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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I think I may be slowly losing my mind

For anyone who knows me at all, you know that I love my sleep. I RELISH my sleep. I've been known to take 2-3 hour naps and then sleep a full 8 hours. On the rare occasion that I don't get enough sleep, I'm really not a happy camper. Coffee and 5 hour energy shots get me through the day but I still feel horrible.

For about a week now, I've been having crazy dreams about my surgery...whether directly or indirectly related. Here's the ones I can remember-

1. I'm laying in my own bed after coming home from the hospital. I'm in so much pain and keep yelling for my boyfriend to bring me pain meds. I can't get up on my own because I'm laying flat on my back. I finally reach for my cell phone and call him. He then tells me he's too busy and will bring my meds in his own time. I started sobbing and woke up. TRANSLATION- I was worring about whether to go to my house with Mike or go home to my parents. When I told Mike this he assured me that he would be at my beckon call and I needn't worry.
2. My mom takes me to the hospital the day of surgery and I try to tell her to take my phone and post to my Facebook page that I'm out of surgery so all of my facebook friends will know. She refuses and yells at me that she doesn't know how. Then a nurse sticks her head in the room and says my surgeons are delayed 5 hours. TRANSLATION- I'm really hoping everything goes 100% smoothly the day of surgery. But my sisters told me the thing with mom will probably come true.
3. This has nothing directly to do with surgery. But I thought it was very strange. I am driving down the road and get pulled over by the police. My sister is in the car and starts trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. When I ask the officer why he pulled me over he says that he was pulling me over for expired tags. I said "But thats impossible. My tags don't expire for another month." His reply is "Well ma'am we've started giving tickets just IN CASE your tags become expired. You came up in our database as having let your tags expire last year" TRANSLATION- I was putting my high-risk situation for breast cancer in the most ludicrous terms. I know the surgery is the right thing to do.
4. After surgery Mike saw me with my shirt off. He got up out of bed and shook his head and walked off. TRANSLATION-I think that speaks for itself

When I'm not dreaming crazy dreams, I have restless sleep and wake up feeling like I've just ran a marathon. And I haven't really slept through the night. I honestly feel like I'm slowly losing my mind. Because I haven't slept well, I'm super sensitive about things. I seriously get upset about the smallest things.

Hopefully I'll start feeling better soon. I still have finals to get through. If I don't fail my classes this trimester, I'll count it as a WIN!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The two D's- decisions and drama

I feel like I have nothing but decisions to make lately. First it was PBM or no PBM? Then take spring trimester off and have the surgery then or take the summer trimester off and have the surgery then? Go to my parents house right after surgery or come back home with Mike? Nipples or no nipples? What size foobs to get? What pajamas to get to relax around the house in? And the list goes on and on. Seriously, I'm a person who can't decide where to eat for lunch-much less life changing decisions!  And I only get one chance to do this stuff... what if I get the wrong size foobs and am unhappy with them later? What if I get fipples and then decide I hate them? Once again, I feel like my head might explode.

I honestly cannot believe that my surgery is less than a month away. I keep counting down...I think of EVERYTHING in terms of how many I can do before surgery. Like, for instance, 90210 is not coming on again until the night of my surgery. Crazy right?

Now on the drama front...I found out my secondary insurance is claiming this surgery is for a preexisting condition so they are saying that they will not cover it. So I will have to pay alot more than I was expecting too. Luckily, my parents are willing to help me so I don't have to postpone my surgery. What can I say, I guess they kind of like me! =) Then, on Saturday I had a a little nipple discharge. So of course, I freak out. I called the BS today and the nurse told me that it would be ok and she'd make sure the doctor was aware and would put it in my chart. Then I apologized for calling her so much and she laughed...I'm a trial hah ha.

My grandmother has started to go downhill. When my mom asked the hospice nurse how long she thought my grandmother had, the nurse responded with, "I hope for her sake, it's soon." That obviously breaks my heart, but I don't want my grandmother to be in pain anymore. She knows I'm having the surgery, and is proud of me for doing and supports my decision. So that makes me happy.

My plaster cast kit from the Keep a Breast foundation came in the mail over the weekend. And I'm getting pictures done on April 10. So I'm really excited about both of those things. And I also bought some button up pajamas today. I'm going to look for pillows as well. I'm going to try to post a list of things I'm planning on getting but I'm too tired to think about it now. I have an 8 am class in the morning and I'm beat!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's finally real

Well since October, I've known it was coming. I've been blogging, posting on the FORCE message board and letting everyone know I was planning my PBM, But somewhere, in the back of my mind, it hasn't felt real. I felt like I was talking about someone else who was going to have her breasts removed. Well all of that came crashing down today.

Last week, I have a pre-op consult with my BS. Even though I got my pre-op testing instructions and knew the next time I'd be seeing him was in the pre-op holding room, it still didn't feel quite real. I felt like I was playing a mastectomy patient. Well today I had a pre-op consult with my PS. And now, it's real. It's damn real. (Ok I'm watching a wrestling dvd right now HA HA) I got measured, talked about risks, how to handle the drains, etc. The PS took pictures so she can draw pictures of how she wants to make the incisions, I really do feel that I'm in the home stretch of getting ready now. The anxiety is back...but in a different way. I really have trouble sleeping at night. And if you know ANYTHING about know I hate not getting sleep. So this is when I'm glad I still have Xanex left :)

I got an email the other day telling me that my plaster cast kit from the Keep a Breast foundation has been shipped. So in a few days, when it gets to my house, I'll get to make a cast of my breasts. I know that sounds weird, but I'm really looking forward to it! Then after that, I get to take my pictures..which I'm REALLY excited about it. These things may sound goofy or downright stupid to someone, but they both have become very important to me. For one thing, for the past year I've grown to despise my boobs. I hate what they're making me do and how they look. I hate that they have the potential to kill me. I feel like that by making the cast and taking the pictures, I'm celebrating the good things about them.Another reason is because this whole process is enough to make a girl feel not pretty. Not neccessarily UGLY but not pretty and definetely not feminine. You're taking away one of the major signs of femininity. Taking the pictures and making the cast will help to perserve that for me. I'll be able to look back at them when I'm in the middle of recovery and feel better about myself.

Tonight, I visited my grandmother. She still is in good spirits but she is so weak. I helped my Mom change her, and get her situated for bed. It was a very humbling and sad experience, but one I'm glad I had. Does that make sense? When I look back on everything that has happened this year, I'll be thankful for the time I had with her. And I like to think that I make her happy when I go see her :)

Well I'm going to try to go to bed now. I've got school at 8 am in the morning. SO ready for this trimester to be over...even though my surgery will be days away then.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Five Stages

Being in nursing school, their are certain theories that are pounded into your head over and over again. Psychological theories that someone developed ages ago that still ring true today. One of them being Kubler-Ross's 5 Stages of Death and Dying. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Kubler- Ross's theory is that everyone goes through these five steps, that this is the way the human mind deals with death, whether it's your own or the death of a loved one. I feel like I have gone through the five stages from the death of my boobs. Now granted, most people who are not in this position might think it's silly to treat removing your breasts as if someone is dying. But in it's own way, a part of me is. To me, breasts are a sign of feminine power. They form your shape, make you look better in clothes, breast feed babies and help you round second base. And there isn't a woman reading this right now who hasn't used her breasts as a good bargaining tool in one way or another. So yes, I feel as if there will be a part of me gone. I have a 27 year old relationship with my's going to be hard to warm up to a new pair. They'll be "rebound boobs" if you will.

As attached as I am to my breasts (figuratively and literally), I'm not stupid. I can read the writing on the wall..I know what all of the numbers mean. I know what my risks are and it's almost too great a risk to take. I DO NOT want breast cancer. PERIOD. End of story..... so I know what I have to do. It's not easy, it's not fun, but I'll do it. And I'll do it because it's what has to be done and no one else can do it for me.

Since I'm rapidly approaching my surgery date, and I feel as if I've reached the last stage of Kubler Ross's theory (acceptance), I've decided to do something to celebrate the way I am now. I want to capture my true, natural form, toxic boobies and all. SO I've met with a photographer to have some boudoir pictures taken before my surgery. Nothing too kinky or sexual but a nice, tasteful representation of ME. Something I'll have forever to remind me of how I am now and what I gave up to ensure a longer life. I know that no one knows how and when their time will be up, but breast cancer will not be the end for me. When I look back on the pictures after all of this madness is over, I'll have a great reminder of how I used to be. And while I'll be boobless, I'll be one tough girl with some awesome new foobs and years of breast cancer free life ahead of me.