I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. I’m a lucky survivor. I caught my cancer early, I got my treatment and I feel great today. I did everything I could do to fight cancer—double mastectomy, lymph nodes removed, chemotherapy, oophorectomy combined with a full hysterectomy. My oncologist told me that even the most conservative radiation oncologist would not suggest radiation. I count my blessings everyday and continue to fight for my friends, Cousin, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt, Sisters-in-Law, Daughter and all the other women and girls out there. Until there is a cure, we must be absolutely vigilant about our health. In the world of breast cancer, there are many things we can do. We can know our genetic status, we can go for yearly mammograms (or more frequently, if necessary), and we can do monthly self-breast exams. We can catch this disease early.
Unfortunately, we are not so lucky with other cancers—specifically ovarian cancer. But there is something that everyone can do right now—today–to help in this fight. We can ask our Senators to support two very important ovarian cancer programs. One is dedicated to research and one is dedicated to raising awareness so we can catch this disease earlier. This will take no time but it will help save lives. Please do your part for all the women in our lives. Together we can continue to make a difference.
My nipples are tattooed and my breasts are completed. It was pretty uneventful. Dr. Sherbert numbed me just in case I have any feeling. Since I felt the needle and I did get a little light-headed, I’m guessing I do have feeling so numbing was a smart idea. After that, Annette (the tattoo artist) and I chatted about color. She took a look at my pre-op pictures and we talked about my original nipple color. We settled on a color and she went to work. Now I’m home with some saran wrap on my nipples feeling pretty decent (other than the start of another cold). Is winter almost over?
On Wednesday, we had another great FORCE “Positively Empowered” meeting. The weather was terrible, the roads were terrible and the turnout wasn’t great but those of us that were there had a really nice time. We could have stayed for hours. In fact when the meeting was over, we reconvened in the bathroom for a show and tell and ended up chatting an additional 20 minutes. I’m happy to show off my new perky breasts to anyone considering a mastectomy. I was never one to go to support group meetings but these are so much fun and I’ve met so many super women.
I’m so thankful for Whitney Ducaine at Beaumont for working so hard on these meetings. She gave a really great overview on the new diagnostic test for Ovarian Cancer—OvaSure. While some researchers felt this was the best invention since sliced bread, there is lots more work to be done. Whitney agrees completely and feels this is not yet a recommended diagnostic test. In the one study that was done, they did not look at any BRCA women which would have been a critical component in determining the effectiveness of the test. Whitney did a great job of showing us the limitations at this point.
From a patient’s point of view, it’s always hard to know who to trust, who to listen to and what studies to read. It’s especially difficult when well-respected research centers put out information that is highly contested. And the more questions you ask, the more confusing it can get. Luckily, research plunges forward and the more studies we have, the more we will know.