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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Exchange Surgery

I am two weeks out from removing my tissue expanders and getting my implants. May 10th is sneaking up on me fast! I have to admit I'm getting pretty nervous about it all. The thought of getting another IV, going under, nausea, pain, tightness all over again. But I know it won't be as bad as the first's still scary though!

I feel like I have so many more questions for my surgeon now. At my last appointment to sign paperwork I felt good about it all. Now I'm just freaking out wanting to talk through things again and confirm everything. I don't know...then I just think...silly me, get over it and everything will be okay! haha

I'm definitely at a entire new place emotionally with it all. The look of these tissue expanders is really starting to wear on me. I know the implants will be way better, but it's hard to image at this point. And I'm really sad about creating more scars with this next surgery. I wish he could go through the same ones. But I want to do what the surgeon thinks is best for me. It's funny because I never thought I would go through all of these feelings that other women and websites talk about...but here I am, like clockwork, feeling exactly like others said you do through this whole thing. At least that lets me know I'm normal and that it will only get better : )

For those of you that are about to go through a mastectomy and reconstruction, I found a great website that has a section called "Preparing for Surgery". There is tons of info on the web, but this really broke it down to a simple and direct point about getting ready for the surgery. Here is the link:


Jenn said...

Hi April!
Thank you for posting that link. I'm still about a month away from my PBM (June 6th) and I'm so glad that you keep updating.

Anonymous said...

I wish you all the best on your surgery tomorrow. My exchange surgery is set for May 27th, so excited to get these expanders out.

Thank you for sharing your journey.


Hollie said...


I TOTALLY get what you mean when you say that the look of the expanders is wearing on you. Six weeks post mastectomy and I'm starting to feel the exact same way!

And having them feel hard as a rock-at least on top-gets to be a little unnerving, too.

Anyway, you're close. In fact, you've already had it done by the time I'm posting this. So...... congratulations on being one of the all-time toughest people!

Happy healing to you!


Anonymous said...

Had my exchange surgery three days ago after seven months with expanders...a relief. Surgeon went through previous insicions so no new scars.good luck to you all.