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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Work in Progress

Once again I feel like time is moving so slowly. This anticipating and waiting for something to happen SUCKS. Every day when I hear my cell phone, I cringe thinking it's my PS's office telling me that the surgery will have to be put off.

I feel like I'm stuck in limbo. Like I'm incomplete. And I swear my self-esteem has bottomed out. I don't think I've ever felt this bad about myself. No boobs + extra weight from being a lazy slob for a few months does not equal a positive self image. I feel like it's hurting me in a lot of ways, like in my relationship with Mike. I just almost wouldn't blame him if he moved on to someone else, complete with real boobs and nipples and a little less weight.  I mean, I know he loves me and I don't think that would happen (?)...see there I go doubting myself again. I need to be just locked in a room until my exchange.

The scary thing is, I don't even know if this feeling will go away when I have my exchange. What if I'm like this forever? Should I just send Mike on his way and join a convent? I mean I AM Catholic.

I imagine in a few years, once the scars have faded, the implants have settled, and the phantom pains have ceased I'll feel a lot better. Whenever I start feeling upset, I think about what prompted me to have the surgery in the first place. I've never lost sight of it, but I'm realizing now what I didn't realize then. The impact that it would have on my self esteem. I dodged the breast cancer bullet, but at what cost?

I think I'm suffering post traumatic stress disorder.

I feel almost bad burdening people with how I feel. I've been going on and on about this for over a year now. People I've talked to that are over and done with, in the "all done club" say they never think about their mastectomy. I'm getting there...but whenever I change clothes it's a grim reminder.

I promise to stop complaining, to try to snap myself out of it. God help me, I'm even anxious for school to start. At least then I'll have a whole new set of things to worry about. And I'll try to keep all of the reasons that my PBM was a GOOD idea in my head, and that I'll at least be around for a long, long time, boobs or no boobs.

Before I wrap this slightly depressing blog up, I wanted to direct my reader's attention to another blog. I'm not adding this to my blog roll, because it's not a "fellow previvor" but Rachel's story is inspirational nonetheless. Check her blog out at:

And from here on out I promise- nothing but happy blogs :)

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011


Well it's that time again. December 26. The Christmas season has come and gone. My absolute, all time favorite present was my Keurig coffee maker. It's AMAZING, but I'm scared I'll have a heart attack from a caffeine overload now. Since this will be the hardest year yet in school, I have a feeling that little machine will get quite the workout.

Well on the boob front, I haven't heard anything yet about a problem from my insurance company. I know it's early days yet, but it makes me feel optimistic. I just need to do my implant homework and get the forms mailed back. They seriously gave me homework...literature to read and forms to return!

Since this is the last week of the year, I've been doing some thinking on my New Year's Resolutions. I went back to my post entitled "Happy New Year" on January 1, 2011, which you can read in it's entirety here.
These were my resolutions for this year:

1- I think I mentioned it in a previous blog but I want to handle my PBM with as much grace and courage as possible. I also want to add some humor into it! I want it to be as easy and painless (figuratively and literally speaking) as possible!

2-I want to be a better person in 2011. I can't really pinpoint a specific fault I want to change (do I have one? Just kidding =) ) I just want to be the type of person that people look at it and think "I want to be like her!"

3- I want to make an A in one of my classes this semester. I'm not picky, I just want one! An A has managed to elude me so far in nursing school.

4- I've mentioned this before but I want to get in better shape and lose more weight. I mean c'mon that's got to be a resolution right? It's like a MUST to have a weight-related resolution.

5-I want to help others! I really think that God had me survive all of this medical craziness for a reason, and I want to use my experiences to help other people.

I was quite the optimist huh? Here's how I did:

1. I know I did this. I've had a lot of people tell me that they admire how I've handled everything. That's not to say that I think I'm all that (well...;) ). You don't seem as courgeous to yourself as you do to those around you. But I'm glad to know I pulled this resolution off.

2. I have definetely matured since 2011. But does maturity equal a better person?

3. **BIG SIGH** I ended up making a D in AP2 which is nursing school code for "DUMMY you must retake the class" I've been told by several people (one of which is my advisor) that I had a lot going on in the Spring trimester and it's ok that I had to retake it. I am happy to report though, that I repeated the class in the Fall and came out with a B. So Pathophysiology, here I come!

4. **BIGGER SIGH** I am sad to say that while I was laid up recovering, I did not starve to death. My gym ended up closing for good in July and while I still enjoy working out, it's not the same. I'm trying though and this Zumba orphan will find a class somewhere! (They don't do classes at my new gym)

5. I'm in the process of doing this. I'm working with a friend to start a local FORCE support group. So I'm definetely excited to see that happen!

Am I going to make a list of my resolutions? No. I will state that my big resolution is "FINISH WHAT I START." oh and also to actually save money this year :)

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011


If you pay attention you'll see the new addition to my blog over here ----->

That's right, my date for my exchange surgery has BEEN SET! The OR is all booked, pre-op photos are taken, and now I just have to wait on my insurance to approve the surgery (my doctor's office and I neither one foresee a problem), then I get to have my marking appointment and then SURGERY!

To say that I'm excited about getting implants is an understatement. I will be SO glad to have squishy soft boobs again!

Sitting in my doctor's waiting room, I saw a patient stagger in who had clearly just had a mastectomy. She moved slowly, with her arms away from her sides. She was wearing baggy clothes, no makeup, and had trouble sitting down..all while clutching a drain output sheet. She looked around a little wild eyed, as if she couldn't believe where she was.

Was that really me a few short months ago? I wanted to say something to her, but she was across the room and whisked back before I had a chance. I started thinking that you probably can't tell that I had a mastectomy 8 months ago. I looked like a perfectly healthy girl sitting in there. There is no outward sign of what I've been through.

I am so happy to finally have a date for my surgery. I have something that I can countdown too. I know I'll still have the process of getting tattoos and nipples, so I still have months left in the process. But it's all down hill from here :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year....

...except for the two weeks involving studying, last minute lectures, MORE studying, stressing, MORE studying, and then finally final. But it doesn't end there. There's the huddle in the hallway with the other students, comparing answers, and the waiting and stressing for your grade, and then the brillant climax when you see your grade.

I'm not including this time (Can you tell my first final is tomorrow?)

This year though, it's a little off. Some of the joy and celebration feels faked, or at the very least, forced. Whether it's that the exchange surgery is always looming in my mind (and I thought I was DONE with the stress and worry) or that this is the first holiday season without Granny. Or maybe it's that she went into the ER with lower lobe pneumonia on Christmas Eve last year.

Tonight, I read a Facebook status from my cousin about a present my grandparents got us when we were little. And it got me thinking, remembering things. Thinking about why exactly I love Christmas so much in the first place. It's the traditions I grew up with, that I remember. That's why shaped my love for the season. Here's a few of the best memories:

1- The facebook status that my cousin posted, got me thinking about a similar present Granny and Grandaddy got me when I was young. They had a book printed with me as the main character and all of my cousins and sisters in it as well. In the book, we all got to go to the North Pole. Now, how cool is that?

2- Papaw used to dress up as Santa Claus. Of course we thought Santa had made a special stop off at Gigi and Papaws house before delivering presents. We'd eat and talk and discreetly Papaw would leave the room. A few minutes later, a knock would come on the door, and lo and behold it'd be Santa with presents for each and everyone of us. I thought it was the coolest thing that my Papaw was friends with Santa!

3- This helped our belief in memory #2. A man down the street from my grandparents (to this day) dresses up as Santa and his wife dresses up as Mrs. Claus. "Mrs Claus" would be wearing a hidden mic and when she repeated our names "Santa" would hear. Imagine our shock when Santa knew our names when we went to sit in his lap! We just assumed that Santa stopped at Gigi and Papaw's house since it was so close. When we got older, we used to walk to that house EVERY YEAR expecting to see him and EVERY YEAR we were let down.

4- On the way home from Gigi and Papaw's on Christmas Eve we would see red lights in the sky and be convinced it was reindeer. We'd be rushed off to bed, and I would stay up all night, unable to sleep from anticipation. And to this day I swear I heard reindeer feet on the roof.

5- In the morning, Mom and Dad would wake us up (with the video camera). As we got older, we'd get up extra early and rush to the bathroom to fix our hair and makeup and then rush back to bed and pretend to be asleep. Like we were in a soap opera and woke up fully made up. We'd have to wait until all four of us were ready and we'd run in the living room to see what was left there. The cookies and milk we left out the night before were gone and a note from Santa was in their place (which strangely looked like Mom's handwriting).

6- After we opened our presents, we'd run to get ready to spend Christmas day with Granny and Grandaddy and the rest of our family.

7- I remember on Christmas Eve day, Grandaddy would come downstairs (in jeans and white shirt) and say "Christmas Eve gift" Apparently if someone said it to you before you said it to them you had to get them a present. I also felt like I needed to read a Christmas story, like a Christmas Carol or the story of Santa Claus.

8- Every year on Thanksgiving we'd draw names for Christmas presents. We weren't supposed to tell who got who...but by the time we were teenagers we would leave that day knowing who got who and what we were going to get. I also remember searching and searching for our Christmas presents, the Gigi and Papaw began buying in August.

Those are only a few of my favorite memories. There are SOO many more and this blog could be SOO much longer. I someday want my kids to feel the same way about the holiday season.

Now that we no longer keep up with those family traditions and I know who's behind the jolly old fat man, I feel like something is missing, I cannot wait to have kids around to keep up with those traditions.

I have managed to add some of my own though. Now that I've started going to a Catholic church, I have Christmas Eve mass. I LOVE midnight mass, but it's the only time of the year that Mike will go with me and he likes going to an earlier mass (midnight is past his bedtime)

Another thing I've added is I've started a Christmas village, This year is my first year and I'm really excited about growing it one or two pieces at a time each year.

Another thing I did (which I'm sure some people will make fun of) is get an Elf on the Shelf. No, I don't have children in the house and yes, I've named the Elf (Sparky) and move her around the house each day. And yes I said her. Its kind of a funny story. I bought a SKIRT off of EBay, thinking I'd bought the whole elf. When I found out my mistake, it was too late send it back so I figured, "Why not?"

Monday, December 5, 2011


Ok, I have to admit something. It's temper tantrum time. So there's your warning. Continue reading at your own risk...


There I said it. I'm sick of feeling pain when I sleep on my side, of not getting good sleep because of constantly tossing and turning. I'm sick of the sound it makes when  I accidentally hit my boob. I'm sick of feeling like I have a tight bra on and never being able to take it off. I'm sick of the hardness of my boobs. I'm sick of holding back at the gym because if I move wrong I get a weird feeling in my chest. I'm sick of the pockets of fat that have accumulated under my arms. I'm sick of when I do normal things, like eating, my chest muscles contract and my boob moves slightly. And I'm sick of not haviing nipples.

I've tried to be patient. I really have. I'm a GOOD patient. When my PS said late winter/early spring for the exchange I didn't throw a fit. I didn't toss my purse across the room and stamp my feet in protest. I didn't start banging my fists against the exam table. I didn't hurl my cell phone in her direction. I merely smiled and said "Whatever you think is best"

I had an appointment to see my PS tomorrow. When the office called and said they needed to reschedule and then said "'re post-op aren't you? SInce August? Well..we may not be able to get you in this month" I MIGHT have gotten a bit agitated. When Leigh Ann, Dr. Cooper's scheduler called me a few minutes later, I told her I was very sorry but I was tired of waiting. She luckily understood and managed to get me in Dec. 19 (after I desparately explained that I just wanted a DATE for my surgery)

I've tried to forget about it. I've ignored the FORCE message board and only occasionally read blogs. I've decorated for Christmas, started to eat too much, crammed for finals, and stressed about not having money to get all of my Christmas shopping done (all Christmas traditions).

I will say this...I can't stand reading peoples posts about how excited they are about getting their exchange surgery date, or how smoothly recovery is going for them. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for them but it makes me sad and jealous. I want this SO bad!

Once I see my PS again, I'm sure I'll feel better. If not, I can always ask for another prescription for Xanex