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, May 17, 2011

1 Week Post-Op

I can't believe it's already been a week since my exchange surgery! A lot of my swelling has started to go down the past few days. I have had the most pain yesterday and today because of that. It's still way less pain than the first surgery and dealing with tissue expanders. The pain is mainly on the sides of my foobs, armpits and arms. I have bright yellow bruising on my foobs. I also have one dark ugly bruise on my left upper thigh from the heparin shot.

I have the steri-strips over the incisions like I had after the mastectomy and placement of tissue expanders. They will stay on until they fall off on their own. Also, I forgot to mention that the surgeon went through my scar from the last surgery!! I'm so happy about that because now I won't have more scars on my chest. He actually cut the old scar off and closed me back up, so it should just be a thin line. My scar got stretched last time because of the expansions. I'm glad I will now have a thinner scar.

I slept propped up for a while because that was most comfortable for me. The past few nights I started sleeping normal again and even a little on my side. I sleep pretty good, but my right shoulder and armpit hurt a lot so I've kind of been waking up from time to time from that.

My husband and I got out of the house yesterday. We did some grocery shopping and tried to get a bra. I actually went home with one, but I'm going back Thursday to return it and try out another one. For now I'm just wearing my sports and cami bras. Hopefully I'll find a great fitting underwire bra on Thursday! Today I was a bit lazy : ) Being out all day yesterday made me so tired today. I'm going to start a movie and head to bed soon. I will post some pictures soon.

Good night!


Anonymous said...

Healing much faster than the last procedure too, that's great. You feel back to normal very soon.


Anonymous said...

I am anxiously awaiting your next post and photos. I have my exchange surgery June 10th after my PBM on March 14th. Thank you for your blog and courage. Keep writing :D ! You are helping women all over the country!
-Andrea in Tennessee

Plumbing & Handyman said...

i just had mine done as well on 5/6 and i'm only having 2 expansions which i already completed on 5/24. can't wait to have the exchange surgery and heal so that i can sleep straight and as i wish instead of sitting and sleeping. April, Thank you for creating this blog .. i have been on your page every time i panic about something .. i come to see if it's normal.. Thank you.

Carly said...

Thank you so much for posting all of these photos and sharing your journey. I am 23 and I will be having my PBM later this spring and it was so helpful to see someone young and with my body type and their results! You look great!