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.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Goal Achieved!!

Way back on December 7th, 2009 I decided to book my surgery. I was at a PTFO meeting on that Monday morning, when a friend said that she was ordering tickets (if I wanted them?!!!) to the Taylor Swift concert at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA for June 5th, 2010. I said "YES!" then went home to book my surgery. I had a goal: to be well enough in my recovery from my PBM + DIEP to go to the concert with Jie Jie on June 5th.

I needed that goal to have the courage to pick up the phone and place a call to Dr. Tobias' office requesting a date for surgery. It was the toughest phone call I had ever made - but I HAD A GOAL! At that time I had met with my doctors at Beth Israel and knew I wanted to get rid of my LCIS and risk of bc, but hadn't found the courage to schedule surgery. It had been a week since my final consult in Boston. I was mulling it all over in my head, wondering if I should do it in 2010 or maybe 2011 or even 2012. I was finding ways to procrastinate..... until my friend presented me with this once in a lifetime opportunity!! Here are excerpts from my posts of December 7 & 8, 2009.
"Today I made the decision to move forward with a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. It was a year in the making and by far the toughest decision I have ever had to make. Although the final decision was mine to make, I want to thank my friends and family for being there every step of the way. You all rode the same rollercoaster with me and I will be eternally grateful to you all."
"March 15, 2010 is the date of my surgery! It's overwhelming. The emotions connected to hearing this date are across the board. Relief. Fear. More Relief. More Fear. And believe it or not - pride. I am so damn proud of myself for making a decision. It would have been so much easier to wait and wait and worry and wait. I will keep this to myself all day. I need to mull it over. I need to see what my 'gut' reaction is. I need to cry a little bit. I need to accept who I am and why I am making this decison."
When looking back I know how I felt and how uncertain I was. But there was one thing that I felt very certain about and that was that I wanted to go to the Taylor Swift concert on June 5th no matter what. Jie Jie loves Taylor Swift and we love the family who provided this opportunity for us. I was determined to make this happen on my end. As anyone knows who is facing surgery you worry about the outcome, the pain, the recovery, your energy level and lots of other things. So, being physically ready to spend several hours in a car and being at a crowed stadium with 55,000 people worried me. I knew I needed to have my surgery sooner rather than later, so March sounded perfect. I knew I need time to heal. I would have both April and May to heal and 8-10 weeks seemed like a good amount of time.

What I didn't know at that point was how quickly I would heal, how minimal the pain was, how much easier it is on this side of surgery. So as I waited for the surgery date I kept my eye on the goal. Even when my surgery date got moved back two weeks I kept my eye on the goal. I wasn't happy for lots of reasons, but I figured I should still be able to make it to the concert. Dr. Tobias' nurse, Maria, reassured me that I should be okay by June 5th. She thought that even 8-10 weeks out I might still be getting a bit tired late in the day, but that physically I should be able to handle a concert with no difficulty.

Goal achieved!!! First, I can't thank my friends enough for making this happen. Without the motivation they provided by offering us tickets, I may still be blogging about my decision to do my surgery and when would be the best time. So, thank you Rita and Shawn!!!!  Second, my risk of breast cancer is now 0-2%. Third, I feel fantastic. Yes, I do get a bit achy here and there and yes, my energy level dips at the end of the day, but I am thrilled with my recovery. And lastly, the Taylor Swift concert was the absolutely fantastic. I can't give praise high enough to tell you just how awesome Taylor Swift is as a performer and a role model.

So, on a Monday morning in June, I am happy and proud and grateful and blessed.

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