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, April 28, 2012

Support...not just for bras!

Ok so that title may be a little goofy. I'm at the back end of a 10 hour shift, hyped up on caffeine so bear with me. :)

What I'm trying to get across is that our first official support group meeting is Monday! Irene  (The Crafting Hobbit) and I are co-coordinating the brand new Memphis TN FORCE Outreach group.

I'm so excited about this. It's been a long time in the works, so it's great to finally see our vision for the group come to fruition. You can check out our local webpage here and sign up for our email updates.

When I was first struggling with my decision to have a PBM, this is the place I turned to. It was so nice to have a place to go where I could vent and say the CRAZIEST things and still be met with nothing but love, support, and caring. I felt a lot less crazy hearing people accept my strangest, saddest thoughts.

I know that I couldn't have made it through the months before my PBM and the craziness after without having the FORCE message boards to go to. While I had great people in my life, I didn't feel like I could really bear my soul to them about what I was going through. But on FORCE- I could!

Before I discovered FORCE, I searched desperately for a support group in the area. The only ones I could find were for breast cancer survivors. I wasn't one of those, so I definitely didn't feel comfortable going to them for support. I called the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, thinking that maybe they could help. The answer I got was something along the lines of "Well, there's no support available for someone in your situation just yet, but maybe you should start something!"

So a year and a half later, here it is! I know how alone I felt at the beginning of my journey, and I don't want anyone else to have to feel that. If we can help just one person, it'll be enough for me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Boob-a-versy!

YES! I have FINALLY made it one year since my PBM! And thanks to stupid leap year, the ticker on my blog reads 366 days since my surgery ;)

Some people might think it's silly to even remember this. I mean for my other surgeries I didn't even acknowledge the fact that anniversaries had come and gone. All of a sudden I look up and it's been almost 10 years since I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor.

But this is different. This was really and truly a life CHANGING and a life SAVING surgery. I didn't have to have this surgery. But I did, and I'm SO happy that I did. So I'm not necessarily dwelling on the past, but looking forward to the future. Because thanks to my PBM I have a nice, long future to be thinking on!

When I say it's a life-changing surgery, I mean I'm not the same person I was before I had the surgery. Essentially, I am but I feel like this has matured me more than I could imagine. (Not saying I was necessarily immature before but you get the idea). I know what I'm capable of now. I know how to get what I want. So, in a way, I think it was fitting for me to get a new job after I recovered. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love everyone I used to work with. It was just time to move on. I didn't feel like I could any longer be the happy, carefree, silly person I was before. Not that I'm bitter now, but just....different. Also, I realized how badly I want a career in nursing. So much so that I'm willing to put school before everything else. Before, I wasn't. Now I have one goal- to finish school.

I've also made mention of having low self confidence now. I really am trying to get that back. I'm back to eating healthy and working out. (I really did let myself go for awhile). I've also started taking salsa dancing lessons Some people don't understand it, but I love it! And you practically can't do salsa unless you're confident. I've noticed people who are good at it, exude confidence. So that's what I'm striving for. Also, I'm sure Dr. Sorenson would be perfectly alright with me doing anything that will keep my balance and coordination sharp :)

I'm currently on a break from school, which feels GLORIOUS! I've got to schedule another appointment with Dr. Cooper before I go back to school, and I have a feeling she'll be very pleased with how I'm doing. Our first FORCE meeting is April 30, and then it's school, school, school for awhile!

I've made it through this first year, post-boobies. Can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Numb no more

A habit of mine is to idly scratch my chest while I'm thinking. I know it sounds weird, but I've always done it. I've grown accustomed to not feeling anything anywhere near my foobs so that makes it even more of a mindless move. But wait.. hold the phone. Was that FEELING? I felt myself scratching. I immediately grabbed something to scratch with and test out the feeling, thinking it may have been a fluke.

But it wasn't.

Holy toledo Batman, we have sensation!

Now granted it was nowhere near the center of my foob. But it was there! Now, most of you normal people out there are probably reading this saying "Why in the world is this crazy person so excited about feeling something?"

Because, my dear Watson, it's as simple as this- when you have a PBM you lose everything. Not just your breasts, not just your nipples, your feeling goes right along with it. I knew some would eventually come back but it wouldn't be near what it was pre-PBM. It never is. But, this is a step in the right direction. And yes I'm aware that I'll probably not get anymore sensation. I'm just excited that this little thing- these SENSATIONAL SENSATIONS make me take another step towards feeling normal again. (and yes I'm a little on the cheesy side. It's been a long day)

I cannot believe it's been almost a year since my PBM. We past the anniversary of Granny's death and now my PBM anniversary is right around the corner. And OH YES there will be a celebration of some sort (it conveniently falls on Mike's off day)

I'm still struggling with self confidence issues. That's only normal I know, but I need to get my swagger back! I'm convinced everything I fall short on or anything bad that happens is due to me having foobs instead of breasts. And yes I been EVERYTHING...if I fail a test, it's because of my foobs. And yes I'm aware that makes no sense. One of these days it'll come back to me, before I scare everyone off....