I never really worried or thought much about cancer … until my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28. At the time, I was 21 years old, naive, in college, worried about what plans I had for the weekend, and didn’t really grasp what that meant. More than 15 years later, my sister is gone, my mom is gone (ovarian cancer), and although I am a BRCA mutation uninformed negative, I underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and started the breast reconstruction process on January 22, 2013. I said NOPE to breast cancer.
For a recap of why I made this decision, see For those of you just joining us.
So who am I?
I’m in my late 30s, married, no kids. I ♥ P90X and old school TaeBo. I maintain a plant based, whole foods diet. I think everyone should watch Forks Over Knives, Chow Down, Food Matters, or Hungry For Change. I like avocados and blueberries. English is my second language. My favorite color is green. I watch Survivor. Also, I like big butts and I cannot lie (haha, jk).
Do you have a question? Have an opinion or think I presented erroneous information? Want to see more pics? Do you have some helpful tips to share? Want to request I cover a certain topic? Want me to invite you to one of the FaceBook groups I mention?
Drop me a few lines! I welcome any and all feedback. I ❤ hearing from my readers.
“A Wakeup Call!
Your personal health and wellness leads to so much more than a better life for you — it creates a better society. Our collective bad habits are destroying more than our personal lives, it’s ruining whole communities.
Understand that physical movement and whole foods will change all of us physically, mentally and emotionally; allowing all of us to create a better America and a better world. A fit and healthy society lowers the unemployment rate, stimulates ideas and creativity, increases productivity and heals the planet.
Stop focusing on the stupid things that don’t matter and look at the big picture. Create a purpose so powerful that when you choose to be lazy or eat junk food, understand the negative impact on mankind.
Run as far away from the “look like” model as you can. It doesn’t work (and never will) in the long term. It is frustrating and ridiculous! To hell with the scale, the tape measure, waist lines, the mirror, calories burned, calories consumed and dress sizes!
Ask the big questions. Who are you and what do you want from life? ? Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? How can you help others who are looking to get better, healthier and happier? How hard are you willing to work so that you can go out into the world, kick ass, and take names?
Cut through the crap, grab hold of the truth and improve your life. Get your act together, live inspired, and change the world!”
– Tony Horton,
The Master of Motivation behind P90X
I am so grateful you ‘followed’ my blog. I am just approaching this journey and will settle myself by reading your advice, trials, and tribulations.
Thanks, Renee. Ditto on the Follow!
I do hope you find the info I posted useful, but I just want to say that the advice of your surgeons should always come first. Everybody’s experience is different.
Have you joined any FaceBook groups related to mastectomy yet? I would say that these (aside from your surgeons) groups are one of the absolute best resources! There are a few different ones set up by FB users. Most of them are private, so you’ll have to request to join and may have to answer a few questions. This is to protect the privacy of the group members; not everyone can just stroll in. Search for: “mastectomy” or “previvor” or “BRCA”.
I hope all goes well for you! Don’t hesitate to reach out at any time!!!
Hi! My name is Lauren. I just read most of your page. I am new here, but my PBM is scheduld for 3/8! I have read a decent amount online. Some scary, some positive. I just wanted to say thank you for your honesty and bravery in sharing your photos as well. I hope I can pull something like this together while I’m home recovering! Thanks for the laughs too!
Lauren, thanks for your note! Knowing that blogging about my experience is useful (or entertaining :)) to someone else truly makes me smile. I’d love to read more of your story, when you are ready to share it. I hope the next month goes by relatively smoothly for you and you have an uneventful, successful, complication-free surgery and following recovery!
Fellow gamer here. Thanks for documenting all of this tomorrow my mother goes in for a bi lateral mastectomy and I and the rest of my family just hope for the best. The info you provided here has greatly helped. I will use your list and buy her things that will help her. thank you so much for your help.
Best wishes and positive thoughts for your mom’s surgery and following recovery, Scott! Kudos to you for being involved and interested in supporting and helping her through this. It isn’t easy, but sure helps when you have a great support team around you.
Thanks for reading my blog. I am happy to know the info I have shared is useful. Hey, one positive of being out of work and taking it easy while recuperating is that there is lots of time to play! Need to update my little blurb … I’ve been playing on the other team lately (Horde FTW!). 🙂
How is mom doing, Scott? I hope all went well!
Great blog Mogatos.god bless u.good luck for the future.
Pingback: The Inspirational Blogger Award | My Lymph Node Transplant
I just wanted you to know I have given you the Inspirational Blogger award… Congratulations for the courage and openness in the way you have shared your journey… It can only help and inspire others make this decision and allow them to know what to expect.. Thanks for your words Helen 🙂
Helen! That is amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my <3. I really, greatly, humbly (is that a word?) appreciate your kind words and this award. I am happy to know that not only do you enjoy reading my blog, but you found it inspiring. Again, a huge THANK YOU!!!
You are one tough Lymphie and have yourself done great good by blogging about your journey. Here's to many more awesome blog posts (and pics!). 🙂
You are welcome. 🙂 Helen
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I am in complete awe of you! I’m sending quick healing and positive thoughts!
Pingback: For those of you just joining us … | Saying NOPE to Breast Cancer
You are, quite simply, a gem. Thanks for continuing to bring attention to our battle to rid the world of the scourge that is breast cancer. You are truly an inspiration!
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Mogatos… I have chosen you to give the Sisterhood of world bloggers award.. I am sure that at times it has been difficult to keep blogging but you have never faltered in sharing your story so that others will have a better understanding… Thank you for your courage and inspiration… Helen
I have so much love and respect for you and am honored to receive this award. ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you!
YOU deserve every award you get (and many more), Helen! You are an inspiration and your blog is an amazing resource for anyone facing lymphoedema.
My pleasure to give you this award… There is one thing we have a common and that is to educate others and help them to deal with issues that are not always common knowledge… We show them the human side.. Keep up your good work and I will too ❤❤❤❤Helen
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I was 20 when I was diagnosed with cancer in *both* testicles and the treatment started with bi-lateral orchiectomy – the removal of both testicles. Had there been a known genetic marker for this type of cancer i doubt I would have had the guts to have elective ‘castration’. Kudos for such bravery and heartfelt commiserations for this loss.
Thank you. You know, I’ve had that response a bit and I think that without being in that particular situation, it’s hard to imagine making this decision. However, facing high risk and watching family members end up on the wrong end of those odds makes the decision less difficult and really just logical (at least for me – it’s very personal).
Did you undergo chemo/radiation/other treatment or the surgery alone? Are you all clear? And I’m curious … are testicle implants an option?
And weeks go by. Meant to follow up and got side-tracked.
Yeah, as a precaution I underwent chemo (a single cycle of Carboplatin) after the orchiectomy. I’m all clear now. Seminoma is almost 100% curable if caught early enough. In that respect I guess I was lucky. Although I didn’t feel so lucky at the time.
Testicle implants are an option that I didn’t really consider at first. The first months following the op were all about getting over the chemo and getting the testosterone replacement therapy working properly. Now that that’s all more or less sorted out I can consider the implants – there’ll probably come a time when the deficit in that area would be noticed.
Finding your blog was like finding gold. 🙂 Thank you for being so open for all to view! I’m facing a bilateral mastectomy in June with delayed reconstruction and have gone through all my doctor appointments, chosen the surgeons, worked with my oncologist and spoken to my family and close friends. I think I’m feeling more ready now. I have ADH, DCIS and a PALB2 gene mutation. I’m not really sure if this is considered to be a PBM or a medically necessary mastectomy to be honest, but I’m thinking more the latter due to the pathology of my most recent biopsy. Either way, the journey is the same. I’m grateful for your story… thank you!
Thank you for reading my blog and for your note! And I’m sorry you have reason to. Best wishes for your upcoming surgery and recovery. ❤
Question regarding the dreaded drains… did you find any particular contraption better than another to hold the darn things? I’m happy to buy online… just have no idea what really works well. 🙂
I received a great gown from a patient coordinator at the hospital that had internal pockets specifically for the purpose of holding drains. It was very comfortable and pockets were roomy for the enormous drains I had, but it is expensive (I think north of $70). My go-to was a simple lanyard. I wore it all the time, even in the shower. I think that is sufficient and you really don’t need to spend money or any camis or other drain-holding devices. Some Ladies also use a utility belt or apron (think Home Depot/Lowes) and use the pockets for the drain bulbs. ❤