Tough Choices…

Hi Dolls-

It has been quite a while since I have posted. Things are going great, I am so happy with my choice to “Save my life.” I felt like I HAD to post today…I was at work with Pandora playing through my iHome on my desk, and 3 consecutive songs came on that are very important and meaningful to me. The first was “there you’ll be” by Faith Hill, the second was “If I die young” by The Band Perry, which both make me think of Grampy…who I miss dearly and truly believe he gets me through and guides me every day. The third song, “Live like You’re Dying” by Tim McGraw, reassured me of my initial choice of a mastectomy leading up to the first surgery in July. Every time I hear that song, I cry. It makes me so emotional, but it is the truth. So many young people are taken because of cancer; I don’t wait to be one of those people. I felt if I didn’t have this surgery, I was just waiting to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I was fortunate to have amazing insurance, extremely supportive people around me and a ton of help post surgery- because without all of those things…I don’t think I would have been able to have the surgery. It is an extremely personal decision, and a preventative double mastectomy certainly isn’t for everyone, or maybe it is for high risk girls like me, but only at certain points in their life. Some women want to breast feed, so they want to wait until they are done having children, others don’t want to know if they have the BRCA gene- which is fine too, but you NEED to be DILIGENT about SCREENING!!!! I highly recommend the surgery to anyone who is considered “high risk” or knows they do have the BRCA gene. I do encourage the BRCA testing because if you are BRCA 2, you are at high risk for breast cancer, but if you are BRCA1 (like me) you are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Yeah, I gave up my real boobs, but I didn’t give up my life to cancer.
I feel that if I have to be BRCA1 then I need to do something positive with my story and experience and try to help as many young women faced with the grueling decision of whether to test for the BRCA gene, or whether or not the surgery is the right choice. For me, it was…I am at peace. I still struggle, but I am at peace knowing my chances of breast cancer are <2%. I struggle emotionally still. It consumes you and it is now a huge part of me- and I have the “battle scars” to prove it. As my mastectomy journey is starting to wind down, with only 1 more surgery to go (which will be April 11th) for my nipple reconstruction. I was torn between the 3D tattooing and the skin grafting but I finally chose the skin grafting. I am so nervous, I think this is the most nervous I’ve been for any of my surgeries. It should be the least I am nervous for, I think anyways, but I’m not. They will be taking 4 inches from each side of the “scoop” (I call it that LOL) the skin between your thigh and butt (where it meets) and reconstruct from that. That’s a total of another 8 inches of scars. I didn’t know and still don’t know how I feel about that, but, it will give me the best results. I’m worried about the recovery since I will feel the two 4inch incisions and will have difficulty laying down or sitting and bending for a while, as opposed to my chest for the other surgeries where I was and still am numb.
I am happy with my results so far…I absolutely love them. I bought a ton of new bikinis from Victoria’s Secret and I CAN’T wait for the summer!!!! I certainly am looking forward to the warm sunshine and boating and jet skiing. My Mom is still fighting daily, and receiving chemo treatments weekly. It sucks, and I’m not doing that shit! That shit is for the bird’s, but when it is your only option it is do or die. I’m glad she is “doing” because I need her. She is my rock – I’d be so lost without her. On a positive note, my sister got engaged this past weekend and I am going to have a new brother-in-law! Yippy!!! Let the wedding planning begin!! I am so happy for my sister- it is so nice to see her genuinely happy. I also can’t believe my little pumpkin Brayden is going to be ONE on April 14th!!!! It seems like yesterday we were waiting anxiously for his arrival. I love him so much…he has the cutest smile and is such a happy little guy, he has been a huge help for my recovery. Just spending time with him seems to make everything ok and definitely worthwhile. Another surgery…another pair of Loubs? We’ll see, I’ll keep you all posted. Hey, I’ve been through hell…I deserve them! 😉

Wear Your Loubs Proud,
Kate x0x0

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Strength I Never Knew I Had- Here’s to 2013

Anything Could Happen-Ellie Goulding

Well Hello,

I haven’t posted in 3 months?? I am slackin’.  I’ve been busy LIVING MY LIFE- but lets catch up.

Since my last post, I still my my expanders in.  After that I had a few more “fills,” I was ultimately over-expanded and filled to 530cc’s in each side (I had 500cc expanders in), and man, did it hurt for a few days..ooph!  Anyways, I loved my expanders and how they looked.  When you go from no boobs your whole life, to really, any size you can imagine without having to wear a “bombshell” – it’s pretty sweet! HAHA  I made it very clear to my PS that how I looked at the time of my exchange surgery was how I wanted to wake up with the permament implants in.  He said he was very confident I would have identical results and virtually perfect results because my skin was holding up so well and I had great elasticity (thank you BioOil and Cocoa Butter).  Anyone who had surgery and needs good scar diminishing treatments I highly recommend BioOil twice a day, at least, and then once it dries put cocoa butter over it.  Works like a charm! 😉 

So on November 8, 2012, My Mom, Kyle, and I all drove up to The Faulkner Hospital and I was excited as I was in pre op to moving on to the next chapter of this mastectomy/reconstruction journey.  Dr. H came in and marked me up all over my chest and signed his autograph (they have to sign off on the markings LOL) and assured me I will have great results.  From then on, it’s all a blur.  I vaguely remember being wheeled into the OR and seeing my dearest PA-who I just loved, Abbie, standing over me holding my hand, and telling me she would be in the OR the whole time and would make sure I was safe and sound.  I was so attached to her after all was said and done, I mean, I had an appointment with her every 2 months for how many months (since March), plus I would e-mail or call her with questions..she really was the best!  (If anyone needs a phenom plastic surgeon, contact me-she’s on of the greatest in the country and also only 1 of 4 microsurgeons for reconstruction in the North East-she is veryt talented).  Anyways,  surgery memories are nonexistant, AMEN to that, but I do remember opening one eye at a time in recovery.  Like a child fearfully peeking at a monster, so afraid of what my results may be (this is what you get for googling breast reconstruction images) I grabbed my sewn up chest and was hoping not to be flat.  I was all bandaged up and so desperately needed to make sure I had boobs, I told the nurse she had to check LOL – gotta love anesthesia.  She helped me move my gown and lifted some of the dressing and surgical bra so I could go back to resting and I had a REAL CHEST AGAIN!!! NO MORE METAL/PLASTIC hard expanders!!! I was SO HAPPY.  It was such a sigh of relief.  I couldn’t wait to get home to look at them haha.  The nurses gave me crackers and ginger ale and let my Mom and Kyle come in and stay with me- I was happy to see them both.  (They both have been my rock’s through all of this.  I don’t think I could have made it emotionally, or mentally without either of them.  It’s a lot to see your daughter and girlfriend of 3 1/2 years go through something like this.  They are the best..thank you Mom and Ky! Love you!!)

As I got home, Kyle went to get all my prescriptions and once my Dad was home from work my Mom went to get me soup and I just layed around, I was sore, and groggy.  My cousin Karen came over and she was the lucky one to take my post op pictures for my mastectomy journey album (thanks Ka!) I thought she was going to pass out LOL  My cousin Brian came to visit and also Justin came over and brought my Brewed Awakenings hot chocolate! yummoooo  We just hung out and had a nice time.  It was nice to not think about surgery for now. 

The recovery wasn’t too bad,  I couldn’t shower for 2 days (that’s nothing compared to the first surgery with the stupid drains) and did I mention I HAD NO DRAINS for this exchange surgery! WAHOO!!  The healing was about 3-4 weeks, after a week and a half I was pretty good, just every now and then I would get sharp pains and I couldn’t sleep on my side or belly for a few weeks but that was only because I had a more extensive surgery on my right side only.  I had 7 layers of internal sutures on my right side because they had to lift it and move it inward– yeeks.  It was worth it, now that I am 7 weeks post exchange, I am so happy, I was happy with my results the day of surgery…I love them! 🙂

The worst part of this November surgery was the fact that I couldn’t hold my nephew Brayden for 6 weeks because he was over my weight limit- I could only carry/push/pull up to 10 pounds and he’s over 20 lol

Shortly after my surgery on November 8th, my Mom got a call from her Doctor in Boston, that her number’s were up and her cancer had come back (she just finished a chemo in the summer).  I was very upset about this but it really made me realize that I made the right choice for myself, my life, and one day my future family.  She is doing more chemo treatments once every week (with every third week off) for I think it is 21 or 24 weeks?  I don’t deal with it, even if this is the 10th or 11th stinkin’ time it has come back since 2004..it just never gets any easier.  She is in good spirits and she is hangin’ in there.  She’s a trooper! 🙂

I was really blown away this year by how many people actually reached out to me to tell me how my story, or my blog, or they are a friend of a friends relative and they told them about me so they went and got checked, or they reached out to me because they unfortunately recieved a breast cancer diagnosis and just wanted to share kind words with me.  It is so touching, and I really appreciate when people do that.  It is reassuring that even if you are just an average person, you are heard, and you can and do have an impact on people.  I love it.  I always says “if I can help just one person, either learn about BRCA, or go and get their yearly tests done, then it has all been worth it.”

 

Ya know, 2012 wasn’t all THAT bad.  Sure, I chopped my boobs off to save my life but some good did come out of it.  We did welcome my beautiful nephew Brayden Christopher in April, and I did land my dream job in November of 2012.  2012 also taught me to do what makes me happy and to live my life to fullest because you never know..anything could happen!  I listen to Ellie Goulding’s song “Anything Could Happen” daily.  Here are some of the lyrics and also a link to her video:

Yes since we found out
Since we found out
That anything could happen
Anything could happen
Anything could happen
Anything could happen
Anything could happen
Anything could happen
Anything could

After the war we said we’d fight together
I guess we thought that’s just what humans do
Letting darkness grow
As if we need its palette and we need its colour
But now I’ve seen it through
And now I know the truth
That anything could happen
Anything could happen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hzgS9s-tE8

I was also featured in an article this December: here is a link to read it! 🙂 I’m toward the bottom.  Plus, I got a shoutout to my blog in it also!! 🙂

http://www.kevinjwoo.com/science-and-technology/breast-cancer-gene

As I am approaching the final chapters of this it is almost bitter sweet.  At the beginning of last year, I had just found out my BRCA status and was so angry and upset and I just didn’t understand why I had to have this..I always try to be a good person, and help anyone in need- even if it is a complete stranger.  I think I finally can comprehend somewhat, why I was born with this genetic mutation.  I CAN HANDLE IT and DEAL WITH IT.  I took it by the “balls” (for lack of a better word) and kicked the shit out of BRCA and boobs all together. One more surgery in the Spring, and this story will finally come to an end.  If could get through all this in a year,  imagine what I can conquer next??  So take that 2012…cheers to 2013!

Wear Your Loubs Proud,

Kate x0x0

Cheers to Phase II

Hi Dolls!

I’m back! Sorry, I’ve been MIA for a bit. I’ve been SO busy with work and enjoying myself. I do, however, have some good news!! I have been going for “fills” every 2 weeks and I am happy to announce that I am now up to 430CC’s in each side! It has been a slow and steady process, but I am getting there. I am so sore from the fill because my skin is actually being stretched through out this whole process, to prep it for the permanent implant. I do also have my exchange surgery scheduled for Thursday, November 8, 2012. My plastic surgeon will be out on maternity leave so one of her highly respected colleagues will be performing my reconstruction exchange. I absolutely CAN NOT wait to finally have my cozy, comfy, squishy implants, rather than these huge, round, hard, painful expanders! I currently have “neck boobs” because the expanders have to be so big to take up my whole chest cavity, and trust me, “neck boobs” are not a good look! LOL I am very grateful for being able to have this surgery and be able to have the knowledge of the BRCA gene.

On Sunday, 9-23-12 my family and friends participated in the NOCC-RI “Walk To Break The Silence” on ovarian cancer in Roger Williams Park in Providence, RI. We were team “Battling for Babs” and the largest team for the second year in a row. As a team we raised over $2500.00 and the walk as a whole, raised over $107,000 for ovarian cancer!! There is NOT enough information and education about hereditary breast/ovarian cancer and the BRCA 1 an BRCA 2 genes.

A very special friend, and also owner of “The Deli on Post” in Warwick, RI, Maria, had sent my Mom a very special gift. She had sent us a pass for my family to go on the gondola’s at the October 6th Waterfire, which is The Gloria Gemma “Flames of Hope” Waterfire. I AM BEYOND EXCITED for next Saturday night! I am wearing my “Kiss breast cancer goodbye” sparkle tee to this event, I’m pumped! We will be popping pink champagne in honor of all those who have passed, those fighting, the survivors, and of course the “PREVIVORS!” 🙂 I will post pictures after the event so be on the look out!

I had DVR’d “Stand Up 2 Cancer” because I was not feeling strong enough to watch it when it aired. I finally had the courage to watch it (because it makes me SO emotional) and was touched by little 6 year old Avalanna’s story. I was so upset last night when I saw on the news that this little princess had sadly passed away. This breaks my heart. So little, so young, so full of life. WHY? WHY HER? Why did she have to have cancer? WHY? I don’t get it. I obviously never met her, but after watching her story on Stand Up 2 Cancer, I feel so blessed to have the BRCA testing and am able to have this surgery to drastically reduce my risk. This little girl didn’t have that option. If she did, I am sure she would have opted for the preventative surgeries also. So when people ask me, “Why would you do this to yourself so young?” This is my response, “It sure as hell beats the alternative!” I was lucky enough to have these options, these other people aren’t so fortunate.

I have to commend Justin Bieber for making many sick children’s wishes come true. For such a young man, he is making such a huge impact on these little kids. He really is a great person and he deserves a lot of credit for flying these kids all over to meet and hang out with him.

The one person I would LOVE to meet (besides my girl Jessica Simpson, of course) would be Mrs. Giuliana Rancic. This woman is my IDOL! I watch her episode of Giuliana & Bill, titled “Surgery Day” probably about once a week. I feel like this is the only thing on TV that brings awareness to breast cancer and the mastectomy surgery. I still cry throughout the whole episode but I have to applaud her for allowing cameras into this very private time in her life. She is a huge inspiration to me because she has proven that you can have a breast cancer diagnosis, go through all of these brutal surgeries, but you still can go on with your life.

I try to always see the good in things and people, and sometimes it is hard, but things do get better. I am so grateful for my family, my friends, my boyfriend Kyle, my Doctor’s & nurses, Abbie (Dr. Caterson’s PA -she has the patience of a saint! LOL), and to all the people who are out there raising awareness about these hereditary cancers and genes!!

Wear Your Loubs Proud,

Kate x0x0

Happy Girls Are The Prettiest!

Hi Everyone,

Things have been spectacular!!! I had my second “fill” yesterday and now have 180cc’s of saline in each side! I am getting there, slowly, but surely. I am feeling great and am back to my old self again. I have been cleared to swim, jet ski, boat, lift anything that I am comfortable with as long as it doesn’t hurt me. I am sore today from the fill but it’s not too bad…I’ll deal! 🙂

After to talking to other women in their 20’s and 30’s who have this BRCA gene and have had their surgery or are prepared for surgery, I am baffled by the self esteem issues some women are dealing with. I have come to the conclusion..and I also live by these next statements…

BRCA does NOT define or own any of us! Everyone is beautiful whether they have mastectomy scars or not. In fact, I had a hard time trying to decide if I should have a skin sparing(they take skin and the nipple) or skin sparing (where they don’t take much,if any skin and leave the nipple in place). I finally chose skin sparing because of the idea of still having breast tissue behind the nipple, but that is besides the point. I was afraid of what I would look like after surgery and I even told my mom I didn’t want to look at myself until the whole process (all 3 surgeries) were over and healed. Honestly, after I met with Tracey and she showed me her album of her journey, I decided I needed to look. The day after surgery I had my Mom get me up and I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time. I cried. I cried a lot. It’s hard to face your reality, but it is reality and it was THE BEST option for me. At first, I was iffy about the scars and how I looked and I even woke up the first few nights home upset because I was 2nd guessing my choice to have a skin sparing surgery. After I decided to document my healing journey for my sisters and maybe one day if I have a daughter, I have been so comfortable and confident and I am glad I ended up choosing the skin sparing. My thoughts for skin sparing the whole time was “go big, or go home”. I have been taking pictures every other day and putting them into a photo book with the date and how many days post op.

I wish other women who had or are having mastectomies would just have some confidence,embrace their bodies,their scars, and their lives!! I have my expanders and as always, they aren’t even and I don’t care..I still strut around in my string bikini and if someone doesn’t like it they can eff off! 🙂

It was 30 days post op on Monday and for the very first time I slept on my tummy and let me tell you…it was HEAVENLY!!!! I was so happy and I am so grateful to have had no complications or delays in my reconstruction process. I can’t wait until I am done with the fills and can have my exchange surgery to have perfect ta-ta’s foreverrrr!!!! Woohoo!!!

Love your family and enjoy your life. Appreciate everyday..you never know when it will be your last!

Strut your stuff & Wear Your Loubs Proud,

Kate xoxo

Good As New (well, now anyways) – Post op Update!

I know this is SUPER over due…however, after surgery I wasn’t up to posting and then once I was, I was busy enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

On July 13, 2012 I woke up at 5:30AM to shower with my “special soap” which completely dries out your skin- it’s awful, and then my Mom, Dad, Kyle, and myself set out on our way up 95 North to Boston for my surgery around 7:15AM.  I was told to be at registration/admitting by 9:15 and it only takes an hour to get there but with traffic, you never know.  The morning of surgery I was actually surprisingly calm, and it was my parents and Kyle who were nervous wrecks.  I think I was so calm because I knew that this was something that I really wanted to do and knew this was the best options/decision for me.

After being admitted, we were escorted over to the OR holding area, where they called just me back at first to get me changed and the IV started with just fluids and once I was settled in bed they brought my parents and Kyle back to stay with me.  My surgery was schedule for 10:45AM but the surgery before mine in that particular OR ran over and we didn’t start my surgery until 11:30 (or so they tell me..I have no memory of this 🙂 thankfully!)  I was put into LaLa land somewhere around 11:20 or so?  My breast surgeon, Dr. Duggan, had a colleague come in, so they each did one side to cut down my anesthesia time and ultimately shorten my surgery time.  The 2 breast surgeons took about an hour and half to completely scrap and remove all breast tissue from each side.  Once they were finished, my AMAZING plastic surgeon, Dr. Caterson came in and inserted my tissue expanders to start the immediate reconstruction.  It took Dr. Caterson about an hour and fifteen minutes to reconstruct each side and they were able to fill each expander with 100CC’s at the time of surgery.  100cc’s sounds like a lot, but in reality, when you have such a big expander and it’s perfectly round, 100cc’s doesn’t go too far LOL

My total surgery time was about 4 hours instead of the 5-6 they were anticipating until Dr. Duggan was able to get her colleague.  I didn’t mind the length, however, my parents and Ky I’m sure beg to differ! hehe  I don’t remember too much after surgery, I briefly remember waking up in recovery straight across from the nurses station and literally, as soon as I opened my eyes, my nurse came right by my side.  My nurse then escorted my parents and Kyle into recovery to see me, which I just briefly remember.  I remember my Dad being super upset and I remember feeling throbbing through my chest, but then I fell back to sleep and when I woke back up, I was in my room connected to my BFF the Dilaudid pump.  That night I can only remember fading in and out and not much else.  My Dad and Kyle went home for the night and my Mom spent Friday night with me.  My Dad, Kyle, and Allie returned on Saturday to spend the day with me.  I was good up until the afternoon.  I threw up around 4pm and we thought it was just from the anesthesia, so they gave me Zofran and I was good.  My parents took me for walks up and down the hallway on my floor and then I would nap and watch TV as Kyle sat beside me (he’s the greatest!).  The next day during the middle of the night at 2:30AM Sunday morning I was sick again, so they gave me more Zofran and fluids.  They gave me a light breakfast Sunday morning and decided that I could be discharged early afternoon since I was able to keep breakfast down.  I had bought waterless shampoo caps because I knew I couldn’t shower after surgery with the drains, however, I don’t suggest them LOL  My mom was trying to wash my hair with this waterless shampoo cap and my hair is too long and too thick and half of it wasn’t even wet.  It was funny though.  So anyways, they pumped me up with Zofran for the car ride home, but wouldn’t give me a prescription for it because if I continue to be sick, Zofran would mask it and they wouldn’t know what the real problem was.  So my Mom packed up my belongings (I don’t travel light hehe) and they gave me a bucket to take with me just in case and a big fluffy pillow to put across my chest and then put the seatbelt over that.  Any little bump was certainly unpleasant.  Once we arrived home, I was SO HAPPY to be in my own house with Lucy and Teddy and was so glad this ordeal was over. 

The Dr’s had sent me home with Clindamycin 300mg every 6 hours and 4mg of Dilaudid every 3 hours…yeah well when you are my size, this doesn’t sit well!! I had a few visitors Monday, until the afternoon when everything set in and I threw up continuously several times.  Throwing up after having major surgery on your chest is totally NOT fun.  This vomiting continued until Tuesday morning when the Dr. switched the antibiotics to Levaquin 600mg once a day and cut the Dilaudid in half to 2mg.  At that point, I just took myself off my pain meds completely.  I’d rather be a little uncomfortable than throwing up which was 1000x worse!!!! I only took the pain meds for 4 days, I really didn’t have any pain because my chest is numb, they take everything out so all the nerve endings were gone.  The drains were what hurt more than anything!!!! I had 2 drains, one on each side sewn into the middle of each armpit (so not pleasant) and they would tug and pull and they just hurt and were so super annoying!!!

My first day home my drain output was 70 cc’s in 1 and 77 cc’s in 2 and on Tuesday dropped to 37 in 1 and 32 in 2 and from there on out it continued to decrease.  I was so happy because I had an appointment with my plastic surgeon Friday the 20th and the drain paper said if they were under 30cc’s they would be removed, and I was under 30!! WOOHOO!  Yeah, not so much…I arrive at the office and Abbie the PA said they gave me an old paper, it is 20cc’s for 2 days before they could be removed…I was SO UPSET I thought I was going to cry LOL – No one knows how uncomfortable drains are unless you’ve had them!!  Abbie was optimistic that it would probably be Monday or Tuesday that they would be able to be removed.

Since I was super bummed and over tired since I couldn’t sleep well with the drains and my back was killing me, my mom took me to Panera in Garden City for lunch and then we hed over to Ann Taylor Loft where we got 5 or 6 tops with like the winged sleeve so I would be able to go out on the weekend.  The weekend was going to be beautiful and Abbie told me I could really do anything I wanted except lift and swim and shower with the drains.  We picked 5 or 6 shirts but I had NO strength to try them on in the store..yet again, the drains make everything complicated!! I went home and napped and spent the night with Kyle at my house.

On Saturday we tried a few shirts and they worked!! I rigged up the drains to my bra just under my armpits and taped the drain tubes and safety pinned the crap out of it and IT WORKED!!! No one would have ever known I had drains under there, or even better, no one would ever know I had a mastectomy just 1 week ago!  Kyle and I relaxed on the boat and had drinks and ordered food to be delivered – I was SO happy to be out!!!

Over the weekend each drain was under 20cc’s for more than 2 days and they drains could have come out Sunday, but it was Sunday so I had to wait until Monday.  I was afraid of passing out from the drain removal, but it wasn’t so bad…you can actually feel the drain moving under your skin when they pull it out, yes it’s gross and it’s a long stinkin’ tube! UGH! all this technology and you would think they could come up with something better than Jackson Pratt Drains.  10 days after surgery and my drains were OUT!!! WOOHOO! I could shower 24 hours after drain removal and could shave and use deodorant again 48 hours after drain removal.  I couldn’t wait to shower!!! My hair was fine because my cousin Lee who owns a salon a few miles away from my house washed and straightened my hair every other day so I always had good hair.  You don’t know how amazing a shower is after 10 days of showering from the belly button down and just washing your upper body with a face cloth because you can’t get the drains and incisions wet! UGH!  Needless to say, on Tuesday the 24th I showered for about 35 minutes.  It was awesome!!!!

Get this…Yesterday I went down to the marina in my BIKINI and laid out in the sun.  The Dr.’s cleared me for sun bathing (just have to put high SPF over my chest), I can go on the boats!!!! just not the jet ski until August 14th! I was pumped! But I wore a freaking BIKINI yesterday and no one would have known I had a double mastectomy 12 days ago.  I don’t mean to “toot my own horn” but I looked damn good for just having this major surgery less than 2 weeks ago.  I feel great, I have no pain, I only take Motrin in the morning because my chest feels tight when I wake up from the way I sleep but I really have no pain.  The drains are far worse than the actual mastectomy incisions. I can’t feel my chest so it’s all good!

I’m just SO proud of myself.  As I drove myself to the marina yesterday…I had a few moments were I sort of started to cry in the car because I just couldn’t believe myself.  I couldn’t believe it was over and its only been 12 days and I am back to my old self again.  When this surgery talk started, I said I was NOT going to let this ruin my summer, and it’s not!  I am in charge of my life, BRCA genes no longer are, I am writing my own story, not my genetic make up, I’m the boss! 🙂

My breast surgeon had called me with the pathology report and she said “Kate, you made the best decision, you would have had breast cancer at some point…those spots that were lighting up faintly were atypical cells.”  I just replied with “OK, so what do I do now?”  I was afraid if she was going to suggest some sort of treatment, but she said that I did the best thing, and the most effective, and I don’t have to do any treatments because nothing was cancerous yet.  I hung up with her, and just sat for a moment, trying to collect my thoughts and compose myself and it was just so surreal.  I felt so much relief and now after that report, I certainly made the right choice.  When it is my time to go it won’t be because of breast cancer.  I immediately went to share this important info with my parents who were so happy they cried, and then to my sisters, and extended family and friends.  This was such a relief..I’m so happy and I really feel so lucky and so blessed.  I couldn’t have done this without the support of my Mom, my family, friends, and especially Kyle.

A lot of marriages fall apart when something like this occurs. I was nervous at first because we have such a great relationship but something like this can really put a strain on things.  Kyle is amazing..I couldn’t ask for a better guy in my life.  He never left me and was there every step of the way.  He always supports me whatever my decision may be and he is always there when I need him.  He is my saving grace.  Everything in our lives is all downhill from here and it’s gonna be a good life!

My first fill is next Wednesday and I can’t wait!! My exchange surgery is anticipated to be somewhere from mid to the end of October.  My plastic surgeon will be on maternity leave starting in October so I could have one of her partners do my exchange surgery or wait until January until she returns.  I haven’t decided yet, I am going to see once I am filled a little more and healed if I want to wait until January or not depending on how comfortable I am with the expanders.  I am excited for the fills…it is sort of like playing dress up,  I can add some, take some out, wherever I want to be, I can be.

Advice to anyone who has a history of breast/ovarian cancer in your family…GET TESTED!!!! If you don’t want to get tested, make sure your Dr’s know ALL of your history and you are screened extremely well and closely every 3 months!  If any of you find out you are BRCA 1 or 2 positive..I highly suggest the prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.  The surgery and recovery is not bad at all with minimal pain, it really is just the drains.  This could save your life…I believe it saved mine!!

Wear Your Loubs Proud,

Kate x0x0

Tomorrow is THE big day..Thanks for all your support! <3

Good Morning,

After a restless sleep (and I am anticipating no sleep tonight), I am up and ready to start the day with a LONG list of things to do.  I feel so much anxiety, and I feel like I just can’t sit still.  I am happy that the surgery day is fast approaching (it seems like the days just flew by), but I am so super scared.  I’m afraid of the pain, and I hope I can handle it.  I know I will be hooked up to the little pain pump (my BFFL for the next few days LOL) but I am afraid of the car ride home, and also the pain at home.  Hopefully, all will go well and my pain will be manageable!  I know I am making the right choice, but this past week my choice had been validated even more than before…A little girl who I knew (stronger than any of us) lost her battle with a genetic cancer…she was 9.  Life just isn’t fair sometimes.  Why does this have to happen to good people? Why does it seem that all the people who steal, rape, and kill others breeze through life?  Why can’t it happen to people who aren’t good productive citizens? It makes me sick just thinking about it, but this is why I HAVE to have this surgery!  I am ready to have my surgery, but I am scared/anxious/nervous.  As of now, my scheduled surgery time is tomorrow at 10:45 AM at the Faulkner Hospital in Boston.  I will now be having 2 breast surgeons working on me at once, to shorten my time under anesthesia, and then my plastic surgeon will come in and reconstruct.  They initially thought my surgery would be 5-6 hours and now could be only 3-4 hours!! YAY!

I certainly couldn’t have made it through the emotions, decision-making, and the entire roller coaster ride without my friends and family.

To my Mom and Dad: Thank you for always believing in me.  When times were hard and I felt like I wanted to give up, you never let me.  You kept pushing me because you knew I could get through.  We have been through so much since 2004…actually we’ve been to hell and back..but we made it through and we will always make it through.  Thank you for all of your love and support and for ALWAYS believing in me!

To my sisters– Kerri & Allie: Oh boy..without your help..I’d probably be in the nut house by now! LOL No matter what, I always know I can call you whenever if I ever needed anything, or just to talk.  You have been a huge support system for me through my BRCA and mastectomy journey and although it isn’t over, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Thank you for supporting me with “whatever decision I make.”

The 3 of us at Kerri’s birthday dinner!

To Alex: You are my biggest fan LOL – you are always so worried about me and the surgery…but I will be FINE! You have always been there for me and I appreciate our friendship! Although, I can’t wait until I’m all healed up so we can take the boat to Water Street to indulge in a “few” cocktails 😉

Alex & I