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, February 26, 2011

The Home Stretch

I think back to when I first made the decision to have my PBM and thinking that 'Oh I'll do it for the end of April" sounded very vague and a lifetime away. Then when my doctor's office called and said that they had set a firm date for April 20, it was a little more omnious but I could still deal with it because it seemed forever away. NOW I feel like I'm staring my surgery date in the face. I think back to how fast time has gone for the last month and a I'm sure that this next month and a half will go even faster. This causes me to have to take deep breaths and make sure my Xanex is within reach :)

I keep hearing about wonderful things happening in my friends' lives. I hear about people having babies, getting engaged, getting promoted, findiing out their pregnant, etc etc. And I am truly happy for each and every one of them. I feel like my life is at a standstill. I feel like I'm staring this big, ugly monster in the face and I have to defeat it before I can truly be happy like everyone else is. I almost feel as if I'm getting left behind, until it's going to be just me and the big bad mastectomy left. I know I'll have plenty of people behind me on surgery day as well as before and after, but in the end I know it'll be just me. I'll have to rely on my own strength to help defeat this, I feel like the girl in Buffy Season 7 (I forget her name) who knows that she is going to die. She writes a poem and the only line I can remember is when she says "I sit alone and watch them" She's basically saying that she hears and sees all of the fun, lighthearted things going on around her but she can't join in because she has her imminent death looming over her. Now granted, my situation is not NEAR as dire and I'm nowhere NEAR that depressed...but you get my drift. There is some parallel =)

I've also started thinking a little more about the logistic side of the surgery. What do I need? What should I wear? What size foobs should I get? Nipples or no nipples? What do I need help with doing right after surgery? How long will it take to fully recover? You get the idea...I have lots of questions!

I've absolutely loved reading the other blogs I follow. Everyone's story is such an inspiration! And it's wonderful to know that I'm not alone. I would definitely recommend checking out the ones on my blog roll. There are wonderful stories, pictures, and videos. I don't know that I'll ever feel comfortable enough to put pictures of my new foobs on my blog, but kudos to the girls who do =)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Months

So I'm sitting here writing my paper on the book of Job for my Religion class, and I see that today is February 20. So two months from TODAY I'll probably be in surgery at this time. Or in Recovery. Either way, it's getting SO close! I'm almost to the point where I'm ready to get it over with. (Did you catch where I'm using the blog to procrastinate on my school work? =) )

I visited with my grandmother today. She is at the point in hospice where she is beginning to make plans for her funeral. Out of the blue, she started asking me about song choices and length of service, etc etc. She fell quiet for a second and asks "What do you think they'll say about me?" I wasn't entirely sure how to respond so I said "What do you think they'll say?" (A trick I've picked up teaching kids at church. When I don't know how to answer a question, I'll turn it around on them. HA) She said she hoped everyone would say that she was a good person, who loved everyone and tried to accept everyone and who was always ready for a laugh. She got quiet again and then looked up and said "Would you give my eulogy?" I think my heart may have stopped for a second and I was speechless (Anyone who knows me KNOWS this is an amazing feat) Finally I said "Well sure, you know me. I love being in the center of attention" Just to make her laugh and lighten the conversation. She then says "Well it really only needs to be about 3 minutes long. You don't want to take up the whole service" (She knows me too well) I assured her I wouldn't steal the preacher's thunder. Her only other request is that I not be "sad faced" when I did it.

I honestly don't know what to think about this request. I'm both touched that she asked and terrified of doing it. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to get SOMETHING together, so that when the time comes, I won't be scrambling around trying to prepare. She looked so serious about me doing it, that I have to do it.

Seeing what she's going through and seeing what my birth mother is going through only cements my decision to have the surgery. I don't want to end up like them. I feel like NOT having the surgery would be almost insulting to what they went through. I know that some people still don't understand why I'm having it. And that's fine. I understand and know why I'm having it. And in two month's time, when I'm groggily waking up from anethesia and it's all over, I know I'll have plenty of supporters both at the hospital and in spirit.And this time next year, I'll have my lovely foobs and one last thing to worry about =)

Now I'm craving Starbucks BAD. I knew this dumb paper wouldn't get finished today!

PS FOOBS= Fake boobs!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Same song, different tune

Every time I feel like I'm living a normal, busy life I get a big dose of reality. I'll be running around doing my normal day to day stuff and then all of a sudden I remember what looms around the corner. MY MASTECTOMY! And it's something different every time that triggers the panicky thoughts. Today, it was the fact that the weather is nicer. That is normally a reason to be happy but this is what my thought process was  "Oh, the weather is so nice. It feels great outside. Hopefully we're headed into an early spring. Can't wait to start wearing my short sleeved stuff again. Oh no, my surgery is in April, which is in spring which means I'm that much closer to my surgery." and then I emotionally shut down for a while. In a weird way though, I feel like I may have a handle on the anxiety part. I haven't had a panic attack for almost a month and I don't even remember the last time I took a Xanex. So that's something right?

This past weekend, I did something I never thought I'd do. I drove up to Parkin, AR and met my birth mother. It was a very weird, strange, rewarding, memorable experience. It's honestly so hard to describe! I'd always seen on TV the tearful reunions people would have with their birth parents. But it wasn't like that at all. We hugged, and then just talked for awhile. It was nice to see where I get some of my personality traits. She has breast cancer and it has spread to her bones. She is terminal, but she is a fighter and she's not giving up...she's still taking chemo and everything. The conversation eventually turned to genetics and that I was going to have my PBM. She was very happy to hear that, but she leaned over and said "I'm so sorry I passed this gene to you" I hurriedly assured that it wasn't her fault and there's no way that I would ever blame ANYONE. It is what it is, and I just have to deal with it and move on.  I don't know if I'll see her again, but I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. One thing is crystal clear...I definetely grew up a million times better than I would have had I stayed with her. HOWEVER I know that I'd be loved either way...I'm just glad things are the way they are! I love my family and my life dearly and wouldn't trade it for the world!

I was thinking today of how when I started my blog, I hadn't expected anyone to actually read it! I mean, I was going to be it out there, but I didn't think anyone would pay attention,,, HAHA! BUT when I look at the stats of my's been viewed almost 2000 times. I can only hope that my journey into this whole mess is helping someone else who may just be starting out. Someone remarked to me that some of my blogs are depressing. Which they are, but I want to be as real and honest about everything as possible. So hopefully that is coming across in all of my entries. I have good days and bad days and I want to document everything!

Well I'm just going to try to enjoy these last few weeks. March will be busy... "Doctorpolozza" as I have started calling it in my head. I get to visit 4 doctors in neurosurgeon, endocrinologist, breast surgeon, and plastic surgeon. Then it'll be April which is undoubtedly going to be the hardest month of my life.  I can only hope to approach it with grace, strength, and a little bit of humor :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good news

I received a letter in the mail today saying that my insurance company would cover my mastectomy AND reconstruction. That is such a relief to me. The whole ordeal is going to be hard enough without having to argue and fight with the insurance company! I feel like putting the letter in my scrapbook...well my big box of stuff that I'll eventually put into a scrapbook :)

I'm trying to get together a list of supplies to start buying for my surgery and recovery time. Everyone has so many great suggestions but I need to narrow it down! Any advice from any fellow previvors would be oh so appreciated!

Yesterday afternoon I got told that my gym had closed down. I got the information by e-mail, text, and Facebook. That absolutely made me SO sad! The gym has become such a big part of my life. Now I know alot of people didnt understand me being upset...just go to another gym right? But I had a routine down, I loved everyone at the gym, and I had become in better shape at THIS gym than any other one. So when I got the news TODAY (again by Facebook, email and text) that the gym was reopening on Monday under new management, I was THRILLED! The gym is the place where I can go and not be the girl who's waiting to have a mastectomy and who's had a brain tumor and a million other surgeries. People at the gym know about this stuff, but I can just forget about it for awhile and work out with everyone else! I know it probably sounds silly, but it's helped me learn to manage my stress in the past few months in a much more healthy way (Instead of eating my weight in chips and cookies!)

I absolutely cannot believe it is snowing AGAIN! I live in MISSISSIPPI!!!! The home of the 120 degree summers that last six months. We got snow on Christmas for the first time in like 100 + years, which was nice and I can't even remember how many times it's snowed since then. I almost wish I was back in grade school...we only  got like one snow day a year if we were lucky! I love the snow but I'm so ready for spring. Even though spring = surgery. But seriously, the way the weather is going it looks like it may just be me and Mike for a few days, I'm sure that prospect absolutely THRILLS him =)

We are supposed to go visit my birth mother this weekend. We were supposed to go LAST weekend but changed the plans at the last minute. I'm definetely excited and nervous. She has breast cancer which has spread to her brain. The doctors didn't give her much time (6 months) so I knew if I didn't make the trip to visit her that I'd regret it for the rest of my life. I'll be sure to take pictures! Don't get me wrong, my family is my family and my parents are my parents and I love them dearly. But it will be interesting to see the woman who I've been told I favor very much. I think it's not a chance a lot of adopted people get, to meet their birth mothers, so I better seize the opportunity while it's there!

My grandmother recently got put on hospice care. She has inflammatory breast cancer. I'm seeing her on Friday for a little bit. I've heard that she's comfortable and in good spirits so that makes me feel a little better. It breaks my heart to see her like this, but I'm glad she's at least more comfortable and her is pain is lessened.

I honestly cannot believe that mid-terms are coming up. MIDTERMS!!!!! My A&P lab practical is Saturday and that means I should probably be studying. But I think I'll just go snuggle under the covers!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Ok so I know I should have tried to come up with a clever, witty title. But, to be honest I couldn't sum up the events of today in a few words so I'm sticking with ???? which really reflects my current mood.

Let me back up by saying that last night was my sisters' birthday dinner at my parents house. (Happy Birthday #2 and #3!). I got to visit with my grandmother some while I was doing her nails and it's just sad. I can't think of any other way to describe it. Without going into all the gory details, I'll just say that she has basically lost the ability to do anything for herself. Knowing her personality before she got sick, that has to REALLY weigh on her mind. I know it would mine....I hate having to be dependant on others. I'm just trying to spend as much time with her as I can....which is exhausting at times. And frustrating too..I like to FIX peoples problems. And I can't fix this.

Earlier today, I heard from Christina (my biological get anyone up to speed who isn't already, I'm adopted). She was telling me that our mother's breast cancer has spread to her brain. I got the impression that she doesn't have alot of time left. Christina and I are making the trip up to see her. I've never met her before and I am actually getting pretty nervous about it. But I know in my heart that I'll regret it for the rest of my life if I don't meet her.

Let's recap- my grandmother who is not biologically related to me has inflammatory breast cancer. My biological mother has breast cancer, which has metastasized to her brain. And I'm staring my upcoming preventative bilateral mastectomy in the face so I don't get breast cancer. I seriously feel like everywhere I look I see breast cancer. Like I can't get away from life literally revolves around BOOBS!

On a happier note, the Zumba halftime show at the Grizzlies is Friday. I get the whole day off of work to do WHATEVER I want until it's time to go to practice. And Mike and I saw The Mechanics tonight. It's a Jason Statham movie...which means lots of people blowing up and getting beat up. And Jason Statham shirtless OOHHHHH!!! Hehe! And Valentines Day is coming up. We're eating dinner at Flight the Saturday before. I've never been there, but I've heard wonderful things about it, so I'm excited!

So that's my 2011 so far. And from the good to the bad, there is ONE's shaping up to be a year I'll never forget :)