My name is April Bhattacharya and I’ve created this blog to keep family and friends updated with my journey. I hope that others out there that are facing these same decisions find my blog encouraging and informative.

After losing multiple women in my family, including my mother, to breast cancer, I chose to have genetic testing. I found out in March 2010 that I tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation. This does not mean it causes breast or ovarian cancer, but it leads to an increased risk for its development. I have an 85% lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 40% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. The general population’s lifetime risk for breast cancer is about 12% and less than 2% for ovarian cancer.

After doing much research, discussing things with my husband, talking with doctors and genetic counselors, I came to the conclusion that a prophylactic (preventative) bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) and reconstruction would be my personal best decision. By having this surgery I reduce my risk of getting breast cancer by 90%. I have also taken on a vegan diet. At 23 years old, I am empowered to take steps to prevent breast and/or ovarian cancer from taking my life early. I am grateful to be a woman with options that could change the future of my family.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I've been wanting to get on here so bad. Everyday. I don't know what has taken so long. The days are flying but at the same time going extremely slow! Last Friday marked 3 weeks since my surgery. I was excited about that the other day. It was on New Year's Eve and I was sitting here telling Sameer that I couldn't believe how the time has flown! Even right around Christmas when I was at 2 weeks I was so happy and thankful for this surgery. So pleased with my decision to take a huge stand against the possible future of breast cancer that would continue the vicious cycle that the women in my family have been through. I had my follow up with my cosmetic surgeon right before Christmas and he said everything is looking great. Still on all those restrictions for several more weeks...booo. But I got to start using scar removal gel...woo hoo!! And my first expansion is on Tuesday the 4th. So everything seemed to be going pretty well and I kept wondering why I don't feel like all these other women that have been through this. I read a lot of women's blogs before my surgery. My journey so far seemed to be easier than most, especially emotionally...

But the past few days I've been telling Sameer I'm so upset it's only been 3 weeks! I have so much more time to go. I'm so uncomfortable. I'm in so much pain. I have nausea. I'm an emotional wreck.

Today I just hit a big low. I just feel so trapped with these hard, tight tissue expanders in me. I want them out!!! The incision site started bothering me. I feel like I look like some halloween freak. Women joke and call them "frankenboobs" when they go through this, but I'm just not in a laughing mood today...or the past few days. I freaked out thinking about when these finally come out more fake, foreign material goes back in. I know implants will feel much softer and comfortable, but I just feel so freaked and trapped right now. It's hard to explain.

I've had to start cutting back my pain meds because I've already been on them for 20+ days. We've done it gradually and since yesterday I got off them and started taking Motrin. Man, they don't do anything!! Maybe that's why I'm so uncomfortable...I'm finally feeling all the pain. It sucks. I can't do this for months and months. I feel like there is no way possible. How do women do this?!

I can't sleep anyway but sitting up because it pulls on my chest and hurts if I try to lie down. I'm allowed to sleep however is comfortable, but that's all I can do. My butt hurts from sitting, my back hurts from sleeping. It's a huge chore to shower, shave, blow dry, everything. I had more nausea today than ever. I have itches deep inside my chest that I can't relieve with a scratch because that part of my chest is completely numb. No feeling. BUT I have feelings deep inside of itching. What's up with that?! Seems like a cruel punishment.

I just broke down today and cried for the first time...hysterically...while I sang "Don't Speak" by No Doubt and that song that says "One is the loneliest number". I don't know where those songs came from haha but I guess it's good to get a big cry out. Of course I've had a tear here and there from pain...especially at the hospital when I was getting up for the first time. But today was an emotional break down. Exactly what I've read about in other women's blogs that have been through this. I just keep thinking about them while I cried. It helped remind me that I'm normal, it's just a hard thing I'm going through.

I hate to go on and on about all the negatives. Today is especially hard for me to keep my mind focused on why I am going through this. I want to feel strong, happy and pleased with my journey. I know I'll be so thankful in the future. This gives me a greater chance to have kids with my wonderful husband and actually watch them graduate high school, go to college, get married...even become a granny one day...things my mom never got to do.

I really hope that tonight I sleep well. I'm praying that tomorrow is easier.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your honesty April, what you're going through is a very hard thing. I will be praying for you, may you feel God's presence in a real and comforting way. I have prayer requests that I cycle through and tomorrow is your day to be prayed for. How like God to draw me to your blog so I'm better prepared to pray for you! Hang on April, better days are ahead!


Shelly said...

LET IT OUT!!!! :) A good soul cleaning cry is good for you! You are so strong and it took so much courage to make that decision. Your Mom would be so proud of you, I know she is in heaven watching over you with a huge smile saying... thats my girl. The deep itch thing is sooooo aggravating, that happens to me with a scar from stomach surgery and it is the weirdest feeling-I can feel the deep itch but when I scratch it....nothing but a numb strange feeling. Sameer is wonderful and y'all are both blessed to have each other. I don't know a lot of men that are great with compassion or have the stomach to do the things that Sameer has done-heck Raymond gags if someone else gags :) I am very proud of you and I love you. I hope you are relieved from the pain and the feelings of being trapped. I will be looking forward to your next update.

<3 Shelly Duke

Anonymous said...


I can't imagine what you are going through! You have been so positive and mourning is part of the process. It's okay to mourn for something you have lost. For a woman, breasts are such a personal thing. Right now you are just feeling the loss. I agree with Shelly, let it out! You don't have to be strong and brave all the time. Let yourself feel what you are feeling. Don't hold it in! Everyone is so proud of you and the strength and determination you have shown. This is not an easy thing to endure. We are continuing to pray for you! This is a fight for your life. This is a fight to give your unborn children a mother and your grandchildren a grandmother. By doing this, you will be such a source of strength for your family. I know it's hard to sleep now due to the physical and emotional pain, but over the months and years your pain will be replaced by peace! Peace that you will live! Peace in future you created!

Kelly Hager