family tree

family tree

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 Steps forward, a couple steps back!!

Well I am not blogging as much as mind would like me to these days. I certainly always have a lot to say, but time does not warrent it always.


So I truly have done great with recovering from my PBM, and I know how lucky I am to have had such little complications. However, as I have become more active I have experienced more pain and discomfort. I think alot of nerve pain, regeneration perhaps and muscle pain. This is so difficult to swallow sometimes b/c it just reminds me of what I have been through over the last year. The business of life allows me to avoid and deny alot of life's curve balls!


Feeling my pec muscles pull across my chest frustrates me, or feeling an itch on the right side of my breast where I believe there is a stitch drives me insane at night when trying to sleep, or feeling the stretching under my armpit down to my ribcage at times stops me in my tracks. All of these feelings are things I would like to avoid. I am aware of my body, I know where things are now and what muscle is not happy for the day! These are things an untouched body does not experience. I want to feel untouched again.


It is difficult with the kids too, b/c I do not have a choice at times to not do things that perhaps aggravate my discomfort. Lifting the kids, doing massive amounts of laundry (yes my hubby should do it), cleaning, and just doing things I like doing! I enjoy moving furniture without waiting for my husband, or mowing the lawn, doing yard work. I sadly enjoy these things. I have found however, these motions are really making me uncomfortable.

So and the answer is easy, Do Not Do It! I know, it seems simple, but you just do not realize how much we take advantage of our bodies great abilities until we are restricted. I have some great information from other bloggers, which has been helpful. I feel I need to get myself back into physical therapy. I just can not seem to find the time to do this, and that is the saddest part b/c my purpose in this surgery was to take care of myself!

It is almost 6 months post op and I had to take a valium the other night to relieve some of the spasms under my arm. This helped slightly, but I was pretty annoyed that after this much time I need to revert to medications. I do frequently take ibuprofen, that has been my staple. Usually just once a day, but that depends on what I have done.

So overall I am still taking it day by day, or even week by week. This week is tolerable, last week I was slightly distressed !

Thanks for listening!

Kim

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting side-tracked by LIFE!!

I am sorry to have neglected my BRCA blogging and friends! It is not for any other reason than being swept up by the "real world". I returned back to work about a month ago and from there life took over. I am happy to say I have been less consumed with my BRCA mutation lately, which has steered me away from writing! However, I will wake in the middle of the night and have a rush of thoughts and discussions amongst myself! So it is all still a process!

The last I wrote I was struggling a bit with mobility and just adjusting to post operative BS. I was struggling a bit with anxiety and depression too I think. I feel as if I have regained a sense of self over the last month or so. Returning to work has helped me refocus my mind. I have less time to think about me, my body, my restrictions or feeling bad for myself. In being an oncology nurse practitioner, I am faced with what my life could be daily, so for right now, I feel so lucky and grateful I was able to take the measure I did to prevent this disease from affecting me directly.

However, I still have moments that I cry because I'm still scared. Or I get angry because I just want to be able to mow the lawn or move furniture without pain or being in pain the next day! So the emotions are still there, but I just have less time to feel bad for me! This is a good and bad thing. It is sureal sometimes that I actually went through all this. So there is some denial going on.

I stopped going to physical therapy because it was more of a holistic approach and I did not feel like it was helping me regain range of motion, but I did join the gym and I have started swimming. That is all I have really done and it felt pretty good actually. I was and still am very tight, but the water really stretches me out. I have not started weights, but I am able to do the rowing machine, only for a short time, and the eliptical. I only do 10-15 min on each machine, but I feel like it is a start for me. I still have a lot of numbness, but I have realized lately feeling is coming back under my arms and back. Breast/nipples are still numb.

The numbness is weird. I do not associate my foobs anymore with really anything. It is like they are not there. I do however have relief that when I look at myself in clothes and even naked, I look like I did before. I had unbelievable reconstruction results! I do not like them being touched by my husband or really myself. They do not really have purpose anymore. Depending on my mood, this reality bothers sometimes, but not always.

I am at times self conscious about how I look. I went swimming for the first time and was very nervous about putting a suit on. I wondered if they looked fake or if people thought "oh she has implants". But everyone tells me I look natural. And in most cases I agree. I did show some of my closest girlfriends my foobs, and they thought they looked great! They were actually surprised. I do realize that everyone has different reconstruction results, the process is different as well. I chose immediate reconstruction with nipple sparing, I know this is not for everyone!

I do feel lucky about how this process has been going. It has not been easy though, but I do read others blogs and know they have struggled in ways I have not. So feel fortunate in so many ways. I think we all process this experience differently, we move through at different paces, and we are faced with different external stressors.

At this point in my life my priority is being a mom and getting through raising them the best I know how. But also to be healthy and take care of myself. So the journey continues!

I will try to continue to write and be more informative and helpful to others going through this process!

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Looking For Answers and Answering Some of My Own Questions!? (Let me know your answers!)

It has been almost 7 weeks since my surgery (pbm). I have been having trouble writing and updating my blog, so I am sorry to all who read. I feel as if my emotions and thoughts are all over the place. I am healing nicely, pain is minimal, only taking ibuprofen occasionally, but I get physically exhausted and I am emotionally fragile. I never know what my mood will be. When I am tired, my mood is worse. I just feel like since the physical part of the surgery is improving and I am feeling stronger, my emotional state is weaker. Perhaps I am thinking more clearly, no pain meds, or the reality of what I have done is sinking in. I am not sure.

One minute I want to spread the word and feel so passionate about BRCA and the next I want this all to go away. I feel sad, lonely, frustrated, fearful and I second guess all of this. What if what I have done is not enough. What if, what if, what if.... Then I feel strong and powerful and want to help others get through this process and share my story.

I'm just all over the place. Which makes focusing on a topic impossible.

I have secluded myself a bit from friends and interactions. I actually went out for the first time the other night with a girlfriend and honestly it was nice. This weekend has been my first "real" full day by myself with the two kids. I did have my mom with me at the zoo! It 's been exhausting but actually nice to start feeling like MOM again. Not that I have not been one, but I did depend on others to really help me with them.

So what can I focus on to be helpful to others???? Perhaps I'll answer questions I would like answered by others!
So a reminder! I had a skin/nipple sparing silicone implant pbm!

How do I feel 7 wks post op?
My breasts feel heavy all the time and there is a lot of tightness in the chest area. Especially under my armpit, but nipple level. I feel as if there are hooks holding my breasts up! It is not painful, just weird! I feel as if I have a tight bra on all the time. I have not sensation on my breasts or under my arms and extending to my back. This is scary when shaving! I feel as if my breasts a bit saggy too! If you can believe that one! I feel like there is some scar tissue or skin puckering under my breasts, my scars look great is just feels heavy. I have been massaging the area, I do hope this goes away. I do notice at the end of the day I am a little sore in areas and have pulling in areas. I also am very sensitive to cold. Drinking cold products, being chilled, this becomes very uncomfortable and my muscles tend to tense up and it just does not feel right. So living in New England is not going to be great for me!

How do I feel emotionally?
Well that is a loaded question for me! I am seeing a social worker right now and started to before my surgery. This surgery has helped resurface some underlying shit in my life. So I do feel like this has been an emotional journey for me. I have a lot of fears still of getting cancer! That has not really left my mind. It is not intense, but there. However, with the amount of close family and friends that I have lost I think this fear has been en-grained in me forever. I am learning right now how to change my thinking and enjoy my life that I have right now! That ought to be interesting. I do not regret having this surgery though. I woke up from surgery feeling extremely confident in what I did. I know it was the right decision . I continue to struggle at times with guilt as well. Guilt of putting family through all this. I know it is crazy, but I do sometimes. The impact it has had on my husband and kids hurts me. Even though my children do not know what surgery I had, they know mommy was not "normal mommy" for sometime. I still can't give big hugs, roll around, just be me! And that hurts sometimes.

Has this changed your relationship with your husband?
Yes! It has added a stress in our life temporarily that we just did not need. My husband has been amazing and supported me through everything. He took care of me for a couple weeks after surgery, took care of the kids, house, everything. But about 3-4 weeks after surgery I think the stress of the "job" got to him. And as I looked better and did a bit more, the expectations were there. We really needed to take a step back and still do and think about why we did this. I also liked that I was being cared for by my husband, crazy huh ! but I am a complete control freak and I take care of most things, so having someone else care for me and the rest of the crap going on around us was really nice. I like that he was with me more and we reconnected in a sense. However for him, he was out straight and ON all the time! I know that is not easy. When I was tired or moody he could do nothing right either. No matter what he did or said, I was just overly sensitive too. I also feel like I owe my husband for being there for me. Which personally I too feel is ridiculous, but I feel that way. Or perhaps I think, how can I thank him for going through this with me! I am grateful I had him through this process, even though it has been hard on us!

Are you exercising?
I'm walking that is it, and just started stretching. I do not feel like I was guided good here. I was not referred to a physical therapist, I go back and forth about whether I need that anyway, but I do feel like I want to be guided a little more. I tend to do start out a little quickly. I was weeding the other day, doing housework, back to lifting. I just do not do things gradually. I have noticed my range of motion is pretty restricted in my arms and underarms, so I really want to stretch and strengthen this area. I was spinning before the surgery, and hope to get back to that. I just get so freaking tired all the time!

Fatigue???????
I have a lot of fatigue and it gets me very upset. I get tired, I get emotional and cranky. Which I am sure happened to me before this surgery. The fatigue is just physical at times and that is not what I am used to. I also do not sleep well, so I know that is not helping. Laying on my side is still very uncomfortable, so moving in bed is frustrating. I am nervous b/c I am going back to work in a week and my days are long and emotionally draining, so this scares me a bit.

Has this changed you?
I do feel like this has changed me! And I do wonder where this road will take me. I am someone who feels I have been given a challenging and bumpy life path. I do feel as if this path has however made me who I am and given all the great things I have. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, but I have struggled sometimes with finding the reason. Sometimes shit just happens right! I work in the oncology world and have made it sort of my life, my passion. As an oncology nurse practitioner I am faced with cancer and what it does on every level there is. Having personally watched my brother live and die of cancer I have experienced that level as well. I just wonder if this is all too much. I wonder how I will feel sitting across from my breast cancer patients. Will I have it in me, will it instill fear in me, will I feel stronger, will I tell them what I went through? I just don't know! Will this whole experience lead me down a different road?

I hope some my answers help others! Please respond and answer some of the questions for me! I am certainly always looking for guidance!

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Variant of Uncertain Significance- Not so Insignificant!

Today I write with a heavy heart. My mother's bestest- bestest girlfriend from childhood is quickly losing her battle with cancer. Lynda has been my mother's friend since they were 10 years old. They had sleep overs together, learned to drive together, dated together, were each others maid of honors, raised their children together, became grandmother's together and have lived fully a life of loyalty and true companionship to one another. And we are losing her! And I ache and I mourn deeply a life without her.

Lynda was first diagnosed with breast cancer in her 30's, she was treated, and then re-diagnosed with a second breast cancer in her 40's, she was treated, in her late 50's she developed another breast cancer, underwent treatment, had a BL mastectomy, ovaries out, and was doing well. Obviously three separate breast cancers was concerning to her and anyone. She was tested for BRCA mutation, and was told it was a variant of uncertain significance. Obviously, going through all these cancers had taken a toll on Lynda and her family. We all just took big deep breathes each time she had a doctor appointment. It was about 9 months ago when Lynda was then diagnosed with a Sarcoma of the lung, she had a one whole lung removed, underwent multiple testing and screening, and all were hopeful that the cancer would be gone, but of course this was now a new cancer and her fourth diagnosis. WTF!

Lynda was recovering at home for a few months, and doing ok, she was able to enjoy her grand-daughter and kids, she went with my mom for their rides and shopping, but she was not herself.
About a month ago, Lynda started having some difficulty talking, and of course her family and all were concerned. It was confirmed that disease had spread to her brain. Tragic! She underwent whole brain radiation, and within two weeks of finishing she continued to not do well. After further testing it was then confirmed her disease was pretty much everywhere. It still makes me speechless. About three weeks ago, Lynda's doctor's basically told her family that there was nothing else they could do for her as far as treatment. She should go home and be with family. They also informed them that the uncertain significant genetic results that they had received ended up being found to be BRCA 2 +. The MD had said this was her first patient this has ever happened too. That a genetic result overtime and with greater research ended up being re-categorized to a BRCA mutation. Lynda was at the time upset, and of course worried about her girls, but was also slowly shutting down; her daughters were not overly surprised, but this now meant something more as far as it affecting them genetically.

So this is what surprised me about Lynda's the news. That the results of variant uncertain significance means it is unknown at this time if the genetic sequence is at all with disease risk, it is not yet classified. These variants are studied overtime and this is how genetics are being brought about and found, with time. In case, her genetic variant with detailed research has been re-categorized, so she is now in fact BRCA 2 +. Her daughters were both tested last week, as well as Lynda's sister. By the way, Lynda's mother died of Pancreatic cancer at a young age.

Lynda was transferred today to a hospice home after her daughter's and husband lovingly and selflessly care for her at home for the last month. She now lays comfortably surrounded by an outrageous number of friends and relatives who sit vigil at her side. My mother, her best friend, her person, sits too.

I feel blessed because my husband brought me to see Lynda on friday when she was alert and aware of things and people around her. She asked me about my surgery, how I was feeling, we all laughed about the times we had as kids growing up with them as our crazy mothers. We filled the room with great memories and laughter, and I hope that gave Lynda a sense of peace and joy. She was quiet most of the time, but she smiled and laughed. She stared at me many times, just speaking with her eyes. I know she knew she was leaving us soon, and let me tell you she is a fighter, but her spoke to me with calmness in her, she did not look scared really. I know however, she wanted to live a long life with her kids, husband, grandchild and friends. This was not in the plan.

I remember when my brother died Lynda was the one who took charge. She just always knew what my mom needed. Not only did she help raise all of us through my brother's 12 year battle with brain cancer, but she knew how to be my mother's friend through it all. They talked multiple times a day and that was so normal for them. So when my brother died, I had to come home from college, and I had nothing appropriate for a wake or funeral. Lynda brought my sister and I to the mall to find a dress. (she also helped with prom dress shopping as well). I was just not in to it, and we decided to leave, she grabbed my hand, brought me to her closet and said try this on, you can one of my dresses. So there I was, 21 years old at my brother's funeral, wearing my mother's best friends black dress. I am so grateful for that dress and for her ability to make things easy and right.

I could truly write forever about Lynda, and really think I should right a book about my life and the people in it. You would never believe the drama and loss that we have had, but we have also prevailed and we have remained a strong, bonded group of friends that we call family. I am devoted to all of them for life.

What does this all mean ? What are the chances of my mother and her best friend from childhood both being BRCA positive? What are the chances of their daughter all being positive as well and being faced with the same fears, decisions, statistics? It is just mind boggling.

So as I sit hear in the silence of my home, covered in tears, recovering from a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, BRCA 1 +, I breathe a sigh of relief and fear. Relief and gratitude that I knew at a young age my risk, my genetic predisposition, and that I was able to make a choice to fight this disease and do what I can to prevent it from attacking my own family. A sigh of fear because I wonder if what I've done is enough. Is what I've done going to really keep cancer away from me. Will find another place to go, another organ? It just makes me scared. Is there ever enough that one can do. I guess I just have the peace of knowing I did whatever I could do at this moment and time. And what will be, will be!

So tonight I dedicate this blog to all those affected by this disease and to all those who have fought like hell to beat it, but did not! Their strength and courage will always guide us through and inspire us to live life every second that we can.

I love you Lynda and will remember every moment we had together and for teaching me about friendship, loyalty, laughter, motherhood and always dressing for success! :-)

Thanks for listening!
Kim


Monday, August 16, 2010

Frustrated!

I'm feeling frustrated and guilty still today. Mondays is normally a day that I am home with the two kids myself; my day off of work. Well these days have turned out to be extremely difficult during recovery. My husband returns to work tomorrow, and he has basically hit a wall taking care of all three of us constantly. Sitting in my bed or on the couch "recovering" is nearly impossible when you see the stress in my husband's eyes. He is doing an amazing job, but I need him to stay strong and confident in is ability to handle all this.

My son, who I expected, is having a difficult time with all the changes. He is having nightmares, does not like school anymore, and is really misbehaving in all areas. He is only four, and he is so sensitive and intuitive to change. So of course this is stressful for both my husband and I. We of course worry about our kids. And when you can't fix it, change it, or make it better the guilt sets in again. Then in my head I blame myself for all those around me struggling. Ridiculous, I know!

And honestly, I should be taking care of me right now! How quickly it is forgotten that mommy has booboos and still should not be doing half the stuff I am. Oh well! I'm aloud to have a bit of a pity party too!

Well tomorrow will hopefully be a new and better day!

Stay strong my BRCA friends!
Kim

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Surgery was 18 days ago. I am doing well. I have gone the whole day today just taking ibuprofen. I had to take percocet tonight because I just get tight and sore, and my skin is sensitive. The percocet tends to take the edge off and it last a while. My underarms get really uncomfortable, that seems to be where the most discomfort actually is. I am getting to a point where a feel good, almost too good and try to push it a bit. I do light dishes, laundry, pick up a bit, I have even gone against docs orders and lifted my daughter. It is so hard not to do things around the house when I know my husband is doing everything, the kids are crazy, but I regret this later in the day. I get so fatigued it is draining. I can say I actually feel guilty sometimes and then I think WHAT, GUILTY!

So lets talk about the guilt women carry with them. I am speaking from a married woman's perspective, but I feel like most women are this way. I can say I have had moments of blaming myself for throwing a wrench in my families routines and life. Going through this surgery you need friends and family to help you! There is no way I could do it without them. I have had my parents and sister help, my in laws, and sister in law, my friends. My husband has taken his vacation to take care of me and the kids and the house. My surgery was scheduled with my husband and I knowing exactly what would be a good time for us and his time away from work. I feel bad for inconveniencing our life. That this is even something we have to deal with.

And then I take a look at myself in the mirror or feel the pulling or fatigue from surgery and think, hello I am the one who had my breasts removed, who is restricted from enjoying the rest of summer, from playing with my kids, laying on my side, sleeping through the night, why am I feeling guilty. I did this for them, for my life! What is wrong with my mind, with women, why do we carry these burdens.

I also feel like the more I do, the more I am expected to do. From myself and my husband. Now he is always telling me to stop lifting, and go rest, but the guilt makes me think he is getting frustrated with me, so I do it.

I know each day will get better and I need to continue using people for help, and I need to put the guilt in the closet. There is a reason I suppose my doctor said 8 week recovery.

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hopeful, confident, and Revived!

I am two weeks post prophylactic bilateral mastectomy!!! And to all of you who have read my past posts and to all of you reading for the first time, I have made it through my surgery amazingly. I went into surgery with so many fears, apprehensions, anxiety, and confusion; I have come out of surgery feeling revived, strong, confident, relieved, hopeful and HAPPY! I have not felt hopeful, happy or excited for a long time.

So lets walk through my last week...
My surgery was July 28th. My last day of work was friday before that so I had a few days to let all the anxiety sink in even more. I literally felt like all the air was getting sucked out of me. My emotions had exhausted me. My husband and I however managed to celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary in the North End of Boston on Saturday and I truly had one of the best nights with him. I woke up the next day with that empty feeling again however and continued to count the days to surgery. Tuesday I had to go to nuclear medicine at the hospital and meet the surgical nurse practitioner to inject the dye into both my breasts for the sentinel node biopsy. I have to say I was so nervous and anxious about his "procedure". I could not imagine getting something injected with a needle into my breast/nipples. Let me say, I hardly felt a thing. I left there feeling like I had expended so much energy on this freaking injection and I felt nothing. It did burn a bit, but painful is not a word I would use. That night my husband brought my kids to his mom's and I cried my eyes out and felt so bad for myself. Basically had a pity party!

The next morning July 28th, we woke up at 4:45 am to head into Boston for surgery. I medicated myself with a little Ativan, which let me tell you prevented me from going over the emotional edge. My sister and mother met us at the hospital, which was comforting as well. My family has a way of just relaxing each other in times of difficulty. We laughed, we joked, and it guided me into the OR that morning.

I have to say every single nurse I encountered was unbelievable. I am proud to be a nurse after the care I recieved from these people that never knew me. Even the physicians were great. The second I checked into the extremely busy surgical area at 6 am, he process began. I was greeted by the nurse who held my hand and felt my emotional pain and concern and just made me feel so secure. I was introduced to the anesthesia team and they explained to me the paravertebral nerve block that they have been now routinely doing pre mastectomy. This involves me lying on my stomach and the anesthesiologist injecting a "numbing" medication into the nerve area surrounding the spine. The medication is injected in the vertebral area near the scapulas. This medication then follows the nerve pathway along the back and front of the chest. Research at MGH has shown to dramatically decrease post operative pain after a bilateral mastectomy within the first 12-48 hours. The level of pain is blocked from this medication so the intensity is not so severe. I was so scared to have this done because in my head, any needles going near or in my spine scare the shit out of me. I did not want and epidural with my first born out of fear of long term damage. This is my crazy nurse brain taking over! I of course am so grateful I went through with this procedure.

The injection into my vertebral space did not hurt at all, a little stings here and there, but honestly, again, worried over nothing. They did however give me a little medication to relax before hand, but I was completely awake for the procedure. It was after this that the rest is foggy. I remember saying good bye to my family and husband, but really did not feel much emotion at that time, which I am so grateful for. I thought saying goodbye would be hard, thank God for medication. I then was wheeled away calmly, peacfully, and surrounded by supportive, caring people.

I woke up 7 hours later to my husband and parents. It is all still foggy, but I really just remember feeling good. It is not really the physical discomfort I think of, it is the emotional aspect. I just felt happy, relieved, like a huge weight was lifted. It was all behind me. I was at that moment looking ahead from the moment I woke up. I was of course uncomfortable and groggy, nothing that morphine can not fix. I was in recovery for a few hours, resting, visiting with my family and being evaluated. I have to say I had the most amazing care and nurses. I know they knew I was a nurse, but they just treated me with such relaxed, sincere and humorous care. Which is what I prefer. Laughter goes a long way in difficult times.

I then was brought to my room where I was settled in. I stayed for two nights. I felt really good, the pain was there, but well controlled with medications. I was placed in a cotton bra, with a 3 inch binder that went above my breasts. I had four drains, two in each axilla area. My chest felt heavy and sore. The day after surgery they started me on percocet for pain, and off the IV morphine. The pain was well controlled with the transition, but I did have some nausea and vomited a few times. This is what happens when you do not eat and take pain meds. So I quickly found that out. I was up and walked a short distance the night of surgery, and then the hallways the day after. I was a little dizzy the first time, and then realized I just have to keep doing it.

I went home two days later, and was certainly ready. I was not ready to go the day after surgery, which I know some people do. I spent the first week just resting, napping and letting people care for me and my kids. This of course has been the hardest. The day my kids got home was hard. Hard b/c my my husband and I were tired, it was alot of responsibility for him to care for all of us and the kids wanted there mommy, and I just could not hold them. I was able to have snuggle time with my son, who is 4, as long as I had a pillow in front of my chest, I let my daughter, whose one, sit on my lap, but that was a bit scary at times b/c she just moves and crawls all over you. But overall, I felt good. Pain was not holding me back. I think it was more the restriction of lifting and range of motion of my arms and the drains. I did have noticeable nerve discomfort. The skin under my arms and bicep area was very sensitive for about a week. That has gotten better of the last week and 1/2 though.

I did experience constipation, so take your stool softeners!

I gradually was coming off my percocets day by day and even doing probably more than I should around the house. Tripping over kids toys and crumbs on the counter are what makes me crazy. So ten days after surgery I had my first follow up appointment with the nurse practitioner and she removed two of the four drains. I did take two pain pills before I left because I of course was nervous about this and thought it would be painful. It was NOT! Having the stitch removed was more uncomfortable. Having the tape removed actually felt good to me, b/c I was so freaking itchy in that area. It just really felt strange having the drain removed, it is about 6 inches in you. I felt a huge difference in my armpit area after just the two were removed, my range of motion was better, and discomfort was better.

So I felt like everything was looking up, until sunday night I developed a sharp, stabbing, burning pain around my drain site on the right. It came sharp and fast. Stopped me in my tracks. I took pain meds, and went to bed. Assumed I had done a bit too much that day. I woke up the next day with the same pain. It was truly the worst pain I have ever had. If I moved a certain way or took deep breath or just unpredictable movement, the pain came on. I cried and yelled b/c of this pain. And that is not me! I called the doctors office and they felt it was the drain hitting a nerve in that area, and then some muscle spasms on top of it. As the swelling and drainage decreases the drain moves a bit and can change positions, changing it's purpose. I also had the visiting nurse at my house at the time, and thankfully she calmed me and advised I request the drains to be removed b/c my drainage was low enough for this to happen. The nurse practitioner called in some valium for me, which did work! Thankfully! She said sometimes it will not help, b/c nerve pain is tough to treat, but the spasms should be relieved. I spent that day feeling pretty annoyed and set back. I knew I was going to go to the doc the next day and request the drains be out. Could not deal with that pain again.

Woke up the next day, had to take a valium for the pain, drove into Boston and within 5 minutes, last two drains were removed without any discomfort and I had no more nerve pain. My armpit areas felt less tight and I felt like my range of motion was better. I was told I am still restricted from lifting until I see my surgeon friday, but usually 4 weeks of no lifting. This is so hard with my daughter, but I certainly do not want my implants to move. I also realized after having the drains removed where I was feeling the most discomfort and from what . I felt more aware of the actually surgery and implants.

As far as my cosmetic results, I feel so blessed and happy with my decision and the amazing hands of my oncologist and plastic surgeon. My foobs, look like my old boobs. They are fuller and do move, but they are the same size, symmetrical, and smooth. I am noticing as my swelling goes down I can see more chest muscle then breasts. But honestly I can not even complain, I am so happy with how they look. I feel a lot of tightness in the armpit area, and think I am having more discomfort from the nerves being cut. My skin is very sensitive to touch under both my arms and on areas on foobs. I also feel bruised if I press on my upper chest wall muscle, to be expected. I can not feel my foobs or the nipples, they are numb. It feels as if I am wearing a tight sports bra all the time, even if I have nothing on. I can not feel change in temperature, but I do feel like my nipples respond to touch, I don't feel it, but they change in appearance a little. I am two weeks out of surgery and I take two percocet in the am and two at night, and feel pretty good. I did take tylenol in between and assume it helped me.

I think fatigue is the one thing that I have noticed also. Fatigue is something that personally gets me frustrated and down a bit. I am a go go go person. So napping during the day or resting is tough. Don't get me wrong I enjoy my TV time and time alone, but I wonder how my strength will increase and how prepared I will be for going back to work. However, I know with each day I get stronger.

So emotionally I woke up from surgery feeling strong, happy, confident, and hopeful. I did not think or work on these thoughts or emotions, they are just present. I did not think about my pain, or my scars, I thought about my strength, my courage, my life, my kids, my husband, my family, my new niece that I will soon meet. I felt hopeful for the first time in my life. I thought about Christmas with my kids, and running around with them, and watching them grow and just be! These feelings have not left me yet either, of course I feel tired and frustrated, but that is because I am anxious and excited to live. And that is why we make this decision.

My visiting nurse whom I met once, entered my bedroom as I was hysterically crying about the nerve pain. She calmly talked me down, made me feel like me again, saw my husband, my kids, my new breasts, my weakness and her last words to me was that I was so brave and she admired my courage and my decision. She made me feel proud and confident in my choice, and made me believe her words.

So to all of you who are in my shoes, we are admirable, strong, selfless women. We were given what can be an unfortunate opportunity to see our future, and we have decided to change it, take it on, and not let it take us. We will have ups and downs, perhaps doubt ourselves sometimes, but we are strong!

Stay strong my friends, and thanks to all who have sent me well wishes and strength. It is your stories that have lifted me and guided me! How lucky are we all!!!

Kim

Monday, August 9, 2010

Surgery is OVER!

To all who have wondered and wished me well. I am a week and 1/2 out of my PBM. I am doing well. Today was a rough day, but I see a light. I don't have it in me to write yet, I have so much to say and share, but overall I am doing well. I also got my pathology back and no cancer or precancerous cells. I feel lucky, grateful, relieved and hopeful about the weeks and years to come.
Stay tuned for a detailed view into my experience.

Love to all who are getting ready for surgery and preparing and to all recovering! We are remarkable women!

Kim

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just said good bye to my kids!!

Well I have officially lost my shit! I have no control over my emotions what so ever. My husband had to bring my children
to my mother in laws alone b/c I just could not do it. I did not want my kids seeing me upset, I have shown them none of that. Just the thought of leaving them for a few days breaks my heart. I am a rational thinker as well. I know they will be fine, I know they are well cared for. But I am angry b/c this whole damn gene is keeping me from them, and from them for weeks.

I know in the end I will be happy and have relief. But right now rationalizing is a bit hard. My bags are packed, I had my nuclear med injection done today for the sentinel node biopsy. Which by the way I was freaking out with anxiety about. The thought of putting a small, sharp needle into my nipple or around it just did not settle with me. My MD gave me "EMLA" creme, which it did actually work, it numbed the area around the injection site and really just stung a bit. AHHHHHH! Big breath. I was so relieved, and also thought myself at that point to be crazy.

So I sit here alone in my bedroom on my computer allowing my brain to rummage through all the crazy thoughts I have. I just really want this day to come to an end, so this whole life changing journey can be behind me. I am ready to look back on it now. The journey has been exhausting for me.

I also wanted to let others know that I received a great basket to help me prepare and go through my mastectomy from http://embracingmastectomy.com
I have also received some great personal advice and support from a kind woman who organizes this company, Elizabeth. So thank you Elizabeth for all your support and check out the site.

Well wish me luck all! And thank you to all of you bloggers who have been there or floating around in the same boat. You have truly lifted me up and given me stregnth to go forward with this.

Luck to all....
My journey continues...
Kim

Our Husbands...

Woke up this am feeling overwhelmed, sick stomach and uncontrollable tears. I layed in bed and heard the chaos of children in the morning and I had to dig really deep to join them. Put on a happy face right. My husband has truly been amazing,and has been my rock through this.

He has been the silent strength that has guided me through this last year. He has kept his own fears and concerns to himself. We have talked about what we have needed to talk about, but kept it simple. This is our coping mechanism I guess. He just feels it is something that needs to be done, so we accept it, embrace it, and move through it.

We have been married six years on july 31st. This anniversary will be one we will never forget. The true strength of our marriage is being challenged right now. I know this is not easy for him. He will be taking on all of the burdens that I can not, but I think he will come out of this a better person, with more awareness and appreciation. I hope it helps us grow stronger as a couple.

Well to my husband,thank you for being my back bone right now! I love you!

THanks for listening!
Kim

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Just Keep Swimming, just keep swimming"!

My roommates from college always called me "kimmy boombatz" when my tough side would appear. Of course I especially thought this was funny, b/c I never viewed myself as a tough girl. I try to avoid conflict all at cost. However, when I am in it, I do show another side. I never had a "girl fight", but I have found myself in sticky situations, but I always solve them some what rationally. So this side of me, "kimmy boombatz" I have decided is who I need to be present to get me throughout his freaking surgery. I have a day left, and I am in the hands of some of the best surgeons in the world. Which I feel very grateful for, but I am scared shitless.

I am emotional as all hell about my kids. I told my son last night and he took it like such a trooper. He is four, and let me tell you, nothing gets by this kid. He told me he would help me, and watch lots of movies with me, his biggest question and concern was would I let him eat popcorn in bed! Of course I will! What an amazing child. My daughter is my little "hemorrhoid", I like to call her with the upmost respect! :-). She is only 15 months old and is a mommy's girl. She want me for everything. To hug her, hold her, play with her. I love it, I love her, but how the hell am I am going to do this with her being like this. She is great when she is with someone else and I am not around, but if I am around she wants me. I don't want to be apart from her for long periods of time either. So I am nervous about her!

I have not talked to many of my friends either lately. Simply because I can not! I cry, I get emotional. I just am trying to stay within myself and my family right now. Being tough as nails, like kimmy boombatz is how I have to be, this other side of me is making me weak and too scared. I need to feel fearless, and confident.

I got a call for the anesthesiologist today who asked me about receiving a paravertebral nerve block before my surgery. They are performing these as standard of care now, but of course can decline it. I think I am going for it! Nervous though. I hate anesthesia, bottom line. Anyone have this done??? I also have to go and have my dye injected into my boobs tomorrow for the sentinel node biopsy. This too is freaking me out! I just can not imagine this feels ok! Anyone??????

Well the time is nearing that I must release myself to medicine and a greater being. Work really hard on getting kimmy boombatz to show up that morning.

To sum it all really! I feel like Nemo's dad, in finding Nemo.... "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming"!!!

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebration of Life

Today I spent the day with my little sister, showering her and her baby-to-be. Watching her over these past months grow a little baby is amazing, but watching her turn into a mother is even more touching. I have had two children myself, but to see my little sister who I shared a room with, a bath tub, our childhood and life with just fills me with such joy. Joy that has been tough to come by these days. It was so nice to think and focus on a new life that is about to come into this world.

My sister is too BRCA +, and has decided to start her family before she goes about surgery. Her body is doing as it is supposed to do right now in the process of growing a child. It is natural and organic; and she truly looks amazing. I think about what I am about to do and I am in a way taking away the organic-ness of my body. The most natural way of feeding and developing a child will be taken from me. What makes me feel feminine and sexual at times will be taken from me. What I spent my adolescents hiding because I felt I was too young for breasts, will be taken from me. These are the thoughts that make me sad and makes me wonder how I feel after the surgery is done, and what I will feel about the new breasts I will have. Will they be "ME".

With those fearful and negative thoughts come a sense of relief as well. I am relieved to have this year behind me, to have a sense of security in my body, to be able to move forward and live a long, healthy life. I know this will be but a moment in my life I learn from and hope I take away from it enough strength and courage to help others who too face these challenging decisions.

So I guess as I am mourning the loss of my natural breasts, I can not help but think about how much they could take away from me and what this mutation has taken from my own mother and all those before her. So I must embrace this knowledge, be thankful I have found an amazing surgeon, and allow myself to feel all the emotions that are part of making this choice and I will celebrate life, the life that I will have after this surgery and the little life that I will part of in my sisters belly!

A week and 1/2 left...

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Monday, July 12, 2010

Butterfly Kisses

Tonight I sat rocking my little girl in the chair to snuggle her while she had trouble getting back to sleep. I am not one for rocking my kids to sleep, just b/c I have heard bedtime nightmares with kids depending on it. But of course when they need their love and snuggles I am open arms. As I sat holding her, I felt a soft rub against my cheek,,,it was her long, little eyelashes. "Butterfly kisses". Ahh, it made my heart melt and tears just started falling.

It is those moments that have made the decision to have pbm a no brainer. Those are the moments I need to be here for. I want to be able to experience fully my children's life and their own growth. I also feel the sadness for myself in some way too. As she lay against my chest tonight I thought am I going to feel this in two months. Will it feel the same to hug and lay with my kids. I will never be able to breast feed again, and how am I going to tell a one year old mommy can't hold you. That breaks me up inside. I know it is temporary, but it really weighs heavy at times. The emotions and thoughts go from one extreme to another.

As July 28th come near, I feel that this journey is becoming more of an emotional one rather than a physical one. It is not just about losing a part of myself, but trying to think and prepare for the unknown. Anticipation! There is the rational, medical side of me who knows things will be hard in the beginning then gradually become normal again. Then the irrational, emotional, analytical side who fears this surgery will change who I am forever, and nothing will be what it was; that being my life. Those are two very big differences in thinking. It goes beyond a mastectomy, I am rethinking my whole life, and with the way my life has been, I am reliving the roller-coaster, but looking at it in a whole different light. Perhaps it is looking at my own mortality, how fragile our bodies are, and how our bodies can turn on us at any moment.

It is the thought of not feeling safe in my own body that I frequently feel these days. Who doesn't feel safe in their own body? And I am not ill! As my breast surgery comes closer, the fear of ovarian cancer lurks in the background. Last month I was convinced I had something going on with my ovaries. It consumed me at times. I do not consider myself to be a paranoid person, but I had fear in my bones. I thought, great I am going to remove my breast, and then get diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is never ending. Will I ever trust this body? Will this surgery give me peace?

In order to move forward and stay positive, I will embrace and hold onto my butterfly kisses. And be thankful for everyday!

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Telling Friends and Family!

So I have been thinking alot about how to personally explain to friends and family my choice in going forward with surgery. I know, most people may say who cares, this is your decision. But I do not enjoy elephants in the room. I want to be the one to tell people, I do not want to be part of a rumor mill or "hey did you hear, conversation". My mind is made up, but I do care about what people know and feel this is my opportunity to "teach" people what BRCA is all about and how important it is to truly understand it's implications and impact on our lives.

Now my words will only be shared with those friends and family members I am close too or consider important in my life. Unfortunately, with life being what it is, I do not get to talk or see these people as much as I would like, so I feel for that reason I want them to understand my choices and what I have been going through over the last year or so. I of course have many people who do know, but I have not really been the one telling them. My mom has helped pass the word along. I tend to get emotional when really talking about it. I never know when it is going to hit either. Sometimes I can talk freely about it, and other times, I just get scared and cry! So that is why I feel a letter is my best bet. I just do not want to run into a friend and have it be awkward. Probably more awkward for me, and this will be something I will have to gain with time. Regaining confidence and confidence in my choice. I have no doubt this is what I have to do, but it does not make explaining any easier.

Let me know if you have any ideas in telling family or friends about your experience.

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Date Is Set!

I frequently check my blog and other's blogs and I realize that we all take BRCA breaks. I get deeply taken in by my BRCA life, and then I can completely shut it off. In making some the most important decisions of my life, I have sort of shut out and off talking about it all. I do not recommend this as a good coping mechanism. In fact I have been finalizing alot of details and I have been finding myself pulling away from people and my supports.

This whole journey has actually resurfaced a lot of old "issues" for me. Issues being emotions. I finally listened to all the people who recommended me go and talk with someone about this whole process to help guide me through or sort things out. So I started seeing a social worker who has experience with grief, breast cancer patients, etc. My first meeting with her felt as if she lifted a weight off my shoulders. She freed me of so many emotions that have been building and boiling within. So I have found it so helpful to talk with someone who does not know me personally, judge me, and can guide me without having a personal opinion .

So with that being said I scheduled my surgery date. July 28th will be my bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. I still can not believe those words are coming out of my mouth. I truly believe I am in a bit of denial. I think denial and staying really busy will get my ass into the operating room a little easier, but my denial scares me b/c I worry about what will happen after surgery. Will it hit me like a ton of bricks?

I feel a lot of stress building about caring for my kids. They seem to be my biggest concern with this whole thing. Then everything else follows. I have a great support system, but I do not really know how I am going to feel and what I will actually need. I am a very private person too, so I am particular with who I have around me. Maybe I sold say I am an emotional person and need to have people around me who understand me! My little girl is into everything, not walking yet, but needs constant watching, and getting all her teeth at once. My husband is great, but these are things mommies just tend to get deal with better. My son is 4, and a very sensitive smart child. He is beyond his years and is very much a thinker. There is no pulling the wool over his eyes, and I do not know what or how I will explain this to him. He always wants to know who, what , where,when and why! I trying to figure all those out myself. I just want my family to be least affected by this. Maybe they could send me away and I can come back a new woman! yeah right.

Well the count down begins!
Thanks for listening
Kim

Friday, March 19, 2010

BRCA screening!

After a very stressful week of my basement flooding, no hot water or heat and an approaching party for my daughter christening approaching, I had to end it with the anxiety provoking BRCA screening! My six months are up, and I find myself driving in to Boston not for a nice Italian meal in the north end, but for blood work, IV's, poking and prodding.

The process of preventative screening for me at least, is not something that I think about the day it comes. It is something that gradually intensifies within me. I know the days are approaching and that the tests need to be done. I spend time thinking about it and planning. I never realize how much it does affect me until I wake up the morning of and I just feel this heaviness inside me. All day at work, I found myself looking for big deep cleansing breathes. I felt hot and sweaty, I felt rushed and a sense of urgency within me, as if my adrenaline was slowly leaking out all day. Let me tell you, exhausting!

I of course was late for my vaginal ultra sound, that could have been because it is not exactly a pleasant exam to have. Actually, that is the least of the test that I dislike. I then waiting 1 hour and 15min for my GYN/Onc appt. Nothing like reading people magazine and the flyers that coat the walls of the exam room in nothing but a hospital gown. I then had to rush to my breast MRI. Now the MRI is something that causes such anxiety for me. I am not afraid of it, I can take the IV, the contrast dye, but it takes everything I have to relax myslef and stay still for 45 minutes in a loud, banging, tubular machine. I spend the entire time focusing on my breathing, my position, and my thoughts. I tell myself to think happy thoughts, literally! And then the dye goes in, and that is just a strange feeling that makes me wonder what exactly is all this doing to my body? I'm now having a dye injected through my veins for help indentify breast cancer, but what is this affecting! So frustrating.

Once the testing is completed, I just need a moment of time to breathe and be "with me". Sort things out in my head, and arrange all the thoughts that have just been running through my head. I of course drove myself for a satisfying ice cream treat. I deserved it! There really is nothing like eating ice cream by yourself, gotta love it!

So this is our choice! We can every 6 month have screening done when you are BRCA +. vaginal US, CA 125 blood work, pelvic exam, breast MRI alternating with mamogram and breast exams. Or, we can have a radical prophylactic mastectomy and oophyrectomy. I have yet to have the surgeries, but know the pressure and stress that is brought on by frequent screening for me and hope that by undergoing these surgeries that I would rather not have to chose from bring me some peace.

With the security of knowing my risk of cancer decreases drastically I can not help but worry about what happens when it is all over. Just because I have the surgery does not mean I am no long BRCA +. It is still there, it is still part of me. What are the issues that I will have down the road, emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually, and socially. I know when I make a decision, it is because I know it is the right one. What will happen when someone disagrees with my choice, will I take it personally? Will I be insecure in my own body? Will I feel physically attractive? So many questions, that I know will only be answered as I experience them. I suppose that is life, right!

Well now I need to put this crazy day in my pocket and get ready for my daughters christening. Life goes on...

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Check out Courage is My Strength!

Found a new video and blog! Great story and extremely brave of her to share her journey in such detail. Check it out... www.courageismystrength.com/blog/.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BRCA on You Tube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GwdZIqJf8g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bGkUQBw1Rs&NR=1


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fitting into my BRCA Genes!: Think, Damn it!

Fitting into my BRCA Genes!: Think, Damn it!

Think, Damn it!

Think, think, think!!
Why can I not focus or think about the decisions and choices I have to make. I am trying desperately to decide on a date to have my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. Searching for that perfect time in my chaotic life to strip myself of my woman parts. (I know negative nelly!) But for some reason I just keep shutting off the thoughts. Putting them away in a tidy little box in my head. Maybe later! Maybe I'll take that thought out later, and I go about the rest of my day.

What frustrates me about the inability to think about this, is I want to be emotionally and mentally prepared for this surgery. Not thinking about it, is not going to benefit me. I read so many blogs about the in depth search woman take into themselves in making these choices, and I am not even close to doing any of this. There is no self exploration going on in my head. WHY?

I have my follow up appointment today with the oncologist. Perhaps this will trigger some thoughts. I also feel somewhat of a time constraint in making these decisions. I have two young children who will need to be cared for. The month of July is when my husband is off from work. So obviously, this would be an ideal time. He can deal with the kids as I am healing. I also have one of my girlfriends who I have asked to be, "my person" through this. She will be able to help me out as well. I do believe I will need a "person"/Friend to be there. There are just things that "men/husbands" will not understand. Don't get me wrong my husband has supported me through all of this, but I do not believe he truly has a handle on the possible impact it may have. On both of us! I also need to give work a heads up about when I will be out. Stress!

I worry because I may come off as a pretty confident person, but it is always that confident person who really has the insecurities. I have always been insecure about my weight, my body image, etc, even though I am not considered "overweight". I am battling baby weight right now, and had hoped to lose all of it by surgery time. Yeah, that is happening! NOT! Just me being a woman I suppose. I have become more accepting of my body as I have gotten older and have had children, but I certainly do not feel like walking around in my underwear and bra anymore. What am I talking about, I never did that! Anyway, this worries me b/c how am I going to feel with no breasts! Am I going to hide myself from my husband or always worry what people are saying while I'm in bathing suit? So many fears and questions.

There is this part of me that says, "just wait, do it in a couple years!" But I will freaking flip if I was diagnosed with breast cancer b/c I waited for a more convenient time. The whole point is all this is prevention. Not having my kids or husband have to watch me go through treatment or be sick. I know this, but the thought is still there.

Because of my profession I have seen mastectomy scars, reconstructions, expanders, etc. I have had the opportunity to talk with woman who have had the surgeries, hear their stories, their problems, but for some reason this does not fulfill me. I still feel lost. Of course these people do not know what I am going through or that I may be joining their "group". So the connection is not really there perhaps. Not yet at least. I think if I had breast cancer my perception would be take them off, get rid of them. But because I do not, it becomes truly my ultimate choice. No one can tell you cancer will definitely come your way even though you have the gene. No guarantees either way!

I guess the reality is, I don't want to lose my breast! I do not really want this to be happening at all. I also do not want breast cancer or ovarian cancer. So the choice is mine!

Think, think, think!
Thanks for listening
~Kim

Friday, January 8, 2010

UNRAVELING !!

Unraveling is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "to disengage or separate the threads of : disentangle b : to cause to come apart by or as if by separating the threads of 2 : to resolve the intricacy, complexity, or obscurity of : clear up."

What am I talking about you ask? ! Well, it is how I feel! It takes one action, one event, one thought, one peice of information that can be the one thread that creates the ball to unravel. It just amazes me. I envision a large hand pulling a thick string, slowly pulling. As this hand is pulling, you start to see the excess string fall to the ground, and floating around the ball are moments, memories, events, situations, actions. They are just spewing out everywhere. It is like opening up Pandora's box!

Ever feel this way?

To explain further, I am the ball, and the news of a very close family friends worsening illness is the hand pulling the string. My thoughts and memories of her and her impact on my life and my families life has made me extremely sad and devastated my family. It is as if we are all reliving some of lifes most difficult and precious moments all over again. I suppose that is what the news of an impending death will do to most people. However, as you may or may not know, I lost my younger brother at the age of 18years old to brain cancer. It has been almost 14 years since he died. Which seems impossible to me. Anyway, this particular friend of our families played such an intricate part in my brother's life, as well as being there for my family after Erik died. She now is near death and her impending death is digging up alot of old memories and experiences that we all had together. I am also thinking alot about my brother and his life, and how the hell my parents buried their only son.

It is these unexpected moments in life that define you, and remind you how we must treasure the life we are given. My mother said to me the other day that, "it is us who are healthy and living that are the miracles in this world." And I get what she means! There is so much bad, illness, unknown around us, that we can only be so lucky to live through it all. To be able to say you made it through the day dodging and weaving all that comes your way, is quite a miracle. My mother's ability to fight breast cancer and come out a survivor is a miracle, my knowledge of being BRCA + is a miracle because I can now care for and do something to enhance and prolong my life.

Everyone in their lifetime will be dealt curveballs, it is about not getting hit by them! I like to think that I have learned something from every curve ball in my life. I've definetly been hit by a few as well, but it is these teaching moments that are so difficult sometimes to go through and experience.

I think of the BRCA gene as yet another curve ball in my life. With my sister and mother both being carriers is another curve ball in itself. I not only think of myself and my family, I worry about my sister and her future family and my mother and father. I guess we all worry about something. I also suppose it is in these moments in life that we come together and we bond and support. I know not in all cases or all families. I have seen first hand what tragedy and hardship have done to some families. I am so thankful and amazed that my family has stuck together. Now don't get me wrong, we do not always agree or go at the same pace with things, but we are always on the same page in the end.

So, what happens when the ball unravels? I guess you have to experience the pain, the grief, the emotions and hope that in the end you can smile and embrace the teaching moment.

Thanks for listening!
Kim

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Excuse my BRCA vacation!

It has been a bit since I have written. I have been taking a bit of a BRCA vacation.
This is what amazes me about this "diagnosis" if you will! There are days, weeks, months when I feel like this gene has taken over my mind and body; I feel like I can not escape the thoughts, fears, questions, and decisions to be made. And then out of the blue I just stop thinking about it. I completely block it out, I run from the thoughts and I just block it out.

There are definitely certain moments in life that remind me of what is "really" going on. Like the time I was bathing my little 8 month old daughter and was laughing at little chubby cheeks that she has and looked at her little chubby boobies and thought about what she may be faced with 20 years from now. I just find the tears well in my eyes and I ask the ridiculous question why! It is a very surreal process to be told you are BRCA +.

So I guess I am starting to think about the choices I have to make about my health. I know I am going to have both surgeries. The question is when. I don't want to just put it off and try to strategically place it into my busy schedule and then have it be too late. I think that is one of my biggest concerns. I am 34, and I just worry that something is growing at this very moment, and I have already waited too long. This is however the most important decisions of my life at this moment. And it can not be made lightly. This is not just about changing myself physically, I know there is and will be an emotional piece as well. That is actually what I worry about most. That seems crazy to me sometimes, but I do believe I worry about my emotional self more. What if I can not get through the emotional loss of my parts. What if I hormonally go crazy? What if I no longer feel like a woman? I don't know, what if, what if, what if????

The only thing I am confident about in the choices I have to make, is that I have to make a choice and decide when!

I think I am back from my BRCA vacation!
Thanks for listening!
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