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04 December 2008 @ 09:18 am
 
A BRIEF HISTORY

Okay, So here it goes.  I am a woman, a wife and a carrier of the BRCA2 mutation.  The 'breast cancer' gene.  I'm okay with that. In fact I feel it is a blessing to know.. this way I have the opportunity to DEAL with it before it potentially develops to something more.

As it stands, I have up to 87% chance that I will have breast cancer sometime in my life.  (they call it an 87% lifetime risk)  I learned of my mutation in 2003 and have been going for yearly tests to make sure if something is starting we will catch it early.  MRI, mammogram, ultrasound and clinical  breast exam. 

Last August, I received a call at my home 2 days after my MRI. They said they found 'something' in my left breast and wanted me to come back for a second MRI.  I did. To make a long story short, they took a biopsy and it was clear.  But it scared me.  Those 3 months, from the call to the results, were one of the most stressful  times of my life.  I decided then  that I will not go through that again.

~SO I'M HAVING SURGERY~

PBM. Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy with First Stage Reconstruction. In other words: preventative removal of both breasts; they will begin the reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy.
  It will be a 6month (or more) process before its all said and done and I have my new permanent implants.   It begins for me... Jan 23rd 2009.  (Just over one year after making my decision to have the surgery)

I will post my thoughts and photos as well... I must warn you in advance; some may be graphic.  I'm not fooling myself to think this is going to be easy. But I do think it's important to document it.

You see when I started my research (and I've done hours of it!) I really wished it could have come across a website that had given a step-by-step walk through. Especially with photographs. (I'm a very visual person)  It was very hard for me to find pictures; and most of the ones I did come across were awful...  showing complications of all sorts.  I decided at that time that I would document my progress not only in words but in pictures as well.

I actually met with a friend of mine who agreed to do a photo shoot and take some really lovely 'before' photos.  I'm really glad I did. I will always know what I 'used to' look like.  She has agreed to take photos during the the healing process as well.  Once all is done, we will have another formal shoot to take some 'after' photos.  Perhaps I will share those with you. :)

I hope that reading my experience will be some sort of help or encouragement to you.  Even if only to take away some of the mystery.  I am surprised at just how much secrecy and mystery is still behind breast cancer awareness, breast cancer and breast surgeries.  I hope this will help.

I hope you'll learn a little something about the BRCA mutations and what it means to those of us who are carriers of it...  Most people I come across have never heard of it, and have no idea of what it is or what it means.