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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Where to start?? I've had so much happen in the past few weeks.

On Monday 03-21-11 I had an appointment with my cosmetic surgeon to discuss the next surgery and sign all the paperwork. It went really well. I asked a lot of questions and overall feel good about everything. I'm just so excited to get these hard tissue expanders out of me!! The surgeon did say that he will probably make a new incision under each breast (inframammary incision/crease incision) rather than going through my current scars. I was kind of bummed to find this out because I already have 4 across each boob and two where the drains were. Having the crease incisions will happen at some point in my life because I'm only 24. This set of implants will not be the only pair for the rest of my life. I'll have to replace them at some point and when that time comes, the surgeon will go through a crease incision. So if I do it now they should always be able to go back through there to swap out implants. It is a very popular option since its easily hidden within the breast's fold and not easily seen in swim suits, etc. It will be small so that's nice. I'm just starting to have more moments of feeling sad or ugly with all these scars...but I know it's just part of the process and most women feel the same that go through this. The moment I hear about someone else being diagnosed with breast cancer, I don't care that I have these scars at all. It helps me stay positive and thankful for my PBM.

The surgery to take out my tissue expanders and put in my implants will be a day procedure. The surgeon will also do some revisions to make them be the best breasts that they can be! I still have a clump of skin sticking out on my left "boob" at the end of the incision site. The others smoothed out over time, but this one is still poking out. He will be able to fix that to be flat as well. Whew.

It's hard for me to envision what my breasts will look like, but that's what all women say at this stage. These frankenboobs are just so crazy it's hard to image anything else. But I trust my surgeon and I'm hoping for great results. From other blogs I've read of women going through this too, they are happy with the outcome. I know they will never be perfect or look natural. I will just have to learn to love my new body and become confident in it again! My surgeon said something at the appointment that has been a nice constant reminder in my head..."boobs are sisters, not twins" : )

I hope to find out my surgery date soon!! I would have scheduled it Monday, but the secretary was out to lunch. She is suppose to call me to set it up. I can't wait for this surgery. I'm ready for clothes to fit me right again and not look so freakish. I'm ready to have a soft chest again.

I have been writing about the progress in my strength and things I can and can't do. One of the last things I couldn't do was button my jeans. I can now!!! Woo Hoo! hahaha Driving still isn't the greatest, but I don't do it enough to get use to it. My husband loves to drive.

Being in California for a couple of weeks I built up a lot of strength. We were very active there. It was so much fun!! We hiked Sandstone Peak. It is the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. What a challenge that was! But it felt great and it was so beautiful! We also hiked up to the Griffith Observatory. That day the sky was clear and we could see the entire city. It was awesome! When we got to the Observatory there was an infrared camera and you could see yourself on the screen. Well it was warm that day and the hike is uphill pretty much the entire way. I was hot and sweaty. When I walked by the infrared camera I saw my "boobs" were all light colored like my face. I walked away for a minute feeling a little silly and kind of embarrassed...but I was totally laughing at myself  : ) I wanted to watch another woman walk by to see if her boobs did this hahaha I grabbed my friend that was with me and her boobs were not lighting up like mine! I went to get my husband and I stood back in front of the camera for a little while longer while we laughed and took photos. It was hilarious! People walking around were probably wondering why the heck my boobs were showing such a hot temperature haha The expanders retain heat and cold pretty well. When I get out of the hot shower they stay warm for a long time...same thing happens when I'm cold. Here's some photos of my trip...

Such a clear, beautiful day! We could see so far with all the smog lifted
Sameer and I about to finish the hike up to the Griffith Observatory
My infrared boobs haha
Sandstone Peak Hike! Audrina hiked the entire way up and down. She's a tough little dog!
Made it to the top!
Not as clear this day, but still so beautiful! This is our happy family sitting at the top of the peak
The scenery was much needed for the soul : )
About to catch our flight back home to Texas!
I have added a "Contact Me" button to my blog. You can find it on the right-hand side of the page next to "About Me" Several of you have left so many great comments over the past several months. It's been very encouraging. Blogger doesn't really make it easy to write anyone back other than leaving another comment after you. So I decided to add a "Contact Me" option for those that want to share or ask anything that they don't want to post on the public view of the blog comments.

I also added another helpful site. It's called Happy Cow. I love this site!! It's great if you're ever traveling and need to find some healthy food. I use it all the time!

Off to bed now. Good night!  : )

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