Well… I made it through a big week!
As for my main accomplishment… I survived my first week back to school! The week actually went very well. My coworkers were extremely nice Monday morning and I was glad to see them. My kids seemed happy to see me and we fell back into our classroom routine easily. Contrary to what I had anticipated, I didn’t get crazy exhausted as I took on my old work schedule. As a matter of fact, I actually felt like I had more energy than before my surgery. Maybe it’s because I had time to rest while I was at home. Maybe it’s because I had a break from the pressure surrounding the Common Core-Testing craze. However, I’d like to think that some of my energy came from the weight that lifted off my shoulders the day I had my mastectomy. I’ve mentioned before that I used to have horrible anxiety about developing breast cancer. I feel a gazillion times lighter knowing breast cancer is not my destiny. I have to believe that I felt so good last week because I was not wasting precious energy on senseless, powerless worry anymore. Now my brain can fully focus on what needs to be done to help my sweet kiddos.
As I brag about how easy it was for me to make it through the week, I have to be honest… We only had four days of school. I woke up Friday morning to find out that there was no school. School was cancelled because of “snow”. I was slightly shocked because when I looked out my window Friday morning, this is what I saw:
I didn’t quite understand why school had been cancelled. However, as a teacher, I don’t question snow days. I appreciate the break! So, I climbed back in bed and fell back into my post-surgery morning routine: coffee and Pinterest to the sound of the Today Show in the background. Little did I know, my snow day was going to be very busy!
It all started when I was pinteresting and ran across some fabulous news about BRCA awareness.
Decoding Annie Parker is a movie that tells the story of how Mary Claire King, a geneticist, and Annie Parker, a breast cancer patient, work together to discover and unravel the BRCA gene mutation and its effect on families. I heard about this movie throughout the last year. There were showings around the country over the summer and this fall, but I was never able to make it to one. Well, as I scoured Pinterest pins about the movie Friday morning, I read that Entertainment One purchased the rights to the movie last week. As I understand it, the movie will be coming to theaters everywhere this summer!
I was super excited to read the announcement about Decoding Annie Parker. I really want to see the movie and now I will have the chance. The movie will also provide the general public a great opportunity to learn more about BRCA mutations.
Here’s the link to the preview if you’re interested:
I was so excited after I read about the movie on Friday morning that I texted my sweet friend Katie Pass, who is also BRCA2+, to tell her the news. After we texted about the movie, she realized that I had the day off. She asked me to join her and another BRCA+ woman for lunch at a local restaurant, The Feed Bag. Of course, I jumped at the chance to meet another woman with experiences similar to mine. So, I put Hoda and Kathy Lee on hold and got dressed so I could brave the “snow” and meet the girls for lunch.
When I arrived at Lunch, Katie and her friends were already there. Mindy, the sweet woman in the brown vest, and her son’s girlfriend, Vanessa, quickly welcomed me to the table. I sat down and we all immediately started talking about our BRCA experiences. There is such a crazy bond between women who have the BRCA mutation in common. Something about bond makes you feel like it’s totally acceptable to spill your guts to someone who is basically a complete stranger. Ha!
I told Mindy and Vanessa all about losing my mom and how hard its been to go through my mastectomy without family around. Katie shared about her amazing progress. Mindy shared her BRCA story. She is BRCA1+ and has been through several surgeries related to her genetic diagnosis. I don’t want to broadcast her business, but let me tell you… Mindy is AMAZING. She has lived through some pretty horrific experiences because of this stupid gene mutation. She is a true fighter… and real BRCA hero. I greatly appreciated her willingness to share her story. I know a lot more about how to proceed and what to expect from my next surgeries. I continue to be in awe of all the Louisville women who have come forward and offered support to me.
After we finished our lunch and bonding session, I got ready to go to Dr. Noel’s office for my 6th expansion. I REALLY didn’t want to go. “They” already feel so big and after each expansion I have become even more sore. However, I knew I had to go. The sweet appointment lady at Dr. Noel’s office called me Friday morning and explained that I needed to come in that afternoon. Dr. Noel had told her that I should be expanded before my wisdom teeth are removed next week. So, I left St. Matthews and made the familiar trek to 4001 Kresge Way.
As expected, I was expanded 30 more ccs during my appointment. Apparently, even though I am close to the size I want to be, my expanders need to be filled with additional saline so the final results following my exchange surgery look more natural. It’s very hard to trust someone else with all this. I know Dr. Noel is doing the right thing (obviously… he’s been practicing for a trillion years and I’ve talked to tons of more-than-satisfied patients), but when I look at the expanders… oh man… they are just really working my nerves. I’m ready for them to be gone. I have one more expansion in January. Then, I wait for my exchange surgery. It can’t be soon enough.
When I was done with my appointment, I headed down the elevator and quickly discovered why school had been cancelled for the day.
That would be ice covering the trees. While I was in Dr. Noel’s office, Mother Nature had decided to show me why we’d had a snow day. The ice was pretty worrisome… I mean… I’m a bad driver in the sunshine with dry pavement. Trying to drive home in all the ice wasn’t exactly ideal for me.
By the time I made it home from the doctor’s office, it looked like this:
And within just a few minutes… it looked like this:
Now, I lived in Illinois for many years… I know that doesn’t look like much snow compared to what others see regularly. But, remember… there is ice under there! It was not good. I almost had to call Super Husband to come get me on the drive home. Good thing I didn’t. It took him two hours two drive home from the south side of town because the roads were so hairy.
After I got home, I was pretty sore from the expansion. I decided the best idea was to drown my soreness in some Tylenol, hot chocolate, and carmel corn. Even though I took some medicine, I was still pretty sore. The pain is definitely manageable though. It certainly wasn’t enough to keep me from wanting cheeseburger pizza from BJ’s at Oxmoor Mall for supper! We headed out a few hours later, into the snowy madness, to have dinner with my fellow pea-in-a-pod, Laura, and her husband. We were pretty much the only people outside in all of Louisville. Ha! The things you will do for a cheeseburger pizza…
We made it to the mall and had a super tasty supper. Then, we headed back into the cold and went home. I pretty much crashed as soon as I walked in the door.
I woke up this morning to cleared roads and quite a lot of soreness across my chest. I’m hoping the soreness will dissipate before my next expansion. I hadn’t really felt long-lasting soreness with these expanders until yesterday. Let the countdown to my exchange surgery begin.
Enjoy the snow.