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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My 5th Expansion-Graphic Content

My 5th expansion was a little different than all of the other times. The PA was still out sick, but they scheduled me with a nurse at the hospital. I've been doing them at the cosmetic center with the same PA every time. She is super nice and talkative, which helps calm my nerves. They have each room decorated like a spa, and that creates a comfortable atmosphere. Nothing like the hospital room haha It was a tiny, crowded, grey, and cold. The nurse that did my expansion didn't really talk much...which made things awkward...and he looked really nervous like he didn't know what he was doing. It took him forever to find my port with the little magnetic tool. Me and Sameer kept looking at each other like, "What the heck is going on?!" I felt like we could have done my expansion more comfortably than the nurse! He pushed the saline in faster than usual, so I felt a lot more pain/pressure. He had me lie down almost completely flat...which that hurts to do when I'm just at home in bed...so being that low for the expansion was very uncomfortable. But I survived and I'll see my regular PA for the next one. Thank goodness.

Each expansion is such a small difference since I'm only doing 25 cc at a time. I still want to post the before and after photos of each one. These pictures and information are things I wish I had before my surgery, so I'm going to continue to show each step.

So the other night I was putting on a necklace to see if I wanted to wear one...and the clasp to it was magnetic so it was clinging to my tissue expander! Then I thought to myself, "duh...at my expansions the PA uses the magnetic tool to find my port" Soooo I went around the house trying to find stuff to stick to myself haha This is a fridge magnet. I was pretty entertained. It's not everyday you can stick fridge magnets to yourself!
This photo was from 01-31-11 when I went to the cosmetic center for the appointment with my surgeon. This kind of shows how nice the rooms are there. It doesn't make me feel so bummed like a hospital. 
Just before my 5th expansion on 02-03-11
Right side view before my 5th expansion
Left side view before my 5th expansion
The nurse finding my port before expanding. I can't believe how much my scars have smoothed out and faded!! 
After my 5th expansion going from 225 cc to 250 cc. 
Right side view after 5th expansion
Left side view after 5th expansion

4 comments:

Amy said...

Wow, looks great! Seems like you're just about there. You'll be ready for the next step soon. What a trooper you are!

I'm sure being in an unfamiliar place with someone who doesn't seem to know what he is doing was a bit stressful but you made it thru. Woo Hoo!

878herb said...

April, we're so proud of you. God has blessed you with such strength! And we are so grateful that God has given you Sameer. Y'all are both amazing. Thanks for being so open with everything to help us know how to pray and to help others who are going through the same thing. We love you lots!--Donna & Bert

April Bhattacharya said...

Donna & Bert,

Thank you so much for your prayers! Your comment definitely lifted my spirits : )

Love you both!

-April

janine x said...

Hi April i have had the same surgery as yourself. I had a bilateral double mastectomy on the 14th september 2011, i am 28 years old. I had my final expansion on the 29th december, i am at 280 cc at the moment, still very sore. It would be lovely to talk further with you. This is my blog http://double-mastectomy.blogspot.com/ please take a look. janine xx