Keeping Abreast of the Situation

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This image is hilariously true & my first 40 have been, by no means, an exception.

Some of you may recall the heartbreak my family and I experienced in February 2011 when my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and then died suddenly in the hospital after 3 days of admittance. It was then that I jumped face first into breast cancer advocacy.

Then October of that year I had my own breast lump scare, which thankfully turned out to be nothing. However, since then I have been going through my own personal hell trying to figure out how not to get this plague. I had yearly mammograms, I spoke with breast specialists, I tried to get family on board to help me with paperwork so that I could get the genetic testing done to find out once and for all if I am predisposed for this horrendous disease. All to no avail or peace of mind for me.

Isn’t that how life seems to go…

So after years of trying to get my emotional well-being in good working order, I took another leap trying to get my physical health under control as well. In doing this, I found a great RN who got me in touch with a great breast cancer specialist at St. Louis University Hospital.

At first, I was freaking out. Because you know it was not that long after the 4th year deathaversary of Jess, and apparently I was not as over it as I had previously thought. So while retelling the story I broke down, I was an absolute train wreck.

Yeah, so not over it…

After consultation, two exams by two different medical professionals, and a box of tissues; the doctor decides that the best course of action would be for me to see a genetic counselor and find out what my risk is and if I should be genetically tested for the breast cancer gene. Then pending the counselor’s decision I could be given a referral for a breast reduction at my 3 month follow-up.

I was incredibly nervous for weeks leading up to the appointment with the counselor. Nervous and me are like ex lovers, a true love/hate relationship, only, I am the one who suffers no matter what.

Ha, another emotional issue I thought I had conquered and left in my past…

Based on what I knew about my family history (not much really, in retrospect) which is full of cancers, the counselor assessed my risk factor for breast cancer.

The counselor assessed me as high risk at 20-40%. Most women have a risk factor of 12%. The counselor then decided that it would be better for the only cancer survivor in my family to have the gene test done and then if she was positive, I could then be tested too.

I had a lot of emotional baggage brought up by the thought of having to contact family that I had decided to stop having contact with.

It took me a few days but I knew what I had to do, and it didn’t involve reconnecting with those toxic people…

I had spent so much time freaking myself out over something that may or may not happen, that I ended up missing the fact that my risk of getting breast cancer is the exact same since my conception. Genetically nothing had changed at all.

The scariest part of life is always the unknowns and even then, what really was I scared of…

The only thing that could change all of this was to have a double mastectomy and that, without the gene test, was off the table. Or so I thought.

Since I am such a high risk, my doctor has given me two choices going forward in my breast health. I can get a breast reduction, which I have been in desperate need of getting for most of my life. In doing this I can relieve a great deal of my back pain and other issues due to having such heavy breasts. I can then get mammograms and MRI’s every 6 months, and annual doctor exams for the rest of my life. This option doesn’t take away any of the risk of getting breast cancer that I already have.

Being 4 weeks short of 40, I am thinking that option sounds like a really long time to be doing all of that. And in my opinion seems more of a cosmetic fix than a preventative measure.

Or I can get a prophylactic double mastectomy and cut my risk factor way down with no more need of mammograms or MRI’s, just an annual visit and exam by my doctor. This option can lower my risk of getting breast cancer immensely.

After sitting for 2 hours waiting for my mammogram results and then discussing it with my husband, it became a lot easier to chose which path was right for me.

Tuesday June 30th I meet with the plastic surgeon to discuss my options but I am fairly confident in the decision I have already made.

I choose…

the prophylactic double mastectomy because they’re only boobs, my life over bags of flesh and fat any day!

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I Became A Boy So I Could Play Baseball

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I am the oldest girl in my family; my father had three daughters and always yearned for a son.

Naturally, it became my job to carry out his fantasy. Believe me when I say, I would have much rather been taught how to be a girl but, it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

From the time I could walk I had a baseball in my hand, pretty strange for a little girl but, dad for some twisted reason needed me to play the son role.

My sister who was two years younger than me, got to play girl, in some ways I envy that but, in other ways I don’t. Since I was daddy’s little boy, I learned how to play sports like a boy.

There was no girl who played baseball like I played baseball. I could throw hard and far, I could hit any kind of pitch thrown at me and I could switch hit. Those of you who know nothing about baseball; switch hitting is when you hit right-handed then switch to hitting left-handed or vice versa. Being, ambidextrous, I have always excelled with either hand.

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As I got older I started playing softball because that was what “girls” played and even though I was good at it, it was not baseball. I spent my days practicing; throwing, catching and batting. Dad had a wooden bat I practiced with; it was heavy but, if I could swing that and hit the ball, just imagine what I would do with a light-weight aluminum bat.

Every weekend during the summer when dad would come home from work, we would go up to the park for baseball practice. Dad would pitch and I would hit and then we would switch. I could strike dad out several times while playing; my sports abilities were the only thing I received praise for.

The thing I can say about dad teaching me to play baseball is I played like a man; both dad and I could hit damn near any kind of pitch, including ones you would never swing at if you were playing in the Major League. If the ball was within arm reach we would swing at it. It was all in fun and kept our talent at maximum peak.

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One day the family went up to the park and played our usual game of baseball. I was pitching, my step-mom was catching, my sisters were in the outfield and dad was batting. He managed to hit a few of my pitches then all of a sudden, I throw this one pitch that maybe dad shouldn’t have swung at. In fact, I know he should NEVER have swung at that. Dad managed to tip the ball with the bat and we all stood shocked as the ball circled high in the sky and CRASHED right into the windshield of his car that was parked on the other side of the fence. It took a few moments and finally dad laughed; “Look what you did.” he told me. “What?! I didn’t hit it.” I replied. Dad never parked that close to the fence ever again.

 

I can honestly say this is a happy memory from my childhood and I am ok with being treated like a boy so I could have the excellent baseball playing skills I posess. There are many things I might change from back then if I could but, this gift I wouldn’t change for anything.

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Loving Adventure

Every moment I have shared with you
hasn’t always been the happiest
but, it has been an adventure.
An adventure that has lasted through many years
and also many tears.
Lasted through many days of laughter
and many times of pain.
You have kept me on my toes
and shown me what it is to live.
You have lifted me up
in times of crisis and great sadness.
In times of pure craziness
you never left my side.
Life with you has never been boring.
The very first time
we shared our first kiss
I knew it would be forever.
When you held my hand
I could tell that you felt the same way.
There was a passion
that sparked a fire
to this very day is still burning
Everyday there is a new feeling.
Feelings I wouldn’t have
if not for you.
I can’t imagine how my life would be
without you in it.
I don’t want to consider
how unfortunate my life would be
if i didn’t have you.
The days would be dark
darker than the deepest sea.
The nights would be long
longer than three lifetimes.
Time would stop completely in it’s tracks
and I would be lost
lonely and forgotten
forever
without you.
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This is the English version of Aventura Amorosa