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.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day!

So it turned out that I was having bad drug withdrawals from my pain medication. No fun. We were getting me off of them gradually like the doctor said to but it was still too fast. But we talked to the doctor again on Monday and he said to take a half every 8 hours, then 10 hours, 12 hours...then a quarter every 12 hours, etc. That has helped so much!! No more crazy feeling haha Just having a hard time going to sleep. I feel tired but can't seem to go to sleep. It's just another part of the withdrawal from the pain meds but I'm so thankful the shaking, cold sweats, crazy emotions, and overwhelming anxious feeling has gotten more under control.

Today was so beautiful! I got to hang out on the back porch in the warm weather  : ) Sameer opened the doors and windows and cleaned up the house.

My first expansion was on Tuesday and it went really well. I go to the cosmetic center to do all my expansions with a physician assistant. I will see my cosmetic surgeon again after the expansion process is over, but I can make an appointment anytime I want if I feel like I need to meet with him. Getting expanded was the strangest thing! Sameer filmed it for me to watch afterwards because I was too nervous to look this time. It was crazy to see it immediately expand. I didn't feel the needle go in or anything on my right side. I haven't regained sensation there yet. So when the saline was push in from a syringe and through the needle into my tissue expander, I just felt some pressure. Unfortunately that wasn't the case for my left side. Where the needle had to go in is really tingly because I'm slowly getting some feeling back right there. When it's in that in between phase it hurts. Its like when your foot is alseep and you just want to bang it until it wakes up because it hurts so bad...but I can't do that haha So having that needle go in and then the pressure of the saline being pushed in was pretty uncomfortable. The tissue expanders have a round magnetic part on them so the physician assistant uses a magnet finder to see where the port is. She marks it with dots to know where she can put the needle in to fill the tissue expander with saline. Before she finds the port she puts the orange cleaner stuff on me which I was bummed about because that stuff is so hard to get off! haha but when I got home it came off so easy so that made me happy : ) I just leave the appointment with a small round band-aid where the needle went when you get a shot...except this feels nothing like getting a shot! That left side was not fun! But it should get easier each time. Most women don't begin to regain their feeling back this fast so it's bittersweet for me...great that I am getting feeling back, not so great for expanding. The pain of expanding really kicked in about 30 minutes after and I'm still sore today but it's getting better. I will go every Tuesday. I'm doing 25 cc's at a time. Since I'm so thin I have to do a very small amount each expansion. My skin is super tight! The expanders don't have as many folds poking me now since they are fuller so that's nice. I still need to post all my photos! These tissue expanders are so hard and uncomfortable.

A couple of my friends just got here for a girl night! Yay! Their husbands took Sameer out. He really needed a night out of the house : )

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