Breast Cancer Awareness Month: My Story

Breast Cancer Awareness Month My Story by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Ever since I started blogging, I have gone back and forth about how much of my personal story to share. I’ve dabbled in the details and even recently updated my “Meet the Girl” page, but let me warn you, my friends… we are about to get REAL today. If you’re not into personal posts, you may want to skip this one; I’ll be back on Friday with more crafty goodness! But if you don’t mind the word “breast” being thrown around over and over, read on… 😉

Breast cancer has been talked about in my family for as long as I can remember. My mother’s mother died of the disease when my mom was only in kindergarten, and I always loved hearing stories about and seeing pictures of the grandmother I had never met. She was beautiful, and you could tell even from old black and white photographs that she was vibrant and full of life. She was always a cherished member of our family, even though I never had the chance to get to know her.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month My Story by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Breast cancer was always a distant thing, though, until my sophomore year of college when my mom was diagnosed at the young age of 43. Of course I was terrified. Cancer is scary when it happens to anyone, but your own mama? It doesn’t get much scarier than that. Despite the alarming diagnosis, however, her prognosis was good and my mom was the absolute picture of strength throughout her treatments. She was the one encouraging the rest of the family, and she had a peace about her that only could have come from the Lord. And I’ve never seen anyone look so beautiful with a bald head. 🙂

Breast Cancer Awareness Month My Story by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Mother’s Day 2007- No more cancer!

Because of the history of breast cancer in our family, the doctors recommended that my mom be tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations. If she had them, it would mean that the risk of recurring cancer would be extremely high and they would want to take more aggressive surgical measures to try to prevent any future cancer of her breasts or ovaries. As it turns out, she was a carrier of the BRCA1 mutation, and soon after we found out, my younger sister Brittany and I {who were 17 and 20 at the time} were tested for the gene as well.

I will never forget the day we went in to find out the results. It was Donnie’s {then my boyfriend} 21st birthday. Britty and I went in hoping, of course, that neither of us would have the gene. We each had a 50-50 shot– if we got that particular gene from our mom, we would be carriers; if it was from our dad, we would not. Our second choice, though, if we both couldn’t avoid the gene, was that we would both have it so that we could go through whatever resulted together, and that is what happened.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month My Story by Just a Girl and Her Blog

So at the age of 20, I found out that I would start getting mammograms and breast MRIs in the near future. The doctors said that I should have my children early if possible so that when I was finished having kids, I could get a preventative mastectomy and eventually a hysterectomy to minimize my chances of breast and ovarian cancer. But at 20, that all seemed so far away. I wasn’t married, I wasn’t even close to thinking about having kids, and I still even had a few years until they would really start testing for things.

Today, as I look toward my 30th birthday next June, it doesn’t seem so far away anymore. I’m happily married, I’m done having kids, and I’ve had more tests and appointments than I can count. I recently began meeting with breast surgeons and plastic surgeons and am planning on having a double mastectomy and reconstruction next summer. Then in five more years I’ll most likely have a hysterectomy and begin hormone replacement therapy to compensate for the loss of my ovaries.

Is it kind of scary to think about? Yes. Do I ever wish I was just “normal” and didn’t have this genetic thing? Sometimes. But I also know this: I serve a great God who doesn’t make mistakes. This gene may be a mutation, but it’s not there by accident. The God who “created my inmost being” and “knit me together in my mother’s womb” knit me together with this specific genetic makeup on purpose. {Psalm 139} I don’t know why, but I don’t have to. He knows, and I trust in that.

When we first found out that Britty and I had the gene, my parents gave us pearl necklaces and explained that a pearl is formed when a foreign substance gets into an oyster’s shell and irritates it. It irritates it and irritates it until the oyster creates a protective shell, which eventually becomes a beautiful pearl. Our gene is like that. Many hard things in life are like that. They may be irritating and difficult and inconvenient, but in the hands of an almighty God, they can be turned into something beautiful.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month My Story by Just a Girl and Her Blog

This next year will not be a cakewalk– who enjoys having surgery? But I know that God will grow me through this experience, and if He wants to use this to change me and get me closer to the woman that He desires me to be, bring it on. Maybe your tough thing isn’t a genetic mutation. Maybe it has to do with a relationship or finances or a difficult loss. There are many things in life that are really, really hard, and I don’t always know why they happen. But I know that my God is good. I know that He loves me and wants the very best for me, and even in the midst of the tough stuff, I know He is creating a beautiful pearl.

Update– You can read more about my BRCA journey in these posts:

Final Thoughts Before My Surgery

I’m Baaaaaccckkk! {Surgery and Recovery Recap}

Delightful Sign Off

190 Comments

  1. Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings says:

    Abby, thank you for sharing your brave fight. Your honesty will help others!! ♥

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Amy! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Doc @ the Saga of Glitter McNabb says:

    Hello, my fellow Pearl!

    Want to thank you so much for posting this! It’s actually the first post I’ve read in years where someone shared something that didn’t particularly go the way they wanted–and they didn’t have a hissy fit and blame God, but instead expressed acceptance and even gratefulness for God’s sovereignty in any and every circumstance.

    It fills my heart with gladness to see such a sentiment–especially in someone under 50, and especially since God sent this post to me at the moment I most needed to read it. (It was kinda like God said “Yo, Doc… see? I *was* listening to you just now!” hehe. 🙂

    See, I was just doing some serious praying about a semi-big decision that most normal adults in the US or UK could or would make in about five minutes, but that I’ve struggled with for months, due to some pretty heavy spiritual war-fare surrounding the situation itself.
    Which I can’t talk to anyone about (except Jesus, coz He rocks! Yay for JC! :):):) because I don’t know any true followers of Jesus (who aren’t in my immediate family) who understand what spiritual warfare is, and who don’t find it acceptable to get “mad at God.” (The churches around here are all “the Bible is a guideline, not a rule!” and think that church is the next Melrose Place or something ridiculous like that. Argh, anyway.)

    Sorry for going on, and I sincerely hope you either delete or edit this comment to include just the first and last sentences… 🙂

    Anyway, hope the rest of your appointments go well (when I say well, I mean “aren’t annoying” more than “get this particular result back,” for as you so eloquently said, He might cause or allow a mutation, but He never makes mistakes! 🙂

    Want to wish you and your lovely family (all three generations) the best; may God always protect your faith, and shine through you (as He surely did in this great post 🙂

    Love in Him,
    Doc
    🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Doc! I hope that you are able to make the best decision in your situation! Spiritual warfare is scary stuff. Praying for you, friend!

      ~Abby =)

    2. Just found your post on your mother’s breaststroke cancer and your challenge not to get it. I , too, have breast cancer, since 1991, had a L mastectomy at that time. Wish I would had done a double, now. Was clear from cancer until 1998, then it went to my bones in my back, since 2013 it has gone to my liver. It’s been over 20 year’s andstill hanging in there. I am real pleased to hear how they have given a better chance to prevent chnce of gatting beast cancer. Glad to hear you had a plan, Hope you followed and things worked out. As for me, I will be on some kind of chemo rest of my life, wish I would have had opportunity you had. god bless you and take care.

      1. justagirlabby says:

        I’m so sorry to hear that, Bonnie. Cancer is the absolute worst. 🙁 You will be in my prayers!

        ~Abby =)

  3. kelly arent (copper roof interiors) says:

    Hi Abby! I don’t know how I stumbled upon your site this morning but I did….am now a fan! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us….I say…whenever you can share a REAL story…share it! I have to tell you how brave I think you are….you have a fantastic attitude and an awesome God keeping you strong. I am a 44 yr old with no family history and I was diagnoised 1 month ago. It sure was a shocker getting this news. But you know….attitude and faith is everything. I have carried on with my daily activities and have share my faith and story with as many of my friends and family that I can. I have gotten 2 dear friend (46yrs old) that have NEVER gotten a mammo….to get one this month. I head to Mayo clinic next week for surgery so I can get thru this and move on. My attitude is…If God brought me to this…he will bring me thru it!
    Thanks again for sharing. I will say prayers for you and your family!
    xoxo K

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your story with me! Good for you for taking this opportunity to share your faith and encourage your friends and family! God will certainly bring you through this. Praying for you and sending hugs your way!!!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Thank you for sharing, Abby. And that’s great that you’re so proactive and positive about everything. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 3.5 years ago, at 35 years old. She also took the route of a double mastectomy in order to get rid of any possibility of it spreading. After the doctor performed the surgery, he told her that they had indeed found more cancer in the breast that they thought had none. That gave her peace of mind, knowing that it was no longer in her body. She just recently had the genetic testing done for her children, and we’re awaiting the results. Because of her unfortunate findings, I too have had a mammogram.
    By the way, you look a lot like your grandma! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I never thought I would be so thrilled to be told I look like a grandma, lol! Thank you, Lindsey! And thank you so much for sharing your sister’s story. Having to have a mastectomy is scary, but what a blessing that choosing to have that surgery probably saved her from a lot of things down the road! Praying for her and her kids! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  5. What a great story, Abby. The women in your family are clearly very strong and your bond will help you overcome anything you’re faced with. Keep your head high and lean on your family for support. They will carry you through anything.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Renee! I could not have asked for a more supportive family, that’s for sure! They are awesome! Have a great week, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Emily @ My Love for Words says:

    Thank you for being so brave in sharing something this personal. I’m so sorry you and your family have to deal with this, but I’m sure you will pull through with all the grace and happiness you express in your posts. *hugs*

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! You are such an encouragement to me! Hugs back! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Jessi Fearon (@TheBudgetMama) says:

    Such a beautiful story Abby!!! I’m so happy that your mama is ok now! And I’ll keep you in my prayers and I’m sure that surgery will go well. You are super brave!! You’re right, God brings us through storms no matter how challenging! 🙂 I hope you’re having a fantastic week!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, friend! It really means so much! Hope you’re having a fantastic week as well!

      ~Abby =)

  8. My young friend, I am so impressed with your attitude. Your mom and dad did an awesome job raising you and Brit. I am also so proud that you do not back away from your love of our God. Whenever I need a pick me up I’m coming to you.
    It has been my joy to watch you both grow to become Women of God. I am truly amazed by you.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Michele! You are such an encouragement! Hugs to you and your family! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Mandy Hank says:

    God is awesome Abby. He has a reason for everything. It’s it amazing these days they can use medical technology to test for that early. I will be praying for you and your family during during your journey! Big Hugs to you today!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! Yes– it is truly amazing what technology can do! They have come so far even in the 10 years since my mom had her surgeries, so I am very hopeful for the future. Thank you for your encouragement; it really means a lot!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Abby- the both of you are beautiful! And you and Brit will only grow more beautiful through all of this. Thank you for sharing some of the deeper stuff- it reminds us all that we are human, and real, and connected by more than crafts and recipes! If you don’t already follow Lisa Jo Baker you should- she’s amazing at getting REAL.

    Prayers and blessings to you and your sis, and your boys and husband, as you all embark on the upcoming year!

    ~Misti

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your prayers and encouraging words! I have not come across Lisa Jo Baker yet– looking her up now! Thanks for the recommendation! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, my friend!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule says:

    Oh Abby, I love the pearl story…what a wonderful way to look at this.

    I’ve been thinking about you lately and wondering where you were at in the process.
    I am actually in the middle of writing my story for my blog to post this month….I went back and forth as to whether or not I would. It’s a tough post to write but it is an important thing to me to let others know of certain risks, as you know, so decided I would share my story with my readers. I am so glad you shared yours too!
    Hugs to you friend!
    xoxo
    Nancy

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I was wondering if you’d share yours too! I can’t wait to read it! I went back and forth about if/what I should share, but I figured there aren’t very many people like me out there (with BRCA), so I should put it out there in case there is anyone who needs someone to identify with or talk to. I’m looking forward to your post!!! Hugs, friend!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for reading, Olga! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Kylie Helm says:

    Thank you for sharing, Abby. My family too has the gene (I don’t praise God). However, my grandmother (survivor of Ovarian & Breast) and my mother as well as 3 aunts cary the gene and have had to have the entire procedure. It certainly isn’t a cakewalk, but the truth is that God made you perfect and you come from one strong mama who will help you get through anything. Keep us updated…I will be praying for you!

    xo Kylie

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement and prayers, Kylie! Sounds like your family has quite a history, too. I’m so glad that you are not a carrier! I so appreciate your sweet words. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Suzanne J Dean says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Abby and I loved the idea behind the pearl necklace..what awesome parents you have. And you look a lot like that grandmother you never knew too. I had breast cancer over 6 years ago, I don’t have the gene nor does it run in my family…but at the lovely age of 33 I found a lump, then infection and had surgery 3 days later while waiting for biopsy results. I was a lucky one, surgery was all I needed but like you must be checked often. Its scary and stressful, but by sharing your story with others you help ease the scary parts away a bit…we walk down the path together and survive together. So I wish you well in your journey and you have a loving family standing behind you ready to hold you up when needed.
    hugz,
    Suzanne

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Suzanne! I love what you said, “we walk down the path together and survive together” — so beautiful and true! I’m so thankful that surgery was all you needed and that you are doing so well now! Thanks so much for sharing your story with me!

      ~Abby =)

  14. This is a beautiful story, Abby. Thank you for sharing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Paige! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Laura@JourneyChic says:

    Abby, it’s so brave of you to share your story. I’d never heard of that gene and the testing that can be done until Angelina Jolie’s story came out. As hard as the surgery and recovery will be, at least you are giving your family the important chance of having you in their lives for a LONG time.

    And your new photo is gorgeous! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, my friend! You’re right– BRCA has gotten a lot more attention since Angelina’s editorial. The day it came out one of my friends texted me that Angie and I were in the same “club.” I said, “Yeah, bad genes and big lips!” Lol. Thanks so much for your encouraging words– they really mean a lot!

      ~Abby =)

  16. Abs,
    You really have a knack for making me tear up! I remember when you all found out, and I remember thinking that your mom handled the whole situation with such grace. You all did. God will be YOUR strength through this, and you have such a wonderful network of support around you. Thank you for writing this post, and please know that (as always), you & your family are always in my prayers. Miss you & love you. PS – You keep getting prettier ALL THE TIME. Your new pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful – inside & out! <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I heart you, JenSue! I am so appreciative of the support all of you guys gave me during that time– it truly was invaluable! You are an amazing friend. Thank you so much for your sweet words and encouragement! Miss you, friend!!

      ~Abby =)

  17. Abby, thanks for sharing your story! It sounds like you have unbelievable support and are handling this (difficult) process beautifully. I’m a genetic counselor by day and talk to people about things like BRCA testing all the time! We need more people to be aware of it and other genes that can cause cancer in families – so thank you!! Your story will certainly be helpful to many others in the future!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Chaney! I had no idea you were a genetic counselor! That is awesome. I am so thankful for people in your field and that we are able to know all that we know about genetics so we can take preventative measures. Thank you for your work and all you do to help other people in the same boat as me! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Olivia @ Snyders Tell All says:

    Your strength and outlook is amazing! You are spot on in everything you said! God does not make mistakes and will take care of you through all of it! Thank you for your story! I love the pearl analogy…awesome and what a great reminder!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Olivia! You are so right– none of it is a mistake! Thanks so much for your support and encouragement!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Thank you for sharing your story with us Abby. I am a true believer in everything happens for a reason and God is the only one who knows why. He has led you to it and he will lead you through it. You are in good hands. Modern medicine amazing me and how thankful we should be that the tests you have taken can tell you what you need to do and that you are willing to do this for your family. I am sure everything is going to be great and thanks again for sharing….

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I agree! I am so thankful for the strides they have made even in the past 10 years since I started learning about all of this stuff. It truly is amazing. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support, Karie!

      ~Abby =)

  20. Abby, thank you for sharing your story. The grace with which you face your troubles is truly inspirational! I wish you all the best for your upcoming operation. Love and hugs,
    Emma x

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Emma! You are so incredibly sweet! Your encouragement really means a lot! Hope you are having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  21. My Goodness Abby you are such a brave and inspiring woman!. I can’t even imagine having to go through that path and yet you are so optimistic and firm in yours. It’s really inspiring Abby, it really is. I can only thank you because you remind us that we will always have tough situations but we can always see it the best way and trust in our God. Thanks you!! I wish you all the luck. I know everything is going to be ok and I’m sure we ALL are going to be here giving you our hearted support

    XOXO
    Cami

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Camila! It really means so much! Knowing that someone much wiser than me is in control is a tremendous weight lifted off of my shoulders, for sure! Thank you again for your support!

      ~Abby =)

  22. Such a touching story, Abby. I love the pearl analogy. With a strong faith and a supportive and loving family, you are going to thrive. I just know it. I am so grateful for technology and the ability to be genetically tested now. It’s going to save so many lives. Hugs!!! <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Chelsea! I agree– yay for technology! I am so thankful that we are able to know and take preventative measures rather than having to deal with cancer later. Thanks so much for your encouraging words!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hugs to you, friend! Miss you!

      ~Abby =)

  23. Denise@BeBetsy says:

    Abby, thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing and smart to be proactive. We don’t know anyone who has not been touched by cancer, especially breast cancer. Speaking for all of us at BeBetsy – we wish all the best in the coming months. Chances are good that you will have a long and wonderful life. You certainly deserve it.

    With warmest thoughts ~ Sharon and Denise @BeBetsy.com

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, ladies! I agree– it does seem like everyone has been affected by cancer in some way. I am so thankful that technology keeps getting better and better and allows us to put preventative measures in place! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      ~Abby =)

  24. Samantha @ Five Heart Home says:

    What a beautiful outlook you have on a set of difficult circumstances, Abby…you are truly amazing! It’s clear that you find your strength in God, and it’s very inspiring to see your complete trust in and acceptance of His plan. I’ll be thinking of you in the months ahead and keeping you and your family in my prayers that everything goes smoothly.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Samantha! You are so sweet. I so appreciate your prayers and encouragement!

      ~Abby =)

  25. Kelly @ View Along the Way says:

    I don’t even know what to say. I’ll just tell you this: you always inspire me. I love that you’re using your blog and your space and your story to point people to Jesus. I’ll be praying for you as you go through your surgeries! I wish you lived locally and we could meet for coffee! I’m so thankful to “know” you! <3 <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I would so love to meet for coffee sometime! Maybe someday! Thank you so very much for your sweet encouraging words, Kelly! They really mean so much. I am so thankful to “know” you too!!

      ~Abby =)

  26. April Hoff says:

    Such an inspiring message of hope! Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, friend! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  27. Christy@Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer says:

    There are so many people out there that will be encouraged by your strength. As a registered nurse on a surgical floor, I have had so many brave women in my care. We can’t stress enough the power of preventative care!! Thanks for sharing your story. The last two years my mom and I have scheduled our mammogram appointments back to back, mostly so she would keep her appointment! We laugh and joke how we never envisioned having a day out like that! You are young and strong and He will always lead you in the right direction!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Good for you for keeping your mom accountable! 🙂 Mammograms may not be the most fun thing ever, but they certainly are so important! And how did I not know that you worked as an RN too!? You truly are a woman of many talents! Thank you so much for your encouragement, my friend!

      ~Abby =)

  28. Tiffany {A Touch of Grace} says:

    Abby thank you so much for sharing your story! What unbelievable courage you have to face something that would cripple so many people, and at such a young age. Your positive outlook is inspirational and I pray you continue to keep that beautiful light you have. It sounds like you have a wonderful support system around you. I’m just in awe of you and your strength right now.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Tiffany! I have just been totally overwhelmed by everyone’s support, and I so appreciate it! Hope you are having a wonderful week, girl!

      ~Abby =)

  29. JaneEllen says:

    Wow you have really knocked me on my keester Abby. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so glad you feel the trust in God to get you thru. They say a positive attitude is the best when going thru surgeries as you will.
    I thought none of our immediate family had had cancer til I found out my brother had prostate cancer, came thru it ok. His daughter, my favorite niece had ovarian cancer but they got it too late, she battled it for 1 1/2 yrs before she died. They found it when she had a hysterectomy at about 48. My youngest son’s son had stage 4 cancer all thru his body when they found it just a few days before he turned 14. He had testicular cancer, a tumor in his neck twice that was cancerous, he had 5 lbs. of tumors in his abdominal area with one cancerous tumor hiding behind another organ which the surgeon found just before closing him up after a 12 hour surgery. He will be 20 soon, played high school football during his jr. and sr. years in high school. He’s a sophomore in college now and works. We are so grateful he is cancer free now. He’s an incredible young man and Thank God he was spared. He spent his 14th. -thru 16th. years battling cancer but made it. Thank you God so much for sparing our wonderful grandson. I found out he was cancer free on Facebook after new years. Wow what a wonderful thing to find out about. His Mother doesn’t like us so we weren’t part of his life during this hard time for him.
    I will be praying for you, think God still hears me. You have so much to live for, those adorable boys, your husband and family. I’m so grateful there are those tests to save people and enable them to take the steps they need to survive.
    Altho we don’t really know each other you are very dear to me for being the wonderful young woman you are. God bless you Abby. Happy days ahead.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you for your sweet words, Jane Ellen! What an amazing story about your grandson– I love hearing happy endings like that! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, my friend!

      ~Abby =)

  30. Abby, you inspire me. My mother died from breast cancer, and bth her sisters have lumps removed throughout the years. My dads mother died from cancer too, not sure of type. I have biannually breast ultrasounds, with extra ultrasounds if I feel any lumps. I had breast checks with my doctor every six months. I have thought about having te gene test on and off but will chat with my doctor about it next check. Tanks for keeping it real to, I really enjoy reading your blog. I’ll keep you in my prayers, tat God will keep you close to Him while you go through this challenge. Love and hugs xxx

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Denise, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. That is so, so tough. Good for you for staying on top of your health and getting all of your checks. Prevention is definitely so huge! Praying for you too, and that you’re able to stay healthy! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  31. Abby, you are so brave for sharing this and having such a positive attitude through ll you have been through. I read this through tears last night and although I really don;t have that much to say because I can’t imagine what you have been through, I just wanted to say that if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here, and I am praying for you. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful supportive family. You are loved! xoxo

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Allyson! I am so glad to have “met” you through blogging– your encouragement and support really means a lot! Thanks for your sweet words, friend! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  32. thank God that we have the technology today to do such great things. May you continue to find such strength throughout your journey. I’ll continue to pray for you and your family along the way. XOXO
    Lauren

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I agree! I am so thankful that we know and take preventative measures, for sure. Thank you so much for your prayers, Lauren! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  33. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your faith. God will see you through this!! I’ll be praying for you and your sister. Big hugs are coming your way from me 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Crystal! That really means so much! <3 Hope you're having a wonderful week, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  34. Tonya @ Love of Family & Home says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story Abby! I just hopped on over to your blog from our linky party expecting to see your post, but I saw this post first & it sparked my interest, so I clicked through.

    My mom was also diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age, 45. When she had her surgery, the doctor said that she had had the disease for 1-1.5 years. She had 12 lymph nodes positive for metastasis, but the disease hadn’t spread to any of her other organs. Thank GOD!

    She went through 12 weeks of chemotherapy & 30 radiation treatments. She amazed me with her strength throughout the whole process! I was in the middle of planning my wedding when she was diagnosed & she did SO MUCH in preparation for the wedding.

    I too have had several mammograms and breast ultrasounds. Her case was the first case of breast cancer in our family, but I have wondered about genetic testing. It’s such a scary thing, but also can be so empowering just knowing that you have control of the situation!

    I commend you for your bravery & will be praying that your surgeries go well! Keep us posted on your recovery! Again, thank you for sharing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Moms are amazing, aren’t they? Such unbelievable strength! I love stories like your mom’s that have such happy endings. Thank you so much for sharing her story and yours with me. It is so encouraging to hear how others have come through it and are taking steps to prevent cancer in the future! Thanks again for hosting such a great party, Tonya! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

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  36. Beautifully written. My best friend just tested for the gene this summer. She will begin these hard surgeries this coming year also. I will remember to keep you in my prayers every time I pray for her!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Heidi! I will be praying for your best friend as well! Thank you for supporting both of us! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  37. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet says:

    Wow, Abby. Just…wow. Thank you for sharing your story. From this long thread of comments, it’s clear that it was an inspiration to more people than just me. It seems that nearly everyone these days has been affected by breast cancer somehow.

    For me, my MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2009, when Mark and I were engaged. The crazy thing is, in many ways the breast cancer saved her life…because finding that lump led the doctors to do testing that allowed them to find a completely separate and unrelated cancer in her lungs…and that would have more likely been a silent killer. So, after going through chemotherapy and radiation, a double mastectomy and reconstruction, she is now cancer free, thank the Lord. For a while there it was dire straights; we wondered if she would be around for our kids someday. And while we haven’t popped out any babies yet, she is healthy as a horse, and I have a feeling our future kids will get to know their Mimi quite well.

    Sometimes, it just takes one person opening up to share their story to trigger others to spill theirs…it’s the power of vulnerability.

    Also this line really spoke to me: “But I also know this: I serve a great God who doesn’t make mistakes.” Amen to that, sister! I know that there will be hurdles ahead, but you have nothing to fear in God! Plus, it sounds like you have a great support network of family who will be praying…plus, you’ve now got a slew of blogger buddies who will gladly intercede on your behalf, too.

    Sending you a big hug and a thanks for sharing of your heart! -Lauren

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, my friend! I think we would be absolutely shocked if we knew how many times we experienced “bad” things in order for God to work something good in our lives. I love how that is so clear in your MIL’s story. God really can see the “big picture” and it is so cool when he gives us a sneak peek like that. I am so thankful that your MIL is healthy and doing well these days! And I bet she’s excited to be Mimi to your kids someday too, lol. Thank you for your encouraging words– they mean so very much!

      ~Abby =)

  38. Patricia Krank says:

    You are fearfully and wonderfully made Abby, and what a story you have to share to bring hope and encouragement to others. Thank you for sharing your faith in the One who gives you strength!
    Much love to you in Christ,
    Patti

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Patti! That really means a lot! God is so good. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  39. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    Wow Abby – what a story you have. My MIL and two sister-in-laws have a similar genetic connection and two of three have battled ovarian cancer already. Such a terrifying thing in your family. I’m so inspired by your strength and beautiful testimony through all this. My prayers will certainly be with you as you go through this next year.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Krista! Sounds like your family have had a bout with it as well. I hope and pray that they are healthy into the future! Thanks for your words of encouragement– it means so much!

      ~Abby =)

  40. My friend had a hysterectomy recently and didn’t want to go on synthetic hormone replacements. She found that the “Balance” essential oil blend by doTERRA works for her and keeps her centered and not hormonally off-balance. I don’t know if you want to go that route, but it is one that recently opened up that not all doctors know about. All the best to you and yours!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Veronica, thank you SO much for sharing this with me! I will definitely look into it! The hormone replacement is the scariest part for me because I’m afraid of how it will affect my mood and personality, not to mention the medical side effects, so it is great to have another option to research. I really appreciate it. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  41. Holly @ Coconutheadsurvivalguide says:

    Abby –

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and scary story. I am a BC survivor and while it happened to me, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have the gene and always wonder. Blessings to you and your family and would love for you to link up your story at my “What’s Scarier – Pinktastic Inspirational Party.”

    https://coconutheadsurvivalguide.com/october-is/october-is-breast-cancer-awareness-month/

    And open offer if you ever want to chat offline please feel free to contact me.

    Big hugs and prayers from your Warrior Sister,
    Holly

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Holly! I am so inspired and encouraged by your story! You have such strength and grace, and I so admire that you use what happened to you to inspire and encourage others! I linked up at your party– thanks for the invite! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  42. Melissa Viscount says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Abby! You are such a strong and beautiful woman just like your mama! I’m a new follower and I’m so glad you found me so I could connect with you here xox

    Melissa

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Melissa! Your words of encouragement really mean a lot! Thank you for popping over to my blog. I look forward to getting to know you and your blog better!

      ~Abby =)

  43. ingrid@now at home mom says:

    Hi Abby, I’m so sorry that you and your family had to go through all this and I find you so courageous to do what you will be doing for you; you are proactive 🙂
    I feel so bad to hear all this, words are not enough, I read your post last week and I’ve been thinking a lot of you! & praying for your mom too!
    take care Abby!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! I really appreciate your encouragement and prayers. They really do mean so much! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  44. Amy @ Homey Oh My! says:

    Abby, you are a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart. Your positive outlook is so uplifting, even with how scary your situation is. I know too well about wishing I was “normal” and it takes strength to share that openly with others, which I admire you for doing.
    Much love and prayers. <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Amy! Your sweet words and encouragement mean the world. Thanks for your prayers! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  45. femmefrugality says:

    Holy moly are the women in your family strong. Thank you for sharing your story…it’s incredibly inspiring. I’m so glad they were able to identify the gene early if it had to be there at all.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! Yes, I’m really thankful that we knew early so we had time to mentally prepare before all of the “big stuff” happens. It would be much harder to find out now and have to have the surgeries right away. Thanks so much for your encouragement! Hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  46. Sharon B. says:

    Wow Abby, I read every word of this and just so humbled and inspired by you! Thank you so much for sharing your ordeal and story and what you are about to embark on. The story behind the pearl necklaces really spoke to me too. Will send good thoughts and prayers your way for your upcoming surgery. Take care.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Sharon! You are so sweet. I really appreciate your kind words and sending of good thoughts! Hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  47. Dear Abby,
    thank you for sharing your story, especially your positive lookout – and as so many before me: the pearl analogy. It is really motivating and uplifting to think of problems and obstacles as a source of something beautiful and positive. That in itself is amazing, but I am sure that this mindset really helps pushing forward towards that goal, not giving up and making it happen.
    (And also, many people view it the other way around: it is the things that are really valuable in our lives that we are willing to put most of our energy and ambition – and plain hard work – into… and take on almost andy hardship. Overcoming cancer sure is one of those “things”.)

    So, thank you again for sharing and spreading your perspective which I am sure took you and your family some growing into.

    Best,
    Marei

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging and uplifting words, Marei! They really mean so much! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  48. Mercy Gallardo says:

    Abby, your a tough and brave woman and am praying you would do good about your future health… Keep it going!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Mercy! I appreciate it! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  49. Phipay | Phipay Takes The Stage says:

    Thank you for being an inspiration, Abby.

    I recently lost my dad because of Lung Cancer and we never knew he had one, until 3 weeks before he died. It was a very painful experience for our family because everything happened so fast. We haven’t even had the chance to say goodbye 🙁 But all I can remember those times was asking the Lord God to give us more time to be with him and I later realized that HE really did give us that time but while we we’re fighting for my dad to live,I realized that deep inside I know my dad is suffering more not just because of the cancer but because he can’t bear the pain seeing us hurting because of him. Then I prayed and told the Lord God that “Thy will be done”.

    We lost him after a few days of staying in the hospital, but I know God has big plans for us and that he no longer want my father to suffer that’s why he called him to go home.

    I know God has big plans for you too and that he will not give you anything that you can’t handle. And it’s great that you are sharing your story and being an inspiration to all of us. You made me smile today and I will always remember your story.

    I will be praying with you that you’ll have a very good health 🙂

    ~ Phipay

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh, Phipay, I am so sorry for your loss! My heart just breaks for your family. What a beautiful outlook you have. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. They really mean so, so much! <3

      ~Abby =)

  50. Catching up on old posts. Love and prayers to you and your family, Abby! You are an encouragement to others.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Marjorie! I appreciate your encouragement and prayers! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  51. Kirsten @ One Tough Mother says:

    Abby, I am moved beyond words at your beauty and strength, and most of all, your unwavering faith to our amazing God. I’ve watched many women in my life fight breast cancer, but I’ve been very blessed that it has not come so close as to touch my mother or myself. It sounds like you have a history of strength and bravery in your family! Prayers going up for you and your sister. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Kirsten! It has been/will be an adventure for sure! I appreciate your prayers and kind words! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  52. Just wanted to know that I think you are incredibly strong. My 2 young daughters lost their father when he was only 29 years old because of a genetic mutation that we were unaware of. My girls are tested annually and they too have this mutation that we’re having to struggle with, but I think it just makes us all a bit stronger when we’re met with such obstacles in life. It’s all about how you handle those obstacles and you are handling yours with such poise and strength. Thank you for sharing. Just found your blog today and I’m loving it!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Julie, I am so sorry for your loss and for the fears you must have with your girls. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for your sweet words. I will be praying for all of you guys. Hugs to you!!

      ~Abby =)

  53. Abby,
    I stumbled on your website tonight, and I do believe it was supposed to happen. When I was 40 years old, I went in for my annual pap smear, and my doctor said, “because you’re 40 now, we should do a baseline mammogram. You have no family history, and no risk factors, but we’ll do one now, then every two years after that.” Well I had my mammogram, and guess what? They found cancer! Because it was in the very early stages, it could not yet be felt. I chose to have a mastectomy, and not just a lumpectomy, because I wanted that cancer out of my body. I felt it was like a loaded gun just pointing at my heart. My kids were young at the time, and I just prayed I would be able to see them grow up. It was a very scary time in my life. My oncologist said if I could go 5 years without a reoccurrence, I would have a good prognosis. Well, with a lot of prayers, sweat, and tears, I made it 5 years!!! In fact, last month (I was diagnosed just before Thanksgiving, and was in the hospital for Thanksgiving!) it was 26 years!! My kids are all grown up, and I have 2 grandchildren, Mikey and Abby! My girls have been getting mammograms since they were 30, and so far both are okay. Thanks so much for sharing your story–I know it will help many people. I will keep you in my prayers…….

    Diane

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, Diane! My mom was actually diagnosed around thanksgiving as well, and we give thanks every year that she is healthy. How wonderful that it has been 26 years for you and that your girls are healthy as well! Such a blessing! I really appreciate your prayers and encouraging words– they mean so, so much!

      ~Abby =)

  54. Tasha @ Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body says:

    Abby, thank you so much for sharing this! I so admire your family for being proactive after your mom’s cancer. And I think your choice to proceed with surgery is brave and admirable! XOXO

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, friend! It has been and will be quite a road, but I’m ready for it! Thanks for your support– it means a lot!

      ~Abby =)

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  56. Jona@BohoWillow says:

    Abby – I’m so sorry that you have to go through all of this, but kudos to you and your family for fighting the good fight! You’re such a beautiful person inside and out! Your courage in sharing your story has clearly affected many, and will continue to flourish, I’m sure. Hugs, girl!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Jona! It will certainly be a crazy year, but I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from the experience. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  57. Thanks for sharing! It’s not always easy to do. I love getting to know the bloggers by reading their about me pages or posts about themselves. And from there I can tell if I will like the blog. And in this case, I know I will love your blog! Happy 2014!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Natasha! You are so sweet! So nice to “meet” you! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  58. Interesting story, thank you for your honesty. Like you, breast cancer has simply always been part of my life. My grandmother passed away before I was born, and my mother was diagnosed when I was in kinder and passed away when I was in 5th grade. There are definitely parts of this which can be scary – being the youngest woman in the waiting room at the breast imaging center, talking to specialists etc. and I am very impressed with how you approached this! The topic of brca testing has come up a lot in my family. As of now, I’ve chosen not to be tested, but I am interested in seeing how the testing has impacted your healthcare decisions.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Girl, I so hear you. I always think people are looking at me funny when I go for all my testing. And when I have appointments with the surgeons I feel like they’re all whispering, “I bet she’s here for a boob job!” {Which is actually partially true, but not for the reasons they think! 😉 } Best wishes with all of your decisions and breast health. As my doctors remind me every time I visit (as I’m sure yours do too!), it is such a personal decision and you have to do what’s best for you! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Hugs!

      ~Abby =)

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  62. Katie @ Addicted 2 DIY says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Abby. I can only imagine how scary it must be to know that you carry that gene mutation. My mom is a breast cancer survivor (she was diagnosed at 44). She had the genetic testing done, and everything came back negative. My doctor last year tried to push my insurance company to cover the $3,000 test, but they said no. I’ve now recently found out that my insurance has started covering it and I’ll be going in this month for my blood test. Cancer is terrifying, but thank God there are ways that we can hopefully try to prevent it. I hope that your mastectomy and reconstructive surgery runs smoothly and thank you for sharing your story.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words and for sharing your/your mom’s story, Katie! I’m not sure if things have changed, but I know when my uncle (my mom’s brother) tested negative for the gene, they didn’t even test his kids because they said it wouldn’t skip a generation like that. So hopefully you’ll be in the clear too! It will be good to have the peace of mind just to know! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, girl!

      ~Abby =)

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  64. Beautiful story about the pearls. I will need to remember that to explain to my daughter as she gets older. She is only 3 right now but because I had Stage 3 Breast Cancer (BRCA Negative) at 33 years old, she will start getting screened as you have at the age of 23. Thank you for sharing your story. As a mother that knows she is passing the gene onto her daughter it makes it a bit easier to see the strength our daughter’s grow to have and you are a perfect example of this.

    I hope 2014 is a great one for you!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Miss Rachael, you are one strong mama! I’m so sorry you have had to go through so much of this at such a young age. Your daughter is so blessed to have such a beautiful example and role model in her life! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I will be keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers! Happy Valentine’s Day– have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

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  66. Donna Sue Shellman says:

    I want to thank you for your post about your journey. You are so brave to share what you and your family are facing. I just wanted to say how much I admire you for your candor and strength. You are an inspiration for all of us, whatever we may face.

    I am sending prayers to you and your entire family as you continue to research and make plans for your own health. Your amazing support system will see you through this. May you find renewed strength with each day. God is with you always!

    I look forward to hearing about your progress and recovery after any procedures. Blessings to you!!! : )

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Donna! Your sweet words are very encouraging and truly mean so much! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  67. I found your blog as I was searching for information on the brca1 gene mutation. I am going in next week to be tested (because of a family history), and I have been so nervous. Your attitude is refreshing and hopeful to me. I am trying to have faith, but I am feeling so much fear right now. I am very interested in following your journey. Thank you for writing about it and for your faith-filled attitude!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Lucy! I know exactly how you feel– I feel like BRCA is one of those things you read about (like when Angelina writes a big editorial about it!) but never think will happen to you. The good news is, though, that with as far as technology has come the fact that we can know about it and take preventative measures is huge! I’ve watched the technology surge by leaps and bounds even since my mom had her surgeries ten years ago. I will be praying for you and your results! Please keep me updated on what you find out! If you ever have questions or just want to talk to someone, feel free to email me at justagirlandherblog {at} gmail {dot} com. Hugs, my friend!!

      ~Abby =)

  68. Beth Anne says:

    Abby,
    I’m just now reading this with tears in my eyes. Even though I “know the story” I’m still amazed at all that your family has been through and the way you each handle it with such strength and faith.
    Your viewpoint on the way God made you and the way He can use this is exactly how I feel about the way He made Holden. He knows what He’s doing and will care for us through everything!
    We’ll be praying for you and supporting you through all of this. You have a beautiful story and message to share.
    Love,
    Beth Anne

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So true– Holden is such a special guy and he is exactly the way God created him to be, which is perfect! We are so blessed to have him (and his wonderful parents, of course!) as part of our family! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

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  70. I just came upon your blog and now your personal story. I lost my grandmother to breast cancer. My mom has had tumors removed from her breasts, all benign. But she had the test done to see if she had the gene and she didn’t. Of course, that doesn’t knock me out of the running, I know. Last year I had a scare and got a mammogram at 34. It was thankfully clear. But it was recommended I have them more often due to dense breast tissue making it more difficult to see things. I have three sisters and they have all had mammograms as well. It is really really scary to think about something happening to me or my sisters. But I guess that’s why I’m glad we’re proactive!

    I recently took a job at Susan G. Komen foundation and I’m loving how passionate I feel about the cause. I am able to see and hear all of the good things this foundation is doing to end breast cancer for good. I hope we see that come to light in our lifetime.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Molly! Darn that dense tissue– it makes things so difficult, lol! Glad to hear your scans were all clear. What a relief! I’m not sure if things have changed with this in the past ten years, but I know when we were doing our genetic testing, my mom’s brother was tested for the gene as well, and he did not have it. Because he wasn’t a carrier, we were told that his children didn’t have to be tested because they would then have the same chance as any normal person of having the gene. Now of course anyone could have it, but the fact that your mom isn’t a carrier is really good news! Congrats on your job at Komen– what a wonderful way to be involved in the fight to end breast cancer on a daily basis! Thanks again for stopping by my blog! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  71. Mindie Hilton says:

    Your post is beautifully written. My appointment yesterday went differently then I had planned. The medial oncologist was very sweet, and kind. She however recommended I have a full mastectomy if I carry the gene. She told me though, not to decide anything until I get my tests back, which won’t be until mid May. Through research I have come to find I had 3 great aunts and 1 great uncle with breast cancer. I guess male breast cancer is really rare, so my file was discussed at the monthly breast cancer board meeting in Reno. The doc was already familiar with my case before I showed up. She told me don’t worry your name wasn’t mentioned. As if it’s a secret, lol. I am trying not to stress to much until I get my results. Thanks for the support.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      The waiting is the worst. Ugh. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. 🙁 It’s good to at least know about the status of the gene, though, so you can be as proactive as you need to be. I’m having my mastectomy/reconstruction July 21st, so if you end up having to do it (which I’m praying you don’t!) we can compare notes. Sending tons of hugs your way, my friend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  72. I found this story truly inspirational. You are incredibly strong and I know that God never gives you anything you can’t handle. I loved your reference to the pearl. This story truly warmed my heart. I am a strong believer in God and I love to find people who feel the same way that I do. I love your blog and your faith. I feel like I can relate to you. That’s something blogs are good for, helping you find people who make you feel like your not alone.
    Thank you for your inspiration and your strength. You are in my prayers. God Bless and Good Luck<3
    -Karlie

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Karlie! God is so good! Thanks for your prayers and encouragement! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

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  74. indah nuria savitri says:

    Thank you soooo much for sharing your story…I am in the process of having my mammogram and biopsy after I found something is wrong with my right breast. Your honesty brings me courage..I sincerely hope what I have is not serious, but if it turns out to be cancer, I will go through every step of the procedures to cure it. Wish me luck..

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh Indah! I know how that feels! I had a scare back in February/March, and it is no fun. There are lots of bumps and lumps that end up being nothing, and I’m praying that’s how it turns out for you. Keep me updated. Hugs, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  75. Ramona Richards says:

    Best Wishes to you and a safe recovery.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Ramona! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

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  77. Abby,
    I must say that the universe works in mysterious ways as it was in a round-a-bout way that I encountered your blog. I am a huge fan of House of Rose blog, I saw your link there and on Saturday I immediately bought your book. I just started a blog called http://www.hopeful-luna.com and it is about my current battle with infertility and past battle as a young woman with breast cancer, plus a bit about how nutrition helps you heal from all medical procedures. Today I had some free time and started reading your blog posts and I just found that you will be having your mastectomy this month. I applaud you for your brave decision, I cry for the difficulty of the situation, and I cheer for the sheer courage you have shown in making this bold step.
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28 in 2008. After six rounds of chemo therapy and 3 surgeries, I began life after cancer– no small feat. I learned that I am BRCA negative. While I KNOW I made a life saving decision, I grieved for months that my breasts were taken away from me and I went through a very rough period emotionally knowing that if God grants me children I would never be able to breastfeed. I know that people have shared many different opinions with you on this and from reading around your blog I already love your voice and love how you portray your family:)
    I don’t know you but similar to you, I am extremely faithful and I realized early on that prayer and faith is THE only way to get through situations like this. If I can impart one piece of advice to you it is this- allow yourself time to grieve the loss of your breasts. I love your upbeat attitude that is presented on your blog. However, I hope this doesn’t sound strange, but I want to let you know that it is ok to be sad and mourn and grieve this loss. Absolutely, you are doing it save your life and be there for your children, so NOTHING can replace that, BUT it is a difficult process. It is messy physically with blood, drains, and bandages and it is messy emotionally because you are losing a part of yourself.
    I wanted to reach out to you because I know it’s hard. Be prepared to give yourself some “you-time” afterwards to deal with emotions that crop up after surgery. Your family looks amazing and I’m sure you have a support system– I just wanted to offer a little support from someone who has been exactly where you are. If you have ANY questions or even just want to make contact with someone who has been there, please contact me. You are in my prayers.
    Sincerely,
    Luna

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are the sweetest, Miss Luna! Thank you so much for your comment and email. I truly appreciate it SO much!

      ~Abby =)

  78. Stephanie @ Six Figures Under says:

    I love the pearl necklace and the analogy behind them. What a beautiful perspective. Thank you!

  79. What a wonderful attitude you have! Thinking of you in the days ahead.

  80. Leah Armstrong says:

    Abby,
    I got on to read about “How to Make a Bunting Banner in Word,” when I found this gem. 🙂 This was awesome to read. Thank you for sharing openly about such a personal issue in your life. You can know, God has already used your honesty and praise of Him to bless me and others! Can’t wait to read your post on starting a blog (because I DO need pointers). Thanks again!! Leah https://glowithit.blogspot.com, https://www.lifewithafaithfulgod.com

  81. So, one click, led to another click and yet another and that’s how I finally came to your site. 😉
    I feel now that was a “God thing” in that I was feeling particularly low due to my own health battles, today. (I had a very rough night and your encouragement in the Lord boosted my spirits, today.) I had to quit teaching, and have been home bound, most days now, for five years. So, I appreciated your story/journey and found we were kindred spirits in that I too was raised in a Christian home, and love the Lord dearly; (He’s the only way I have found the strength to continue to fight this lifelong health battle of 51 yrs.) I have two kids, also; a daughter and son. My son is presently raising support as a missionary…I was a missionary/teacher to China, many moons ago, ha.) I’m also interested in your book as I have been gleaning information in order to take the “big leap” into blogging/website design. Many blessings to you and prayers for your own life’s journey. I, personally, have been learning what total trust in the Lord REALLY looks like; it’s not for wimps! Tammy

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Tammy! I love God’s timing! I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this major health battle, but I love your faith in the midst of it. What an encouragement! I wish you the best with your blog– let me know when it’s up so I can check it out! Enjoy your Sunday!

      ~Abby =)

  82. you are such an inspiration and beautiful person inside out!So glad we met 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Divya! <3

      ~Abby =)

  83. I, like many others, feel that I stumbled onto your blog unexpectedly, but for a reason…a deeper reason, known only to God. Your story and your strength have touched me to the core! Though you already know this, I will say it, just the same — You are a true inspiration! A gift to many!

    Your story and my story are different, but have the same ending…..no, perhaps ‘middle’ is a better description. I am much older than you, but my family tree carries many of the same breast cancer branches as yours does. And these branches are what inspired me when I had to face difficult decisions of my own. For different reasons, I have had a hysterectomy, removing my uterus and ovaries. I handled this step fairly easily emotionally. Physically was a bit of a challenge, but, in time, I got through it just fine. I’ve never looked back or even once doubted my decision.

    When the breast cancer diagnosis came I knew what I had to do. The cancer was caught very early, but I had thought about that day for over 30 years. My Mother and her own journey were my inspiration. I knew I would have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. My husband was a bit surprised at my immediate decision. I told him that there was nothing immediate about it at all…I had been thinking about this my entire adult life! The decision was easy and correct for me. The past 5 years have had their up and downs, but with everyone’s support — God, family, and friends — I’ve come out on the other side a much stronger person.

    I am in awe of your strength, positive attitude, and willingness to share your story. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Never change a thing! I wish you the very best of luck on every step of every day that you have ahead of you.

    <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Debbie! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! You are so brave, and your encouragement really means a lot. I am so delighted to hear that everything worked out for you, that you were able to beat cancer and significantly reduce your risk! Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog and leave such a sweet comment. You made my day! Hugs!

      ~Abby =)

  84. Abby,

    I purposefully sought out the post where you shared a “personal story”. I just had a feeling that it was going to deal with breast cancer, something that runs very high in my family as well. I am so glad that you had the courage to share such a personal story and express your desires to take proactive measures to give you and your sister a better chance at avoiding the breast cancer battle. This is something that my sister and I have talked about as well but have yet to be tested for. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you and your sister the best in your future!!
    -Meg

  85. Aurie Jenkins says:

    I read your story a few months back and could relate to so much because my family too has a large history of Breast Cancer. My mom was diagnosed a few years ago and had a double mastectomy then the BRCA test. She tested positive and so I have been begging my doctors (then military) for the test, they basically refused and now that we are out of the military I am seeing another doctor who right away recommended I have the test. Because of the history on my side (6 women in the last 35 years) my risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer is already 30% which is a scary number without the test. We are wanting to have a 5th and last baby and then go from there. I am so grateful that you have shared your story with the world. You are an encouragement and I left the office today with my head held high instead of tears in my eyes because of the wonderful women like you who have paved the way for those who come behind you. Thank you so much for being willing to be open to us. I hope that my test does not come back the way that the doctors think it will, but like you said, God made me and God does not mess up. 🙂 Thanks again!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hugs, my friend! I am so sorry you even have to go through this testing and pray that it will all come out negative. I love your perspective and your strength and know that even if it is positive, you are going to be just fine. Please feel free to email me if you ever have any questions or just need to chat– I have so been there! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  86. Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. My own mom had breast cancer at age 41, when I was only eight. I remember everything do vividly. She too was checked for the genes a few years ago, right before we found out I was pregnant with our oldest daughter. Luckily, the test she had was negative, but I have two sisters, and our doctors have all encouraged us to begin with mammograms around the age of 35, which is just around the corner. Thank you, thank you for sharing this and for your courage. If this is something that touches our lives in the future, your story gives us so much hope <3

  87. Shannon Leigh says:

    You, your mommy and sister are all AMAZING, INSPIRING woman who give HOPE to ALL who “know” you and I’m really glad you’re all healthy 🙂

    I’m not sure how I stumbled across this (I was searching for another post on your blog), but I’m so glad I did! Here’s why:

    I am on the Relay for Life Committee and also have a team. Between planning the event, getting my team members motivated and raising money for my team, I have at least one (usually quick) mental moment where I wonder if doing this much work is worth it. BUT, it’s stories like this that pull all that doubt right out of me and make me love what I do even more! Thanks for sharing!!! <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I’m so sorry I just missed your sweet comment until now! Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Shannon! And thank you for your work with Relay for Life. I know that has to be a huge undertaking, but you are helping so, so many people through it! YOU are amazing, my friend!

      ~Abby =)

  88. Jacqueline says:

    Abby, you are such an inspiration. I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago and have turned to your ebook Building A Framework for guidance on starting my blog. Thank you for being so genuine in all of your work. Your testimony is truly touching. I look forward to learning more from you and getting to know more of your story.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Jacqueline! They truly mean so much. Best of luck with starting your blog!

      ~Abby =)

  89. Hi,

    This is an old post of yours that I randomly stumbled upon, so hopefully you’re still reading comments on it. I also have BRCA, I have 2 though. I got cancer and a complete hysterectomy at 27. The surgeries haven’t been bad. I don’t think of it typically, except for the usual fears of cancer. Wanted to make sure you know about FORCE (Facing Our Risk Empowered). They’re a great non-profit and have wonderful message boards with supportive women. I don’t visit often, but when the random scary thing pops up, it’s a great resource to have!

    Celebrating six years cancer free! Modern medicine is wonderful. You have a great attitude about the whole thing. As you know, you have to! There is no other choice. Sending so much love to you! Hope you and your sister are doing well.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are too sweet, Suzanne! Thank you! 6 years cancer free… Amazing! Hugs and prayers to you for continued good health!

      ~Abby =)

  90. Christin Baker says:

    Abby, you are amazing!
    I recently discovered your blog through Crystal Paine, and I LOVE hearing stories of God’s goodness through the difficult seasons in our lives–and how you made it through on the other side. You are amazingly gifted at organizing, decorating and blogging, and I have learned so much from you in the short time I have discovered your blog. But what I love the most is your openness and transparency about your personal journey of finding those beautiful pearls in the irritations of life. Thank you for your story and for your testimony of God’s faithfulness. Though I may never meet you personally, you are my sister, because I love Jesus too! Thank you for being a light of God’s grace shining in cyberspace!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are too sweet, Christin! You made my day! I appreciate your encouragement and hope you have a wonderful week! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  91. I just found your blog through a pin on organization, and am so glad I did! Your posts are amazing and your faith is even more amazing. Thank you for sharing your story (and your talent)! My Mom is a breast cancer survivor, so I know how scary all this stuff can be. Best of luck with everything! <3

    #imhooked

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are too sweet, Samantha! Thank you so much!

      ~Abby =)

  92. Amy Smith says:

    While I can’t pretend to know how it feels to have something like this be a part of my life, I can say that I appreciate your testimony of trust in God. Sometimes He gives us storms that cause us to turn to Him and trust that He will work things out – whether that means taking the burden away or allowing us to weather the storm for the purpose of refining our hearts. Thank you for the reminder that God created us with the purpose of glorifying Him, no matter our circumstances.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So true, Amy! We all have our “storms” that he uses to bring us back to him. I’m glad this served as a reminder of that to you! Hope you’re having a blessed week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  93. I am currently working through your Building a Framework course and through a series of clicks in chapter 7 ended up on this post. Thank you for sharing about your family history and personal decisions!! I have just started to be more serious about blogging and my content centers around my cancer journey. I, too, went through genetic testing and tested positive for the mutation that predisposes me to colon cancer and uterine cancer (I’ve had both).
    I just wanted you to know I appreciate your openness AND… I am loving your course! Blessings!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Lori! Sounds like you have had quite the journey yourself! Hugs to you and hope you have a blessed new year! <3

      ~Abby =)

  94. Abby,

    Wow I have chills. I am an aspiring blogger at the moment and I just happened to run across your blog. You are inspiring. I was obsessed from my first click, then I read your BRCA story. I too have the mutation and went through a double mastectomy 3 years ago. If you can make a success out of your blog you’re giving me so much hope! 😉 best of luck and lots of love to you!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much for your sweet message, Sally! So glad you stopped by! Wishing the best to you on your blogging journey… have a blast! <3

      ~Abby =)

  95. Kris Scharnhorst says:

    This is such an inspiring post about such a scary disease. A childhood friend of mine is currently living with metastatic breast cancer, and because of her, I chose to write an awareness post for my blog for the month of October to help educate people about it. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this, but you are always so positive. I want to thank you for all that you do. It’s because of your Start A Blog course that I’m currently setting up my own blog. Cheers to you and good luck on your road to recovery. You are loved and supported by many.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much for your kind message, Kris! Sending hugs and prayers to your sweet friend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  96. Grace Lushinga Malama says:

    Abby, thanks for sharing your story! God is faithful, continue trusting HIM, HE will never let you down
    Sendng my hugs and prayers to you and your family.

    Grace

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Grace! I truly appreciate your prayers. Hope you’re having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  97. thanks for sharing your story. My mother had breast cancer in her 70s, had a lumpectomy and healed nicely. She lived to be 86. Right after she passed, I found out that I had Triple Negative breast cancer. Thankfully I, also was blessed with many friends who made sure we were well fed and kept our spirits up. I spent 6 months in chemo and had mastectomies to make sure the cancer did not have a home to come back to. But I made the decision not to have the restorative surgery. I have the support of my family in this decision. I’m 66 yrs. and I won’t be running around in a bikini. Thankfully I did not have to have radiation treatments. So now I go to my oncologist for checkups every three months. My best advice for anyone going through this is to find something to laugh about every day, be thankful for all those who went on this journey before you and be there for those that will follow. And be grateful for each and every day that you have to share with your friends and family. I will pray for your continued healing. Keep the faith and bright light surrounding you.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Ellen! I truly appreciate them and the advice you gave to others who may come across this post. So glad to hear that you are doing well! Praise the Lord! <3

      ~Abby =)

  98. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I wish you smooth surgeries, an easy recovery and a long, joyful life ahead <3

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      You are too sweet. Thank you for your kind words, Melissa! <3

      ~Abby =)

  99. Such a beautiful story Abby!!! I’m so happy that your mama is ok now! And I’ll keep you in my prayers and I’m sure that surgery will go well. You are super brave!! You’re right, God brings us through storms no matter how challenging! ? I hope you’re having a fantastic week!!!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words! I actually ended up having my surgeries in 2014 and 2017 and both went well! I’m very grateful that technology has advanced and allowed me to prevent a lot of the things that would have been a big concern before. 🙂 Thanks again for your encouragement!

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