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.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The New Normal....

The new normal is very much like the old normal. My life is full of clutter, disorganization, deadlines and errands. But today I hope to take charge of some of those things. Caffeine will need to be my co-pilot.

Speaking of caffeine, we have a long and complicated relationship. When I was 32 I had my first breast lump and mammogram. All was fine. However, during my consult with the nurse two things stood out. One thing I remember (now that was almost 20 years ago) was that if I were to get breast cancer it would most likely be in the opposite breast as my mother. Why she even mentioned that I don't know, but it is one of those things (probably a black pearl) that stuck with me. The other was the link of breast lumps to caffeine. Even at 32 my breasts were cystic. So, after feeling like I had dodged a bullet I gave up caffeine. I would do whatever I needed to do to reduce my risk of breast cancer.

For 12-13 years I didn't drink coffee. I took a couple of days to get over it, but then it was done.  No more caffeine. Then I became a mom for the first time on August 27, 2003 in Guangdong, China at 2pm. Jie Jie was not a sleeper and I could barely function. So, it was back to caffeine. Yes, I felt guilty and I worried a bit, but was getting annual mammograms so didn't spend much time obsessing on it. I needed the caffeine.

Eventually I weaned myself off the caffeine, but would occassionally start again, but not in a big, addicted way. Until now. Heading into surgery I knew I couldn't have caffeine (no coffee or chocolate), so I gave it all up several months before surgery. The caffeine constricts blood vessels and since my whole reconstruction was about reattaching blood vessels it is better to have as much blood flow as possible. But, a couple of weeks ago (7 weeks post-surgery) my energy started to dip big time around 9-10am and again around 2-3pm. So, I went back to having a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and I am now addicted. I love my coffee. And I don't feel any real twinges of guilt. So when I finish this post I will go downstairs and enjoy a big cup of coffee on my patio.

But, back to the original reason for my post. Life is back to normal. This was something that I had lost sight of as my surgery approached. Thankfully I was reminded by a friend (Jen) who told me a couple of weeks before my surgery that I would be coming back to my life. She said that truly nothing would change. Yes, I would have surgery, but that I would recover and would get back to my family, my responsibilities and the clutter. She was 100% right. Everything is the same. My new normal is very much like my old normal. And I am off to prepare to tackle the clutter, armed with my caffeine!!

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