BRCA Journey Part 2

Friends, I am so overwhelmed by your love and support for me and my little family. I’ve always known that I have the best friends in the world and you just keep confirming it over and over. Thank you for all of your offers to help when we need it, phone calls to check in on us, texts, gifts and prayers. I love you more than I could ever say.

So, here’s the rundown.

On Thursday morning at 6:30am I opened the car door to start on my way to St. Louis. My dreamboat of a husband surprised me with a birthday/road-trip basket in the front seat complete with snacks for the journey, hand written bday card, and FitBit. 

Swoon! He’s a keeper. I had to run back inside and give him another smooch before leaving.

I popped in my favorite ‘Jimmy Eat World’ mix and headed toward St. Louis for my first doctor’s appointment. I stopped in Rolla to pick up my Aunt Renee (my Mom’s sister) and we zipped on up to the Women’s Oncology Center. (Thanks for coming along Renee! It was so great spending time with you and meant a ton having you there.)

We met with Dr. Kevin Easley, a Gynecological Oncologist, and discussed my BRCA1 status and desire to start preventative procedures. Dr. Easley was great; I felt very comfortable with him and his entire staff. He jokingly deemed me a ‘boring’ patient (a good thing!) and went over my options.

  • Have tubes and ovaries removed only (salpingo-oophorectomy). There are some possible pros to electing to choose just this procedure, but a major con is that it leaves a higher risk for peritoneal cancer (cancer of the stomach lining).

  • Have a complete hysterectomy (removal of uterus & cervix) as well as a salpingo-oophorectomy.

To reduce my risk as much as possible I have opted for a complete hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy. Dr. Easley went over the entire surgical procedure which will be done laparoscopically and will most likely be an out patient procedure. A biopsy will be done on what is removed while I am still under anesthesia to verify that no cancer is present. We don’t anticipate finding any cancer; the biopsy is just standard procedure. If cancer is found in a patient during surgery the Dr. can immediately begin a more intense treatment immediately while the patient is still under anesthesia.

So, my surgery date is set for late June. I could have the procedure done earlier, but we have a family trip set for April. Also, in early June my dad is getting married to his sweetheart, Donna, and I do not want to miss out on wedding planning!! Josh will be taking a week off for the surgery and Dad and Donna will be spending their 2nd honeymoon taking care of me and my boys (so romantic!). Knowing that PapaDonna (as the 3 year old calls them) will be here during this time puts me at so much ease. We are so incredibly blessed by them.

My next step is to find a breast surgeon to discuss the possibility of a double mastectomy. This is a little bit trickier for me as the surgery and recovery is much more intense and there are so many options for reconstruction. It’s a bit overwhelming, but I believe God will guide us through all of this just as He does in everything else.

Josh and I have complete and total trust in God throughout all of this. Our faith is a huge part of keeping us grounded and in helping us not let fear overcome us. We don’t believe in making decisions based on fear, but we do believe that God has given us wisdom to help guide us. We don’t have all of the answers and we haven’t made all of the decisions yet, but we have total peace about being proactive. We’ll do our part and trust God for the rest.

If you feel led to, please join us in praying for the following:

  • An uncomplicated, boring surgery with a speedy recovery.
  • Wisdom and peace for decisions we will be making in the future.

  • That this guy will pick up on potty training quickly and with ease. Eeeeek! We’ve just started and he’s not much of a fan. Hopefully he’ll have it locked down by June.

  • That this guy will be weaned from nursing soon. I’ve been “trying” to wean him for a while, but he’s my last baby. Momma is having a harder time with it than he is.
  • My biggest concern is how my body will be affected after surgery. I’ll be thrown into menopause, but I don’t know what that will look like for me. It’s harder on some women than others. Please pray that I adjust easily.

***If you are concerned that your family might have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation the best thing to do is get test. You can call the cancer center at your local hospital and ask if they offer testing or call an oncology center in your area. If you live in the South Eastern Missouri area The Women’s Oncology Center offers BRCA testing and genetic counselors are available to go over your results with you.***

I can’t say enough how much we appreciate you all and all of the encouragement you’ve given us. We are just the luckiest.

9 thoughts on “BRCA Journey Part 2

  1. Robin Wentz says:

    My love and prayers are with you as you approach your first surgery, and then moving forward with whatever decision you make in your second surgery. Being lead by God, informed by reputable physicians, you will make the right decisions- for YOU! I do know it can be overwhelming and clearly your decisions are many, many more. Than I’ve had to make. Good luck with potty training! May God continue to bless you as you, Josh and your entire family embark on this brace journey. Sending all my love.

  2. Betty Pyatt says:

    My BRCA was no mutations, I’ve shared it with my family. It’s a costly test but very useful

  3. Rachel says:

    You got this babe! So. You need to email me your favourite home delivery restaurants and orders for June. Dates you want a meal delivered and well…we just love you guys and I am storming heaven on your behalf. So grateful you’ve found a surgeon you have confidence in and a date confirmed that suits. Now for some serious potty training love…try the ping pong balls in the toilet!

  4. Kelly DeSchepper says:

    Thinking about you!!!! I am BRCA postiive (BRCA2) with a strong family history. I had my ovaries and tubes taken out last year and have been talking to surgeons about breast surgery. They are telling me that the recovery is much harder, but it’s worth it to use my own tissue to reconstruct. I have to decide to “pull the trigger” and get it on the books – AHHHHH!!! I tell you that only because I feel like these decisions are SO HARD. … i mean ROCK AND A HARD PLACE doesn’t even do it justice. I appreciate you laying out your thought process, your decisions, etc. You are brave and strong!!! Thank you for sharing!

    • aftonjanelle says:

      Kelly, thanks for commenting! Oh girl, it’s not a fun journey at all, but I’m so glad we at least have options. How was your recovery from surgery last year? I hear the hysterectomy recovery isn’t too bad. I’m also looking at getting DIEP flap sometime next summer when my boys are a bit older. Some days I’m really confident about getting that surgery and other days I’m anxious. Eek! Are you a member of the BRCA Sisterhood Facebook group? I’ve gotten so much info there.

  5. […] I’ve been getting some requests for updates so here it is, because, who doesn’t love a good hysterectomy story?! Am I right? If you haven’t read my previous posts regarding my BRCA1 status you can start at the start here and here. […]

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