May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!
~ Robert Frost


Welcome to my blog. This is my story of how I faced my risk of breast cancer, the decisions I made, the support I received and my week by week recovery from surgery. I chose to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate DIEP reconstruction at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (March 2010). For more information on my 'Medical Team' please see tab above. I also have a wonderful circle of friends who have supported me throughout. They have provided us with lots of delicious meals and desserts. Many of those recipes are included above under "Feed the Flap" recipes. "Feed the Flap" is a term I coined when trying to increase my abdominal (fat) flap to ensure that I was a good candidate for the DIEP procedure. This was not something recommended by any medical professional, it was just something that made sense to me. I think it worked!! Feel free to join me on this journey and feel free to post comments.

Select the tabs on the left side marked Week 1, Week 2, Week 3..... to go immediately to the surgical/recovery part of this blog.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eye-Opening Blog!

Today I had an eye-opening experience. I follow Teri's Blog. I went back through some of Teri's posts from right before her PBM + DIEP, through her surgery and now almost a month later. "Brave" is the word that comes to mind as I read her posts. Brave in moving forward with surgery even though she didn't have invasive breast cancer (BRCA+) and brave for sharing her feelings and thoughts as she moved through her decision making, surgery and now, recovery.

Although I am heading down the same PBM + DIEP road, I feel anything but brave. I am scared. I really don't like pain and really worry about never being pain-free again. I worry that I don't know enough about what to expect. I guess I should make a list of questions for my pre-admission testing date (March 8-9). I worry that I will doubt my decision. I worry about post surgery depression. I worry about my husband being the only one with me in Boston. I worry about my kids back at home, with a very favorite aunt. I worry that I will sacrifice my pain-free life for a breast cancer-free life riddled with pain. I am not BRCA+ (at least I don't think so), but have LCIS, ALH, ADH, family history, and all the risk factors which gives me a greater than 1 in 2 chance of getting breast cancer.

One of the things that struck me on Teri's blog was a video she made right before her surgery. Here is this young mother who appears as healthy as you and me heading into major surgery. It's incredulous. One day healthy and happy (and high risk) and the next day cut open from hip-to-hip with breast tissue removed, drains in and in pain (with a 2% risk). I don't have any friends who have chosen this path. I have lots of friends who have had breast cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation, then reconstruction. They all agree that I am doing the right thing. BUT, I don't have to. I can let life choose my direction instead of being pro-active and choosing this very difficult path. If only I had a crystal ball.

My thanks to Teri for her courage to move forward, her courage to share and her courage to educate. Because of Teri I have a much better idea of what to expect before, during and after surgery. I haven't heard any of this from my doctors, yet, but will on March 8-9. But now I feel much better prepared and will know what to ask and what to expect. I do think keeping a steady dose of pain meds in my system will be at the top of my list!!


myblip said...

Ok, first of all, you just made me cry - happy tears - it always makes me feel good when I hear that what I'm blogging about is making a real difference for other women. It's a huge part of why I keep blogging. In addition to it being a great outlet for myself, knowing that just by sharing so openly, that I can help others, is more rewarding than I can explain.

Secondly, I want so share a little poem with you that someone shared with me right before my prophylactic hysterectomy & oopherectomy - I had an increased risk of ovarian cancer too - 44%!) - okay, here it is:

"To be brave is to behave
Bravely when your heart is faint.
So you can be really brave
Only when you really ain’t."

Trust me, Beth - I'm no braver than you, or anyone else. In fact, it's probably fear that has given me strength to move forward - the fear of getting the type of cancer that follows those with mutations, that aggressive, take no prisoners cancer - I was more fearful of THAT, than I was of the surgeries. Pain of surgery is temporary, and it won't be long before it's in my past, just like my 87% of getting breast cancer is.

I did it, lot's of women do it, and you can do it too. Keep your eye on why you are doing it. Think of your life, and your family, your young children. And feel proud of yourself, for making the tough decision. You can do this, you really can!

Hang tough, sistah! :)


myblip said...

Oh, also, I want to let you know that I have a list of questions to ask the surgeon during your consultation. Just let me know if you want me to share it with you, and I'll be glad to pass it along. :)


rissawrites said...

You know, you are wrong. You are incredibly brave. Being brave doesn't mean being fearless- it means fighting past that fear and doing what needs to be done.

Teri is amazing isn't she?

But, you are too. You are taking this step to save your life so you can be there for your family for the rest of your life.

It's incredibly brave and inspiring. Heck you inspired a complete stranger to comment on your blog.

Best of luck with your surgery. You're a survivor!

hadassah99 said...

Teri is such an inspiration to us all. I am very blessed to call her my friend and BRCA sister. I also had double mastectomies and reconstruction.

You will be in my thoughts. You can do this!! We say we are brave, but we all feel anxious anyway you look at it.

Warmest wishes to you!

leepoe41 said...

I'm so glad that reading Teri's blog has helped you. She is an amazing young woman,my niece, and I'm so proud of what she has done since learning of her BRCA mutation. She has helped countless women face their fears head-on and continues to share her journey in order to help others.

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