Final Thoughts Before My Surgery

On my blogging editorial calendar today it says I will be posting about the Cs’ labeled toy bins. I will post about them at some point {and about how much I love the way they’ve helped us keep the main living area more toy-free– woohoo!}, but today is not that day. For some reason last night when I sat down to write out the post about toy bins, words for this post started flowing instead. I’m having surgery on Monday. And part of me felt like I just wanted to have a record of what was going through my head in the days just before so I could look back on it or my boys could look back on it and see my journey. So I guess you could say that this post is more for us than for anybody else, but feel free to follow along if you’d like.

BRCA1

Depending on how long you’ve been following my blog, you may or may not know why I’m having surgery or what that’s all about. I told my story in detail waaaaaaayyyyy back in this post, but here are the cliff notes: My grandmother (my mom’s mom) died of breast cancer when she was 35. When my mom got breast cancer at the age of 43, she was tested and confirmed to have the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which gives her an extremely high chance of getting breast cancer again or getting ovarian cancer. {Thankfully, 10 years later, she is perfectly healthy and doing great now.} Since she tested positive for the gene, my sister and I were also tested for it, and we were both also positive for the same genetic mutation and both have the same super high chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer. When we found out, I was 20 and she was 17. It was a big deal then, but we knew we wouldn’t have to make any decisions for a while, so life moved on. I got married, had kids, and now all of the sudden I’m 30 and it’s decision time. On Monday morning I will be having a preventative bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction in order to greatly reduce my risk of breast cancer. This week I’ve been a busy little bee trying to get everything ready.

On Monday I went to the grocery store and pretty much cleared them out. Food, toiletries, paper products– you name it, I probably bought it. Not that Donnie won’t be able to handle grocery shopping if and when that job falls to him in the upcoming weeks, but I found some sort of comfort in knowing that at least my boys will have everything they need while I’m out of commission.

Doomsday Prep

On Tuesday my mom and her best friend came over and deep cleaned every inch of my house. I helped, but they were seriously on a mission– our house has never looked so sparkling clean! I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so humbled in my life. Sometimes it is much easier to be on the giving end of something like that rather than the receiving end. For someone to give me the gift of a less germ-y environment to recuperate in and to give my boys a clean slate to start off with– it’s just amazing to me. So, so humbling. I’m so incredibly thankful for them.

On Wednesday I spent time reading through reminders of what to bring to the hospital and what to have on hand for when I get home. Yesterday I went out and bought all of the stuff that I forgot. {And I didn’t think there was anything left after my trip on Monday!}

All of my guest posts are scheduled. We’re nearly done with the bathroom project we promised ourselves we’d finish before my surgery. The Cs are prepped as much as possible and know what’s going to happen over the next few weeks. There’s not much left to do now but wait. {And answer all of those comments and emails that I’m so behind on… oops!}

Would you believe that I honestly thought I wouldn’t be nervous about it at all? I’ve always thought, “I’ve known about this thing for 10 years! By the time it comes around, I’ll just be so thankful to get it over with I won’t care about anything else!” And while I am looking forward to not having to feel like a ticking time bomb, just waiting for breast cancer to happen to me at any moment, I’m nervous. Up until this point, I hadn’t given much thought to what life would be like if I didn’t have this genetic thing. As surgery day looms closer, however, I find part of me wishing that I was just “normal.” {Whatever that is, right?! 😉 } Last night at dinner Donnie asked how I was feeling about everything. I confessed my nervousness to him and he, being oh-so-wise said, “But Abby, maybe not being “normal” in this circumstance will allow God to use you or teach you or grow you in the way that He wants to. His plan is so much greater.”

The man could not be more right. {I snagged a good one, huh? 😉 } I think back to the words of a song that my mom listened to over and over when she was going through her cancer battle. It said, “But even when I cannot see Your hand, when You move in a way that I would not have planned, still I will worship You.” I love that. If anything, having this genetic thing has made me even more confident that God is who He says He is and that His way is higher than ours. You see, in Psalm 139 it says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” He knit me together. So that means that this gene might be a mutation, but it’s not a mistake. It’s there on purpose, and while I may never understand why, I don’t have to because I trust that, as the Psalm goes on, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” mutation and all.

So while it may be easier to be “normal,” instead I’m going to choose to worship in the midst of surgery, in the midst of pain, in the midst of whatever else the next few days/weeks/months have in store for me. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but since God is in control, it does mean that it is going to be worth it.

Pearl Necklace

So I ask you to forgive me in advance for being more out of touch than usual. I apologize for all of the emails that I know will probably be answered horribly late and for all of the comments that won’t be responded to in a timely fashion. I’m going to try to update Instagram and/or Facebook when I can (or have Donnie do it if I can’t) to try to keep people in the loop about how things go on Monday, but I’m not really sure what to expect, so we’ll see how it goes.

Thank you so much for the amazing outpouring of support you’ve already given me as I prepare for this day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have the best readers in all of blogland! I have an incredible slew of guest posters coming up over the next several weeks, so be sure to pop by the blog and meet them on Monday– they’re awesome! So until I can check in here again, be well, and if you think about it, I’d appreciate your prayers on Monday. Thanks so much– hugs, friends!!! <3

Delightful Sign Off

82 Comments

  1. Don’t respond to this comment. 🙂 Praying for you and your family and praying that God will bless you abundantly as He guides you on this journey.

  2. May God keep you safe in His hands. Good luck and Godspeed.

  3. Holly @ Coconutheadsurvivalguide says:

    Hi Abby – I sent my private words to you via email the other day but I still have to comment. Donnie’s words, ““But Abby, maybe not being “normal” in this circumstance will allow God to use you or teach you or grow you in the way that He wants to. His plan is so much greater.” are so spot on. Those almost exact words (not by him obviously) were the ones I hung on to when I was going through treatment. Almost four years later, while God’s plan is still forming, it couldn’t be more crystal clear why I went through what I did. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, but you (as in you literally and figuratively) are the reason I continue to fight every single day so that the next generation won’t have to go through this. Big hugs and prayers my dear friend and warrior sister. Holly

  4. Yasmina@ Mina and Her Blog says:

    Abby, I had to gulp when I read your mom came to your house and clean. moms are the best and yours is one of them!

    I will be thinking about you and God will be there for you every step of the way as long you remember him (which you do !)
    Lots of prayers and love.
    Your a strong brave woman!

    Love and hugs
    Yasmina

  5. Best wishes and prayers for your physical, mental and spiritual strength. Looking forward to seeing you back on the horse and blogging away soon 🙂

  6. I congratulate you on a making this tough decision! I will be thinking you you and your family.

  7. You are such a strong person…I am sending you well wishes from afar!

  8. Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom says:

    Good luck with your surgery on Monday… Surgery is nerve-wracking and I am sure you are just ready to have this all done and over with! I know I am always just so relieved after surgery (and I’ve only had a couple minor surgeries in my life!). Hopefully recovery will be easy and I know you will come out of this even stronger! You are such an inspiration to other women! I will def. keep you in my prayers!

  9. Sarah @ An Inviting Home says:

    I’m so thankful for a God that walks beside us through the daily grind and the hard times. I’ll be praying for you on Monday. I just set a reminder on my phone.

    ~Sarah

  10. Jessi Fearon (@TheBudgetMama) says:

    You got this Abby! 🙂 Your spirit is amazing and inspiring! I’m sending good vibes and prayers your way. I can’t wait to meet all your guest posters.

  11. Julie @ Southern Wild Design says:

    Hi Abby! I wish you and your family all the best during the coming weeks. Yes, indeed, there are greater forces working throughout the universe and whatever happens is not an accident or mistake. Occasionally there are bumps in the road, but they are there to teach us. Your body is just the vehicle that carries your true beautiful self in this physical world and nothing can every harm it. You are perfect just as you are. If you don’t practice meditation, consider learning how. It is powerfully healing.

    Blessings,
    Julie

    Oh…and Oprah has a wonderful 3-week guided meditation coming up with Deepak Chopra. This is a wonderful way to get started. (oprah.com)

  12. Annette Conrad says:

    Abby, you are an inspiration to your spiritual sisters in Christ and to all. I am thankful to the Lord that you know Him and walk in obedience. This is not a small thing—this particular surgery—but as you said, God knows and made you for a purpose and is walking with you every step of the way. Will be praying for you in these days and trust you have a full quick recovery. Will also be praying for your medical team and wonderful, supportive family. Really enjoy your blogs!

  13. Ashley @ 3 Little Greenwoods says:

    Oh, I wish I was near so I could bring you a meal for your family! That was always a wonderful way friends and family showed me how much they loved us. But it looks like you’ve got a well stocked pantry. 😉

    You have such an awesome team {hubby, mom, friends, church} to be there with you! I’m sending you a big warm hug across to miles and lots of prayers that your recovery is quick.

    ~ Ashley

  14. Ellen Delap says:

    Keeping you in prayer! Hugs!

  15. Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG says:

    This is the greatest gift you will give yourself and your family…a preemptive strike against the possibility of cancer. As a leukemia survivor (having had a stem cell transplant 3+ years ago), it is normal to be nervous. It is hard to take help, even when you need it – but loved ones around you are feeling “helpless” right now – let them help – whether it’s making a meal, or spending time with your kids – take the help. That was a hard lesson for me to learn, but once I did – the people around me felt better and so did I. My husband was a great source of strength for me, I’m glad that you have a “good one” too! I’m sending up prayers and good thoughts for a speedy recovery!

  16. Sending you lots of love and prayers for a safe and successful surgery 🙂 I love how strong your faith in God is and I have no doubt he’ll be watching over you on Monday! xo

  17. Jessica @ Mom 4 Real says:

    You are so brave, and I’m so glad you are taking this step! Sending love and prayers your way, Abby!

    Love ya girl,

    Jess

  18. Best of luck on your surgery and your willingness to share. I applaud your courage. Kitty

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Kitty. You do not even know what a neat blessing this comment was for me. My grandmother, my mother’s mother who died of breast cancer at age 35, was named Kitty. There aren’t too many of you guys out there, so just the fact that you found my story and commented is so cool to me. What a neat reminder of her. Anyway, I’m babbling. Thank you again for your sweet words! Have a great night!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Samantha @ Five Heart Home says:

    You’ve got this, Abby! So proud of you and, as always, impressed by your positive attitude. Wishing you a smooth, speedy recovery…I’ll be sending lots of prayers your way in the days to come!

  20. Heidi @ Kruse's workshop says:

    What a brave girl you are! Way to take a preemptive strike to give you and your family the best odds possible. Those kids are gonna need their mama around for a long long time. Good luck and will look forward to your posts when you return!

  21. You have my prayers! Good luck to you!! And good for you for being so proactive in your health care. Cheers to a long, healthy, blessed life!!

    *I like it when you take a more personal approach on your blog.*

    Michelle 🙂

  22. You are incredible, Abby. I’m so happy to call you a friend. I will be thinking of you and praying for you in the days leading up to and on Monday. I can’t believe it’s almost here. You will do amazing! Lots and lots of love and hugs!!

  23. You are such an inspiration Abby. I will be praying for you and your recovery!

  24. You’re so brave! It reminds me of that song by Casting Crowns, “I will praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands. No matter who Y

    1. Oops! “For You are who You are, no matter where I am.” Praying for you this weekend, and praying for a fast and speedy recovery!

  25. Thinking of you and sending SO MUCH strength your way! Wishing you all the best Abby!!!

  26. Praying for God’s hands to be on the Dr’s during surgery and for a quick and smooth recovery. Blessings to you and your family Abby!

  27. Stephanie C. says:

    I will be sending happy thoughts and positive vibes your way on Monday. Best wishes for quick recovery!

  28. Tiffany @ A Touch of Grace says:

    What a brave lady you are Abby. Thinking of you and praying for you and your family in these coming weeks. Big hugs and prayers for Monday!

  29. Amy @ Homey Oh My! says:

    You are so brave, Abby. Sending lots of love and positive thoughts to you and your family. Hoping Monday passes by in a flash!! You’ll do great, I’m SURE of it. Hugs.

  30. Emily @ Table + Hearth says:

    Huge hugs Abby! It takes so much courage to take this step and confront it head on, such an inspiring example! You go girl!!

  31. Emily @ Two Purple Couches says:

    I’ll be thinking of you on Monday! You are strong and you are brave!

  32. Stephanie @ Sandpaper and Glue says:

    thank you for sharing your journey through this part of your life, I’ll be sure to have you in my thoughts! 🙂

  33. Kendra @ www.joyinourhome.com says:

    You are so brave and full of courage, Abby! So thankful for your attitude that you will praise Him in the midst of pain and this season of your life! Praying for you and take ALL the time you need to rest and heal!

  34. Shanna Gilbert says:

    You are such a brave lady Abby! I will keep you in my prayers! You will do great!

  35. Lauren @ Mom Home Guide says:

    Hi, Abby! I will be thinking of you on Monday. Hope you have a great recuperation and I hope your hubby and little ones spoil you and make sure you gets lots of rest and relaxation while you are recuperating! We don’t really know each other in person, but you have been a great blog friend and role model! I just love reading and following your blog! Wishing you all the best!

  36. Lisa Williams says:

    Praying for you, your family and the surgeon(s).

  37. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. Will be thinking of you Monday xo

  38. Heather @ Southern State of Mind says:

    Thanks for opening up and sharing your thoughts! I will be praying for a speedy recovery. Give yourself the grace you need to get well and not worry about the comments and emails. The blog will be here when you are ready. And so will we!

  39. Marie @ Holly Crescent Cottage says:

    Abby,

    You dear, brave girl – I wish you the best of luck with the surgery and your recovery. You’ll be in my prayers. i’m currently reading your eBook (and loving it) so I’ll think of you with every page! XOXO

  40. Abby, I will be thinking about you while you recover (and sending only good thoughts). I think that you are doing a very brave thing. I know that your hubby and kidlets appreciate this – you’re doing this to make sure their lives are better.

  41. Christy @ 11 Magnolia Lane says:

    Abby–I’m praying for you. You are going to do great! {{hugs}} Christy

  42. Sonya~At Home with The Barkers says:

    You have my prayers, Abby! Your Godly perspective is so wonderful and I am happy you shared it here! ~Sonya

  43. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Abby! God Bless, …..Angela

  44. Sending love, courage, prayers, blessings and hugs……

    Toodles, Barbi

  45. You are brave and strong. God bless you and your family.

  46. Hugs your way! I will be thinking about u lots. I am expecting an Instagram selfie after they give u the good drugs at the hospital. I shared one, it’s only fair. Lol
    My mom came over, but she did not deep clean my house. I am so glad u are surrounded with love n support. Get ready for the best nap of a mother’s life on monday. Let everyone love on u as u recoup from surgery. U r awesome!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh my. I may be loopy, but I’ll try. 😉 Thanks so much for your encouragement, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  47. Laura @ The Turquoise Home says:

    I know first-hand that even though you know about a surgery for a long time, it doesn’t make it any less scary. I have wished many times that I could be “normal” when it comes to having babies. But that’s just not meant to be. I have to remind myself that this is part of my story for some reason – a reason that God knows and that I have to trust, since He knows best. 🙂

    I’ll be praying for you this weekend, on Monday and afterwards as you go through the next part of your story.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement, Laura! I will be praying for your upcoming delivery as well! Hugs, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  48. Prayers to you for your surgery on Monday and your quick recovery.

  49. Abby,
    You are not just Abby….you are Awesome Abby! Thank you for sharing your story with us with such honesty, courage and grace. You and your sweet family will be in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

  50. Ashley @ Cherished Bliss says:

    Lots of prayers for you and your family! Praying for peace and strength! You are going to do great!! : )

  51. Sarah @ Little Red Brick House says:

    Sending prayers your way, Abby! I pray that you take comfort in The Lord and that He calms any nerves or fears. You are such an incredibly strong woman. Thank you for being so open with your journey. I know you have touched lives and inspired others to be proactive in their health. Prayers for a speedy recovery!

  52. Rachel Kathyg @ onlinesisterhood says:

    Your journey and words are an inspiration and encouragement to others! God’s plans are definitely much greater then we can ever imagine! Sending prayers to you from Brazil and praying for a speedy recovery from surgery:)

  53. April Hoff says:

    Sending you lots of love and well-wishes for a successful surgery and quick recovery, Abby! I’ll say some extra prayers for you tomorrow!

  54. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    If you weren’t nervous I wouldn’t think you were truly human! I will have you in my prayers the next days Abby, and your family too. Good luck with everything and know that we in the internet world love you and are praying for you too!!

  55. Therese @ Fresh Idea Studio says:

    Abby, You & your family are in my thoughts & prayers. May you feel God’s love, strength and comforting grace surround you in the days ahead. Be well my friend.

  56. Jessica (Savory Experiments) says:

    What a brave decision. Good luck on a speedy recovery.

  57. I just wanted to wish you luck in the days ahead. My prayers are with you and your family. My aunt just had a mastectomy and I just hope your recorvery is swift and as painless as possible. God bless you.

  58. Much love to you!!! I’ll have you in my thoughts and my heart tomorrow.

    You are the bravest girl with a blog (or without) I’ve ever seen!

    Thank you for sharing and inspiring us with the strength of your faith ♥

  59. Chelsea @ A Duck's Oven says:

    This is my first visit to your blog! You have a stunning site and I can’t wait to continue perusing it!

    Thank you for sharing so much about your journey with BRCA. My fiance’s family has been affected by BRCA and I think discussion to bring awareness to this mutation is so important. You’re very brave for taking this difficult, preventative step! If it helps, my future mother-in-law’s surgeries went beautifully 🙂 If you haven’t stumbled across it already, I highly recommend checking out the group “FORCE”. They have a Twitter account and share a lot of great information!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad you found me, Chelsea! Thank you so much for your encouragement about BRCA. And for the tip on FORCE! I will look into them! Hope you’re having a great night!

      ~Abby =)

  60. Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles says:

    Abby, you are so brave! I’ll be thinking of and praying for you and your family tomorrow, and through the weeks to come during your recovery!

  61. Abby,

    I wrote an email to you a few weeks ago. Thanks so much for your encouragement! I’m praying for you tonight and especially tomorrow. As a fellow BRCA carrier and young mom who just did the same thing in September I can feel all your emotions. I must say that through all my surgeries I always felt Gods hand on me and my family and I have learned many valuable things through all the surgeries. I’m praying for peace and comfort for you tomorrow, and your doctors and nurses. You will do great!

  62. Beth Anne says:

    Abby, praying for you, Donnie, and the little C’s today and for the next month. Feeling really emotional today as I think about you guys. It is definitely a great big, brave step and however you feel about it is just fine! God will definitely use this, but I know what you mean about just wanting to be “normal” – sometimes I feel that way about Holden and just wish he didn’t have to deal with being different. God is so good, though. I know He will take care of you guys. I hope He just blows you away with blessings, love, and support and a really fast recovery!
    ~ Beth Anne

  63. Jillian @ JST Design says:

    Hi Abby,

    I haven’t been following you long, but I can tell from your posts that you are a strong women of God and I applaud you for sharing your wisdom with all of us. Praying for you and your family today and over the next few weeks. I hope you have a speedy recovery and see you back on the blog soon!

  64. Jen @ Migonis Home says:

    Praying for you today, Abby! Donnie is so smart… I am convinced God is going to use this and you beautifully for HIS purposes even if it does’t feel so great right now. Looking forward to hearing how it went and how you are recuperating.

  65. Sending prayers your way..I am a 26 year breast cancer survivor..I was diagnosed at a somewhat early age for the times. I was 27..I applaud your being so brave to head off having to go through the trauma of being told you have cancer..May God bless you and I hope you have a speedy recovery! P.S. Congrats to your mom 🙂

  66. Kimberly ~ SerendipityRefined says:

    You are in my thoughts and prayers today…and each day from now forward. My mom and sister are survivors, breast cancer is rampant in our family. You are brave and wise and strong beyond your years. Hugs to you and prayers for successful surgery, speedy recovery and continued love and support from all of those who hold you dear. xoxo

  67. Karen Ploransky @ The Decorated Nest says:

    Abby, wishing you a speedy, painless recovery and a good result. Prayers on away and I am sure that God is guiding this whole process so put your worries away and concentrate on healing. I go for a biopsy on Aug 6th–I know what that “looming possibility” and you have made a great decision to take this path. Praying for you !

  68. Cindy Saylor says:

    HI Abby —

    God be with you and your family during your recovery — He never gives us more than we can handle!

  69. Praying for a quick recovery!
    Debbie

  70. Sandi @ A New York Foodie says:

    All the best to you Abby!! I hope your surgery goes great and my thoughts are with you and your family! <3 🙂

  71. Abby,
    A dear friend of mine sent me the link to this post, and it just wanted to thank you for writing this. I am also BRCA positive (brca2) and my preventative mastectomy is scheduled for August 6. I wish you a speedy recovery and blessings to your family. I applaud your courage, these are not easy decisions we face as young mothers. Take care.

  72. Suzanne J Dean says:

    Sending you lots of well wishes & hugs for a speedy recovery. I feel your pain and stress and anxiety…surgery on ourselves is never easy especially when cancer is/could be involved. Good for you for being proactive and thanks for sharing with us all! Remember to rest, accept help and eat lots of ice cream and goodies 😉

    hugz,
    Suzanne

  73. Sheila Meneses says:

    Abby, I just discovered your blog while looking for instructions on making labels. I was diagnosed with breast cancer July 2013 and went through surgery, chemo and radiation, so your story really struck a chord with me. Your thoughts about how God does not make mistakes brought me to tears. When you’ve had cancer you almost feel defective or like damaged goods, so your words were a beautiful reminder that the Lord does not see me that way at all. Thank you for the encouragement – I will be praying that you had a smooth surgery and speedy recovery! Many blessings!

  74. I don’t know what date this last blog is. I don’t know if you’ve had your surgery or not. I just wanted to say, I’m proud of you. I hope and pry that you don’t have to ever go through chemo and radiation. Hopefully, this will prevent all of that. My daughter is 41 and has been through chemo, surgery and soon radiation. She, like you, is an inspiration to many. Be safe, be strong and be well.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, LaVon! I appreciate your kind words. Hope you’re having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

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