Me, My Family, Post-Op Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

5 years down the road.

Another anniversary has come and gone, I can’t believe it was 5 years ago.  July 2, 2012, I checked into Cooper University Hospital to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy.  The surgery was an easy decision for me,  multiple prior biopsies which grew more suspicious over the years and a mother who died of Breast cancer.   Five years later, I have NEVER second guessed my decision.  I have spoken freely with anyone who is interested.  For a long time everyone I knew was fully aware of my story.

Since my surgery 2 friends have been diagnosed with beast cancer,  one in remission and the other still deep in the fight.  A third friend is just at the beginning of “something strange in the imagining” stage, prayers that it is nothing.  What frustrates me are the  friends who just do not find it important to get their yearly mammograms.  All three of the women I just mention were made aware of their situations via routine screenings.  I am not here to preach, maybe I should, what I would do is encourage everyone to be screened regularly.

This years anniversary has me a bit more on edge.  I now have a daughter who is a few short weeks from 13 years old and puberty is among us.  As she fills out, a fear in me grows.  Aside from my own risk factors, my daughters have a higher risk than I did having 2 grandmothers with breast cancer, women who sadly my girls never had the opportunity to meet.  I wish I could do something to change those factors for my girls but there are some things Mom can not fix.  What I can do is support my children as we face the future head on.

Me, My Family

Pink reminder, get your mammogram

 

October, the world a wash in pink everywhere you look, corporations cashing in on the cancer struggle of millions of women.  I had no intention of posting anything this month, I don’t post much these days.  My mind was changed after receiving the news that another friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her journey begins, so many lives affected.

The questions from my own daughters are now deeper.   Four years is a long time in the life of a child, they remember my surgery but did they really understand?  Last night my little one, now 9, asked if I could ever get “that cancer” since I had the BPM.  For me, the much more important question is how high of a risk my beautiful daughters have and how do we handle those risks as they grow.  The only answer I can find right now, control what you can.  When was your last mammogram?  If you don’t remember pick up the phone and call for an appointment today!    Talk to every women in your life and remind them to do the same.  If you like pink that’s great but keep in mind that if millions were not being made by every company making or wearing all of that pink, it would not be happening.  Instead use the pink as a reminder, get your screening!

“An ounce of prevention is worth  a pound of cure”- Benjamin Franklin

There of course is no cure for cancer but the studies are very clear, the earlier breast cancer is found the better the chance treatment will be successful.  Call for your mammogram today!

Me, My Family

Joy and Sadness; a Partnership

The other night the girls and I watched the Disney movie Inside Out.  We had seen it in the movies and enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it just as much the second time.   If you have not seen it the premise is a young girl forced to move due to her fathers new job and the five emotions that lead her, joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear.

Multiple times throughout the movie I told my oldest daughter that the “sadness” character was my favorite.  When asked why (other than how cute the character is,) I explained that throughout life you can only enjoy true joy because of real sadness.  Life is full of highs and lows, many stormy moments that in my mind are all there to remind you that when you have the happy moments, true joy, you should wrap your arms around it and cherish the moments.   How much of our lives are just a bunch of mixed moments, sadness, anger and fear leading to moments of great joy.The moment I was rushed down the hallway of a hospital for and emergency C-section because Madison’s heart rate had dropped.  So scared, tears streaming down my face.  Hours later the wonderful joy of holding my beautiful, healthy baby.  So many moments before my BPM surgery and during the healing process all leading to a sense of peace and health allowing me to focus on what is important in life.

Sadness, an emotion that surrounded so much of my life growing up has once again been able to creep into my life.  It started as a sadness of the loss of a few once important relationships.  This sadness has now turned more to one of lamenting  that you can not control others actions no matter how much you bend.  Some are not happy unless they make everyone miserable around them. Joy for some is seeing sadness in others.

Clearly you should not surround yourself with people who make you feel bad.  Of course, life is never that easy.  A decision that seems so clear and easy has ripple effects often creating a whirlwind of confusion, hurt feelings and the ever so popular, politically correct, “I don’t want to get involved.”  Sometimes you have to bite your lip and sometimes, well you just have to cut ties and move on.  I guess the most important thing is knowing which is which.