I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2022. In August of 2022 I had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. 


At the time of my diagnosis I knew a few things. I knew I wanted:


  1. To be healthy, both physically and emotionally.
  2. To nurture and cultivate my relationship with my husband.

  3. To enjoying my children as they moved from their teen years into adulthood.

  4. To live long enough to meet my grandchildren was my ultimate dream. 


What I didn't know was if that was the plan for me. 


I was scared, tired and overwhelmed. My therapist reminded me that while I had no control of the situation I could control my reaction to the situation. So I started working on my reaction and it helped me get through some really hard times. The pages below are my story.


I hope my journey can help you on your journey.


Start HERE.

Trigger Warning - Medical Procedure


I had two appointments today. 


One with my plastic surgeon in which he used a sharpie to mark my body where the oncologist should cut. The doctors won't see each other tomorrow. The oncologist will kick off the 4-6 hour surgery by removing my breast tissue. Once his job is completed the plastic surgeon will be called in to do the reconstruction. The sharpie marks will guide the oncologist so that he leaves enough skin for a successful reconstruction. The process felt a little dehumanizing but it was quick and not too big a deal. 


The second appointment was for a "sentinel node injection". No one walked me through what that was. I didn't ask because I heard the word "injection" and assumed I was going in for a shot in the arm. I'm sharing here so that you or your loved one are mentally and emotionally better prepared than I was.


When I got to the breast care center they asked me to put on a gown and I said "I don't think I need one. I'm just here for an injection." The tech looked at me like I was crazy so I should have realized at that point that I didn't have a solid understanding of what was happening.


After a bit of back and forth but still no detailed explanation I put my gown on and was escorted to a treatment room. A doctor and a nurse joined me a short time later. By the time they came in the room I was in tears because I didn't understand what was happening and I felt really helpless. In retrospect I'm kinda just a ball of nerves in general at the moment. The lead up to a mastectomy is pretty stressful.


Thank goodness the doctor and nurse both had a great bedside manor and were willing to talk to me before they started. Turns out that a sentinel node injection is not a simple injection. It's a procedure in which a doctor injects a small amount of radioactive material directly into the breast. The radioactive material then drains out into the lymph nodes and helps the surgical team identify the lymph nodes that should be removed during surgery and sent for biopsy.


Once they started it only took about 30 minutes. The first thing they did was give me a local anesthetic. That part hurt a little but the needle was teeny tiny and it was over quick. Once the anesthetic kicked in they brought out a bigger needle for the injection but I didn't feel a thing.


When it was over I had a little breast bandage to go with my sharpie marks.



I am still actively trying to figure out what normal looks like for me.

I am: Being gentle with myself. Giving myself grace. Finding new normals.