It's been a while since I wrote and two months since my race. I'm still super bummed I didn't finish the Keys100 but more bummed that I haven't gotten my running mojo back.
Just before the race, I had blood work done through my doctor. First, how about a little back story?
If you've followed any runner, for any amount of time, you know we don't hold back when it comes to sharing. Is very similar to being a medical professional: there's nothing off-limits to discuss in the lunch room. Anyway…most runners talk about their typical training/race rituals. They usually include (upon waking) light breakfast and coffee, bathroom visit (thank you coffee), hydrate, run. Add in women's issues and you have even more bodily functions we have to deal with. This backstory will be no different. I've never had regular cycles and after my youngest turned three, my menstrual issues got worse. No real reason for them to either, so I implored the help of a new gynecologist. Both of my children were born with midwives so I knew I wanted to get established with a more local doctor for routine labs and such. So I went in to discuss my issues and the conversation went to "Pelvic ultrasounds, possible birth control options (for hormonal regulation), and the like." I casually mentioned that my mom, a 2-time breast cancer warrior had recently gotten the BRCA blood test. At the time, I want sure which one (BRCA1 or BRCA2) and my doctor wanted to find out so we could discuss options.
The next week I had my ultrasound done and the results were clear. Yay! But I also had the privilege of telling the doctor that my mom's BRCA mutation was BRCA1. I had already decided that I would have the same genetic testing done to see if I did too. She asked if I was sure and I eagerly signed the consent form.
By May 8, I had my results: BRCA1 positive. The race was 12 days away. So, I had more motivation to pound the pavement. And think, and think some more. As soon as the doctor told me, I knew what my choice would be. You see, there are basically three options for mutants like me
1) Semi-annual MRIs/Mammograms/Ultrasounds
2) Take an anti-cancer drug (Tamoxifen) for 20+ years
3)A prophylactic bilateral mastectomy
There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be choosing #3. I have two young children and refuse to make them go through me being sick with breast cancer and subsequent treatment. This way, they are just seeing me recover from a night at the hospital (in the simplest terms).
From the gynecologist, I immediately marched to the end of the plaza and made an appointment with a surgeon to discuss my options.
The worst thing I did was join all the BRCA "support" groups I could. Ugh. So many women in various stages of recovery/surgery/hate/love/etc. It was all too overwhelming. I have since connected with a select few groups and individuals who, I feel, are most supportive of my wants and desires.
Anyway, first was a baseline mammogram. I'm going to be honest. This was a piece of cake. But DAAAANG. That solidified my not wanting to have semi-annual imaging done. I can not imagine the anxiety that accompanies these tests. Every. Single. Time.
Waiting to go back
These choir member "robes" are all the rage this year
Praise the lord my results were clear. However, I found that I have dense tissue and once the mammogram came back clear, I was still required to get an ultrasound. Yay…more random techs squishing the goods 😒
Next up was meeting the general surgeon (GS). This was about a month after my results came back. He was jovial, real, and cut to the chase. There was no BS and my husband liked him. That was half the battle. He then referred me to a plastic surgeon he works almost exclusively with and ordered a breast MRI.
During all this, I was running off and on, and trying to get in some walks when I could. But, really… the motivation was gone by now.
A couple weeks after I met the GS, it was time to meet the plastic surgeon. His office staff was amazing and he had a great air about him as well. I was warned he might have an "off" sense of humor, but I felt nothing off about the visit. We decided on a reduction (yay!) in conjunction with the reconstruction.
Side note: a mastectomy with reconstruction is NOT a Boob job. There will be no breast tissue left. It will only be implants.
In doing a reduction, the excess skin can be used to help sling and support the implants. I'm ready to be able to easily purchase a sports bra off the shelf and not have to order it!
A couple of weeks later I had my MRI. What a crappy experience. There were no issues, really, and my results came back fine, but the supine position with your arms above your head, while your breasts are cradled in their own little cages, and the majority of your upper body is being supported by only your sternum SUCKS!!! And you end up with some excellent face creases. NOT! lol
another choir robe…pink this time
Originally, I was told that the surgery could be 4-6 weeks from the initial surgery consultation. That would have been last week. However, between the doctor's summer vacation (he, too, has young children) and our vacations, it was difficult to plan follow-up appointments. But we got them planned
Tomorrow is the day we schedule everything. I really want to go for a run, but now there's a tropical storm blowing across the state. So now you know a little more about why I've not run as much. Sorry the post was so long. But I don't think I could be a very good advocate for health, wellness, & fitness or be a good PT, if I didn't share the importance of preventative medicine.