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 30, 2011

Feeling it.....

This is the part of the morning that I feel like an arthiritic 90 year old. I slept in the recliner every night until 3 nights ago. I do ok until about 6 am when I start to wake up. About 6:30 Mike has to help me get out of bed, and I hobble back to the recliner. He gets me a pain pill and here I am until it starts to take effect...playing on the Internet, watching t.v. Or dozing.

All in all, I can tell I'm getting better. I have better range of motion and I can actually sit up on the couch or in a chair for long periods of time without feeling like I want to kill myself. My appetite is full force actually. I should probably watch that.

I went to the doctor yesterday and got two drains removed. Let me tell you, that was the weirdest feeling it didn't hurt, but felt like someone was yanking out something from inside me...Because they were. Now Dr Cooper didn't YANK it out obviously, but that's what it felt like :)

I will definitely have the other two drains out by Friday, if not before. And then I get to start my fills the same day! I'm so excited! And a little nervous because I don't know how bad it will hurt. Bur, either way- foobs here I come!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I think the title says it all. I actually freaking did it! For awhile I didn't think I had it in me. Well as I'm laying in my recliner, trying to awkwardly type on the iPad (which has quickly became my best friend) ill try to give the best recap of the last 6 days as possible.

Well on Monday morning I got up and finished packing my bag (I'm such a procrastinator) and I got my pillow ready. I slipped inTo a button up shirt and some yoga pants and put on my flip flops and waited on my mom to come pick me up. When she got to my house, I nervously kissed Mike bye and loaded everything into the car to head to Dr Coopers office. We were supposed to go there first so I could get marked before surgery. Then I was supposed to be at the hospital at 9:30. Well when the doctor hadn't come in by 9:15 I started to get a little worried. My mom immediately went and told the nurse that we were going to be late to the hospital and where was the doctor? About 5 minutes later, the nurse stuck her head in and said Dr Cooper was detained at the hospital, but was on her way and that they made sure the hospital knew I was running late. About 10 more minutes went by and FINALLY the doctor came in. She introduced herself to my mom and then asked me if I was stressed. I figured why lie? So I told her yes. She laughed and gave me a hug and told me everything would be fine. She quickly marked mms like she wanted and gave me the drain gift bag... Lol. Its a pink bag with measuring cup, drain belt, record sheet, gauze, tape, a ribbon to tie the drains around while showering, and antibacterial soap. Well after we got done there, we were off to the hospital.

Mike met my mom and I at the hospital and we all three walked in together. At this point, I was no longer stressing about the surgery- I guess I was falling into the old patient routine since I've had surgery so much. We went up to the room and got all the pre-op questions and needle sticking out of the way. Then they told me it was time to go. They said my mom could go back with me, so Mike squeezed my hand and said he loved me and everything was going to be fine. We went back to pre-op holding and after we met with anesthesia a nurse stuck her hxead in and said my other doctor was running late. WHAT?! Dr Cooper stuck her head in and asked if we minded if she waited with us because She needed to talk to Dr King. She did everything in the chart and finally Dr King stuck his head in. After he left, they said it was time to go back. It was at that point I had a fleeting image of throwing back the covers defiantly and
heading for the exit. Of course, with an IV stuck in my hand and at least 5 nurses surrounding my bed that was probably easier said than done. Besides at that point, as if she could read my mind, the anesthesia nurse gave me my first dose of medicine and all escape plans quickly left my mind. Then that was quickly followed by the real meds and it was lights out for me.

When I woke up in recovery my first coherent thought was OW! I slowly came awake, trying to respond to the nurses questions. When she lifted up my hospital gown, I slowly and painfully looked down. Oh my boobs were gone! Now, granted I understand that this was the whole point of the procedure. But when you're used to seeing something for your whole life, it's very strange not to see it. After awhile, they started to wheel me off to my room. My mom and my sister met us in the hall and walked with us to my room. They told me my dad and Mike were already on the way to my room. And of course we had to go on an elevator...when we got on and the bed rattled I felt like someone took a hamsmer to my chest. OW!

When we got settled in, I became incredibly itchy. I had Mike and my sister scratching my face for me. That was a side effect of the boatload of pain meds I had received. The first night in the hospital seemed never-ending!

When it was FINALLY day time again, I managed to eat some breakfast (being still was too much to raise my arms). Around 8:30 or so Mike came into the room. I hobbled to the bathroom and changed into some pjs. I managed to get situated in a chair for awhile. Dr Cooper came in and looked at my skin flaps (aka ex-boobs) Shae said she wasn't able to fill the expanders because some of the skin started to die when she tried. She said I could come into her office and She could trim back the dead skin patches. (there is a proper name or this, but that's what it means). She then said she was writing up my discharge papers. So a few hours later I got to go home!

And here I sit, 6 days later in the recliner in our living room. I can slowly see improvements but I'm SO tired. Once we get tHe procedure over tomorrow and hopefully get some drains removed I'll start to feel even better. Then we get to start the process of fills!

More later, but writing has worn me out! Just wanted to let everyone know how I was doing. I'll do more of an item later.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"We can rebuild her, we can make her stronger"

I always get that the bionic man or the six million dollar man? I can never get it straight. But I definetely feel like the six million dollar woman- you should see my medical bills! Well this is folks, according to my counter I have 11 hours to go until my surgery. WOW! I swear, when I started that countdown clock it was at 100 days. Time FLIES!

I wish I could sum up the way I feel but I can't. I'm sad, scared, nervous, anxious, excited, impatient, etc etc the list goes on. I read so many posts from so many brave women who have gone ahead of me. There's that word again....brave...

I honestly can't wrap my head around the fact that this time tomorrow I'll be DONE (Well with the really hard part anyway..I'll still have the fun of fills and exchange left).

Mike asked me tonight if I'd ever second guessed my decision. And it's weird..I haven't but the one big thing I was (am) scared of is the fear that I'll wake up with intense regret and remorse. It's not like this surgery can be undone. But now I see the pictures of people's foobs, hear the stories of how they are SO happy that they are over this risk, that I think I'll be ok.  I think I'll look better with a smaller chest anyway =)

Once again, I cannot thank everyone for their support enough. It honestly means more to me than anyone will ever know. I don't think I can articulate how much it means to me.

Before she got really sick,  I was able to discuss this decision to have my PBM with my grandmother. She was in full support of it. I can hear her words now, "Why be silly about the whole thing? If you know you'll have to have it done eventually why not just do it and get it over with? There's no use prolonging the whole mess"

Well, this is it. This is officially my last blog until I'm home from the hospital. My blogs until now have been all over the place..but I hope that if anyone is reading this is contemplating this surgery that they'll be able to see a honest picture of how this journey is. But one thing I'm starting to understand is that there IS light at the end of the tunnel. One of the things that was in my goody bag from my co-workers were cards that said "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you." And it's true..bad genes are just part of life. It's part of the hand you were dealt and you DEAL and move on. It is what it is..

Well I'm off to TRY to get some semblance of sleep. What's amazing is that this post won't even get read by some people until after my surgery. I'll post updates as soon as I can

See you on the other side =)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nothing but time

This week has been absolutely surreal to me. I feel like it's going by SOO slow and also SOO fast. Does that make sense? It's sad because I'm doing things for the last time that I won't do again until my surgery (for example ZUMBA. It's just so fun and I've done it at least twice a week for the past year and a it's going to be really weird being gone). My last day at work is tomorrow. I'm teaching my last Religious Ed class on Sunday. In a way it's been a sad week for me! But, on the bright side, this time next week I will be DONE. I'll be on the other side and will NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BREAST CANCER AGAIN!!!! (I thought that was a sentence that warranted all caps. HAHA)

For some reason, the decision on whether or not to get nipples has completely thrown me. I mean, how many people can say that they were able to decide whether or not they wanted's not like everyone gets this choice. Well I think I may have finally made a decision (for now). I think I'm not going to get I just told Mike the way I see it, they are only good for two things- FOREPLAY and BREAST FEEDING. Those two things will be out of the question anyway, so I really just have the annoying aspect of them to deal with (Showing through clothes!) So no fipples for me. I've already checked with the PS and she said that I can decide at any time if I want them.

I want to take just a minute to thank everyone who has showed me any form of support. It seriously means more to me than I'll ever be able to express. From my co-workers, to my family and friends, to Mike, to people who don't even know me. Seriously, the group of girls who have gone before me in the PBM journey are completely AMAZING. I honestly don't know how I would've gotten through the past few months without having SOMEONE to call, talk to, email, text, Facebook. etc. I'm in LOVE with the FORCE website. It's has been so helpful to be able to post any of my feelings online and on the FORCE message board and have people who knew exactly what I was going through and how to help!

The journey has been absolutely indescribable. I feel like such a better person for everything I've gone through this year. And for everyone who has called me "brave" and "courageous" I hope I don't let you down. In fact, I'm actually starting to believe them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

So many things have happened since my last blog and so many things continue happening that it makes me tired just thinking about it! So this is really just a summary of things that have been going on...I'll post another blog in a few days!

The Good- My work threw me a surprise party! It was absolutely the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me! I was so stunned! They had a pizza and a cake (which said Ta Ta To The Girls. Hehe I didnt know if anyone caught my blog name or not ), and a goody bag full of fun stuff to use after surgery! They also had pins made with my name on it and we released balloons. It was so wonderful to know I have the support of those around me! My sisters and cousin also made my plaster cast! I was really pleased with the way it turned out. I'll post pictures of the whole process and after I paint it I'll be sure to post pictures too We also went out one night. I'm not a big "party person" but it was really fun to have a night out. I also have signed up to be a Mary Kay consultant. It'll be a slow strt, since I'll be laid up from surgery, but I'm really excited about it! My photo session is tomorrow,so I'm really looking forward to it....even though I feel goofy in the lingerie I'm wearing :)

The Bad- the worst thing thats happened since my last blog is that my grandmother finally lost her battle to inflammatory breast cancer. I'm glad her suffering is over,but I'm definitely going to miss her. Its starting to sink in that shes not here,and life has to go on. Going to see her was such a big part of my life, that I feel lost now! I did get to speak at her funeral...which although it was something that I didnt really want to do I know it was important to her so I was glad I could do it (which contradicts what I said about not wanting to do it, but you get what I mean)

The Ugly- I have one week and one day...EIGHT DAYS until my surgery. EIGHT! That's... 2 more PREP classes, 2 more Masses, 2 more Zumba classes, 5 more days of work, and 2 finals. that's not a whole lot of time! When I started my countdown clock, it was at 100 days. Where did the time go? I used to love I almost dread going to bed because that means another day is GONE! I only have 8 more days.....geez....