In February of 2016, I went for a routine mammogram and was called back for a Biopsy. During my biopsy I had a spooky feeling that I had breast cancer. Before I was even told, I broke down and I cried for a few minutes. This is not supposed to happen to me. I am too young to die. I have two young kids who depend on me for everything. I have not done everything that I was meant to do…I have more life to live!!
I finally got myself together from the teary grief session and went home. The next day the doctor officially diagnosed me with extensive DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ) in my right breast. Once the doctor officially announced what I had, I looked at him and said, "I don't have time for this crap..." [chuckle] I proceeded to say with a smile, “Ok…now what? What do I have to do to get rid of the cancer?” From that point on, I chose to face my breast cancer with a smile and treated it as just a mere blip in my plans.
I was originally told that I could possibly do a Lumpectomy or remove my breasts and replace them with implants. Upon further evaluation my team of doctors informed me that to ensure the best possible outcome for me Lumpectomy was no longer a safe option. It was recommended that I remove my right breast completely, I was also informed that if I were to keep the left breast I had a 30% chance of getting cancer again… The choices that I was left with...started to narrow very quickly.
Another zippy twist came when the consensus from my team of doctors was that due to my chronic medical conditions it would be catastrophic If I were to get an infection from the implants. No plastic surgeon would take that risk and perform that procedure on me…so no implants. Once the option of implants was off the table…the struggle became real. Many tears were shed all the while feeling a sense of calmness surrounding me. The phrase “Just not today” became my catch phrase.
Do I roll the dice with a high risk of re-occurrence & have a Unilateral mastectomy (Removal of 1 breast) keep my left breast with all of the grueling treatments, or Double mastectomy and no treatments as long as my margins came back clear…with my only possible option for reconstruction is having fat reconstruction surgery which is taking fat from another part of your body to create breasts which comes with a multiple surgeries & very high risk , OR do I choose Double Mastectomy, live life flat without any breasts at all.
As my divorce resulted in my home going into foreclosure, my brownies business became a creative outlet for personal empowerment and way for me to bake to try and save my home and put food on the table. I was determined to just put brownies in anybody's mouth who would eat them. If I was not faced with enough adversity, I also have the unique challenge with the inability to taste & smell. Yes, I am a Baker Who Can’t taste or smell! Lacking a sense of taste and smell, I eat, and bake based on presentation and texture. My kids are my Certified Taste Testers…trust me, there are no complaints there. Every single batch is tasted before it goes out the door!
Each brownie package has “My Story,” written and illustrated by my daughter Melanie. It's just from that beautifully written story I get so many humbling responses and it makes it so worthwhile to keep doing what I'm doing, which is just getting my message out there.
I got the business up and running in full swing by January 12, 2016. I was so amazed at the craze for MY brownies!! Brownies that I cannot even taste. Things were heading in such an amazing direction... then "BANG!" February 12, 2016…YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER!
After my surgery in April 2016, my mother flew up here from the Virgin Islands for a long-past reunion, and because she was diagnosed around that time with Kidney cancer herself. Upon her arrival, I was supposed to meet her and take her to my oncologist in Riverhead, but due to the severity of her cancer, she collapsed getting into the car on the way to me and expired unexpectedly. Losing a mom this way is dreadful, but even more so because I never got that validating hug that can only come from that one special person - letting me know that boobs don't define you. I knew she was very proud of me and as a single mom herself of 10 children, her unique strength and remarkable spirit lives on in me.
Somewhere in between grieving the loss of my breasts and the loss of my mom, I have once again found solitude in baking. By early 2017, I restarted the business once again. I'm back at the Port Jeff Farmers' Market every Sunday, and my brownies are gaining more popularity as they appear in stores such as Greek Island Diner in (Wading River), Bagel Lady Café (Shoreham) and Theatre Three (Port Jefferson). My Motto…Don’t Look Back…Keep going forward…So I'm moving forward, and my goals are to get on Shark Tank & one day become a household name! We'll keep on making the world a sweeter place one brownie at a time until we get there.
Mollie Adler, Melanie Cento, Denise Rohde, Donna Schecker, Leigh Mckenna Adler, Jennifer Hunt / Christine Romano of "Fight Cancer Like a Girl" Team
LI2Day Walk (www.li2daywalk.org)
Miss Mollie's Brownie Page: https://www.facebook.com/MissMolliesBrownies/
Mollie Adler's Breast Cancer Blog (Boobs Don't Define You):
Mollie Adler's Instagram Links: http://www.Instagram.com/missmolliesbrownies
Mollie Adler (http://www.instagram.com/boobsdontdefineyou) • Instagram photos and videos
Awareness for a Cure (supporting members):
Co-Editor: Laurel Muckey of Integrative Medicine of NY (www.imofny.com)
Co-Editor: Dr. Jesse A. Stoff of Stoff Institute for Medical Research
Production / Editor - IntermediaWorx inc. (www.imworx.com)
Technical Support: Early Detection & Prevention program: (www.bardcancerdetection.com)
Technical Advisor: Annie Brandt / Best Answer for Cancer (www.bestanswerforcancer.org)
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