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, February 27, 2011

Driving and My 8th Expansion-Graphic Content

On Friday I drove my car for the first time since surgery!! Woo Hoo!! Of course I was allowed to around 6-8 weeks, but I didn't have the strength just yet to put the car in gear and turn the steering wheel. The first time hurt sooooo bad! I've gotten pretty good at everything else (except buttoning my jeans! haha) so I figured it was a good time to test drive. 

I only went a few miles up the road to a shopping center with Petco, Hobby Lobby and other stores. I thought I was going to throw up from the pain in my left "boob". It hurt so bad to turn my head left to look before the turn out of my neighborhood...and just turning the steering wheel sent shooting pains through my chest, shoulders and neck. My left side is the one that always hurts during my tissue expansion appointments. The nerves are growing back there and it's just painful. 

Once I made it to the shopping center I took a break for a while before making the drive home. My husband was out of town, so I didn't have anyone else to drive me back haha and I was determined to do it! I thought to myself, "Well the first time I opened a can it hurt pretty bad...but it got easier the more I did it". So I kept my mind focused on how this will only get better! I made the drive home and I was in so much pain. It felt like I had a bad bra wire digging all the way around both boobs, been beaten with a hammer and I had this burning feeling like someone had poured alcohol on a wound. hahaha it's hard to describe. 

I was so happy to be home and out of the car. No more seat belt pulling tight on my chest! I took some Motrin, threw on pajamas and watched TV for the rest of the day : )

Yesterday I wanted to try to drive a little bit again so I could continue to build that strength up. This time, I only went a couple of blocks since I was still sore from the day before. It was a little better. I didn't want to throw up, but I had the same pain on my left side. That's okay though! I'm just so happy it wasn't as bad as the first time.

I wanted to drive some today but it's soooo windy out! I'm not sure if I will. But tomorrow I am for sure going to get my oil changed and tires rotated, so that will be a good trip out.

My 8th expansion was on Thursday. My husband was out of town so I had one of my best friends come with me. Everything went really well and I have my very last one this Tuesday!! I will be stopping at 350 cc. It feels so good that I am almost done with this part of the process. My husband and I had decided before my surgery that we would go on a trip when I'm done expanding to celebrate! After this last expansion Tuesday, that officially starts my 2-3 month waiting period before my next surgery to take these tissue expanders out and get my implants. Well the timing just happened to work out to make a trip to Burbank, CA (my favorite place other than our TX home!) this week!!! My birthday is on March 9th so it's a perfect time to celebrate the end of my expansions and my birthday : ) I'm SO excited to get out of the house! I've pretty much been home since November. We usually travel a lot so I'm anxious to go somewhere.

We will be driving there because it's way cheaper than flying and renting a car. We've done it several times and we enjoy the trip. My husband will probably have to do most of the driving, but I figured I would do good on the long stretches of empty open roads...which there is a lot of driving from Central TX to California! This upcoming trip helps encourages me to drive a little everyday before we leave so I'll be ready! I'm praying it will enjoyable and not too painful.

So I will have my last tissue expansion on this Tuesday 03-01-11. MARCH! I can't believe it will be March. That's so exciting! On Tuesday I will set up an appointment with my cosmetic surgeon to discuss the next surgery...and hopefully find out when it will be.

Here are the photos from my 8th tissue expansion on 02-24-11:

Just before my 8th expansion on 02-24-11
Right side view before my 8th expansion
Left side view before my 8th expansion
After my 8th expansion going from 300 cc to 325 cc
Right side view after my 8th expansion
Left side view after my 8th expansion

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your driving success! That is a tough activity to get back into after a major procedure like your's. But I bet it felt great to know you have the strength within you to "take care of business" when your Hubby is gone. Regaining independence is one of the best feelings ever! I hope your last expansion went well yesterday. I know I don't have to tell you to enjoy your trip next week. LoL

Luv Ya,