a new beginning.

Happy Easter!

I apologize for not updating sooner.  The truth is, I ended up getting my drains out the Friday following my surgery (4 days post op) and I have been so busy being NORMAL that I haven’t had time to write.  I have been so amazed at how quickly my body bounced back from my exchange surgery.  I was sure that it might be harder on me given that it was my 3rd surgery in 6 months, but I have had no problems!  I mean… within 5 days I was cheering on the best team in the country… the UK WILDCATS… within 7 days I was back to work full-time, within 9 days I was back walking my neighborhood as usual, and within 2 weeks I was doing light (VERY LIGHT) yard work.

Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since my exchange surgery and I head back to see Dr. Noel on Friday.  As long as everything looks good, I will get clearance to start working out again.  I cannot believe I am saying this, but I CANNOT WAIT to go to the gym.  It has been so long since I felt good enough to get really good exercise.  I am hoping that this Friday will be the day!

I hope all of you all have had a blessed holiday.  I love Easter.  It is abosolutely my favorite holiday of the year.


This year I was especially appreciative of the real meaning of the holiday.  I couldn’t help but reflect on how different my life is now than it was at this time last year.  Last April I was still very much consumed with grief over losing my sweet mom and I had developed terrible anxiety over developing cancer myself.  I had frequent panic attacks and my troubles were starting to really interfere with my relationships, my job, my daily functioning, and my health.  My fear over cancer is what eventually led me to get BRCA testing last July and when I got my positive diagnosis I felt consumed and more hopeless than ever.


However, shortly after finding out I carried the gene, everything started falling into place for me.  I found amazing doctors, developed a great plan of action, and my friends and family rallied around me.  With every step I made toward mastectomy, the better I felt…. and once I had the surgery, I not only felt my anxiety dissipate, but I felt more peace toward losing my sweet mom.  Having surgery helped me finally turn 10 years of cancer paralyzation and grief into a story of hope and strength.


Since my surgery, I have felt more full of life everyday. I know I have more surgeries in front of me and my health is not guaranteed, but I have learned through all of this that God is taking care of me and I can trust Him to work all things together for good.  He gave me doctors when I needed guidance and expertise, amazing friends when I needed family, healing when I was broken, and hope when all I’d felt was sadness.  He  took my own personal nightmare and turned it into a true blessing.

As I celebrate Easter today, I am so thankful for the resurrection.  For me, the Easter story is the ultimate story of hope and it is God’s promise to us that all things, even when they seem the worst, can turn out for the better… winter will turn into spring, night will turn into morning, tragedies can turn into triumphs, nightmares can turn into blessings, death can turn into life.


I hope you all had a blessed holiday.



a surgery.


Welp.  Here I am. I cannot believe I am actually writing my first post following my exchange surgery.  My expanders are officially a distant memory and I am spending my spring break recovering and getting used to my new, expander-free life.  I had looked forward to this surgery for so long… and now its over…it seems bizarre that I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Although everything turned out ok, the road leading up to my exchange surgery wasn’t quite as smooth as I had anticipated.  I spent all week last week preparing because I was originally scheduled to have surgery last Friday, March 28th.  However, the stomach flu had different plans for me.  I became extremely sick last Thursday and, when I called his office, Dr. Noel recommended that we postpone surgery until I felt better.  Obviously, that was the right thing to do, but at the time I was super disappointed.  I cried. Silly, I know…. but I was SOOOO ready to get rid of those expanders!!!.  So, I spent 4 days in bed and drank more water and Gatorade than any one person should in a lifetime. THANKFULLY I was better just in time to have surgery Monday morning.

So, with even more anticipation that normal, I woke up early Monday and got all ready for my operation.  Just like before my first surgery, I showered and washed with this special anti-bacterial soap that tingled like crazy.  Then, I curled my hair and put on mascara and lip gloss, even though they said not to wear makeup. =)   What can I say… I like to bend the rules a little bit.  Finally, it was 10:30am and my friend Sarah and Super Husband drove me over to the hospital.

Even though I was excited to have this surgery, I was a little more nervous going into this surgery than my last.  I know the first surgery was a much bigger deal and had a much longer recovery… but this surgery was different for me.  It marked the first major medical event in my life that I would go through without any family.  As most of you know, I am an only child and my mom passed away a couple of years ago.  Until about a year ago, my dad was my only family within about 500 miles.  Now,  my dad… well… he isn’t around anymore.  So, going into surgery alone made things feel pretty different for me this time around.


I know I am 30 years old.  I know I have an amazingly sweet and capable husband.  I know God has blessed me with the most amazing friends on the planet.  However, there just isn’t anything that can take the place of knowing that a parent… someone who loves you more than anything… is waiting on YOU to come out of surgery.  For reasons I am still trying to figure out, this just wasn’t in the cards for me this time and knowing that made me much more anxious than I normally would have been as I headed over to the hospital.

Fortunately, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about things once I got to the hospital. As soon as I checked into the surgery waiting area, the nurses called me back to get ready.  I tell ya, that hospital always runs on time!  It’s so nice.  Once I changed into a hospital gown and verified my name and date of birth about a gazillion times, they finally let me have some company.


Here I am with Super Husband.  He is so good.


And, here I am with my friend Sarah…. Laura and her sweet mom were also there with me.    They were such good company and did a great job distracting me while I waited.  I am super bummed I didn’t get a picture with all of them.

Finally, Dr. Noel came to check in with me and do all his final markings.


After we’d had a chance to talk (and Dr. Noel ASSURED me that I will someday be able to do push ups again), they gave me all kinds of medication, put me in a hair net, and I said goodbye to my people.

Before I knew it, I was back in what seemed like the same stark, white operating room thinking about the same beach that brought me peace during my last surgery.  The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery.

As I prepared for this surgery, I was told by lots of other women that this surgery was “a BREEZE” and “so much easier on your body” compared to the first surgery.  Well, let me tell you… if you are getting ready to have your exchange surgery and this is what you’ve heard… YOU HAVE HEARD CORRECTLY!!!  There is just no comparison to how you feel post mastectomy and post exchange.  When I woke up in recovery, I was in very little pain and was even able to walk and get myself dressed.  Even though it sounds weird, my chest actually felt better after surgery than it had before.  My poor chest muscles had been so sore and strained over those crazy expanders and I felt like I woke up to instant relief.  I stayed in recovery an hour or so and before I knew it, they were sending me home.  My surgery had started at 12:30pm and I was home by 5pm.  CRAZY.

The last few days since surgery have been a blur of company, percocet, naps, and Sex and the City reruns.   I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy doing absolutely nothing. Ha. Thank goodness my sweet friends have come over to see me so I don’t Pinterest myself to death.


At this point, I am three days post exchange and the only medication I am taking is an antibiotic to prevent infection.  I am not hurting AT ALL from the surgery and haven’t needed to take any pain meds since yesterday morning.  I can’t drive and I’ve only taken a couple small trips outside the house, but for now that’s ok with me… especially since I have these back…



I am hoping that these beauties will be removed tomorrow during my follow-up appointment with Dr. Noel.  I know they are important for a healthy recovery… but I need them out for many reasons.  First, they are driving me crazy.  Second, the dang things hurt…. those tubes are sewn into your skin!!!! Last… and MOST important… I need to get rid of these things so I can cheer on my UK Wildcats when they play in the Final Four on Saturday!!!!!!  It’s hard to cheer when you have all these crazy bulbs hanging around and holding you down.  Say a little prayer for me…  TAKE. THEM. OUT.

I’ll keep you posted.

GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!!



a silver lining.

images9Woah.  It really has been a while. Life sorta took off after my birthday and I’ve been staying super busy.  If you’d like to know what I’ve been up to the last few weeks, I can sum it up in just a few pictures….






snow and ice.




more snow and ice.

Like so many people this winter, Louisville has been overwhelmed with crazy amounts of snow compared to what we normally see in the winter.  So far, we have racked up 10 snow days and have had countless school delays.  Public schools are going to be in session until June 12 at this point. MAJOR. BOO.

Even though I’ve had time off because of the snow, it has actually made teaching more challenging and time-consuming.  I’ve spent a ridiculous number of snow days going to school anyway in hopes of trying to figure out how to combine and embed concepts within other lessons so I can make up for lost time.  At this point, state testing has not been moved, so I’m doing my best to not let my kids get behind even though we’ve lost so much instructional time.

Other than working on school stuff… and maybe watching a few episodes of Melrose Place on Netflix…. I’ve had a lot to celebrate the last few weeks!  First of all, I found out that one of my most favorite people… who shall remain anonymous… is PREGNANT!!!  I cannot wait to spoil that little baby with all kinds of cute things.

Second, I’ve had a couple of precious friends get married!!



Ignore my crazy red eyes… not sure how to edit those silly things. Both weddings were beautiful and SO FUN.  Congrats to my gorgeous friends! Love you to pieces.

So, here I am, almost 5 months post mastectomy and life is fairly normal.   There are a couple small things related to my recovery that I’d like to mention in the event you are considering or recovering from surgery.

First of all, I have realized a HUGE perk (pun totally intended) of having a mastectomy with reconstruction.


Have you ever stopped to think about the clothing options you would have if you didn’t have to worry about under garments on your top half?  I was never one to mind the feeling of a bra, but I definitely ruled out certain types of shirts and dresses when they were cut too low or slightly see through because I didn’t want to have to buy a new, special bra.  Well… NEVER AGAIN!  Not sure if you can tell, but the dress I wore to my sweet friend Jess’ wedding was black, see through lace and I didn’t have to worry about whether not my bra straps would be seen.  SUCH FREEDOM!

I couldn’t help but notice that Angelina Jolie… who is also BRCA+… is reaping the same benefit.  She wore a smoking hot dress to the Oscars… and I would bet a million dollars she isn’t wearing any type of bra underneath.


I mean… that dress is see through.  No bra or crazy contraption holding everything up and in place.  She looks amazing.

You might be thinking that I care way too much about this. However.. it’s in the silver linings that you can find peace with difficult choices. Don’t judge.


The second recovery update I wanted to share involves exercise.

Prior to surgery, I was pretty active.  I went to the gym 4-5 times a week to do cardio and lift weights.  Obviously, after surgery I had to slow down quite a bit.  For several weeks all I did was walk my neighborhood.  I could have gone back to the gym to walk on the treadmill or do other light cardio, but I just felt too weird and out of shape and was afraid I would hurt myself.  Then, once the snow craziness started, my outside walking plan went out the window and I was left feeling pretty much like an overstuffed sloth.

So, just after my birthday, I went to Target and made my first workout video purchase ever!


Target didn’t have the best selection, so I ended up buying two Jillian Michaels videos.  I wasn’t real sure what the quality would be like, but for $10 I felt like it was work the risk.  As it would turn out, these videos have been PERFECT for me.  Both videos have leveled segments, which was a great help as I slowly worked toward building  up my strength and endurance.  I also really like that there are only a few chest exercises built into the workouts and they can be easily modified. This is absolutely necessary since my chest muscles are still super weak from being on top of my expanders.  Last… these videos are awesome because I CAN DO THEM AT HOME.  I hate going out in the cold, so I love that I don’t have to get all bundled up to drive to the gym.  Furthermore, I can wear whatever I want without worrying if I look “gym appropriate”.  Even though I don’t wear a bra on a regular basis, I have been wearing a loose sports bra as I work out… it just helps me feel a little more secure.  Sometimes I also wear a tank top that has a built-in bra inside.



Neither the sports bra or the tank are very tight… and I wouldn’t wear anything too tight without consulting your plastic surgeon.  I wouldn’t want anyone to constrict the area and cause themselves pain or complications.  Always, always, always, ASK YOUR DOCTOR FIRST!

I feel so much better now that I’ve been able to exercise again.  It’s just another way that my life has gotten closer to what I was used to prior to surgery.  I feel so much stronger… and I know I’m stronger because I can do some CRAZY things with my chest muscles that I was never able to do before.  I won’t get into the details… but it is definitely interesting… HA!

SPEAKING OF SURGERY…. My exchange surgery is in 23 days!!!  I cannot wait.


For those of you wondering, this surgery will take place so the surgeon can remove my tissue expanders and replace them with impants.  This surgery will be much less complicated than my last… thank goodness.

Someone actually asked me last week… “Why are you having so many surgeries?  Isn’t this like a boob job?  Those aren’t normally this complicated, are they?”  Look, people… a double mastectomy with reconstruction is about as similar to a boob job as Michael Jackson is to Princess Diana.  I mean, the two have NOTHING in common.  Do you really think I would dedicate all this time, energy, and writing to a boob job!?!?  Geeze.  No.

So, since this surgery means closing the door on an extremely emotional and complicated situation, I am really looking forward to it!!!

Let’s hope there is no more snow between now and then… I want to recover in the midst of spring!!!!


I’ll try to write more often.

Happy Tuesday.



a celebration.


That’s right… I am done!  No more fills for me!!! I could not be more excited!

Before I give you the lovely details of my doctor’s appointment, I wanted to share a couple of things with you.  Ever since I started this blog, the anchor has become a really important symbol for me.  It reminds me of my journey and how proud I am of the choices I’ve made along the way.  Anyway,  the last couple of months I have found some super cute anchor products I wanted to show you.


This is the sweetest little gold bracelet and I have totally fallen in love with it.  I found it on ebay for an excellent price and I bought several.  I kept one for myself and gave others to some of the amazing women who’ve supported me throughout this whole ordeal.  This happens to be the bracelet that belongs to my sister-in-law (Krissy… by the way… your wrist looks great on camera… hehe). Cute, huh????


I also received this sweet navy blue sweater for Christmas from Super Husband’s mama.  She knows how to pick out a great gift!!  I know my eyes look crazy tired in this picture… this was taken just after a long day with third graders and a doctor’s appointment, so don’t judge!  Ha! I just love things with stories and meanings behind them.  Love.  This. Sweater.

So… enough about anchors and on to the good stuff!! I am a little late in writing this post…. had a lot going on this weekend.  I had wanted to write sooner, but my friend Jess is getting married soon and my best friend and I threw her a bridal shower this morning.  Since the shower was at my house, I spent most of the weekend cleaning and getting all my decorations ready.  I couldn’t quite find the time to type.  However, the shower is over now, it went well, and here I am!

Here’s the update on what you can expect 3 months (OMG, 3 months!!!) post surgery.

I had a routine expansion appointment with my plastic surgeon last Friday.  I was anxious to see my plastic surgeon because it had been over a month since my last appointment. To my surprise, it ended up being a very productive appointment!

First, I was able to get some information about some soreness that I’d been experiencing.  I mean, let’s be honest, these expanders aren’t fabulous and a little soreness is normal.  However, the last couple of weeks I’d noticed a little extra soreness and, actually, the shape of my right side had changed a little bit.  As it would turn out, my expanders have actually rotated under my skin!  It’s not a huge rotation, but the ports used for my expansions are now located on the sides of my body as opposed to the top.  I guess that would explain a little extra soreness and the change in shape.  My plastic surgeon didn’t seem alarmed and he explained that it wouldn’t have an effect on my final results, so I’m not worried…. but it is interesting to know that something like can happen.

Second, as I already mentioned, I had my final expansion during the appointment.  Yippeeeee!  My expanders  are done being filled and they finished with 400ccs of saline.  I have been pretty fortunate… I haven’t had a lot of discomfort during my expansions.  Usually, just sore for a day or two afterward. However, each of those little expansions has sure added up to quite a lot!  I feel like I am walking around with giant boulders on my chest.  My expanders are much bigger now than I would like my implants to be….  I have been reassured though… my final result will seem smaller because the saline implants will be slightly smaller, have a smaller diameter, and sit slightly lower on my chest.  I sure am hoping!!  I’m feeling rather large and in charge these days!  Ha!


And last, during my appointment I was able to schedule my exchange surgery!!  March 28th.  I am counting down the days!  I cannot wait to have this surgery and move on from all of this!  My plastic surgeon said the upcoming surgery will take about an hour and will have a much easier recovery than the first surgery.  He also told me that I would come up with 2 drains afterward. BOO.  Major BOO.  However, he said it would only be for 5 days, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. Not sure if I will stay over night in the hospital or come home?  I probably need to look into that.

Now that it’s over, I am really surprised at how well everything went.  The expansion process wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d imagined (I read some horrific stuff and had pretty terrible expectations).  I know I didn’t make it through alone… I owe a lot of my strength to an amazing network of friends and family members who have checked on me and helped me through and through.  I just don’t know how I would have done it without them.


I also know that I have been extremely blessed to have had excellent care, fabulous doctors, and a recovery without any complications.  Everything really came together.  Such an answer to prayer.

So, the countdown is on… 74 days until my exchange!!  I cannot wait!!!

Until then… keep me in your thoughts.  I turn 30 this Saturday.  YIKES.


I’m definitely not a cheese… so I’ll go with this for now.

Have a good week.