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….

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snow.

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ice.

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snow and ice.

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cold.

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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!!

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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.

NO BRA… EVER.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!

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I’ll try to write more often.

Happy Tuesday.

Jayne

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a celebration.

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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.

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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????

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

Have a good week.

Jayne

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a return.

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

I actually super enjoyed my holiday and ended up eating everything I wanted too!  If you hadn’t read before, I was planning to stick to mashed potatoes and applesauce because of a ridiculous wisdom tooth infection.  However,  thanks to the handy-dandy antibiotics the dentist gave me, my tooth recovered just in time for green bean casserole and chocolate chip cookies. I tried to eat as many crunchy foods as I could because I am having my wisdom teeth removed on the 13th.  The doctor said I was pushing it by waiting that long, but the only other option was this Tuesday and I’m just not ready for all that quite yet.

While my antibiotics were slowly working their magic, I traveled up to Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with the greatest in-laws ever.  If you haven’t ever been to Illinois… let me just tell you… IT IS THE FLATTEST PLACE ON EARTH.  On most days, you can literally see from one town to the next.

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I’ll be the first to admit, I love the rolling hills of Kentucky…. but there is a lot of beauty in those simple Central Illinois cornfields.  You can see for miles around.  It’s a very surreal view for my Kentucky eyes and it baffles me every time.

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Pretty, huh?

Anyway, in addition to traveling through cornfields and eating my weight in chocolate fudge, I loved spending time with my husband’s sweet family.  We had a great time visiting, playing cards, and shopping.  I even got to meet my new niece, Camilla.

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I’m telling you right now… they do not make babies cuter than this!!! She has the best cheeks.  Already looking forward to seeing her again at Christmas.

After our three-day trip, Super Husband and I drove back to Louisville so he could be at the station this morning.  We must have had a good trip.  The dogs slept the whole way home and they’ve hardly woken up at all today.

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So, now we’re home and I’m getting ready for a big week ahead.

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I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but tonight marks the end of my six-week recovery period.  I go back to work in the morning.

Thankfully, I have no restrictions as I head back to work with my little 3rd grade people. I am pretty nervous about getting back into the swing of common core and I’m not quite sure how I’ll handle all the questions from kiddos…  What kind of surgery did you have?  Why did you need surgery if you weren’t sick?  What body part did they operate on?  Hmm….  I think I may stick to changing the subject instead of trying to come up with answers.

At this point in my recovery, I feel really good during the day.  I can carry heavier things with little effort and I have pretty normal range of motion.  The biggest problem I have is pushing down on things… shifting gears in my car, opening medicine bottles… pushing anything is a struggle.  Not sure when or how my poor chest muscles are going to get used to working right again. I don’t feel super strong, but I do feel like I have the energy to do my job. At least I think I do…. I have heard from a few teachers at my school that my class may need to be whipped back into shape after being with a sub for so long.  Tomorrow will definitely be interesting.  Pray for me. Ha!

The hardest thing about going back to work tomorrow is knowing that I am moving on and that the mastectomy is over.  It’s not that I want to go back and do the surgery over again, but I definitely don’t want to forget it or leave it behind as I head back into my 3rd grade bubble.  My choice to have a preventative mastectomy was the most defining decision I have ever made for myself.  The surgery has changed me… inside and out.  I am capable of things I didn’t know I could do.  I realize that I can use negative experiences to positively affect someone else.  My priorities have changed.  I know more than ever that the most important things in life are health, family, and friends.

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I’m not quite sure how to integrate the events of the last six weeks into my normal life.  I’m nervous about how my new self will fit and work in my old routines.

I guess we’ll find out soon.

Jayne

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a list.

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Ten Reasons I am Thankful for my Mastectomy

1. I never have to wear a bra again! Yipee!

2. Thanks to reconstruction, I won’t have to worry about gravity making “things” sag down to, well, who knows what… =)

3. According to my general surgeon, my breast cancer risk has dropped from 87% down to 2%.  AMAZING.

4.  I made new friends.  I have met some true breast cancer and BRCA+ heroes throughout my surgery journey… including Katie Pass, a fabulous partner in crime who I already love to pieces.

5. I reconnected with old friends. I was so touched by the outpouring of love I received from friends I have not spoken to in years. My surgery gave me a chance to reconnect with so many people I love and miss.

6.  Surgery forced me to rest.  Like most people, I have a super busy schedule.  Having a mastectomy forced me to slow down and take care of myself physically and emotionally for 6 weeks.  Slowing down wasn’t easy (I like to be on the go!!), but it was absolutely necessary for my body and heart to start healing.

7.  My anxiety level has dropped dramatically.  Since my mom died two years ago, I constantly worried about possibly carrying the BRCA gene mutation and developing cancer.  I sprinted to the doctor over every small pain and even started having panic attacks last spring.  Now, I am free… absolutely liberated… knowing that my fear of breast cancer will never control me again.

8. Having a mastectomy helped me realize my blessings.  My in-laws, my husband, my best friends, my out-of-town family members… they spoiled me with more love and support than I thought was possible.  I know more than ever that God will always provide the perfect people to help me through hard times.

9. Preparing for my surgery led to some great guilt-free shopping trips!  I knew I would need button up shirts, jackets, and comfortable clothes that would also be suitable for company.  I didn’t have to feel a bit bad about buying new clothes when I knew I was doing it for a good reason.

and most important to me…

10. My mastectomy helped me create something positive from some super sad experiences.  My surgery allowed me give my mom’s sickness some sort of purpose… I like to think that because of her illness and desire to have genetic testing, I am able to save myself and help other people.  I am so thankful that I had a mom who thought to have genetic testing so that I do not have to go through the same pain and suffering that she did for 8 years.

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Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Jayne

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a meeting.

Alright.

I’ll be the first to admit, I love winter.  I love sweaters, snow, and hot chocolate.  However, the cold that arrived in Kentucky a few days ago has come a little early for my taste.  I’ve been really good about getting out and taking walks to improve my stamina… but when it’s this cold? Not happening.  Instead, I’ve spent way too much time on my computer watching mindless Netflix shows and combing pinterest for interesting photos.  In the midst of my Pinterest extravaganzas, I have found several great mastectomy related pins.  Here are my current favs:

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1. Jay-Z meets BRCA prophylactic mastectomy.  Love this… mostly because I can hear him rapping this in my head as I read it.

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2. Super vulgar reconstruction t-shirt (Sorry, Nana!).  I guess you could wear this even if you didn’t have a mastectomy.  However, I find this highly appropriate for someone going through the early stages of the reconstruction process. Obviously, I would never actually wear this shirt in front of other people if I owned it.  I would love looking at it, though, as it hung in my closet. =)

And last, but certainly not least….

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3.  Boob scarves.  Yes, people.  These things are for real.  Aren’t they hilarious? When I came across them on Pinterest, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Of course, I headed over to Etsy to get more information about these lovely products and could hardly believe my eyeballs when I saw the search results.  There were TONS of listings for boob scarves.  Apparently, these things must be pretty popular.  Who knew!?!

So, clearly I have entirely too much time on my hands right now.  I am looking forward to having a little more purpose in my life after Thanksgiving when I return to 3rd grade.

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In other news, I had my 5th expansion today! Wahoo!  I get excited about every expansion because it means I am one step closer to putting this all behind me.

My appointment was at 10am this morning.  I got dressed early so I could run out and get some Thanksgiving treats for all the sweet people who work in my plastic surgeon’s office.  I know I have said this a fazillion times, but my plastic surgeon’s office is THE NICEST PLACE to have appointments.  The nurses, the techs, even the appointment ladies are super sweet. Anyway, I drove to Panera and bought a box full of bakery items to give to the staff.  I got home just in time for my ride.

The world’s greatest taxi driver, Paige, picked me up, took my picture with the Panera treats, and we took off!

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At this point, I don’t need a driver to help me get to my appointments.  However, I asked Paige to take me because I was nervous about my expansion today and wanted to take a pain pill.  I have started to get some feeling back in my chest and I was afraid it would hurt more than normal.  It’s also nice to have someone come along for moral support.  Thank goodness my taxi driver has super reasonable rates!  Ha.

So, like usual, we drove the quick 5 minute drive to the doctor’s office.  Then, we headed up the elevator and walked into the office and I gave my Panera treats to the sweet administrative assistant who works the front window.  Once I handed over the goods, Paige and I looked around the waiting room for a place to sit.  It was hard to find a place because it was SUPER full of patients this morning. Maybe because of the upcoming holiday?

We finally decided to go sit in the corner behind this half-wall that partitions the waiting room.  We headed over and then, to my surprise, I looked up and there was Katie!  My sweet friend, Katie Pass, also had a mastectomy recently and she was sitting behind the half-wall waiting for her appointment!

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I had completely forgotten that we both had appointments this morning!  Once I sat down, I got to meet her super nice husband and Katie got to meet Paige.  We started talking and really just had way too much fun catching up in the waiting room.  We talked about how hard it is to shave when you can’t raise your arms super high… and how we wondered if we’d be allowed to have some wine over the Thanksgiving holiday.  You know, all the important stuff. =) I’m sure all the other people in the waiting room thought we were crazy… Oh well!

Unfortunately, our waiting room party was short-lived.  We both got called back shortly after we sat down.  I was taken to my normal room and watched the sweet nurse, Cheryl, get everything ready for my expansion.

008009For those of you who are wondering, that’s a bag of saline.  Several people have told me that they thought my expanders were filled with air.  Nope. It’s saline fluid.

Not too long after Cheryl dropped off the expansion materials, my plastic surgeon came in.  He checked out my incisions and said that everything looked great.  I’ve been putting on Eucerin and wearing those Scar Away sheets like nobody’s business, so I was glad to hear that it’s paying off!  After the quick inspection, it was expansion time.  Even though I have more feeling in my right side now, the expansion needle didn’t hurt too bad.  And like always, it was over speedy quick.

Before my doctor left the room, we talked about my activity level.  He said my range of motion was almost back to normal.  He also said I could start doing aerobic exercise that didn’t require tons of arm movements.  He also said I could start doing some weight lifting (no more than 5 pounds) if I avoided using my chest muscles.  I think I’ll wait a little longer for all that.

I also had the chance to talk to him about the future.  Looks like I only have a couple more expansions left.  I go back in two weeks.  Hopefully, by the time we are done with the expansions I’ll have a better idea of when my exchange surgery will be.  Dr. Noel said it will be sometime between February and April.  Looking forward to it!

Well.  For being such an uneventful day, that sure was a long post.  Working on a Thanksgiving related post for tomorrow.

Stay warm.

Jayne

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A surprise.

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Five weeks.  I am five whole weeks post mastectomy.  I can hardly belive it.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I was dealing with drains and a stupid rash from pain medication.  It seems like forever ago that I had so much trouble getting dressed and taking care of  myself.  It seems like it has been AGES since my party on the stunning 6th floor of Baptist East when my best friend, Laura, brought a bunch of people Dairy Queen blizzards to eat while they visited with me.

Yet, here I am just five short weeks later… absolutely shocked at how beautifully my body has healed in such a short amount of time.  Sure, I still have some work to do with reconstruction. However, other than when I look in the mirror, I completely forget sometimes that I’ve recently had a major surgery.  I feel wonderful, my energy level is high, and I am hardly sore at all.

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The last few days I’ve followed my normal “weekend” routine.  You know… the routine that includes running a couple of errands, visiting with friends, catching up on house work, sleeping slightly late, taking a nap or two, and watching a few (ok… maybe a ton…) of One Tree Hill episodes.  It has been wonderful.  Mitch and I even went out to have a few pictures taken today in the hopes of using one for a Christmas card photo.

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We had some better ones taken with a much better camera… this one was taken with my cell phone, so it’s not as good.

Anyway… I am so surprised at all the things I am able to do at this point after surgery.  I can’t workout yet and I’m not supposed to go back to work until after Thanksgiving, but it’s so much better than I thought it would be.  If you had asked me 2 months ago, I never would have imagined that I would feel like getting my picture taken 5 weeks post surgery.  I would have thought that picture-taking would require too much energy.  I definitely would have thought my body would look too weird to photograph.  At the very least, I would have thought that I would have to wear a scarf or thick sweater to camouflage what was missing.  I was totally wrong.

Even though I don’t look like my old self and I am still “in progress”, I am proud of how I look and feel right now. I feel so much better than I did before surgery. As crazy as it sounds,  I actually like the new version of “me” better.  I am stronger.  I am healthier.  I am more optimistic.   I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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a friendship.

Happy Tuesday!

You may remember from some of my earlier posts that my husband is a fireman.  Well, what you probably don’t know is that the first night I ever talked to him (holy crap… has it really been 11 years?!), he was wearing a pink polo shirt and khaki shorts.  I knew as soon as I saw him in that pink polo that we were going to get along JUST FINE. =)  Ha! All to say, given that I clearly love a man in pink and I have appreciation for firemen, you can only imagine my response when I saw this picture on Pinterest!

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Firemen.  Pink.  Breast cancer awareness.  Love.  I think the St. Matthews fire department should invest in some new uniforms!!!

Speaking of my fireman husband, he has been busy traveling for his part-time job and working at the fire station.  He’s been gone for the last couple of days.  In the beginning of my surgery recovery, his time at the station was a little challenging because that meant I needed to coordinate drivers to doctor’s appointments and people to come help me do things around my house.  However, that’s not the case anymore! The last week of my recovery has really been awesome.  My chest is becoming much less sore.  I even wore my seatbelt across my chest today for the first time!  I haven’t been expanded in over a week, so I’m sure that has contributed to my improvement.  I get expanded again this Monday and I’m hoping that my body continues to feel good afterward.

While my husband has been gone, I have been trying to keep busy.  One of the best things I did the last couple of days is get together with another woman, Katie Pass, who lives in Louisville and is also BRCA2+.

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Katie and I actually met over facebook.  Just 8 days after my surgery, Louisville’s newspaper, the Courier Journal, featured an article about a woman choosing to have elective surgery after finding out she was BRCA+.  The article explained a lot of interesting things about BRCA, told Katie’s story, and explained how she decided to have a preventative mastectomy.  Obviously, being a week post surgery, this article struck a chord with me and I posted it to my facebook wall.

The article was really wonderful.  If you are interested in reading it, you can click on the link below:

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20131028/PRIME01/310300022/Like-Angelina-Jolie-many-women-opting-radical-surgery-face-breast-cancer

Anyway, after sharing the link on facebook, it only took a few minutes for someone to comment and tag Katie’s name.  Then, with just a click, I was able to find her on facebook. Facebook really makes finding people way too easy.  I sent her a message and we messaged back and forth for a few days until we finally decided to get together and talk yesterday.

Once we started talking, I realized how much we really have in common.  Our surgeries took place within two weeks of one another. Both of our moms passed away from BRCA related cancers.  We live just a few blocks apart from one another. We are two years apart in age.  Neither of us have had kids yet.  We even have the same plastic surgeon!

0dd0fed77d560c8a4b6d118810b37ea9During our conversation, I kept thinking about how glad I felt, knowing we’d had the chance to meet. It was so therapeutic and comforting to finally meet someone who has struggled with the same experiences and choices in the same period of their life.  Don’t get me wrong… my friends and family have been ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Some of them have shown empathy to me in ways I didn’t think possible. However, there was so much power in telling someone my story and knowing they truly understand because they have lived it TOO… the loss of a mom, the dreaded genetic diagnosis, the overwhelming choices, the surgeries, the angst about the future, the hate for cancer and what it has done to our families.

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After almost two hours, we agreed that it felt like we’d known each other much longer than just a few days.  We even decided to get together again today with another BRCA+ woman, Kim,who also lives here in Louisville.  Today’s meeting was also great because Kim has known her BRCA status for much longer than me.  She was able to fill me in on all kinds of info regarding the surgeries and tests I will need in the future.  Here we are at Vint, a local coffee shop, discussing all things BRCA…

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I know, I know… this picture is blurry.  My fault.  We asked a poor innocent coffee drinking bystander to take the picture and I didn’t bother checking it once we were done.  Whoops.  Katie is in the front with the long blonde hair and Kim is the snazzy lady in the red sweater (you should have seen her super cute  hounds tooth pencil skirt!). It might be hard to tell in the picture… but let me tell you… Katie is two weeks post surgery and looking fabulous!!

I feel so lucky to have met some wonderful women who have shared their BRCA stories with me.  Until this week, I have never known anyone who was BRCA+ besides my mom.  Meeting others with the gene helps me feel so much more positive about my choices and my future.  My body has been doing an excellent job healing… my heart is doing a great job as well.

ceff71566ed5ade4ecd723b6db719640If you are struggling with genetic testing decisions or being BRCA+, please reach out to others or local organizations that can help you get in touch with others who are BRCA+.  It makes such a huge difference.

If you are interested in reading more about Katie and her BRCA journey, she also has a blog outlining her preventative mastectomy experience. Here is the link:

http://katiepassjourney.weebly.com/

Have a wonderful night.

Jayne

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