashion, her email subject line read: “Let’s do this!” And so we did!

Angela is Awesome…and fertile :)

Miles and I hit the jackpot with Angela: she is pure love. She has made the cross-country trip to LA multiple times, undergone extensive testing, pumped herself with hormones, and was eager to start anew when the first attempt was unsuccessful.

Angela somehow continues to juggle a new job, parenting, running marathons, and chairing fundraisers, while going out of her way to keep me connected with all she is experiencing. We text, we call, we message, we email. Angela and Aaron were even in our kitchen via FaceTime when we learned the news she was pregnant.

Just a few weeks ago, Miles and I were in Kentucky with them for the first ultrasound where we saw . . .drumroll, please . . . THE TWINS!

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Every Wednesday, Angela sends us a Baby Bump picture update. Last week, the twins were as big as peaches…

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…and at 14 weeks, they are now our little Lemons :)

 

 

It takes a village…

They say it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it took a village to create one. . . actually, two!

When I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in June 2012, news spread rapidly among family and friends. We were incredibly touched by the outpouring of love and support we received. We welcomed meals and doggie care, but felt a fair amount of guilt accepting the checks people were sending.

However, within weeks, the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis became downright scary. We soon learned that care that goes “above and beyond” most often also goes beyond insurance coverage. An initial test for genetic mutations at $7,000 was the eye opener. Clinical trials – often the only place to get access to cutting edge new treatments – seemed likely in my future. Many of these, like immunotherapy, could only be found abroad at that time. Furthermore, Miles and I were determined to preserve our fertility, and were soon embarking on the significant cost of this endeavor.

Today, my medical treatments have exceeded more than $1,000,000. We are fortunate that a vast majority of this has been covered by health insurance, and thanks to your support and donations, Miles and I have been able to fund our fertility treatments.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your donations allowed us to preserve the 9 embryos that provided me with hope when I needed it most. They gave me the strength to fight through difficult treatments. And today, as two of those embryos are growing, you are giving us the family we have always dreamed of.

Miles and I are overjoyed to share this incredible news with all of you. Thank you for your support, your contributions, and your love. We wouldn’t be here without you. Team EmBen rocks!

Living in the Moment,

Emily & Miles

Spreading the word – Puerto Rico welcomes us!

This past weekend, as a spokesperson for the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), Miles and I traveled to Puerto Rico, where I spoke before the 5TH Annual Puerto Rico Fall Cancer Symposium.

Puerto Rico presentation

Dr. Edgardo Santos, from ALCF Center of Excellence Boca Raton Regional Hospital, moderated the Q&A following my speech.

I was standing in for my fellow stage IV young-lung friend, Sandy Jauregui Baza. Sandy, fluent in Spanish, was scheduled to speak but had to bow out as the potential for blood clots from air travel is exacerbated by her cancer drugs. I did my best to make her proud, intertwining English with a little Spanish as I shared my story in an attempt to educate general oncologists and docs to look beyond age, gender and smoking history when treating their patients. Lung Cancer is the number one cancer killer of both men and women of all ages. All physicians need to be alert to its symptoms, aggressive in ordering both tests and referrals, and advise their young patients on fertility preservation.

I’m so grateful my message and speech were well received, and there was a lively Q&A afterward. I met some wonderful doctors, researchers and nurses, and hopefully changed their perspective on who can get lung cancer. And then we got to enjoy this….

Puerto Rico beach

 

Thank you, Oprah!

Many thanks to Oprah and the O Magazine staff for helping raise awareness of the growing prevalence of lung cancer among young never-smokers like myself, both through their informative article in last month’s issue and my follow-up letter in their November 2015 publication.

See a copy of my letter below. Thanks, Oprah!Oprah Combined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breath of Life

At age 28, I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. I was a former college athlete and had never smoked. Three years later – after chemotherapy, surgery to remove my entire right lung, and months of debilitating radiation – I am working as a spokesperson and patient advocate for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) and participating in the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer study, mentioned in Aimee Swartz’s article “The (Non-) Smoker’s Disease.”

Because of this study, and the amazing care I received through the ALCF, I am starting to think about life after cancer (including the possibility of a baby!). Thank you so much for bringing this story to the attention of your readers. There are thousands of young, healthy, athletic women like myself out there facing a diagnosis like mine. They so desperately need to know that this isn’t their fault, and they aren’t alone.

Emily Bennett Taylor