I really hesitated on whether or not to write this blog post. It doesn't have anything to do with weddings. However, it is a way for me to reach my friends and family on a level that would be hard to do in person (or over the phone) and go over all of the who, what, when, where and why’s. I also hope that it might give someone the courage to make some hard and scary decisions about their own health.
Some reading this post remember my mom, remember the struggle she went through fighting for her life. Some of my wonderful friends and family lived through all of this with my family and understand how terrible the word cancer is. She died before she was 50 years old. I was 15.
People say blogs are therapeutic and maybe that one of the reasons I feel the need to write this all down. I don’t want sympathy because it is not needed. I’m not sick. What I am doing is taking charge of my health. This is a great thing. “In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S.” according to BreastCancer.org. I do NOT want to be one of them. I want to do whatever I can to prevent this horrific disease from affecting my family again.
Because of my family history, about a year ago, I was advised to be tested for the BRCA1 gene mutation. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is commonly known as the Breast Cancer gene. Although I did not test positive for that gene mutation, another one popped up. This year has been filled with tests, mammograms, ultrasounds, you name it. Isn’t it amazing what the medical field can do? I’m so thankful for people waayyy smarter than me!
To make a long story short, our insurance company agreed with my doctor that the best course of action was to perform a preventive double mastectomy on me in a couple of weeks. (Yeah, it all became real that day - insurance companies don’t want to ever pay for anything!!) It is scary. The recovery is awful. But you know what? It will take my chances of developing breast cancer from over 40% down to 5%. 5%! Only a 5% chance that our son will have to watch his mom die of breast cancer. I’ll do anything for those odds.
We are all so busy living, working, being. Don’t neglect your health. Go get poked and prodded, get that weird-looking mole checked out. We are only given one life. I LOVE to stick my head in the sand and not think about the hard things. Thankfully I have friends and family that push me to go do the things I know I need to do. If you have a family history, talk with your doctor, voice your concerns!
The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham. Although I will be doped up, please be thinking of John as he plays the role of mom and dad. He will be in charge of making sure Will brushes his teeth (oh my) and has all of his school work in his bookbag (another oh my) all the while taking care of me. Plus we have wonderful friends and family that will be checking in on us.
On the business side, we are so grateful that we have people in place to help us run the company during my recovery process. Weddings will continue flawlessly because of the commitment of our crew around here. We will just shift some tasks around for a few weeks - I bet if nothing else, it will help us all to appreciate what each other does on a daily basis.
Just remember this is a good thing. This is not an emergency surgery. I am not sick. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are sick. I am so thankful (selfishly) that it is not me.