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!

Live Everyday Like It’s Your Last

Life is short…. How many times a day do we hear those exact words? Our whole lives we are aware that death is inevitable and that one day our time will come but, when it comes, we are not prepared for it.  Is there a way to prepare for the inevitable demise of a loved one? Even when you find out and have time to grieve and to say goodbye,  can you truly prepare?

I have lived through many family losses, I have been to only a couple of funerals, and I have held the hand to someone knowing they will pass but, could not find the words to comfort them or myself. I love you seems to be the only thing I can manage to say before I break into tears and have to walk away, head hung in shame. I have held my dog as the Vet injected her and felt her life fade right in front of my very eyes. We knew she was sick, we knew she wouldn’t get better, we had time to say goodbye but, all I could say to her was “I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry because I failed to take care of her so that she could have a long life. I tear up as I type this,because we are approaching the year anniversary of her passing and because losing my sister is still far too fresh for me. I feel like she was robbed of her life and I was robbed of her. I am aware that she is better off now because she is no longer in pain but, then I begin to question everything like…. is death the reward while life is the punishment? I have lived a hard life but, do I deserve to continue to suffer after everything I have already been through? And why is it that those who don’t seem to suffer much, end up getting rescued before the rest of us? Honestly, it is beginning to annoy me that people are required to suffer to be considered a good person anyway.   And I am still disgusted at her diagnosis and lack of treatment.

I don’t have faith in the medical profession, I have seen and heard what doctor’s do. I have been on the receiving end of what doctor’s do. But, what gets me is not what they do but, what they don’t do. Like save you before it is too late!!! You see my sister had just had twin boys in August and got sick not long after that. What I don’t get is everyone knows a woman over 30 having a multiple birth is at risk, therefore they are watched over regardless of past pregnancies. What I want to know is how on God’s green Earth do you miss something as severe as breast cancer? I am not saying it couldn’t have just appeared and I know that cancer is still fairly new to us and sometimes it doesn’t show up. But, stage 4 in February, 6 months after she was in the hospital delivering babies. 6 months after having a C-section and a tubal ligation. Seriously…. Nobody in 6 months or before saw or heard her say anything that would warrant a mammogram or ultrasound?  How does that happen?

Yes, I am going through the stages of grief, this has just been told to me every single day since she passed. On top of all the things going on in life this was the last thing I wanted to hear. And I cannot prepare for what comes next no matter how hard I try, I cannot and will not accept this. I refuse to turn this into the circus main attraction that some people in my family seem to be trying to do. But, what can I do besides keep spreading the word and awareness? I can’t be her savior and even if I wanted to be it’s a little late to be trying to save the dead, I suppose that is someone else’s job now. Hell, for all I know she has reincarnated already anyway and is bringing happiness to someone else somewhere far away from here. All I can hope for is that she is happy and that she knows that I loved her no matter what.  As for me, I will keep sharing her story and find new stories to bring to light. Her life changed so why shouldn’t mine……

Poetic Hiatus

I am sorry to all those patiently awaiting my poetry. I am going through a very hard time after losing my sister this past week and even though painful poetry is my specialty, I need some time to regroup and just chill before I overdo it and hurt myself as well as others in a whole psychological Armageddon way.  Thank you so much for your patience and understanding. You can always check out my other blog which is no poetry but just things I feel like talking about. Also feel free to check out the post about my sister at and feel free to leave comments. Support is always a good thing.