Optimist with a raincoat

I like to think of myself as an optimist.  I tend to see the positive in things before the negative, I wake up with a smile most days, and I can’t help but view the world as a good place.  But I’m also a realist.

Fact: I have the BRCA1 gene mutation.
Fact: That means I have (had) an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer.
Fact: I still have a 67% chance of contracting ovarian cancer.

I wish I could stick to my optimist tendancies and accept life as it is now.  But the fact of the matter is, I still have body parts that are trying to kill me.  Removing my ovaries would be absolutely detramental to my health now and in the future.  The hormones your ovaries produce aid in everything from heart health to bone health. I am not willing to exchange my cancer risk for heart disease. One deadly disease for another? No thanks.

Fortunately for me I have access to a ridiculous amount of resources. Back when I went to the FORCE conference this past June I learned about a few recent studies that have shown that 60 to 100% of ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tubes, which you DON’T need.  Especially me, since the fallopian tubes’ only job is to send the egg from the ovary to the uterus to be fertilize, and I never intend on naturally concieving children (see my previous post about egg retrival, freezing, PGD, and IVF).  So ever since that day in June, I’ve spent hours upon hours researching.  I met with one gyn onc, and this week I met with a second (second opinions are NEVER a bad decision).  The first one I met with didn’t have much experience with BRCA women and didn’t know the difference in risk between being BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 (1 has 67% chance, 2 has <45%).  He tried to scare me out of surgery and told me CA125 tests were unneccessary (CA125 and transvaginal ultrasounds are the only way to screen for ovarian cancer). The second one, however, was so knowledgable.  He actually told me things I didn’t know despite my intricate research.  Doctors and researchers are now realizing that not only does ovarian cancer start in the tubes, but so does uterine, peritineal, and some colon cancers.  He told me that if I was BRCA2 he’d tell me to wait a few years, but because I’m a BRCA1-er he’d absolutely remove those bad boys now.

It’s a laproscopic surgery with an incision through my belly button so I’m left with no scar (which I’m kinda bummed about, scars are rad).  They swoop in, chop ’em out, send them to pathology and intricately divide them into thin pieces where they inject a dye that illuminates anything suspicious. Pretty amazing stuff. It’s an outpatient procedure and it’s over in an hour, the only real repercussions from this is infertility, which I’ve stated is not a problem.  Recovery involves lots of sore abs because they have to cut through them to get to the lady bits. But after that..I’m DONE. My surgery is a month away, then my summer of surgeries is over.  I won’t be under anesthesia again until I’m ready to unfreeze my children and have them implanted in my uterus.  Of course, in about 15 years I’ll have to remove my ovaries but that’s still a while away.  This is almost over! Wahoo!

I know I said at the beginning of this summer that I’d wait a while before doing any of the gynocological surgeries, but there’s really no point to it.  I don’t need these parts and they’re dangerous so I have no hesitations about removing them.

Thinking this way doesn’t change who I am, I’m not a pessimist, “I’m an optimist.  But I’m an optimist who carries a raincoat.”

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Overdue Post Op Update

My reconstructive surgery was a week and a half ago, and I can’t believe how fantastic I feel.  I was expecting the same sort of recovery as I had with my mastectomy (which makes no sense given how extensive the last operation was compared to this one) but I was dreading the weeks to come.  This surgery was outpatient, only an hour and a half long.  My plastic surgeon made an incision over my healing scar, took out the expanders and put in my implants.  He also cut around my left nipple to raise it to be even with my right (pre-mastectomy my left breast was a whole cup size bigger than my right, which means my left had more skin and my nipples were uneven).  I woke up in a tad bit of pain, I told the nurse it was a 3 on the scale but Sammy quickly whispered to her “that means it’s an 8”.  After another dose of the good IV pain meds I was released and headed home.  The biggest pain in the butt for this recovery was the drains, they suck.  I had them for a week this time around, which isn’t bad considering I’ve met women who’ve had them for nearly a month (oy!).  I never had any chest pain which shocked me.  I just had my chest cut open, but no pain? What?  My surgeon reassured me all was well and I just heal faster than most.  He and I also had a press conference last week to touch base with some of the news stations that aired my story the first time around.  Watch our interviews here.

I  helped move my little sister in to her dorm for her first year of college last week as well. 3 hours away from me.  If you know us at all, or even if you’ve read previous blog posts, you know we have a unique relationship.  She is my sister and best friend.  If I was stuck on a desert island I wouldn’t chose to bring a tent or a book, I’d bring my sister.  So her being gone is an adjustment for all of us.  My brother moved into his dorm 2 days later, but he’s rooming with his two best friends.  He essentially just picked up his life and moved it to Mt. Pleasant, so not as much adjustment is needed for him.

But! They’re both coming home this upcoming weekend and we’re taking a trip over to the Renaissance Festival that we haven’t been to for years.  It should be loads of fun.  I’m also appearing on a public access channel talk show this Thursday called “In A Heart Beat”. I’ll be sure to link that interview when it’s available online.

So….back to reconstruction. I STILL can’t believe how wonderful my new foobs look.  Seriously.  I don’t know what sort of sorcery Dr. Meininger performed to get me to look even better than before, but I’m glad he did it. I mean… LOOK.

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They even look good in a hospital-issued surgical bra!  Apparently it’s very uncommon to have cleavage with mastectomy reconstruction because the chest muscles are so far apart and the implants sit under them, but I say again, he must have used sorcery because my cleavage is out of control.  I suppose I should feel hesitant posting a picture of my new foobs like this, but dammit, I worked hard for them and I want people to know it’s possible to be happy with fake boobs. PLUS, these foobs won’t get cancer, yahoo!  They’re 550cc Mentor CPG gel contour implants.  550cc means they’re the same size I was before surgery! (Well, same size as the smaller boob, but at least now they’re both an even 34D). They squish, which I’m adjusting to.  I’d gotten used to the expanders, the ones you’d break your collarbone on if you chest bumped me.  Howie likes the new set too. Much more comfortable for couch lounging and cuddles.

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So, what next? School starts up again next week.  3 classes this semester, 3 next, then student teaching.  I applied for an internship helping underprivileged students prepare for college, and I’m working on writing speeches to get ready for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Also a bit of exciting news….I’ve written the first chapter of a book.  A publisher got in contact about a month back asking if I’d be interested so I’ve been sitting on the idea for a while now.  Who knows if it’ll actually happen, but I’ve decided to try.  More exciting news…back in May I was interviewed for Glamour Magazine.  That’ll officially be in the October issue, out in mid-September so be on the lookout! My story is going international!

Thanks for reading the long post, I really shouldn’t wait so long between updates.  I hope everyone reading this is happy, healthy, and enjoying the last bit of summer.  Thanks for sticking with me.

 

xoxo

Kelly

The best combination of 3 words in the English language

No, I’m not talking about “I love you”. It’s an entirely different set of words that I’ll get to.

Ever since I went public with my story and the media got involved, they’ve always asked if I have siblings and if they’ve been tested. My younger sister is 17, about to start college. She’s fielded the questions well, always saying, “No, I haven’t, but I plan to”. That changed recently. She decided she didn’t want to wait any longer despite my insistence that she didn’t have to do what I’ve done. So a couple of weeks ago we went in to the Cancer Genetics department at Royal Oak Beaumont hospital- two floors below where I’d had my mastectomy a couple of months before. Her, dad, and I met with the genetic counselor, Sarah, and listened to the facts that we’d already memorized. The potential treatments. The statistics. Sammy could say these in her sleep. She’d decided she wanted her blood drawn then and there, and they were accommodating to her wishes.

Then the hard part started. For me, worse than finding out I was positive was the waiting period. The not knowing is so much worse than knowing and having it be bad news. I’d warned her of this, but it hurt me as her older sister to watch her struggle and sort of shut down in the 2 weeks it took for the results to come in. I tried to cheer her up, take her to the movies and shopping, but I knew there was nothing I could do. She just had to go through it.

I’ve learned that I have a spot-on gut feeling. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just knew I was positive even before I’d decided to test. Just like I knew I was positive, I knew Sammy was negative. I don’t know how to explain it but I physically felt it deep in my chest. Sammy, however, thought differently, she had the gut feeling that she was positive.

The day came. A Friday. Dad, Sammy, and I headed to the hospital around 8:30am. I sat in the back seat with her and just held her hand through the shivers. When we got there, we sat in the waiting room for no more than 5 minutes before they called Sammy back. I assumed they were just calling her back to give her the legal speech again and then they’d call dad and I in for the results. A few minutes after Sammy was called back Sarah popped her head in the waiting room where dad and I were and asked us if we wanted to come see Sammy. I jumped up first, dad followed. We walked into the conference room where I saw Sammy sitting in front of a very familiar piece of paper. The same piece of paper I have. I recognized it immediately and my eyes flew to the little grey box where my results said “positive for a deleterious mutation”, but instead was greeted with what I titled this post, the best 3 word combination in existence.

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Poor dad, standing behind me, the conference room door still open. I feel bad that I sort of ruined that moment for him. Once I saw those words I had an extremely physical reaction. I literally fell to my knees and wailed. I screamed, I cried, I screamed some more. Sammy sat there patting my head. Sarah started crying, dad started crying assuming my reaction was one of grief, not elation. He didn’t know what was going on and Sammy couldn’t bring herself to speak yet, so she pointed to the grey box on the paper. Then dad really cried, and he said, “Oh, they’re happy tears. They’re happy tears.” I feel so bad for giving him that scare but it was all I could do to keep myself from melting into a puddle.

After that emotional experience Sarah asked us if we have any questions and we walked out, but not before being greeted by Dr. Zakalik (mom’s old oncologist and director of cancer genetics). She said she heard me all the way down the hall with her door closed! She smiled though, she knew what this meant. She knew the happiness this would bring to my family.

Sammy is healthy. She’s dealing with a bit of guilt, being the empathetic, sensitive, kind soul she is. She feels bad that I have to go through this and she doesn’t and it’s taking a lot of restraint for me not to slap her. I tell her that, too. I would have a mastectomy every day for the rest of my life if it meant she didn’t have to have it once. So for now, we’re keeping her results relatively private while she accepts her new future, one without doctors offices and prophylactic surgeries.

This post will sit in my drafts for a while until I get her a-okay to let the cat out of the bag. It’ll be hard, though, because I want to shout it from the rooftops. Everything was worth it. My best friend is okay. This was the greatest day of my life.

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Last day of being magnetic!

YES. So excited. In roughly 24 hours I will be under the knife again for the second and final surgery of the mastectomy process. Out comes the rock hard and metal tissue expanders, in goes the permanent implants. I’m so looking forward to being able to sleep on my stomach again once I’m all healed up.

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Not looking forward to the drains and recovery though. Last time around the ‘no hugging or cuddling’ rule wasn’t such a big deal, but with a new special person in my life the no-contact thing is gonna suck for a while. I like hugging, I’m an incredibly touchy-feely person. But the ‘hands off’ rule is just temporary. I’ll have to get and give lots of open-arm hugs to make up for it. And maybe some bunny cuddles, Howie is good at that.

Other updates? It’s been a month since I’ve been on the fertility drugs and I still called a tomato a watermelon the other day. I swear, my brain turned into scrambled eggs. Hopefully I’ll stop missing freeway exits and putting my shirts on backwards soon enough.

I also spoke at the Oakland County Making Strides Against Breast Cancer kickoff event last night. I love doing that. I love sharing my story and educating the world on BRCA and preventative medicine. I also made a team for the walk, which is this October.  Any metro-Detroit friends (or even strangers that want to be friends) feel free to join my team! There is no minimum fundraising requirement. Here’s the link to donate and join.  My team name is “Kelly’s Bomb Squad”.

I have a press conference one week from today to discuss the final outcome of the reconstruction. I think I’ll touch base on the fertility stuff as well as PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) because so many people don’t know it’s an option. Not looking forward to the negative comments I may get from ignorant people, though. But such is life. I’m the one that will be smiling and raising healthy kids in the long run.

So until then, I’m spending my last night of full-mobility catching my first Tigers game and giving lots of hugs.

Let the games begin

August is going to be c r a z y (though nothing compared to October, 7 speeches, including some out of state). I’ve been able to relax the past week and just prepare for the coming circus. Let’s see, I have to map this out for my own benefit…

This coming week, I’m going to lunch with Jimmy Howard (because he wants to catch up with me. Oh. My. His “thank you for making my dream come true holy crap I still can’t believe it” gift is pictured below)

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Less exciting things happening this week? I turn 21, work 20 hours, meet with my gyno-onc to schedule the salpingectomy, and move out of my house in Ann Arbor (just to move to a house a few blocks away in 3 weeks).

Next week? Finish moving, I have my first speech of the season, press conference, and the second and final surgery of the mastectomy process! I’m so excited for that though, goodbye rock-hard and uncomfortable foobs, hello to natural-looking and hopefully natural-feeling McBoobs!

The following week? My baby brother AND sister move into their freshman year dorms at their respective colleges. Hoping I have my drains out by then so I can come along for the ride and watch from the sidelines as the fam does all the heavy lifting. Then a post-op appointment, and if I’m feeling up to it a weekend camping adventure!

Then the next? Moving into the new house,and an interview with a cable access show in metro Detroit.

Somewhere in that cluster of events I’ll be having my fallopian tubes removed as well. Oy! Glad I had the chance to get away for a couple of days and cross something off of my bucket list.
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Beautiful Niagara Falls, Canada. We took a boat tour (definitely the highlight), went to the top of the Skylon Tower, ate overpriced Italian food, saw Adam Sandler, walked down Clifton Hills Street, saw the Falls at night with the color-changing lights and pitched a tent at a nearby campground. It was wonderful. The boat tour alone made the 10 hour round trip drive worth it (I sat shotgun the whole way, so the driver may have something else to say about that).

It was awe-inspiring. Several times throughout the day I had to take a pause, close my eyes, smile, and appreciate it. The happiness I felt. It was one of my best days.

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Now that vacation is over, let the games begin.

HBIC of my HBOC

Sorry about the punny title. I just found it both fitting and comical.

These days, I do feel like the HBIC of this thing. The egg retrieval is over, and now my future kiddos are safely tucked away in a freezer somewhere and will stay there until I’m good and ready for them to come out. Let me tell you, there is so much that comes with fertility treatments, so many side effects and physical changes it’s overwhelming. I’ll list some of them in the next paragraph, but be warned…TMI. If you don’t want the gruesome details I suggest you skip to the third paragraph.

Okay, so, during this whole process you go in for transvaginal ultrasounds every day. Every. Damn. Day. That means having a long plastic rod shoved up your vagina and poking at your lady bits at 6:30 am every morning. It’s not so bad in the beginning, when your ovaries aren’t swollen, but as soon as the meds kick in and your ovaries blow up, it hurts. You also get bloodwork every morning which isn’t terrible, but now I have track marks up and down my arms as well as across my stomach. As far as side effects… I know it sounds stupid, but I didn’t really consider the fact that I’d probably experience them. Bloating, hot flashes, mood swings, and sore ovaries. I just thought I was getting chubby! When I graduated to 2 shots a day I was nearing my breaking point. My gut was so swollen every step I took felt like my uterus and ovaries were going to fall out. I couldn’t even sit on hard surfaces! Even now, 2 days after my retrieval, I’m sitting with a heating pad across my aching stomach. Yuck! I couldn’t have done it without my token stabbers, though. I never had to give myself the shot, every time I tried I just flinched. So thanks Sammy, Cody, and Lauren. You rock.

Okay, okay done with that part. So…the retrieval itself. A ‘good yield’ is between 8-15. They got 22. 22. 22 eggs! I cried so much when they told me (I want lots of kids, and half of the ones they got will be mutated, I really didn’t want to have to do this again) When I called my dad he cried too!
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That joy was put on hold when I started bleeding out. Lots of blood, so they had me go up to use the bathroom and I had blood coming down my legs the whole way there. So back into the OR I go! Another round of anesthesia and they fix the bleed. See, what happens when they do a retrieval is they go in through the vagina with a foot long needle, puncture the side of the uterus to get to the ovary, and extract an egg. Well, they had to do that to me 22 times which apparently my uterus didn’t like. But all is well! I got the call yesterday that of the 22 they extracted, 17 successfully froze. And now this portion of my life is over!

I meet with another doctor on the 7th to discuss when we’re doing the salpingectomy. Considering I don’t need the tubes and they’re cancer bombs, may as well take them out. So by the end of this year…I’ll have had 3.5 surgeries (I could the retrieval as .5 even though I went under twice). But, I won’t have to have another until I get my ovaries out many years down the road 🙂 I’ve aptly nicknamed this summer the “summer of surgeries”

I took control of this thing and now it can’t get me. Take that, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome.

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Not the sort of shots I thought I’d be doing for my 21st birthday.

**I don’t want any ‘genetic engineering’ claims. If you’re close-minded or going to claim that I’m ‘playing God’, don’t read on. I share my story and all the information I learn in the hopes of helping others, I do NOT share to get unwanted opinions from strangers**

From the time I could talk and walk, all I wanted to do was be a mother. I played house with my sister, brother, and best friends for hours and hours.

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The thought of not being able to have children devastates me. It’s a possibility, too, if one of my CA125 tests or ultrasounds comes back abnormal, so the only way to guarantee this happens is to freeze eggs. Adoption is always an option, one I plan on utilizing, but selfishly, I want to experience pregnancy and childbirth.

So I mentioned last week that I was seeing a gynecological oncologist to talk about future surgeries. He and I agreed that removal of my ovaries now would be detrimental to my health. The hormones they produce are needed to fight off heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. Recent studies have shown that 60-100% of ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tubes, which you do NOT need. New technology is also available to look at an embryo and see if it carries this gene mutation (which I would want to do. This gene stops with me. If I have to ability to save my children from future surgeries, I’m going to). So since I don’t plan on naturally conceiving children anyway, and I can eliminate the chance of ovarian cancer by 60-100%, I am looking into a salpingectomy. I just got off the phone with my insurance company, and the procedure is covered at 100%. Of course I’ll still need the ovaries out eventually, but when their risk is more than the benefit, and I’m not there yet, nor do I want to go into menopause at 20 years old.

So- freezing eggs. I met with a reproductive endocrinologist today at the suggestion of the gyno oncologist. She was amazed by me and was familiar with my story and family history. She applauded the decisions I’ve made thus far and will continue to make. She asked me what I wanted before telling me what she thought I should do (no other doctor has asked me that before). And I told her. She then told me what she could do for me, reduce the price of the procedure by 50% and write letters to foundations across the country to see if I could get the medications covered as well. She told me if they wouldn’t cover it, she would. She was so proud of the steps I’ve taken and my determination not to pass this gene along. Then we had to discuss the start date. I wanted to do it this summer before school starts, but I go out of town at the end of this month which left us with the option to start….right now. Today.

So they whisked me away for a trans-vaginal ultrasound (uck) and bloodwork (Fun fact- I have ‘robust’ ovaries). I learned the steps to take when giving myself the fertility drugs and when to come back. I get to give myself shots in the stomach for the next two weeks, then when I’m done with that, I get a needle shoved up my vagina. Oh, and I come in every 3 days for more blood and ultrasounds. After that my future kids get frozen in an egg bank, and I wait until I’m married and ready to have children. When I am ready, they take my future husband’s sperm and fertilize the egg. When it’s an embryo, they can look at the DNA sequence to see which embryos have the mutation and which do not. They will plant the ones that do not in my uterus and then we hope that it takes. It’s quite the process. Despite the discount and the free meds, it’s still $5,000 out of pocket for the retrieval and freezing and then another $5,000 for the IVF when I’m ready for that.

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I went to the car after 2 hours in the office and started to cry. Literally 30 seconds after shutting the door, I got a call from my dad. He had some sort of spidey-sense that we needed to talk. I answered and immediately let the tears flow, I overwhelmed him with information and emotions. He’s so proud though, and that makes me proud. He knows this is what’s right for me. He told me that it’s a parent’s job to enable dreams, and he knows that being a mother is mine. “If I have to write a $5,000 check to make your dream come true, Kelly, I’ll do it today”. So that’s what we’re doing. I start the shots tonight, in half an hour actually. I go back on Friday for an ultrasound and more bloodwork, and I repeat this shots/ultrasound/bloodwork routine for 2 weeks until the egg retrieval.

This whole thing sucks. It really does. I’m a 20 year old starting the process of IVF. I don’t worry at all about having to explain my mastectomy to a future spouse, but this? This is a whole different story. At least I’ll know that whomever I end up with really wants to be with me if he’s willing to put up with all this shit.

There is not a single doubt in my mind that it’ll be worth it. My children won’t be carriers or have to go through these surgeries. They won’t have to make the decisions I’m having to make right now. This is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. They will always know that they were wanted, and their mother fought like hell for them.

What it’s really like, post-mastectomy.

I struggled with my decision to publish this post.  I’m a very positive person and I hate to admit when I’m feeling the weight of this heavy life, but then I remembered the promise I made in one of my pre-surgery posts on here- I don’t want to lie, or lie by omission. So here’s a less-than-positive post.

This has been a tough week. The toughest since a year ago when I was in the process of planning for my mastectomy.  One thing I learned at FORCE, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is that I should be seeing a gynecological-oncologist as opposed to a regular gyno. So I got a referral and made an appointment.  Now, leading up to it, I’m emotional.  This is a completely different situation now, because I’m not fighting for a surgery, I’m just taking the steps to protect myself.  So why am feeling this way? Why am I crying over this? I haven’t cried since the night before surgery (happy tears, when Jimmy Howard surprised me).  I think it’s because the organs I have to protect now aren’t disposable like my breasts were (disposable to me, at least).  I can’t very well just go in and cut out my uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.  I want to have children one day.  I’ve gone so far as to look into egg extraction and freezing (boy, is that expensive), so that I can get rid of the tubes and ovaries yet still carry biological children.  I know now, though, that “bravery feels like fear”.  I fear for what could happen, but I’m brave for taking the steps to make sure that ‘could’ turns into a ‘will not’.

I’m glad that I’m struggling with these feelings now, though, as opposed to in the Dr’s office (he thinks I’m too young to be consulting with him anyway. Imagine his reaction if I was sitting in the exam room crying).  So for now, I’m gonna be emotional and eat lots of ice cream and get a massage.  (Ha, the stereotypical breakup routine, except I’m breaking up with my body parts).

I’m still grateful that God (or whatever/whomever is in control here) gave me this gene for it has taught me more about myself in the past 3 years than I ever imagined possible, but sometimes it’s stinky. Right now it’s really stinky.  I’m still recovering (7 weeks post-op now) from chopping the girls off and it’s been difficult.  More difficult than I’ve made it seem to others, even my own family.  Recently my plastic surgeon told me something, “Kelly, you’re being too positive about this. I have women coming into my office thinking they’re going to bounce right back because that’s what they’ve seen you do”.  So, again I mention the ‘lying by omission’ clause in a post a few months ago.

Emotionally, yes, I bounced right back. At least initially.  Now, after lots of time to think and reflect, a great deal of the recovery sucks.  It sucks not being able to lay on your stomach.  It sucks not being able to hug your family as tight as you want to.  It sucks to be in the beginning of a fantastic relationship and not being able to cuddle.  But it’s getting better.  And all of these things are temporary.  I get my implants on August 14th, and then the rocks will be gone and I’ll (hopefully) be able to do all of these things that I can’t right now.  Physically, I can handle it all.  It still hurts sometimes, especially around the incision sites, but just like anything else does with time, it’s getting better.  As for psychological recovery, I’ve rocked it.  But that’s all mindset.  It’s all about how I went into this, boobs-first with no looking back.  I am the one in control of my future here.  I chose a breast-cancer-free life.  And that is why despite the lengthy post above talking about all the negatives, I am happier than ever before.

“No one tells you that bravery feels like fear. The bravest and most important acts you could ever make are those in which you fear of never having done them at all.”
– Mary Kate Teske

Countdown to my McBoobs

Remember when I said I had my last fill last week? Well I lied. The following weekend I tried on one of my old bras (one of the two I hadn’t given away) and there was at least 2 inches of clearance between where the skin was and the cloth started, if that makes sense. So now I was faced with a decision: try to get closer to my old size and face more pain and discomfort from the fills, or stay where I was at. I know I will never feel the same there again, but I could at least try to look as similar to my old self as possible, at least for my own psychological reasons (mastectomy recovery is hard, you have to be really tough to deal with the emotional side of it). So I talked it through with my surgeon yesterday and he agreed with me. So now I’m at 470cc going to 500. I’m at my breaking point though, as my chest muscle refuses to stretch any more so the expanders are pulling from my back now. My back muscles are literally being torn apart in different directions. This is more painful than the actual mastectomy. And of course this starts happening as soon as I go back to work. As a nanny. Where I lift children all day.

In the car on the way to work this morning at 6am I actually hit the level of pain that makes you scream “BALLS!” at the top of your lungs. I do have prescription pain pills I can take, but I don’t feel comfortable taking them when I’m at work. Where I’m at for 10-12 hours at a time. Lucky for me, the kids (seem to) understand and the eldest of them is super helpful.

Anyway, enough complaining. I got my new surgery date yesterday! (Ya know, the ones where I get rid of my rocks for actual real life implants) and it’s the week after I turn 21! Happy birthday to me!

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I also figured out what I’ll call the new boobs (expanders are known as foobs), they’ll be my “McBoobs” because they’re not real boobs 😂 I can’t take credit for that stroke of genius idea though, (you know who you are).

 

I made an appointment to see a new doctor, a gynecological oncologist. When I called to make the appointment and the receptionist asked for my birth date, I encountered some trouble. Actual dialogue:

Her: date of birth?
Me: 8-6-93
Her: 1983?
Me: no, 1993.
Her: he’s not going to want to see you.
Me: listen, I did not just chop my boobs off to have my ovaries do me in.
Her: July 3rd at 10am.

That’ll be an interesting appointment. I have a while before I’ll consider a salpingo-oophorectomy and hysterectomy (bye bye tubes, ovaries, and uterus) but I want to start doing baseline CA-125 tests. I’m sure I’ll have lots to say after that appointment!

Hope everyone is doing well! Besides the fill discomfort I am better than ever. Life is great and getting better. Let the countdown to surgery begin!

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Blog hits and Philidelphia and Scars, oh my!

So much to talk about today!

I’m reached 5,000 hits on this blog, holy moly.  I can’t believe that many people are interested in what I have to say.  Like everything else going on in my life, it’s very humbling.

I’m home from the FORCE conference! What a crazy experience. I met so many amazing people, including the one and only Annie Parker who not only listened to my whole story, but told me she admires me and is inspired by me. Me. This woman who has beaten cancer 3x is inspired by me? Jeez.

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It was so much fun hanging out with my boys again (the Pink and Blue crew, that is). Last time we saw each other was the week before/after my surgery. Not the best time to get to know each other and have lots of fun, so I was super happy I got the chance to spend more time with them this weekend.

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And my final talking point- I’M DONE WITH FILLS! YAHOO! That means no more needles in my nipples and I’m at the size I’ll be for my implants! I’m sort of sad, though, because the nurses at my plastic surgeon’s office are rockstars. I’ll miss seeing them every week! Thanks Denny and Debbie for being fantastic 🙂

The fills are a bizarre process. Basically they use a magnet and triple check where the port is in the expander, then mark it, put a needle through it, and fill the syringe up with saline and wing bam boom it’s in your foob.

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My scars are super cool looking, too. I have the actual incision scar and then a little scar below it where my drains were. I also have my “snake bite” scar in the middle of my chest where the pain pump was, but those are just two tiny dots. Be prepared for pictures if you scroll down!

Hope everyone is doing well.  Life just keeps getting better and better on my end.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the scars!

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