November 29, 2011 by Julie
The Mister and I traveled to Charleston, SC this weekend to meet with the plastic and breast surgeons. We left on Saturday and were able to have two days to ourselves…without children to reconnect and just enjoy each other before the appointment day. I am so grateful for my sister watching the kids Saturday and Sunday…a wonderful babysitter helping out on Sunday night and Monday morning and one of my best friends coming over Monday after school to keep the kiddos, clean up the house and get everyone to bed before we got home. What a network of great people I have supporting me on this journey. It was reassuring to see that I could be gone for 3 days and things still function as normal. I have to admit that I am probably more nervous about what is going to happen to my kiddos when I’m gone for 2 weeks than I am about the surgery itself…ah motherhood!
The Mister and I were able to eat at some great restaurants, check out some local shops and the market and visit Folly beach at Sunset. Did I mention we slept? Oh the bliss of no children in the house kind of sleep…no naps interrupted by squeals of disagreement over the wii or by a toddler banging her fist over your head because she is hungry. We slept well and we napped. It was glorious!
I feel peaceful. I feel content. I feel excited. I feel nervous. I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel grateful. I feel blessed. I feel spared. I feel sure. I feel crazy. I feel amazed.
No wonder I can’t sleep yet tonight.
February 1, 2012…a day that will change my life forever.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,charleston,decisions,family,fear,friends,mister,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel,waiting | No Comments
November 24, 2011 by Julie
November has been amazing. I have been blessed beyond belief by my friends. I was able to have an extended visit with one of my besties here…she made arrangements to come without her husband or kids so that we could have just some special one on one time. I truly am grateful. There is nothing quite like hanging out with your good friend for several days straight! I also celebrated my 34th birthday. My friends took me out to a very special dinner and I have a mantle FULL of special birthday cards. This year the birthday cards were different. I really felt like every single one of my friends wrote something really relevant and important. I felt so moved by each and every card. It’s hard to explain exactly but I keep rereading the cards because they are so encouraging. Now it’s Thanksgiving eve and I get to spend time with my family. My parents came to spend the night tonight. The children and i prepared a few things. I chatted in my den, with my parents…listening to some jazz music in the background. I called my brother to schedule our skype date during lunch tomorrow. We will skype he and his wife in for our Thanksgiving meal to pretend that they aren’t in St. Louis but at the head of our table instead. (gosh I really miss them) And then on Saturday I leave for Charleston with my soulmate by my side as my steady companion and we start the planning. So much to be happy about and thankful for. I am blessed!
Category The Journey | Tags: birthday,charleston,family,friends,mister,travel | No Comments
November 20, 2011 by Julie
I feel the emotions starting to bubble up. Here’s the rambings of an emotional woman…hold on….
I am working lots right now…both of my jobs. Yes I have two jobs on top of being a mother and being married to a very busy entrepreneur. There is tons to do to get ready for Christmas. I’m trying to calmly and rationally knock things off the present list but I feel it hanging over my head. I worked all day today and I’m working most of the day tomorrow. I got upset tonight about the quality of some of my work and I just broke down. I was so mad at myself. I nearly chunked my camera into a brick wall. Thankfully one of my friends was there to listen to me and calmed me down a bit. I’m still pretty upset and disappointed. I know I will get it all figured out but I know I’m better than the work I’m producing. It’s Thanksgiving and I miss my brother. I’m not scared about next weekend meeting the doctors but I think I”m starting to get really emotional about it…like that deep dark emotion that you don’t really realize is in there but it TOTALLY affects you. My friend is out in San Diego at the 3day this weekend and posting pictures and it’s making me so emotional to see the event again. I can’t explain it to you all who haven’t been…I think there’s a Pavlovian reaction to seeing the 3day…just brings it out of me. I’m not out of control. I’m not angry. I just feel a storm brewing in my heart.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,charleston,family,fear,plastic surgeon,work | No Comments
November 17, 2011 by Julie
That huge gust of wind you just heard was my mother breathing a sigh of relief. I got the call from Dr. Stallings today that the biopsy results came back with no sign of cancer. Such a relief and so grateful. As my good friend reminded me “Now you can have your surgery on your time.” This is a big deal. I will be leaving next weekend to go to Charleston to meet with my potential surgeons. I am planning so much for next year but I get to do it as a healthy person…cancer free. So grateful that I don’t have to wait until I have cancer to do something about this. Having the opportunity to be proactive is such a blessing.
Category The Journey | Tags: biopsy,breast cancer,charleston,family | No Comments
November 14, 2011 by Julie
I just realized that tomorrow is my birthday and likely the day that I’ll get my biopsy results. I’m voting for no cancer news on your birthday…talk about Debbie Downer.
Category The Journey | Tags: biopsy,breast cancer | No Comments
November 12, 2011 by Julie
Not THOSE cupcakes! The cupcakes my friends brought me for my birthday party! Tuesday is my birthday but I celebrated with friends this past Thursday. One friend was in town visiting for the week so we decided to party while she was here. Seven of my dear friends took me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant…pasta, salad, wine, champagne and cupcakes for dessert. It was just what my soul needed. I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday this year. I was feeling very melancholy and just blah about doing something. Thankfully my friends didn’t let me cancel my birthday. I laughed so hard and had such a good time reminiscing about how I had met each and every one of them. It was a miracle that everyone invited was able to attend….considering we have 16 children between us. They know me so well and I got some wonderful presents.
Category The Journey | Tags: birthday,friends | No Comments
November 12, 2011 by Julie
Friday I went in for my breast biopsy. I had a 1 mm spot on my ultrasound that Dr. Stallings felt was worthy of investigation. I went in to have her do a needle biopsy and aspirate the fluid and we will send it off to pathology to see if it is cancerous or not. I believe she did a core biopsy as well. I should really ask more questions. My mom met me at the breast center. It was a very quick and simple procedure. They numb the area and then I didn’t feel anything after that. She said I would bruise quite heavily since it was near the muscle. So far I show no bruising though I was pretty sore yesterday. I am pretty sure the waiting is tougher for my mom than for me. I don’t have any feelings that this is cancer. I can’t do anything about it until Tuesday or Wednesday when I hear from Dr. Stallings so I am really just fine. I know my plan of action should anything come back negative and it is the same plan should everything come back normal.
I am so grateful for the support I feel I am getting from friends and family. You never really know how your friends will respond to you telling them you’re going to have a mastectomy even though you don’t have cancer. Most of them tell me I’m being brave. To me it isn’t about being brave but about being smart. I’m actually pretty scared but I feel like my knowledge overpowers that fear. It really breaks my heart that there are so many women out there who won’t have the BRCA testing because they are afraid to know.
I met another BRCA + woman at the breast center yesterday. She was in for a lump and planning her prophylactic bilateral as well. She seemed positive, strong and smart. I gave her my email…I hope she contacts me. I met another woman there whose mother was going through radiation. She said she herself was in that office all the time because she always had lots of lumps. She seemed more nervous, unsure of what was going on and uninformed about what might be going on in her body. Knowledge is power. I hope after our conversations she reads up a little more about her situation and becomes empowered.
I feel strong. I feel smart. I don’t feel brave yet but I know I will. I will BE brave when the time comes to be brave.
Category The Journey | Tags: biopsy,BRCA,breast cancer,decisions,family,fear,surgeon | No Comments
November 12, 2011 by Julie
Grateful beyond belief for health insurance but all the little details are so confusing and annoying.
Tuesday I talked to the NOLA insurance people and she said that my insurance is out of network. She said that every single insurance is out of network except for Cigna. That means that my total out of pocket would be $8000 instead of $4000 for the covered procedures. I’m still not entirely clear if everything is covered. I spoke with the Charleston office and they are IN network for my insurance. So I think the path becomes clearer. I am planning a consultation with them on November 28th. The Mister will travel with me and we will meet with both the breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon that day.
Charleston is about a 4.5 hour drive but we will probably go for a couple days before and just get comfortable with the city…see what the hospital looks like, etc. If after visiting Charleston I do not feel 100% great about it I might go to visit New Orleans. I found out on Wednesday that one of my great friends gave birth at the hospital in Charleston…she said it was small but very nice.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,charleston,decisions,insurance,mister,nola,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel | No Comments
November 7, 2011 by Julie
I think I’ve decided I’m going to do my surgery in New Orleans. I spent a long night talking with my best friend last night and we just talked our way through most of it. Today I talked to the Mister about it all and I think it’s pretty clear that I’m leaning towards going to New Orleans. I don’t really feel like either place is a bad choice…but I think if expenses are not accounted for I am definitely leaning towards NO. I’m sure I’ll probably change my mind 12 more times before I schedule the surgery…but anyone who knows me knows that THAT is what I do. I should be able to get everything scheduled this week and figure out flight information by the weekend. Mister is traveling with me this time and my mom will travel with me for my surgeries. Mom told me to close my eyes, put my hand over my heart and envision where I was when I had my surgery. I keep trying that…and it’s not totally clear just yet. I believe it will be….eventually.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,family,mister,plastic surgeon | No Comments
November 6, 2011 by Julie
Have you ever seen what a mastectomy scar looks like? What a woman looks like with no breast? It’s mind numbing to me. They look so broken and hurting. What a true blessing I have to be able to do this surgery before I have cancer…before I have to have any illness cut out of me. What a blessing I have to be made whole again before something takes my whole-ness away from me.
Amazing images here: The Scar Project
I still can’t believe I’m planning this though.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,fear,scar | No Comments