Real Life: A Health Update
I feel like I should preface this post by saying that everything is fine. I’m fine and healthy and other than the preexisting genetic condition that I talked about in this post, I’m as normal as can be. That being said, it has kind of been a crazy month. I feel like I have been off my blog game a little bit with everything that has been going on, so for that, I apologize.
In the post mentioned above, I shared that I’m a carrier of the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which dramatically increases my risk for breast and ovarian cancer. I am tested and screened all the time and plan to have a mastectomy this summer in order to take my risk of breast cancer down to almost nothing. But when you have this type of gene and you have a family history like mine, you are always on the lookout, always checking, always taking every precaution.
Well, about a month and a half ago I found a lump. I figured it was just a gland thing and that it would go away, but a few weeks later, it was still there. I called the high risk specialists that I see (who are my bffs by now– we chat way too much 🙂 ) and they set up a mammogram and ultrasound to get it checked out. In the week between setting the appointment and the appointment date, I found another lump.
This isn’t the first scare I’ve had since finding out I had the BRCA1 gene. A couple years ago I went in for a regular MRI screening and they thought they saw something. They wanted to do a biopsy but it happened to be a holiday weekend, so I had to wait four days– four days without any information other than there was something inside of me, the girl who is extremely likely to get breast cancer and whose mother and grandmother and great grandmother all had had breast or ovarian cancer– that needed to come out.
At that point I only had Connor and I spent four long days picturing him growing up without a mother– the worst possible place to go mentally, I know. But those four days were also very humbling. I had to really come to grips with the fact that God is in control and I am not. God knows my future and Connor’s future and Donnie’s future, and He wants His very best for us. Even if they had found cancer the day I went back in for that biopsy, that would be true. Fortunately, they didn’t see anything. They didn’t even end up doing a biopsy because there was nothing there. But those four days really made me face reality and realize that life is SO not about me.
So back to this past month and a half. It has kind of been like a mental wrestling match. On one hand, I was nervous about what this could be, and if I started thinking about the worst possible scenario for too long, I would get sad and scared. But another part of me felt like I had already been down that road and seen where it could lead, so while I was scared, I knew I just had to trust that whatever this was was going to be okay.
Almost two weeks ago I went in for the mammogram and ultrasound. And of course I took a selfie in the dressing room because that’s what you do when you’re nervous and don’t want to spend an incredibly long amount of time sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of women who are at least 30-40 years older than you and wondering what the heck you’re doing there. <— Run on sentence 😉
I had the mammogram and then went in for the ultrasound. Two different doctors looked at the lumps and said that they looked like completely normal tissue. Yay! But they also said that since the tissue was so dense I should schedule an MRI just to be safe. Boo. More waiting.
Fast-forward to Tuesday. MRI day. Besides feeling a little loopy due to meds they gave me for an allergy, everything went smoothly and as expected. When they called me on Wednesday to let me know that everything was fine, I can’t even begin to describe the relief I felt. Tears came immediately, and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I hadn’t realized how much this whole situation had been weighing on me. Thankfully it all came to nothing, but mentally, it has just been a huge roller coaster ride that I’m so thankful to be getting off of for the moment. Maybe my creativity will even come back now, lol.
When things like this happen, it makes me pray even harder for those women (and men too) out there fighting cancer or any other disease. They are so strong, and I can only begin to imagine the physical and mental battles they’re fighting each day. Just experiencing a tiny, minute little snippet of what they go through day in and day out has sort of turned my world upside down, and I fervently pray that God will bring peace and strength and healing to all of those situations.
As far as what happens next for me, I have appointments in the next couple weeks with my surgeons to nail down details and dates for a mastectomy and reconstruction this summer. At this point, I just can’t wait to get it over with! I feel like I’ve known about it for so long that I just want to be able to get past that chapter in my life and move on. I think it will also be a relief to not have to worry about scares like this one happening any more. Whew. Now with all of that out of the way, I’m ready for a fun, relaxing weekend, aren’t you?! Hug your loved ones tight and make sure you tell them how much they mean to you! 🙂
I’m glad everything is ok. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂
Thank you so much, Jessica!! <3
Oh Abby! I am so glad you are okay. I am sorry for all of the worry and emotional stress! Love and prayers.
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Marjorie! You are the sweetest!
Hi Abby – Happy tears for you this morning. Trust me, I completely understand all of the angst. Big big hugs across the miles to you and please know that you and your family will continue to be in my prayers. Your warrior and forever sister, Holly
Thank you so much, Holly! I know you have been there– you are my hero! Hugs, friend!
So glad all is okay… such a rollercoaster I am sure. It is definitely these trials in life that open our eyes to s much.
Thank you so much, Keri! You are the sweetest! Have a great week!
I’m so glad you got good news and are doing well! You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers as you enter this next phase and pray everything goes well! Take care sweetie!~~Angela
Thank you so much, Angela! You are the sweetest! Hope you have a wonderful week!
How scary! So happy you got good news and the weight not knowing was lifted. Praying for you as you move closer to your surgery.
Thank you so much for your support and prayers, Ashley! You are the best!
Abby, you are adorable! Kudos to you for being proactive in your health. The C’s have a great mommy and D has a great wife.
Thank you so much, Michelle! You are so sweet! I hope you have a wonderful week!
Oh my goodness, Abby. I felt like I didn’t breathe once while reading this. And that must not even be in the same universe as what you’ve been feeling. I’m so so so relieved you were blessed with good news. Hang in there! Surgery will be here before you know it and I’ll be praying for it to go as best as it can <3
Thank you so much, Amy! You are the sweetest! <3
As I read your recount of the last few weeks, I could only think of a time when those thoughts were mine. I too am a lucky lady, had surgery to remove a different type of tumor in another area, it was not cancer. Thank God! I am so relieved for you that this scare is over, you have a plan to keep you healthy in the near future, I am sorry you have all this stress as your baby is young. Blessing to you all and Prayers for a great recovery through you future procedures. Keep us posted so we can support you.
Karen Marie Kedzuch
Dragonfly and Lily Pads
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, Karen! I’m so thankful that your scare had a happy ending, too! Thanks for sharing your story with me! Have a wonderful week!
So glad all turned out well, Abby! What a scary experience!
I know exactly what you mean, about not realizing how much the situation was affecting you until after you got the good news. When I was pregnant with Kiddo, one of my students had Fifth Disease. I had never had it, so I had to get a blood test to confirm I hadn’t contracted it. I didn’t realize how scared I had been until I got the news that everything was ok.
Praying for you. Take care, my friend!
Ooh that is scary. A lot of times I feel like I can handle things for just me, but once it affects my kids, the worry is multiplied exponentially! So thankful that everything was okay for you! Thanks so much for your encouragement, Kim!
I know how awful that wait can be. I am 30 and found a lump last December, the week before Christmas. I couldn’t get in for an ultrasound until after Christmas but it was all that was on my mind! Thankfully the day I went in for my first mammogram and ultrasound, the Doctor said everything looked fine, and to just be re-checked in 6 months. And now I can’t feel the lump at all. Praise God. But in the days where we sit and wait and think, my mind too went to the darkest places. I was terrified. But thankful that everything turned out well for both of us! Best of luck with your surgeries as you go foward – that is such an awesome and brave thing to do!
Isn’t it crazy what one little lump can do to your mindset?! Ugh! I am so glad everything came back all clear for you! Thank goodness! Thank you so much for sharing your story, Nicole! Have a great week!
I know we aren’t friends but I read your blog regularly & feel I know you just a bit (as in blogland we all do)….and I wish we were closer friends especially now. I could’ve cyber-ly held your hand while you went through this because I’ve been doing the exact same thing for the past 6 weeks. Except my results came back positive after many tests and biopsies….worrisome, stressful, exhaustion filled weeks. This is my 2nd go around with the “BC” in 5 years. Tuesday I have surgery on April Fools Day no less…my friends understand why this date is kinda funny & ironic. You gotta laugh thru the tears I say. But I am soooooo very happy for you that your results came back cleanly. I am researching with my drs and specialists a possible bilateral mastectomy as well…just not sure yet. I am praying for you and holding your hand even when you don’t know it…because that’s what all of us can do for each other. Sending best wishes your way & thanks for sharing!!
Oh, Suzanne, I am so sorry you are having to face this battle again. I will be praying for you tomorrow during your surgery! Please let me know how everything goes and keep me updated on your treatments and everything. Sending you hugs across the miles, my friend! <3
Thank you for sharing this with us. I’d be more than happy to help with guest posts on your blog this summer while you’re dealing with surgery and recovery. You need to focus on you and rest and your family! Praying for you.
Thank you so much, Amy! I really appreciate it! <3 Hope you have a wonderful week!
Reading this tory helps keep life in perspective. I have a paternal grandmother and great aunt that dies from breast cancer when I was young. It’s scary not knowing and waiting for answers. You are truly a very brave young woman. I remember 20 some years ago getting diagnosed with MS and how frightened I was at the time. I was only 26 and no one had this disease in my family history. I knew something was wrong and that I had some disease but my family and doctors were telling me it was stress. I remember it was December 9th and my husband and I were decorating for Christmas when I got told I had MS. I thought I would faint. I was stable for around 18 years and now walk with a cane but still can walk and practice Pilate. I am amazed at how strong I have been through this process and my husband and family is amazed as well. I always try to be positive. There is always worse off then I am and you are such a brave and strong person. I can feel this through your post. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Wow, Cynthia! Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are one strong woman! Thanks so much for your encouragement and support– it means so much!
Abby I am a regular follower of your blog. Thank you for your sharing your story-I too am BRCA2 positive along with one of my sons. I have had cancer 3x’s 1994-r breast, 1998-uterine cancer, 2009-l breast…I understand your anxiety all to well. For me having a family history (both my grandmother & mother died before the age of 45 of breast cancer) I was diligent to start having mammo’s very early on and my surgeon at Sloan Kettering was amazing. Keep up the fight to keep cancer free…chemo sucks…lol but I do have perky boobies 🙂
If for nothing else, the perky boobies are worth something, right? LOL! You have been through so much, my friend– I admire your strength! We haven’t had our boys tested yet since they’re still so little, but I’m hoping they have somehow avoided the gene. Thank you for sharing your story! Hugs to you!
I’m so happy to hear you are okay!!! Thank God! Lifting you up in my prayers!
Thanks for being so open with us about all this.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement, Selene! You are the sweetest!
What a scary few day for you! I am so glad that you are ok.
Thank you so much, Paula! Hope you have a wonderful week!
So glad everything turned out okay, Abby! My heart goes out to those too, who are battling cancer… Hoping to do an all-night cancer walk with my friend who just lost her dad to cancer. I’ll be praying for you Abby! Hugs!
Wow– what a wonderful event, Kendra! That is so awesome! Thank so so much for your encouraging words!
Wow, Abby! Even with your disclaimer at the beginning, I was holding my breath half the time while reading this. So so thankful to hear that the reports came back clear…and that after the surgery this summer, you’ll finally have the peace of mind you long for. Also, I admire your bravery in sharing your story – – and you couldn’t be more right about the importance of putting our trust in God. We need not be anxious! (Though I know that in my heart, knowing it in my heart is another matter.) Heaving a big sigh of relief with you, friend, and praying for a clean bill of health from now through your surgery date! Hugs!
Thank you, friend! I hear ya– if I could just make my heart believe what my head says about anxiousness, I would be in business, lol! Thanks for your encouragement! You are the best!
So glad for your amazing news Abby! You have been in my thoughts and prayers and I will continue to keep you there until you get all this stuffed settled out…. which, in itself, is a scary process:) Enjoy your weekend!
Thank you so much, Krista! Your encouragement and prayers mean the world! <3
Hey girl! I’m SOOOO glad to hear you’re doing well, and that the scare ended up nothing. I’ve had to do the ‘here’s a lump so let’s stress you out waiting to find out if it’s worth stressing about’ thing a few times, and it’s NEVER any easier! I LOVE that you mentioned the waiting room with women much older than you – I think that Every. Single. Time! Feel so weird and out of place. You’re in my prayers while you’re preparing for you surgery/recovery! HUGS!!!
It is so awkward, right?! The awkwardness went to a new level when I started meeting with plastic surgeons. Now I feel like everyone’s looking at me thinking, “Oh she’s here for a boob job.” They’re right, but not for the reason they think, lol! Oh well, let them think what they want! Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers, my friend! Have a great week!
Thank you, Rebecca! <3
I know you are SO relieved! I’ve had a few mammograms myself r/t to possible lumps (that ended up being nothing), and the implications weigh on you like a ton of bricks until you find out the results. Your story hopefully will convince others of the importance of self checks and early detection!! Now I expect you to pump out some quality DIY lol 🙂
XO my sweetest of friends!
Lol! I will get right on that! It’s amazing what a little lump can do to your mindset…crazy! Thanks so much for your encouragement, my friend! You are the best!
Very happy to hear your results all good. Scary times, prayers for you and your family all will go well this summer. Keep on holding onto our Sovereign God. Hugs from the other side of the world x
Thank you so much, Denise! I appreciate the prayers and hugs! Hope you have a great week!
To realize that God is God and we are not is always very humbling and a very good place to be. Praying for peace and successful and full recovery with no side effects as you go forth.
Amen! I am so thankful for that– I think I might have a mental breakdown if I thought everything was under my control, lol! Thank you so much for your prayers, Laurie! Hope you have a great week!
I’m so happy to hear things are ok! I just knew they would be! 🙂 I know how it can made your head spin with worry though!
Thank you, friend! I know you’ve been there! You are my hero! Your support means the world– thanks for always being there! <3
I found your blog via Natalie – the busy bugeting mamma and I just wanted to stay what a strong women you are! You are making an incredible choice and I applaud you for that. My aunt is currently in recovery from breast cancer and doing great, so I offer you my support (even through I’m from Australia) I will keep you in my prayers and wish you a speedy recovery when the time comes.
Love your blog too!
Hi, Sarah! Thanks so much for popping over! Isn’t Natalie the sweetest ever? Love that girl! I’m so glad to hear that your aunt is doing great! Thank goodness! Thanks so much for your prayers! Have a wonderful week!
So glad to hear that all is well Abby! Thank you for sharing this very personal story with all of your readers. I’m sure I speak for many, but as we spend our time reading all of the blogs that wonderful people like you work so hard on, we truly feel like we get to know you, no matter how far apart geographically, or even personally we may be. I’ve come to care about what is going on in your personal life, and how your family is doing, and what fun projects you’re working on since beginning to read your blog and all I can say is thank you for opening up your world to strangers. Be well, Abby!
Thank you so much, my friend! You are the sweetest! <3