CINCINNATI -- When a woman hears the words "You have breast cancer," it's scary
Maddie Riffle, 26, is a research scientist with Procter & Gamble. In April, she bought her first house. In September, she met a great guy. And at 4 p.m. on Oct. 20, she found out she had cancer.
"The morning that I got the news, I was in the shower and I was like, 'This might be the last normal day of my life,' and then it was," she said.
The first night, she said, was the worst, because she had to share the news with family and friends.
"That repeating myself, saying over and over, 'I have cancer,' 'I have cancer,' 'I have cancer' -- it was exhausting," Riffle said.
But being a scientist, Riffle made cancer her project. First she'll undergo chemotherapy, then surgery after that. Just this week, she had her eggs frozen, because the chemo drugs could damage her fertility.
And, like lots of people, there's a possibility she could lose her hair. Like many women, Riffle's hair is part of her identity.
When chemo begins next week, she'll put on a cold cap, with the goal of keeping her hair.
"Right before chemo, put on a cold cap and it constricts the blood vessels, so blood is not getting to hair follicles, which means chemo treatment is not getting to hair follicles," she explained.
Through Facebook and her blog, Riffle has begun sharing her cancer journey, her thoughts and her fears. She hopes to bring comfort to others on the same journey.
"If I can influence one person to do one self breast exam, then I think the whole thing is worth it," she said.