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Previvor’s Guilt

Previvors are, as defined by FORCE, “individuals who are survivors of a predisposition to cancer but who haven’t had the disease. This group includes people who carry a hereditary mutation, a family history of cancer, or some other predisposing factor. The term specifically applies to the portion of our community that has its own unique needs and concerns separate from the general population, but different from those already diagnosed with cancer.”

I am a previvor.

While that term hasn’t ever felt exactly right, by definition, I fit. You know how there’s a thing called survivor’s guilt? I have previvor’s guilt. I got a choice in the matter. I got to choose to have my mastectomy. My salpingectomy. These were choices I had. I didn’t face life or death in order to make these decisions.

I don’t feel brave, or strong, honestly, but I recognize that I made some drastic (to some) decisions. I feel like I made the best choice for my situation and family. My breasties that are battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer are strong and brave and so powerful. My fellow previvor’s are strong and brave. They’ve gone through so much. It’s weird. I don’t feel like I’ve suffered enough to be considered a previvor. All of this, of course, is my own issue. My own feelings of inadequacy.

Today is National Previvor Day. To my fellow previvors I applaud you and honor your strength and bravery. For making the choice.

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Progress

Today I started listing some clothes on Poshmark. I have so many things that I’m not wearing, or that don’t fit, or just aren’t ME anymore. Also, who is ME March 11, 2019? That’s a hella good question! I can tell you physical descriptors-platinum bob, green eyes, size 9 shoe, size 29 pant. I could tell you how much I weigh but none of those things define me.

In listing these clothes I came across a photo from almost exactly 3 years ago and I truly and honestly barely recognized myself.

The craziest part is while I’m about 30 lbs lighter in this picture, I remember the same uncomfortableness that I have now. That there were parts that still needed to shrink to fit into this mold. I’m glad there are so many body positivity movements right now, that this topic is being talked about instead of ignored and swept under the rug. (Or carpet as Kyle from RHoBH would say.)

I’m learning to love and appreciate the new body I’ve been given…I gotta admit my new belly button is CUTE. I’m also trying to get into the strong mindset. To get back to the girl that worked out because she *liked* it not just because she wanted a calorie deficit. The one that could just run 6-8 miles and be cool. I don’t think I have the desire to run a half marathon ever again but a 10K would be cool.

Believe That i know that my body has been through some SHiT the past 365 days. My mental state as well. And I’m not mad at myself for gaining weight nor will I be punishing myself. I’m going to continue the #LowCarbLife That I’ve been doing for the past week, and slowly start exercising again. I guess I should put to use that treadmill and elliptical in the garage, eh??

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Image

Almost six months ago I had my mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction. Directly after surgery I felt invincible, strong. Like a badass warrior with a flat tummy. Our family celebrated being done with surgery with a cruise to the Bahamas. It was our kids’ main Christmas present. This meant the first time donning a swimsuit since before my surgeries.

Initially, I wasn’t worried a bit. I mean I had just had my surgeries and my tummy was so flat. I should feel rocking in my bikini. My boobs are pretty perfect, especially after having four kids, and being in my *gasp* late 30s. Shopping for them was fun! I found a killer deal at Walmart of all places on a super on trend bikini and felt pretty good in it. Until it was actually time to wear it.

The familiar self doubt and self loathing creeped in. Ugh the bottoms cut into my hip. My thighs are so wiggly. I internally celebrated every other woman in her swimsuit for enjoying her vacay, or seeming to give no Fs about anything but that pineapple drank.

It’s funny how it’s never enough. My brain is wired to think I’m not good enough. I worried that people were thinking that I had just had a tummy tuck and were judging me that way. Who cares if they were, right? I enjoyed the trip with my little (big) family immensely. Seeing the joy on their faces as we fed pigs on Treasure Island, and discovering Moana shells while snorkeling are precious memories that I’ve stored away.

How can I rewire my brain to love my body? To not look at the flaws as bright flashing neon lights saying I’m not enough? How can I teach emilia to give no Fs and enjoy herself?

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Good Vibe Request

Y’all, leftie is up to no good again. I’m calling NoLa soon to see what they say. Dr. Barry thinks I need antibiotics 😩 so I’m sure that they’ll say the same thing. I’ve been waiting for that other shoe to drop. I suppose this is it. My bellybutton is also a little red around the edges. Gah. I’ve been so compliant with wound care, showers, etc so this feels like a major blow. I’m sitting on my bed, spontaneously crying, topless hoping that my infection gets dried out just a bit.

In other news I’m watching lots of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, drinking lots of water and trucking along. I’m trying to increase my step count by 500 a day. The bruising is going down and so is the swelling.

Focusing on the positive and these rays of sunshine that are taking such good care of me.

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21 days

in 21 days I will be post op. So wild. The days keep melting into the next. Today was picture day for the elementary kids. Emilia told me the photographer called everyone George. It made her laugh. Lord I hope the kindergarteners had theirs taken first! Fingers crossed. At least they looked cute when I sent them to school.

Tomorrow, Mariah and I are going to go get my pre op testing done. Glad she’s coming with me to keep me company. I am hoping it doesn’t take all day long, but knowing my luck, it will.  Chest X-ray, EKG, blood draw and more will need to be forwarded to my surgeon in NoLa.

Today, I got 2 queen sheets for the airbnb. White, cheap, bleachable. I got some more wash cloths, again, cheap and bleachable, and a hoodie and pair of joggers. I think I’m set as far cozy clothes go. I also got a boppy pregnancy pillow as I heard they’re really beneficial for sleeping.

Let’s talk about sleeping. Did you know, I’m either a tummy sleeper or I sleep with my arms crossed above my head. If you follow me on instagram, you’ve most definitely seen Emilia sleeping the same way. (Side, if you’re not following me on instagram, why not? instagram) I realized the other night that I won’t be able to sleep on my tummy OR with my arms above my head for some time. I hope I can adapt.

I’m not so much nervous about the surgery. They’re incredibly capable and competent physicians. I know I’m in incredibly skilled hands. I’m not nervous for the pain. I mean I’m not EXCITED for it, either. I’m nervous for patience and my general lack of. I’m nervous that I’ll be so frustrated with my lack of progress that I’ll sabotage myself somehow. I need to be reminded that I deserve grace at this time. That I can take this time to heal, that I NEED to take this time to heal. I’m not a down and out kinda girl. I’m constantly on the go and on the move. This stillness is going to be difficult for me. The stillness is what scares me. If you’re the praying type, I could use some encouragement in this area. Just that I will have grace for myself and not worry so much.

21 days, guys. 21 days and I’ll be post op.

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Stockpile

IMG_0403 3You guys, surgery is in less than a month. I have to go get my pre op testing next week. I work Monday so I’m thinking Tuesday will be the day! Blood work, chest x-ray and EKG.

My babies all started school. Emilia is rocking kindergarten. She literally twirled into the building. Owen’s killing it in second grade. Gabriel is loving all of the new challenges at Seaside and 5th grade and Julian’s trucking along in 7th. We have slowly gotten into the routine of school. After a summer of sleeping in it’s been rough! Barry’s been away for annual training and I’ve been flying solo.

 

I’ve started stockpiling for surgery. We are staying at an Airbnb before and after surgery. I’ve ordered my bidet toilet seat from BioBidet. I’ve got an Amazon order on the way! And have stock piled some bleachable wash cloths. I have 2 sets of button front jams, and a button front nightgown that’s definitely going to make me feel like a grandma but hey, it’s paisley. I’m trying to locate button front tops which isn’t something I’ve normally worn due to the sheer size of the tatas. I hate bulging buttons! Getting a couple zip up hoodies and I have a million pairs of cozy LuLaRoe leggings! My friend Brooke is sewing me a mastectomy pillow and a zip up hoodie with built in drain holders.

Somethings I still need to get (so I can keep track):
queen sized fitted sheets x 3
towels
small bottle of detergent
bleach
zip up hoodies
joggers

If you’ve had a mastectomy, or DIEP FLAP what did you find you needed after surgery?