Archive | March, 2013

Can I have some of your fat? The line starts at the left…

23 Mar


I went to the plastic surgeon the other day to see what my options were regarding reconstruction after my Preventive Mastectomy. I have to tell you how I met Dr. M, the plastic surgeon first. I pick up shifts at an urgent care center in Southlake. Once I was there, I heard one of the Doctors talking about her husband being a plastic surgeon and how he specializes in Breast reconstruction. God just puts you in the right place at the right time, huh? I got his number and went to see him and I loved him right away.

Ladies, did you know they can make boobs out of fat from your stomach area, butt, and thighs? So not only do you get new boobs, you either get a tummy tuck, butt lift, or thinner thighs, and insurance covers it all. I call that a win-win situation. All I have to say to that is SCORE. (Remember: I am thinking glass half full)

Back to the appointment with the plastic surgeon, he explained in great detail all my options from using my own fat-tissue to implants. There are so many ways to make boobies. I was overwhelmed by it all. He then asked me to undress from the top up, nothing like some man examining your breast while your husband sits on the couch across the room and stares daggers at him. That was too weird for me. Anyway, after he touched, measured, and prodded he decided to play let’s check the fat game. He pinched my fat on my tummy and stated, “We need to do a CAT scan to check the vessels and the fat on your abdomen to see if there is enough.” Really, Mr. plastic surgeon? You really need a CT to check my fat? I can pinch it up for you. There is enough to make some honking breast if you ask me.

Well off to the hospital in April to check my fat with a CT, kind of overkill in my book, but oh well. I am not the doctor, what do I know? I did not even know how they made boobs in the first place.



21 Mar


In 2012 many years from the first genetic testing I went for my yearly appointment with my OBGYN. She told me about additional genes that have been identified that increase your risk for BC and I should get testing. I told her I would and I kept putting it off. I think her nurses called me 2-3 times to keep checking to see if I had the test yet. I finally got the test to get the doctor and nurse off my back. Thinking the test would come back negative just like the first set. Now I think the nurse calling me so many times was God nudging me to get off my butt and have it done. The genetic counselor called me 2 months later and told me I had tested positive for a gene mutation. Put me at a 60-80% lifetime risk of getting Breast cancer that is 5 times higher than the average women’s risk. The gene mutation that I carry is ATM gene.

ATMThe official name of this gene is ataxia telangiectasia mutated. Genes are particles in cells, contained in chromosomes, and made of DNA. DNA contains the instructions for building proteins. And proteins control the structure and function of all the cells that make up your body. Think of your genes as an instruction manual for cell growth and function. Abnormalities in the DNA are like typographical errors. They may provide the wrong set of instructions, leading to faulty cell growth or function. In any one person, if there is an error in a gene, that same mistake will appear in all the cells that contain the same gene. This is like having an instruction manual in which all the copies have the same typographical error.


The ATM gene helps repair damaged DNA. DNA carries genetic information in cells. Inheriting two abnormal copies of this gene causes the disease ataxia-telangiectasia, a rare disease that affects brain development. Inheriting one abnormal ATM gene has been linked to an increased rate of breast cancer in some families because the abnormal gene stops the cells from repairing damaged DNA.

Researchers have found that having a mutation in one copy of the ATM gene in each cell is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. About 1 percent of the United States population carries one mutated copy of the ATM gene in each cell. These genetic changes prevent many of the body’s cells from correctly repairing damaged DNA. People who have only one copy of the ATM gene in each cell due to a gene deletion are also at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Cells that are missing one copy of the ATM gene produce half the normal amount of ATM protein. A shortage of this protein prevents efficient repair of DNA damage, leading to the accumulation of mutations in other genes. This buildup of mutations is likely to allow cancerous tumors to develop.


DODGING A SPEEDING BULLET: First genetic testing

20 Mar



My doctor and I knew my family history was not good so my doctor wanted me to start having Mammograms in my early 20. I never had a problem till 1994 I had to have a lump removed thank goodness it was benign. A few years later genetic testing became available my mom got tested since she was the only living women in her family that actually had BC. She was testing for the only 2 Breast Cancer gene mutations known at that time BRCA1 and BRCA2. We both went and  got the results that she was negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2 so if she was negative so I has to be too. Oh boy all my worries were left right then and there.  But the Genetic doctor warned me I was still at high risk due to my family history and there might be a gene associated with BC that has not been identified yet.  I went on with my life thinking I dodged a speeding bullet.


19 Mar


My story started when I was around 8 and in the 2ND grade. My mom was gone somewhere for a few days but my brother and I did not know where she was.  I remember my dad taking us to a restaurant and telling us” your mom has Breast Cancer and had to have her breast removed. Do not say anything about your mother only having one breast or cancer.” I guess we were supposed to ignore the elephant in the room. My mom was 39 years old when she got diagnosed.

As I got older I came to realize my crappy family history with this disease. My Material grandmother’s sister got Breast Cancer when she was 32 and died at 33 years of age. My Grandmother got Breast cancer at age 40 and it metastasized to the bones in her pelvis , she endured extreme pain till her death 30 years later.  I think I would rather have been dead than deal with her excruciating pain.  Finally, my mom’s cousin got Breast Cancer in her early 50’s.  In 2 generations all the women on my mother’s side of the family except one had breast cancer .  Not to mention my dad’s side of the family where there is one of my Aunts who had Breast Cancer. Not good odds for me in my book.

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