PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

And so it begins

Ok so here goes nothing. I had heard a lot about this blogging thing so I wanted to give it a try. I've heard it's a stress reliever so I figured I'd give it a shot. If you read my profile (or know anything about me) you know I'm in nursing school and work a full time job. If THAT'S not stressful enough, I get to add some crazy medical issues to the mix. To make a long story short, I have Cowden's syndrome which is a genetic mutation of the P10 gene (the tumor supressor gene). I've had benign tumors just spring up my whole life. (I think the surgery I just had brought me up to 12. I've lost count). The most serious was the brain tumor. I honestly think that issue is under control (ok I admit I just knocked on wood. Can never be too careful).

Another thing that my wonderful genetic condition gives me is an increased risk for breast cancer. A REALLY increased risk of breast cancer. So much so that I've had four (yes FOUR) doctors tell me I should seriously consider having a prophylatic bilateral mastectomy (I'll call it a PBM from now on. Because those are too big of words to type more than once.) In layman's terms, they recommend that I should remove my breasts and have implants instead. At first I thought that they were insane. I wasn't cutting off ANYTHING that didn't have cancer.I mean come on, their my breasts! They're part of what makes me, me. So I stubbornly told the doctor that I wanted to do the "increased surveillance" option instead (a mammogram and breast MRI every 6 months).

Fast forward to August of 2009. They found a suspicious lump in both breasts and the results of the biopsy that they did said that atypical cells were found. (these are not cancer cells, but many people call them "pre-cancer") They removed the lumps, and the doctor said that I needed to prepare myself for the cancer diagnosis. When I went back to get the results, everything was clear! The doctor said if I wanted to continue my surveillance, then that was fine since I'd gotten a good report. Fast-forward to October 2010. We began the same routine that was all too familiar. When I went for my appointment to schedule the surgery the doctor said "Will you please have the PBM so I can stop worrying about you?" I feebly told him that I didn't want to take that much time off of school to recover. I told him that April 2011 was the best time for me to have a big surgery. I am taking the summer semester off of school and would have more time to recover. He then told me that he was ok with that, but made me promise to move the PBM up if the biopsy showed anything. I agreed and then he left me to get dressed. When I was getting dressed I looked down and felt a little sadness for my breasts, but relief that I was being proactive and making sure I didn't end up with cancer. So, not only do I have Cowdens, I also found out my biological mother has breast cancer which elevates the risk. AND this made the second time that weird cells were found which elevates your risk as well. This put me in the "not if but when" category (my doctor's words).

I had the surgery about 10 days ago and the results of the biopsy were clear. I'm going to see the doctor Tuesday and he'll make me an appointment to see a plastic surgeon. And then the waiting until April starts.

The reason I started this blog is because I needed a way to relieve some tension in my head. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm making the right decision but that doesn't make it any easier. Hopefully, writing about it will make me feel better. Even if no one ever reads it, I'll feel better when I write down everything between now and April. And I'll try to write about other stuff too, not just my boobs =)

And I just realized that it's not even 10 pm, and I'm in my pjs in bed on a Saturday night. I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest 26 year old ever!

Good night!


  1. Good job Michelle. I always like to say that it is not the age but the miles. So sorry you have put so many miles in the doc office already. I think that you will find some peace with the the blogging and a lot with the BPM.

  2. So glad you have begun a blog to share your moments. I hope this will help relieve some tension for you!!! I have always written in journals and now typing it all in a blog sheds some light for me on just how God His time. It is crazy to read some of my entries from a while back (worrying, doubting, etc) then see God do something about that situation to where it all makes some sense to me. Look forward to reading your blog!

  3. Welcome to the blogging world! You may find that it helps to relieve some of the stress by sharing and you might also find that you can help others by your experiences and your readers might give you some good advice as well. I've added you to my blog roll.

  4. Hello Michelle,
    I had noticed you had added me as one of your blogs to follow, so I decided to check out yours!
    I found blogging to be soo very helpful. It helped me to truly express my feelings, and experiences. I also found when going through the decision process that other peoples blogs were so beneficial to me, that I wanted to do the same for others with my blog.
    I will also add you to my blog roll!
    If you have any questions at all do not hesitate, as I am close in age to you...almost 25 and had the surgery 7 months ago and am doing fabulous! I have no regrets. Trust me the relief you will feel after the surgery is more worrying and waiting for those dreadful words. Knowledge is Power! <3

  5. Thank you so much everyone for your kind words. I really feel as if this has helped me already. I can only imagine how much it'll help in the spring! I appreciate each and every person who took the time to read my blog :)

  6. Congrats on being proactive but sorry you have to make that decision! I'll be following to see how you do:)