February 1, 2012 by Julie Moon
This is the place I will leave my risk of breast cancer. This is East Cooper Medical Center…a beautiful facility. We have met nothing but nice and helpful people. I was there twice today and it will become my new home through the weekend. I am so grateful that I was able to afford to travel here with my mom. I am so grateful for Dr. Craigie and Dr. Kline and Dr. Baron who will perform my surgeries. It will be mind blowing, life altering and life saving. I am so grateful that I do not have cancer and I get to tackle this as a healthy 34 year old woman. I am so grateful that the BRCA test was conclusive and I was able to confidently move foward with this step. I am so grateful for each and every person who is at home feeding, hugging, nurturing, driving, dressing, bathing, teaching, snuggling, and taking care of my dear sweet children.
I feel the prayers and positive energy of my friends. I am envisioning the candles that will be lit for me tomorrow. I pray for peace for my friends and family while I’m under. My wish is that tomorrow not only changes my own life but that it changes many people’s lives. I hope it inspires a woman to get her mammograms or research her genetics. I hope it encourages a husband to be completely supportive of radical preventative measures his wife may want to take for her health. I hope that it challenges more people to participate in the 3day and other events that support breast cancer research. We need more research. We need to find a cure.
Goodbye to the breasts I know and have loved…the breasts that have nourished my three children and have been loved by my husband. I am looking forward to meeting my new breasts…the ones that will carry me into my old age. I suppose if you want to be technical I have known those breasts all along since they will come from my back side. 🙂
Category The Journey | Tags: 3day,blessings,BRCA,breast cancer,charleston,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel | No Comments
November 29, 2011 by Julie Moon
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 12, 2011 by Julie Moon
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 Moon
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 3, 2011 by Julie Moon
Today is a day dedicated to staying in my pajamas and researching. I need to figure out what kind of reconstruction I want. I am leaning towards really wanting to reconstruct my breasts with tissue from my own body…not implants. I really like the idea of whatever is in my body being my own…less chance for my body to reject it. I like the idea of having one surgery and being done…not having to replace implants long term. I like the idea that if I gain weight or lose weight my breasts will gain or lose with me. I like the idea of losing a bit of fat from another part of my body in the process of gaining new breasts. I am seriously considering traveling out of town for this reconstruction…there are two centers I am researching…one in New Orleans and another in Charleston, SC. It looks like they both cover my insurance so I would just have the extra travel expenses.
I’d be just like a real life Hollywood star. Travel out of town and have some major plastic surgery and return home a new woman. ha!
Here are the links to two of the places I’m considering. They do so many more DIEP and GAP procedures than anyone in Atlanta. There’s lots of great reading about what it is I’m planning on doing on their websites.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,insurance,plastic surgeon,surgeon | No Comments
November 2, 2011 by Julie Moon
Yesterday was my first of many doctor visits. The office was huge and there were so many people there. They told me to plan for a 3 hour appointment. My cell phone was charged and ready to keep up with my emails and facebook and chatting with friends. My mom came with me. Sitting in the waiting room was strange…well several waiting rooms really of women all dressed in robes. We all looked the same. It was like everyone was tagged in that one room. If you wore the robe then you were obviously the one with an issue. The non robed women were just there as support people. The office just deals with people with issues…if you find a lump, need an MRI, have breast cancer or like me…are a genetic mutant. So, noone was there for their happy little annual mammogram (ha…as if any mammogram is happy).
I had a mammogram. It was not a big deal. It’s uncomfortable but not painful. I then moved to the next waiting area where I was called back for an ultrasound. Ultrasound can find even more than a mammogram and is good for dense breast tissue. Then I moved to the last waiting area…waiting to talk to my doctor. My mom was with me the whole time…chatting it up with ladies all around me. It was good to have her there but I enjoyed the time alone on my own as well. I like to be alone in these type situations. It feels easier to actually deal with and cope with the problem.
My doctor showed us the ultrasound results and she showed me that I have two areas with cysts. She recommends that I have them biopsied in office soon. I schedule an appointment for November 11th to have that done. It’s a pain to deal with insurance and paying so much at the end of the year but the mister and I agreed that it’s worth it and we would really be mad if we didn’t do something and it ended up being cancer and we didn’t have the 2 month jump on dealing with it. We’ll come up with a way to pay for it or come up with a payment plan.
How do I feel about them finding cysts in my breasts? It is what it is. I don’t feel worried. Should I be worried? I don’t know. I don’t usually worry about things like this. I worry about things I think I have control over and this I just don’t really feel like I have any control over. Maybe that’s why it feels simple.
I wanted to cry tonight. It feels good to cry sometimes. It just didn’t come easy tonight.
I have three plastic surgeons to meet with. I want to speak with each of them and find out what kind of reconstruction they recommend for me.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,family,fear,insurance,mister,surgeon | No Comments
November 2, 2011 by Julie Moon
Here I sit in the examination room…waiting. I feel my heart pounding and every now and then my hands start shaking. I take a deep breath and calm my breathing. In and out…yoga breathing…listening to the exhale. One moment at a time. I always learned that with labor I just needed to work through one contraction at a time. Deeply focused on this one moment I will not let my mind race forward to the many other “contractions” that I have to face on this journey. This is not easy. I can’t wait to have a good cry on the way home.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,fear,surgeon,waiting | No Comments
October 28, 2011 by Julie Moon
My first appointment…with a breast surgeon in Atlanta. Mom is going with me. It makes me feel good to be in action…moving towards something. I went today and picked up my old mammogram films. I feel so grateful to have my family nearby…and have my mother with me for this journey. It’s time to do what needs to be done.
“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
I am almost 34. I feel so young to even be thinking about this sort of thing but at the closing ceremony, in pink, I saw so many women who looked to be my age. How in the world? It’s overwhelming…daunting to think about how many people are affected by this disease. I feel nauseous when I think about it. My grandmother was 38…so very close to my age. What if we didn’t have this research? What if I didn’t know or have access to surveillance testing. I am humbled. It reminds me that you have to live life everyday to the full. Do what you really want…be who you really want to be.
Category The Journey | Tags: 3day,breast cancer,surgeon | No Comments