It's funny, 98% of the time when I don't blog it's because life is business as usual or nothing stands out, but recently I have had so much to say and no idea where to begin. So I'll start at the beginning and try not to overwhelm you.
As many people know the fall is a difficult time for me. I was 11 when I lost my mother in the fall of 1999 and there is not a day that passes that I don't miss her, or try to be more like her. She was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 1997 and while we had more time then they originally thought, it still wasn't enough. My mom was a fighter until the end, she wanted nothing more than to watch us grow old, but sometimes god has other plans. I watched my moms battle with cancer daily. There were ups and downs, struggles, tears, fear, and even some joy. It was heart wrenching and life changing and now I couldn't see how my life could be any different.
There are a few scars and for me the biggest one was being proactive and knowledgeable about my own cancer risk. I had liked to think that I would never be effected by it, but it's funny how life can change in an instant. Earlier this year my doctor discovered some changes. One was located in the same region as my mom's. it struck a deep rooted fear, I don't think I could fight the way she did. After the first rounds of tests, appointments, and tears, decisions about a long term plan had to be made.
I was lucky enough to get an appointment with the high risk cancer clinic at UVA and sit down with some pretty amazing specialists. They give you charts and graphs that show your risk levels and how it compares to the average, map out long term screening plans, get genetic testing for the BRCA mutation, and poke and prod as much as they deem necessary. Seeing how much steeper the slope was on my risk chart about sent me into a tale spin.
What I learned was that mentally it was exhausting to go through the screening, constantly! You get strangely comfy with certain things because all the doctors want to poke and prod you. Just because you don't have the BRCA gene, doesn't mean it's not genetic.
Ultimately my doctors and I decided that the best plan for me moving forward is to have a bilateral mastectomy. That's more scary to type than it is to read. I am going to UVA Thursday and my surgery is first thing Friday.
I have gone back and forth on wether this was something I wanted to share. I am a very private person, but the affects of this cross over into all aspects of my life, and I am hoping that my journey can bring awareness to a wide spread problem that affects many people. I would like to thank everyone who has been a shoulder for me to cry on, has lent me hand, or has talked me off the proverbial ledge. This journey is far from over and I know that without the support I have received I would not be able to take this important step in my long term health.
I am sure there will be many more tears, and grumpy days, but today I'm going to enjoy my last regular day for a while, play with my ponies, thank my friends and clients, and feel blessed I have all of them in my life. Because without them I would be lost.