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, September 24, 2016

HBOC Week 2016

Wow.....been almost a year since I've last posted. Oops. But if you think about it, isn't that almost a good thing? That means that I've moved on....most days I don't even think about what I went through in 2011. (Wow....5 years ago??) I think about how scared I was, how I wanted to change my mind in the eleventh hour. After I started having complications I was convinced that I'd have to live completely breastless (foobieless?) my entire life. I knew in my head I'd made the right decision, but I still remember sleeping in the recliner the first couple of weeks and not being able to get comfortable. I remember breaking down into tears for no apparent reason. I remember calling Mike in a panic when I realized I was draining profusely from my expander were my surgical scar had busted open.

Morning after my mastectomy. Trying to get warmth
to my necrotic areas to get blood flowing

All of that eventually ended. I got my foobs, got my implants, got one replaced because in a simple in-office local anesthetic procedure a hook from the stitch got dislodged in it. No lie. My PS's office is across the hall from an outpatient surgery center. I waddled over, with my hand and some tape and an ABD pad holding my implant in. I remember the entire staff doubled over in laughter about it. How I got dropped off at my PS's office and then had to hurriedly call around and get a ride back home after my surgery. I remember having to still be awake (since I hadn't fasted before) and my PS telling me the implant needed to be replaced. I just laughed uncontrollably and said "Merry Christmas to me" I mean seriously what is my life? Who does that happen to?

Despite ALL of this, I finally got through it and here I am several years removed from all the craziness.  You know what? I look at the girl in the photo. The one who's tired from surgery, worried about her necrosis, and unsure of the future. I also see quiet strength in her. It's a whisper but it's there. She won't let this defeat her.

So my nugget of wisdom for this HBOC week? If you're in this position I'm truly sorry. It sucks. Like, for real. Most women struggle with where to eat, what to wear, etc. And you're having to make real decisions. Decisions that will impact the rest of your life. But I can promise you that every single one of you has the power to get through this. No matter how you decide to do, surveillance, etc. You've taken the first step. You have all the power. You just have to decide how to use it.