My oldest was off to Middle School and my youngest kids were still in Elementary School, but my life hadn’t changed much. My routine was the same as it was the year before minus potential hospital stays. I was still recovering from my BRCA+ journey of multiple surgeries, but the life I had been living was about the same with maybe a little less chaos since the kids were all in school fulltime (Finally! Can I get an Amen?). However, this darkness started to consume me when I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t plan on having to pick a side, but the dark was drowning out the light. I felt lost and didn’t know how to cope. Until an unexpected opportunity came into my life.
Over a year ago, I started my surgery journey based on my risks as defined by my BRCA2 gene mutation. It wasn’t an easy set of decisions and the path was most definitely not straight.
If you’ve been following my story, you are painfully aware of the sorrows and setbacks I encountered in the fall of 2016. Since my last update, I have had another round of reconstruction surgery and one scheduled for the fall of 2017. Here is what I have learned, hopefully it helps you or helps you help someone else. Love to all.
It’s no secret that I have been feeling lost and wayward over the last few months. I was trying to find myself again. I have been sorting through all the “life clutter” to rediscover my purpose and find my center.
Thankfully, I have learned that this phenomenon happens to all of us from time to time, for different reasons. We get a little caught up in moment-to-moment living and forget about the big picture. It helps me to know that I am not the only one feeling this way. Maybe that helps you, too.
Today, I want to share with you what I have learned on my path of rediscovery.
Have you ever had the problem of having too many options? Having endless opportunities? Having the ability to go in any direction and accomplish any goal? I am talking about both big and small goals. It’s a real problem for me. I know that sounds like I am whining, but it’s really a big deal. And yes, I realize this is a total first world problem, but hear me out because you might see yourself in me.
When I was a kid, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I had two, very specific dreams.
As this year comes to a close, I have come to the realization that although parts of 2016 totally sucked. Not all of it did. Before the promise of a new year rolls around, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what I learned from 2016. You better believe that my New Years Resolutions will include fun and fewer hospital stays than 2016 permitted!
To say I was a nervous wreck that first day in the hospital, is an understatement. I was so down and throwing myself a big ol’ pity party…but that’s not really my style. I promised myself that I would only focus on the positive. There are moments that I get totally discouraged and wonder why this happened. I know that it is a combination of many things. But I also know that I can’t do anything about what happened except move forward, learn from it, inform others, and reach out to those around me to pay their kindness forward.
I entered August optimistically. I was scared and nervous for my upcoming preventive mastectomy and breast reconstruction, but ultimately optimistic for the outcome that was being laid out in front of me. On the way to the hospital I felt nothing but gratefulness and luck. Surgery was seemingly uneventful, but my recovery at home was anything but. I was having a hard time. Read on and share my story if you think it could help someone else. ~Love to you all!!
I started to actually think about being “prepared” I realized that I don’t know as much about this next step as I thought I did. My husband and I have a great understanding of the “what” and the “how” of what’s to come, but we don’t really have a good handle on the aftermath of it all. Everybody’s experiences are different and reading different women’s journeys is both helpful and frightening at the same time.
So, this morning I started to think of everything I didn’t know. My head was spinning.
I never expected anyone to pay attention to my little blog (again, it’s therapy- but thank you for reading and following it) and I really didn’t expect the amount of community support that came with it. People checked in on me, made our little family dinner, dropped off milk, offered my kids fun days, and sent me messages via Facebook, texts, and phone calls. I even got a handful of beautiful cards from friends and family; near and far. Friends and neighbors dropped off surprise flowers, homemade cookies and breads, mochas, and even prosecco. I loved the sweet intentions that went with each one, but more importantly I appreciated the time that people took to even think of us during their busy days, let alone to drop something off.
From the bottom of my heart (and the four others in my home), thank you. Even though it doesn’t seem like enough.
In 2008 I was told that I am a BRCA-2 carrier, which means that I have a gene mutation which significantly increases my risk of breast, ovarian, and a few other cancers. Most doctors recommend the removal of ovaries and a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction of the breasts. However, we were told to finish having children and then wait a few more years before scheduling any of the major surgeries. I was on target to start preventive surgical care in the next few years when a tiny tumor appeared in my last breast MRI. Lucky for me, it was benign and not an issue. However, it caused me to speed up my decision making and start looking at a calendar, pronto. These breasts are ticking-time-boobs and they need to go! As nervous as I feel right now, it’s nothing compared to what I could feel if I ended up with a breast cancer diagnosis because I procrastinated when I could have done something.