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!

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Me, My Family

Sensory Overload

Pumpkins and pink items.  Everywhere I go there they are. Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin coffee, pop tarts, bagels, waffles, oatmeal, marshmallow, beer, potato chips and even vodka.   Virtually anything you could imagine now available in pumpkin flavor or scent, most for a limited time of course.  People everywhere are gorging themselves all in the name of the season.

Even the Pumpkins are pink!
Even the Pumpkins are pink!

When not bombarded with all things orange and pumpkin, my eyes are overwhelmed with all things pink.  Walks and rallies, sports events at all levels and all products imaginable marketed in pink for Breast Cancer awareness month.  Watching football this week is giving me a bit of a headache with the pink shoes, gloves and towels flying around. Don’t misunderstand, I think it is wonderful that everyone is raising money to hopefully one day put an end to Breast Cancer. But let’s be honest here, would the NFL be repainting lines in bright pink if it was not profitable?

All hype aside, maybe you do not have the extra money to buy that cute pink whatever.  Maybe things are too tight to send anything in the envelope this time around. What you could do is something much more impactful, maybe pick up a phone and call a woman who you love and ask if they have had a mammogram recently.  This week I shared my own bilateral prophylactic mastectomy story with 3 of the women I work with.  Two of those women have breast cancer in their own families.  I encouraged them to be proactive talk to their doctors and possibly get tested for the BRCA gene.  I wasn’t even wearing anything pink.

Follow-up BPM surgeries, Post nipple reconstruction/revision

Looking back, Moving forward

So with my next and hopefully last surgery next week as well as Thanksgiving, I got to thinking about what this year and a half has been like.  A bit of a roller coaster to say the least.

  • March 2011 mammogram and breast ultrasound; lump confirmed
  • June 2011 needle guided biopsy
  • June 2011 surgery to remove the lump due to “abnormal” pathology results
  • August 2011 Breast MRI
  • Doctors appointments with specialists
  • early 2012 abdominal CT to ensure I was  DIEP candidate
  • Blood work
  • more doctors appointments
  • July 2, 2012 Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy and DIEP flap
  • More blood work
  • more appointments
  • August 24, 2012 Breast reconstruction and revision
  • More blood work
  • more doctor appointments
  • November 7, 2012 Pelvic Ultrasound
  • November 9, 2012 Colonoscopy
  • November 19, 2012 Breast revision Pt 2 **Pending**

In between Birthdays, Holidays, back to school nights, summer break and normal daily activity because the reality is, doctors, scans, tests  and surgery have been normal daily activity for me for a many months now.  I have tried to keep a good attitude but there is a stress that hangs over the family since it is on going.

What have I learned?  Shit happens and most of it can not be controlled so, relax.  I will not say I do not have my moments but as a whole, I am more relaxed.  I am enjoying my family and our time together.  I am putting “us” first.  I am more thankful for what I have!

And with Thanksgiving around the corner, what am I thankful for? These are easy…first although my list looks long and obnoxious, I do not have cancer!  I am thankful that I did not wait to take action.  I am extremely thankful for my health.  I am in the best shape I have been in for years. I am Thankful for my beautiful family. I am also so very thankful for concerned doctors who continue to go the extra effort to ensure that we check everything.

My list is not finished yet.  Surgery next week and follow-up appointments after.  I will have to repeat the pelvic ultrasound and hope the cyst removed itself, if not it will need to be removed.

So although there is more to go, I sit here so very thankful for a wonderful year.  A beautiful family and good health, what more can you ask for right?