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

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.

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!