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, February 10, 2011

Two Months Since Surgery!-Graphic Content

Two months!! I can't believe it. December 10th seems like forever ago! I'm doing good. I'm continuing to gradually increase my strength. There is constant soreness, but it's tolerable. Sleep is still the most uncomfortable thing for me. The past week or so I started wondering if this blog was just pointless. I started loosing my motivation for a lot of things. I'm so passionate about vegan cooking, but there aren't that many people around here that love it too. Sometimes I feel like I just have no one to talk to. And this whole process makes me miss my mom more than ever. But I've had a few nice reminders of what I'm doing is great...and it's helping others. I'm starting to connect with other people going through the same things as me. And I get to hang out with one of my best friends tomorrow : ) I guess we all have those times of feeling unmotivated and lonely. And the cold weather sure doesn't help!! haha But I'm feeling a lot better now.

The PA was back to work and I went for my 6th expansion on 02-07-11. It was nice to have her back! From the beginning my cosmetic surgeon was estimating around 300 cc for me. I'm now at 275 cc and so far it's looking like I might be done expanding next week! There might possibly be one more after that, ending at 325 cc. We'll just see as we go. Its great that I can just take my time. I can go every week, I can wait longer in between expansions and think about it, or I can take some saline out! Either way, I'm near the end of expanding. Woo hoo!

My next expansion will be on Thursday 02-17-11. My 5th one was on a Thursday and my 6th was on the following Monday. I'm use to going at least a week apart so I'm a little more sore than usual...but that's just had scheduling worked out. I would have rather done that than missed a week! But I'm definitely glad my next one is a little over a week apart from the last. That will give my skin some more time to soften. I use the body butter just like what a pregnant woman uses on her growing belly.

Here are the photos from my 6th expansion:

Just before my 6th expansion on 02-07-11
Right side view before my 6th expansion
Left side view before my 6th expansion
After my 6th expansion going from 250 cc to 275 cc 
Right side view after 6th expansion
Left side view after 6th expansion


Anonymous said...

April, please don't ever think this blog is pointless. I am so very thankful that I found you. I'm seeing my surgeon in a couple weeks, and I have a long list of questions for her now. You have helped me so much already, you don't even know! Your pictures, and blog has been so helpful to me. Don't give up. But i'm with ya when you said "I wish I had my mom here to talk to" It's so hard not having my mom here as I get ready for this huge surgery in my life. Just remember, your mom would be so proud.
- Bevin-

Paula said...

April, you've come a long way in 2 months. After reading the previous comments from Bevin it should be confirmation to you that you are definitely inspiring and motivating others.

Shelly Duke said...

Please do not think this is pointless because I have shared this blog with some of my co-workers who are breast cancer survivors and they are really inspired by you. As well as the rest of us. You are a beautiful and couragous woman and I know your Mom is so proud of you.

d_hager said...

Hi April, Remember Casey & Kelly who lived across the street from you less than one year ago? Well, I am Casey's mom and my husband and i had the privilege of meeting you and Sameer on one of our visits to Texas. Several months ago Kelly told me about you being at high risk for getting breast cancer... and your agonizing decision to have the surgery. Since, I have anxiously been following your blog. We want you to know how courageous that we think you are... and from reading the different comments many others think so too. We want you to know that we 'all' are keeping you in our prayers. May God bless your every step of the way. Love, Prayers, & Hugs to both you and Sameer. Danny & Frances :)