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.

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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!

My Family

Decisions that matter and those that change everything

Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy, a decision made after years of anguished thought, one that changed my life.  Words to some, but a 2 year-long process that changed everything about how I think, how I make decisions and almost everything about my life.  The entire stream of thought that started this blog as I worked through my decisions to have surgery over 3 years ago.  I truly do believe that the process changed my life as well as my families.

Over time these pages became my thoughts on life, parenting and more.  I have never changed the name because no matter the thoughts shared, they have always been about “decisions” in some way.  I mean that is all life is right?  A long road paved in decisions both good and bad.

As your kids grow they become involved in activities, sports and otherwise and you grow to trust the adults, often parents who also have children involved.  You tell yourself that they are doing what is best for all of the kids as well as your child.  This is our story with soccer.  The girls have both played since 5 years old.  Issues began to show themselves last year with our older daughter’s team but to be honest at the time I was in the midst of the Town Council election race and could not refused to see it  act on the issues.

11928724_10203867858291906_7063304232702176066_nIt became clear the development of my child was not important to those in charge of the team.  She was not having fun, the team was not growing and something had to give.  In our town many demand loyalty to the “township”.  I am loyal only to those I love and those loyal to myself and those I love.  It became clear it was time for a decision,

Decisions, stay within our township and play for a team put together as an after thought,

Decisions, Play for other townships who we once competed against(a few wanted Meg because she was one of the strongest full-time goalkeepers in the area, a position she never wanted to play full-time)

Decisions, go totally outside the established township societal rules and try out for a private club team.

The long process of making this decision sounds so silly to some but when the will, thoughts and feelings of an 11-year-old girl are involved, absolutely nothing is easy.  This was a very difficult decision, she would not know anyone, she would play outside of our community.  Since she was not ever provided playing time on the field (outside of goal) she was at a clear disadvantage.  We showed up for a training and after only 45 minutes my girl was accepted to the team, a private club team.  The interesting feedback from the evening, she would be expected to play all aspects and was too young to be limited to any one aspect of the game but that they would train her.  The decision was clear and made immediately.  My girl was thrilled.

For the last 2 months we have practiced and trained all guided under the eyes of her new coach.  Scrimmages and 3 v 3 competitions to prepare for the season brought us to this past weekend.  Our first tournament to prepare for the season.  With Megan’s background and skill she is still the starting keeper for the team and started all 3 games during the first half.  In the second half of the first game she took the field  as a mid-fielder playing a mixed offensive/defensive position and pulled her weight.  It was the second game where my head spun!  Midway through the second half  I saw my girl substituted into the game as a Forward.  I figured she was there just to give someone a water break and that it would be a short shift but then something happened.  Meg had only been in the game for about 2-3 minutes when her team began moving down the field.  A beautiful pass from a teammate right to the center of the field where Meg was waiting and with one touch Megan launched the ball into the top of the net for her first goal ever.

Meg jumped so high it became clear to her teammates how special this was for her.  Hugs and high fives were exchanged.  Pride, confidence, development and teamwork.  Our decision was clearly the right one.  I have never seen my daughter practice so hard and enjoy the game so much.  She looks forward to practice and can not wait for the next game.  They will not win every game but they have heart, fight and a will to succeed.  If life were a book I would have to say that this chapter is still being written but the first few pages look like one great story!