Keeping Abreast of the Situation

Image courtesy of Bing image search

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!

Cutting Is Just Another Word For Bloodletting

This post I am about to write is NOT for some readers. This piece is solely educational,  for anyone who needs to understand cutting. After reading Don’t Stop MeI decided to write this to spread awareness. If you get easily  upset about horrific events in people’s lives please do not hesitate in leaving this post immediately. The only way to end violence, including one’s against ourselves is to speak about it and raise awareness.

If you would like help for cutting please contact Self Mutilator’s Anonymous  or S.A.F.E Alternatives or by all means please contact a doctor.

Words, scents, life in general…are all triggers. One moment you are fine the next minute your vision has turned black and your breathing has increased. Your chest heaves and with every breath comes an image in your head, a repressed feeling, and a new crack in your already damaged mind.

People don’t understand!!! They offer advice on things they don’t have a clue about. You live in your head because it has been your escape for more years then you care to remember. People shout at you, “Just snap out of it.” Who are these people telling you how to handle your life? Where were these people when you needed someone to rescue you? They don’t know what you are feeling,   they don’t know the agony, they don’t know you at all. They see a mirage of a person, they don’t see the real you. Truth is, NOBODY  has seen the real you since before the abuse started. You don’t even know who you are anymore!

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It’s safer to live inside your head than to try and explain why you do it. They haven’t lived what you lived, and if they had lived a portion of it they clearly have forgotten how painful it is relive it day after day after day. There is no “magical” pill or “therapist” that can erase that pain. There is no cure for this kind of pain; there is only release of the festering, aka bloodletting.

As with any wound there is drainage, when it doesn’t drain by itself it must be excised. It is removed just like any other surgical procedure; there is no slashing in random areas. Each incision is strategically placed, there are no thoughts or worries about what people will see or think. There is only a hospital staff of people walking the patient through the surgery.

 There is only one thing going on in your head and it is “OPEN THE DOOR HURRY PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR.” You are trying desperately to get inside your safe room. The room that your mind built for you when you were a victim of abuse. The room that you had to escape to, so that you could wake up every day and function as a human being.

Nobody sees it, they only see the external recovery if they are lucky. When a person is abused they feel the initial pain of it, after awhile they go to a safe place inside of their heads to escape the torture. That same mind that tortures with evil memories is the same mind that rescued when the body was being violated. It’s a constant conflict; it’s the ever present battle of good and evil. Cutting is the same thing.

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Memories come flooding and the old hurts step in and immobilizes you. There is no escape, you are paralyzed with fear. The person is helpless. A cutter has to find that safe place in a hurry.

In an episode, the cutting will continue until the cutter no longer feels the sting of the blade or the warm blood streaming down their body.This is when they know they have reached their safe place. This IS the moment of RELEASE!

It has nothing to do with dying, it is a coping mechanism; one that the person has been using their entire life. After a victim is removed from the horrors of abuse they can no longer cope the way they use to. There is no yelling or hitting anymore, there is no rape. There is only a person standing there with no way of protecting themselves from the memories and hurt that is coming to a head.

Anyone who has never been abused cannot fathom this conflict. Nobody wants to be abused, nobody asks to be abused but, that abuse helped the person cope with stress, life, hardship and pain. Remove that abuse and the survivor has to find a way to overcome it.

The only thing they know how to do is to escape to a safe zone when the pain comes. When there is no longer abuse there isn’t that automatic reaction. You now have to do one of two things; face the monster head on and hope you are strong enough to fight it or force yourself into that safe place.

Physical pain forces you into survival mode; it opens the door to the locked, secure room that is your safety. Cutting initiates the chain reaction to get you to that room where you can function as normally as you ever have.

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I am not condoning cutting, this is in no way a post about glorifying self mutilation. This is for educational purposes; for those who don’t understand cutting but, have a loved one who cuts. This is also for the cutters; to express the things that cutting does but, that they cannot put into words.

 Everyone has some demon they keep hidden from the rest of the world. Fear keeps these demons alive. The only way to educate and get help is to speak about it. We cannot turn a blind eye to horrific occurrences and pretend they don’t exist. We have to educate and help our fellow man/woman.

We all know someone who is suffering, what does it cost us to put a hand out and lift someone out of that Hell? The cycles need to be broken, the word must be spread, people are in need of assistance… will you be a part of the problem or will you be part of the solution?

Facebook avatars sending a message to End Child Abuse

All across Facebook recently you may have noticed a huge increase in avatars of children’s cartoons, spanning all different decades. It is being said that this is being done to raises awareness about child abuse. I don’t know who started this but, as soon as it reached me I knew I had to do it.

Many subjects I have jumped on to be an advocate for. But, nothing is as important to me as child abuse, for I was a victim for most of my life up into adulthood. I know how hard it is for a child to focus at school through the emotional and physical pain. But, the thing that is the worst is that it never goes away. The bruises or broken bones do eventually heal but the scar it leaves on your soul is one that will stay with you the rest of your life. Continue reading