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So I realize how long it’s been since I’ve posted here. Many things, so many things, have changed. There have been tough times and incredibly wonderful times. Now I’m settling in.

This won’t be long…just a short run down since, um, 3 years ago. I think I last wrote when I was still having complications with my surgery. I have since had a couple of additional surgeries. The bottom line is my abdominal muscle will always be “detached” and weaker. However, I have never been more strong. My breasts actually look better than the real ones ever did and I feel better than I ever have…even in my younger years. I’ve said it before, I’m scarred but who isn’t? I no longer differentiate between those scars or any others on my body, with the exception of one. The damn scar on my shin from a missed box jump is worse than any other one on my body. I am, admittedly, self conscious about that one.

Let’s see…I was also married when I last wrote. That changed on Christmas Day 2011 when my ex walked out. I did the typical tailspin for a while and now realize that was the best, and I mean absolute best, thing he ever did for me. I have grown as an independent woman and have learned to accept myself for who I am, which happens to be a damn strong, intelligent, loving, beautiful human being. I love me and I love my family.

Another update…my son and I moved to Frisco, Texas. I left behind a few very, very dear friends who I really don’t want to be away from. There’s also the network of friends who you know are always going to be around somewhere at any given time. Moving is scary and, holy crap, is it stressful. But things are falling into place. The house actually feels more like a home now that things are unpacked and finding the way into the proper places. My son is playing hockey and the best part is that I’m 20 minutes from my aunt and 20 minutes from my cousin. I get to see them all the time now and I love it.

Oh yeah, all the reconstructions? That’s all done. The fat grafting, implants, more fat grafting…no more. Not because I can’t handle it anymore, I simply don’t need it. Now my scars are faded, and did I mention that my breasts look better than they ever did before? I think so, but it bears repeating ūüėČ I’m fit and started training for triathlons. I simply feel great about myself. Now, I’m normal, so it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but it’s really pretty damn good.

Looking back, I wrote about a really jacked up experience. What I went through, and chose to write about, was definitely raw. I was in the emotional and physical trenches. It feels weird to read some of what I’ve written. Some is embarrassing and I have felt tempted to remove it or close the blog. But then I think of the other women who are facing the choice I had to face and I feel like this might be helpful in some way. So I’m swallowing the pride and leaving it all out there.

In the end, full circle doesn’t really describe my journey. I haven’t stopped where I began. I’m in a completely different place; someplace so much more positive and peaceful than the starting point. I’m grateful for the important people in my life who have helped me get here because it didn’t happen all by itself. But it happened.

 

halloween wonder woman

Yes!!! Tomorrow is the day designated as National Previvor Day. Thanks to the efforts of all those who support women and men with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) risks and groups like FORCE and Be Bright Pink, among many others, we have a day which celebrates our life and struggles to preserve it. We’re called previvors because we’re not survivors of cancer, but have preempted the threat by increasing awareness or taking drastic measures to prevent it. We’re called previvors because we are living in spite of the threat.

Living….to me that means I am surviving.¬† While I know some people are very opposed to the term “previvor” for varied reasons and I know they would be even more livid if we called ourselves survivors, I feel like¬†a survivor. I have survived the pain and loss that cancer has inflicted on my family. Both of my parents fought valiantly and gracefully in the face of a terrifying parasite that ate their bodies and their lifestyles. Their souls stayed strong and that’s what gives me strength today. I survived the paralyzing knowledge that I carry a mutation to the tumor supressing gene that put me at a horrifying risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer. Yes, my ovaries were gone by the time I learned of my mutation, but that relief was barely felt when I thought of my breast cancer risk. I am surviving the tortuous thought that my child may have had the gene passed on to him. I say surviving because my daughter has been spared, thank God, and now I worry about my son. I have survived the incredibly dark 2-3 years of my life, during which time I lost my mother, learned of my mutation and subsequently fell completely¬†out of touch with myself. I lost friends. I lost the security I had in my work. I had a job I loved and was damn good at it. I was friends with my managers and was respected. That all changed because I couldn’t handle the pain of losing my mother, making the decision to remove my breasts and fighting with the insurance company. I became dark, impatient, scared, and angry. I had 3 surgeries in one year and I’m still recovering. I lost my self esteem when my body was so drastically changed. It didn’t (doesn’t) feel like me….hell I’m numb in my breasts and across my abdomen. Yep, it was my choice. The alternative was cancer. No brainer, really.

But, here’s the thing, I know where I am now. I’m awake. I’m fighting for¬†my self esteem, fighting for security in the decisions I made, but I’m also fighting for what everyone else is¬†fighting for. I’m fighting for my kids to grow up happy and successful,¬†to watch them enjoy life, to play with grandkids and grow¬†old with my¬†husband.¬†I am a survivor…a survivor of life. There’s more to come, more to survive….but, that’s the plan. Survive.

Happy National Previvor Day everyone. Celebrate the ones you love and the life you have. All my friends and family, I remember you and love you.