Making Tough Choices
Hey, Kelly here! So, it's time for me to share with all of you about what's been going on with me. I am sharing for a couple of reasons. First, I find comfort when reading about what other women are going through when I am going through something similar. So, I hope to provide some comfort here. Also, so many of you come to our events and share your remarkable, hard, stuff with us. Our booths have now become these safe havens for women to come, cry and get a hug from us and we love it. You have trusted me with your story and I trust you with mine.
I need to start by saying I DO NOT have cancer. I do however have a gene that puts me at risk for developing a few different cancers including breast cancer. The gene I tested positive for is called Chek2. Last year my Mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Her first cousin died of breast cancer and her mother died of renal cancer. Naturally, genetic testing was done and my Mom was diagnosed as Chek2 positive. While all this was going on I had an abnormal mammogram. Now let me tell you, having your Dr call you to say your mammogram was abnormal while you are actually sitting with your Mom while she gets her chemo treatment is a crappy scary feeling. Needless to say, I wasted no time getting my genetic testing done.
Making a tough choice
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same - The Fray
Once the test came back positive it was decided between my breast surgeon and myself that I would go forward with a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. This was a tough choice to make, a scary one in fact. But sometimes in life you make the tough choice and then realize it really was the only choice, the only one that you could live with and feel comfortable with. The right one for you.
I am very much a get it done type of person. If there is a task I tackle it and move on. I am also super positive and take my health very seriously. So, I went into overdrive talking with my surgeons, going over reconstruction options, calling a genetic counselor, making the screening appointments needed to check for other cancers. This all seemed very productive and I knew in my heart I was doing the right thing, making the correct choice.
So, when anxiety and some depression came sweeping in with their ugly suffocating blanket trying to smother me I kind of didn't know what to do. I just kept pushing myself each day to just put one foot in front of the other. More on this in another post.
Gross surgery details
The surgery I will be having is called nipple and skin-sparing mastectomy with immediate DIEP flap. Basically, all of my breast tissue is removed, leaving the skin and then they fill that space using my own tissue from my abdomen. Pretty cool and gross, right? They also transfer veins from my abdomen to my breast as well. These new breasts will feel like the breasts I have now and will also get bigger if I gain weight or smaller if I lose weight just like natural breasts. This is the option I chose for me but some choose implants. Your body, you make the rules. This surgery is expected to be ten hours long and comes with a ten-week recovery, blah. Not looking forward to that!
I will end this with a fun fact: the pic above was taken in my plastic surgeon's office by my husband. This was after a nurse came in to assist because I started to faint after seeing the plastic surgeon, yep! Apparently hearing things like cut you from hip to hip makes me woozy. My husband had to dry me off with paper towels and help me get dressed. So obviously I thought this was a good time for a pic-hahaha!
I would love to hear from you? Have you ever had to make a choice like this one? Can you relate at all? Let's chat about it. Send me a message. Scroll down to the bottom of this page, log in and send me a comment. Thanks!
I will share more soon but for now, thank you for reading!
***I want to be clear that this was what was in my best interest and may not be for others. Everyone's path looks different and that is ok. ***