Monday, June 20, 2011

Update: Surveillance-versary!

So, I'm a big fat loser.  My surveillance-versary was June 10th!  I guess in the midst of not obsessing over my high-risk, I stopped thinking a little too much about it!

Here's the other part I realized:  I haven't met a single goal I laid out for myself since my initial meeting with Heather.  Not a one.  I haven't lost weight. I haven't stopped eating red meat. I didn't start taking vitamins. I didn't change my diet. I didn't drink less . . . well, let's not get ahead of ourselves here, I never did promise that one!

So at the risk of being accused of having a defeatist attitude (again) here is what I have accomplished:
1.  I had one Mammogram
2.  I had one MRI.
3.  I had one Biopsy.
4.  I performed at least one self breast exam each month (probably 2 realistically)
6.  I tested for the BRCA gene
*these are important because early detection saves lives
7.  I told my story.
8.  I started going to local FORCE meetings.
9.  I met other young, high risk women by telling my story.
10. I finally walked in a breast cancer walk that I raised money for
11. I tried to reach out to my extended family about our risk
12. I had researched enough and learned enough to help my sister begin her journey.
*these are important because many women who are high risk do not know it, or do not know how to proceed
13.  I quit smoking (I hope, it's only been a month so I'm afraid to brag).
14.  I limited my weekly red meat intake, for the most part:).  Hey, I'm a sucker for a cheeseburger!
15.  I joined a gym and partake on occasion.
and most importantly . . . 

Here's to an even more successful year 2!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's my Surveillance-versary!

So, I just realized, it's nearly July.  July to many people is Independence Day, summer vacation, barbeque's, camping, 90 degree weather, boating, ridiculous air conditioning bills.  To me July is my annual mammogram. 

My annual mammogram also marks the completion of the first year in my life as a high risk woman.  So I survived year one.  With me I take at least 12 self breast exams, an uninformed negative test result, one tiny scar on my right boob, a lead marker near said scar, nearly $1,5000 in related bills and enough tears shed to flood the entire Metropolitan area.

And, because my first MRI (aka, January) came back with an area of suspicion that needed to be biopsied, I need to run the MRI again.  Hopefully on the same day.

The average person may not think this deal sounds so bad; 2 tests a year, 6 months apart and a doctors office visit in between.  What the average person doesn't realize is I finally feel like I got my head back on straight again.  I don't think about my status weekly, daily, hourly, any longer.  I wasn't researching everything boob related.  I stopped dreaming up my eventual PBM or RX.  I stopped practicing the speech I would have to give my friends, family and co-workers. 

But now.  Now that July is staring me straight on, I feel the beginning pangs of dread, of terror coming back.  They get caught in my throat late at night.  They subconsciously make my hands linger longer over my breasts suspicious of every change.  They haunt me.  They whisper to me.  They follow me.  It's a disease you can't see, that dread.  And it's back, just like it promised.  Six months later.