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, December 9, 2010

Two years ago today.....was my 50th birthday!!

Two years ago today was my fiftieth birthday and I didn't really get to celebrate in a worry-free, fun way. I had just been diagnosed with LCIS, ALH and ADH and wasn't sure what direction, if any, I should take. So I did celebrate, but I had this really big cloud over my head. Anyway, this year is so very different. There are no clouds. I am worry-free with regard to breast cancer. Amazingly I feel better than I have in years. Truly I am blessed.

It's been a long two years, but so worth the journey. I believe that God puts things in our paths that He knows we can manage it and maybe we can even find a silver lining. I would not have chosen this path; however now that I have gone down this path I am so glad that I did. Just the relief I feel on a daily basis is worth it, but the silver lining in all of this that I have connected with so many people who are facing their own long breast cancer journeys and I've been able to be part of that. Best of all I have gained two DIEP sisters (Sara and Kristine) and the most remarkable medical team in the world. Also I know that people all over the world actually visit this blog, so I do know that in some small way I am also helping them.

As I look back at the last two years I am grateful for a number of things, not the least of which is the benefit of early detection. Early detection is really a two-edged sword. You are given information that tells you you are at high-risk. That's good. You have the information. BUT (and it's a big BUT) there is no clear path. For the first year I was really on my own (with DH at my side). I saw my local doctors here who introduced me to my three choices (PBM, Tamoxifen, Nothing). Then I went to Boston to see an oncologist at Dana-Farber who told me to go home and wait it out. She made me believe that I was wasting her time and that I shouldn't sweat being at high risk for breast cancer. Luckily that experience didn't hold me back for long. I continued to research what exactly I had in my body and what I was comfortable with for choices. In my research I found Dr. Tobias and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and started to put the pieces of my plan together. You can see that my rollercoaster ride began two years ago and it kept on going for a solid year. My blog was my sounding board of sorts. I could get out how I was feeling, what the issues were, what decisions I had to face and all the emotions that go along with being on this journey. Through my blog I was able to find clarity.

Last year, just as I was turning 51, I made the difficult decision to have a bilateral mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction. I was terrrified, but determined to get beyond my risk. It was another rollercoaster year with the fear of surgery looming for months, then the recovery, then another surgery, and another recovery. But now I am back and absolutely better than ever.

It's been a tough two years, but looking back I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. As I said earlier, I am blessed. I no longer have to worry about breast cancer. There are no more mammograms or breast MRIs for me. Soon, I will be down to one medical trip to Boston per year (I will miss my medical team of Dr. Tobias, Maria, Malika and Jean). Now I am focusing on the future. I am working on keeping my new flat belly flat. Life is good.

Today I will celebrate the joy, pride and love in my life. I am joyful that my big decisions are behind me and proud that I did it, although none of it was easy and I am surrounded by loving friends and family. Life is good.
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