The last 8 months have been pretty tough, so I decided to spill my guts in a Medium piece. When searching online for answers about BRCA related infertility, and having a miscarriage – there wasn’t as much as I’d expected. Hopefully this piece will contribute to these heartbreaking subjects – because I don’t think it’s right that there is still shame and a certain taboo associated with them. Thanks for reading.
Thanks for the patience while I re-did the Funky Genes site… and everyone who emailed me while the site was down for info. The question I was asked most while the site was down was for the mastectomy checklist! It’s right here on the new site.
I’ll be back blogging about adventures in BRCA land soon, but first – wanted to do a “beta test” that I learned about from one of my fave shows, Silicon Valley. Please check out the new site and comment or email me if you catch any bugs or have any suggestions for new content/changes. Hope you all enjoy!
I’m in the process of updating my site, should be up and running soon! If you have any BRCA or mastectomy related questions in the meantime, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last summer, I let you know that I was becoming an Oncology Nurse. I started in August, and was on the solid tumor oncology floor for 6 months. I learned a lot and had experiences with patients that I’ll always remember, but I realized that working in oncology was too close to home for me. My BRCA mutation and family history of cancer was what originally drew me to oncology, but working in it in real life, especially the end of life process, was emotionally difficult. Luckily, I worked in an environment where I felt comfortable enough to share my concerns with my managers, who were very supportive. I was very open with them during the interview process about my BRCA mutation and family history, and they totally understood why I was having a difficult time.
I got extremely lucky to be able to transfer within the same hospital to my other nursing passion, and become a Perinatal Nurse. I’m now working in the Postpartum unit and I’ll eventually cross-train in Labor & Delivery. I feel like I’ve found my calling in nursing. I love all of the patient education in perinatal nursing, and being a part of such an important milestone in my patients’ lives. I’m still going to be very involved with cancer prevention and my work in the BRCA community, and I’ll keep you all posted on my ongoing BRCA journey.
I just realized I forgot to post an update about my second skin excision. I got the same great pathology results from excision numero dos – both were pre-melanoma and had not mutated into skin cancer yet. I feel very lucky and happy to have a great medical team and supportive hubby who reminds me to get skin checks.
I can’t believe it was a year ago that I had my post-mastectomy reconstruction surgery! After the complications I had after my mastectomy (aka boob hole drama), it’s a miracle the surgery went as well as it did, and that I didn’t need to have an additional surgery. As happy as I was, I was constantly worried that I wouldn’t heal properly, or that the necrosis/boob hole would happen again.
But now, it’s been a year, and my “foobs” feel like my own. Sometimes, I only remember these are “foobs” when they’re sore before it rains, kind of like Karen from Mean Girls. I can lie on my stomach with no pain, stretch my arms all over the place with no problem, and had my first year without a mammogram since 2008. I still have clinical breast exams, yearly appointments with my reconstructive surgeon, and yearly ultrasounds with my breast surgeon (plus all the other non-breast cancer related fun BRCA screenings) – but I no longer have to sit in a waiting room worrying after they ask me to do another mammogram because of a suspicious image.
I’m really happy that I did what was best for me and went forward with these crazy surgeries to reduce my breast cancer risk, even though looking back, doing it while in nursing school was kind of insane. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends, and community. Special shoutout to my amazing hubby who has always been so supportive and such a great caregiver, my family, and all my nursing school homies who took shifts at our house during this whole process – taking care of me, even helping me shower, and of course binge-watch reality tv with me. I love you all!
The mole excision that I had went well – the pathology results came back and it was pre-melanoma. This is great news because it means I caught it early, and that it isn’t skin cancer! I have one more excision next week, so hopefully I get the same good pathology results from that one. I’ll keep everyone posted!