Apparently the US Congress declared the last week of September “Hereditary Cancer Awareness Week”, with that Wednesday being “Previvor Day”. So, I figured what better time to check in than today. It has been a while! I am six weeks out from my second surgery where my doctor irrigated the area for infection and replaced the implant with a new one and so far all seems to be going well. At the four week checkup, I got the all clear from my doctor to start exercising again (yay!) and he said I can finally breathe a sigh of relief because if I have gotten this far, chances are I am in the clear as far as reoccurrence of infection.
I started back at the gym last week and can I just say, I have never been more sore in my life. By Thursday, I couldn’t even walk… and it felt great. I am starting out slow and light obviously and my coaches don’t let my ego get me in trouble, telling me to back off if I need to (damn that competitive nature). So far I am able to put a barbell over head and can even run, jump rope and row. Getting pushups and pull-ups back will take some time, but overall I am happy with the progress I’ve made in a week. I have also started physical therapy at Performance and Wellness Chiropractic. They work on my back and have done wonders getting mobility back in my chest. I look like I have been attacked by a giant squid because of the cupping, but I already feel better.
Now that I am starting to feel “normal” after my mastectomy I am starting to turn my thoughts towards my hysterectomy in November and it scares me, honestly. I am tough as far as the actual surgery, but I can’t wrap my head around being thrown into menopause and still being “me”. In my head, I picture this cranky, hormonal mess that gets hot flashes all the time. I will be going on hormone replacement therapy, but it is still disconcerting. At one point this month, I even toyed around with the idea of postponing it until I get closer to 40. I hate to make a decision based on health insurance, but I will do it because it will be completely paid for after meeting my deductible. Also, I recently got my complete medical history from my biological mother and it doesn’t look good. I have relatives that got cancer in their mid-30’s. After seeing that, I know I am doing the right thing.
That’s right, I talked to my bio mother. If you’ve been following along and are familiar with the blog, you’ll remember how bummed I was that she wasn’t ready to talk to me. Well, that’s no longer the case. I reached out to her after her text back to my husband and just asked for my medical history and nothing more. After sending it to me, we started to open up lines of communication and the rest is history. We are in the process of trying to pick a date to meet and I couldn’t be more excited, but it also feels so surreal. I never thought I’d get to this point. I’m so thankful to have parents and a husband who are so supportive of this recent development and through the time when I wasn’t sure if I would ever talk to my biological mother.
Today, on Previvor Day, I just want to say that being BRCA+ might not be the best thing in the world, but it isn’t a death sentence either. It has allowed me to take action so that I don’t have to worry about cancer. All I can say is, if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, go get tested. They now have a test for $99. Like I’ve said before, knowledge is power. And as we head into Breast Cancer Awareness month, EVERYONE should be checking themselves (yup, even you, men) and remain aware of the symptoms of breast and ovarian cancer. And that’s it, really. I am getting to the point where I am getting more “ok” with this every day. When people ask me “How are you doing?” I still find myself saying, “Oh you know, hanging in there!” But I am confident that someday I will be able to respond with, “Doing great!”