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!

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Tornado Alley Gets Hit Again

It has been a wild ride in Saint Louis, Missouri this year. We started out New Year’s Eve with a massive tornado. Then on and off all year we have had thunderstorms, tornados, hail and crazy weather. I know this is tornado alley but, come on now.

Every time the tornado’s come through they take out more and more of the buildings and houses. Tonight it got Lambert Airport; you have no idea how glad I am that my family was not there for that. I feel bad for all the families that were though. I don’t think anyone got terribly hurt.

Both photos
Courtesy of
KSDK

Right now there is substantial damage to the Airport. Flights have been diverted to Kansas City and Springfield, IL. There is a small bus dangling half off the top of the parking garage. A woman sitting in front of the airport with her small child in a van was literally lifted up about 2 inches off the ground and dropped, shattering all the glass in the vehicle. How freaking scary is that?!?!?

Busch Stadium
Courtesy of
KSDK

People were rushed out of Busch Stadium during the Cardinals baseball game this evening when sirens went off. And trust me sirens went off every 5 to 10 mins for an hour or so. I was freaking out like usual. Tornado’s are nothing to play with. Interstate 270 was also closed down and may be down for awhile as hey clear up trees, debris and down power lines. I don’t live too far from 270 and I can hear the police and ambulance sirens going off from that direction. Luckily we were not hit here but, I heard people were screaming in the streets. I really feel bad for the people who witnessed it first hand and hope they realize when there is a warning stay indoors.

Photo courtesy of
StLToday

It is going to take time to clean up and repair the Airport and the surrounding homes. Just a couple of days ago we had a tornado touchdown and tear up homes too. I really feel for these people, I know it’s not as bad as what happened in Japan but, it is bad. It seems like right when we all get back on track another storm blows in and tears it up again.

I hope everyone stays safe and doesn’t have too much damage to their property. I don’t want to sound like a paranoid freak but, if you haven’t noticed, the world is screaming out for help. Tomorrow is Earth Day, I say take some time and see what you can do to fix some of the things we have done to our planet. Start little and make an attempt to go green. It may be a wee bit late to be babying out planet that we have neglected and abused but, better late than never.

Courtesy of
Lowe’s

This tornado ripped up a bunch of trees and split others in half. Lowe’s is giving away free trees tomorrow (April 23rd) so go out and get one and plant it in honor of all the fallen. Nothing can be changed overnight but, if we all join hands and make a real attempt maybe just maybe Mother Earth will stop PMSing and blowing shit up. And please I beg of all of you to be safe and heed all emergency response systems they will save your life.