Saturday, May 29, 2010


This week I decided to take advantage of an amazing tool for those of us with questions about genetic mutations and more specifically the BRCA mutations. I have mentioned before the website FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, is an information filled website with amazing message boards. You can at any time ask questions of your own, read posts of others, or reply to posts. This week I decided to ask a question.

When to have an oophorectomy, or have my ovaries removed. Most of the recommendations for women with BRCA mutations is to remove the ovaries, but when exactly. There seems to be a wide variation of answers given to this question. The sooner the better is usually always implied. Is there a too soon though? After posting my question I received several replies from women who are looking at the same information I am. They are asking their doctors the same questions, and in most cases getting similar answers. What is important to understand is that prevention of breast and ovarian cancer is a fairly new thought process. Studies are being done, but the information from those studies is far from compiled and ready to be released. So, doctors, patients and researchers are all in the same boat. We just don't know everything there is to know about how early prevention can and will affect us 10, 15, 20 or more years down the road.

I am proud to be a part of this prevention mindset, and I know that the women who participate on the FORCE website are as well. We are the daughters, grand-daughters, nieces, and sisters of a generation who did not have the options we do now. I hope that 10, 15, 20 and more years from now the developments that can and will be made will give my little Taylor options that I do not have now.

Back to FORCE, these women are asking questions and making the best decisions they can with the information that is available today. I started my research on prevention in January, many of these women have been at it much longer than me. In my mind I would be a fool not to utilize their minds. Even more than that, everyone needs someone else to re-affirm life changing decisions. Many of the people in our day to day lives are still in shock by what we are going through. Instead of bombarding those who are overwhelmed with us right now, we have another support group at our fingertips.

I am so pumped about trying to make a difference through this whole experience. At times I get frustrated because I do not feel like I am reaching all that many people. This last week with the newspaper article and opening up through FORCE, I have a renewed vigor to stand fast in my determination. I have got to be patient, but I know that God is using me. Knowing that is enough in my mind.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wednesday, May 26th!!

We have a date! Looks like the article will be printed in Section A of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal tomorrow. I will post a link in the morning!

God Bless and have a great day!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Article in the Works!

Today Katie and I met with a journalist from the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. You have no idea how excited I am about this!!! Just the thought that our families story could have an impact on other women is amazing to me.

I hope that we are able to inform, encourage, and give hope to those out there who are not sure what steps to take!! It was great to get to sit with Katie and tell our stories. She had alot to say that was very encouraging to me. My big sister is an inspiration and a true warrior in her fight against cancer. Even more importantly though she is an awesome Mom for her kids. If you don't know Katie you are missing out.

In addition to talking with Katie and I, they also spoke with several of our doctors. The article should be running in the next week or so. I will difenetly post a link to the article for everyone here.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Surgery is scheduled...

Well, it has been a little while. I almost feel as though I have been neglecting my blog, but I can honestly say we have been busy little bees and I have not had a topic worthy of sitting right down and pounding out a post. It is 9:30pm Monday the kids are in bed, and we have a topic to discuss!

Last Thursday was my weekly trip to Lubbock, but this trip was not for a fill. I met with my plastic surgeon and we discussed if it was time to schedule my next surgery. After my fill on May 3rd, Cody and I both felt we had reached a size we were happy with for my new breasts. My expander's could still hold an additional 100cc each of saline, but I believed we were big enough. The next step was to schedule an appointment with my plastic surgeon and see if she felt the same way. At my appointment we were all in agreement that things looked good. I did have some questions though.

My first question was quickly answered. How did they determine what size implant to take to the operating room? While I was in the room, my doctor started rattling off a list of items to be taken to my surgery. The first of these was a saline sizer. After my expander's are removed and my tissue is shaped and stretched a little more to form an ideal pocket, a sizer is placed inside the pocket. Saline is added until a desired shape and contour is reached. My doctor will determine during surgery what she feels will be the best look for me. Next on her list was a plethora of memory gel implants of differing volumes. Implants starting at 350 cc all the way to 450cc will be taken into the OR. What is even more amazing is that they will be hauling 3 of each of these with them. That adds up to a total of 3 sizers, and 18 memory gel implants. That's alot of materials for two breast.

After scouring the web and countless websites I figured out that I won't necessarily be receiving the same size implant on both sides. It is not uncommon for women to have greatly differing volumes from one breast to the other. Why? Well, our bodies differ in outward appearance as well as inward appearance. There are a great many factors on the inside that can affect the projection and shape of our implants. To achieve symmetry between both breasts different sized implants can be used.

Question number two was more tuned to my specific situation. When my mastectomy was performed my surgeon removed all of my breast tissue and left behind the fat that bordered it. In my specific case I have a protruding pouch of fat by the crease of my left underarm. If you just looked at me wearing a tank top or bathing suite you probably would not notice it. When I raise my arm up to reach an item up high though, it looks like I have a knot in that tissue. My doctor said that could easily be remedied with a little liposuction. I know that this is more aesthetic than absolute necessity, but at the end of this process everyones goal is for me to be as satisfied and happy with my body as possible. If this little thing bothers me now, I know it will probably continue to bother me in the future. So, I don't feel like I am being unreasonable.

My visit with my doctor was over, and the next step was to set a date for surgery. A minimum of 6 weeks is recommended between the last saline injection and the exchange of expander's for implants. This is to allow time for the expander's to settle in my tissue. If this time is not allowed, after the implants are placed settling may occur and additional surgery may be required to correct the problem. Adequate time is being allowed, and I will be going in for surgery #2 on June 18th. This will be an outpatient procedure, and recovery time is typically between 2 and 3 weeks.

Wish me luck, and I have a few new topics that we will be discussing over the next month!

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