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
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.