Because of my faith, my guardian angels and the prayers and well wishes of many people, I am here today to share my story. Divine intervention has certainly enabled me with the mental, physical and spiritual strength to not only survive breast cancer, but to thrive. I am a stronger woman because of it, and  am thankful to tell my story. I am happy to share with you that I have a peace, serenity and  calmness that I would never have imagined to be possible. The presence of the angels of strength and hope have played a strong  role in my healing and continued great health.

August 22, 2006 I had a double mastectomy and DIEP Flap reconstruction for a Stage  1b multifocal intraductal breast  cancer  of my left breast. That was 8 years ago and I don’t look back, only forward. In celebration of life, I started my blog today , August 22  (CST) 2014 to announce my personal triumph  over a challenging journey.

Along the path to wellness, I have learned so much, as a woman, as a health consumer and as an advocate for choices for  women. I would venture to say few, if any woman thinks about what option for treatment she would choose  if she was diagnosed with  early stage breast cancer today.  I knew if I ever faced  the reality of such a diagnosis, I would elect a double mastectomy.

My paternal GM, had only one breast removed at a young age, and had a falsie , as she called it, when she went out in public. She never acted like it was a big deal, nothing unusual, it was just a part of her wardrobe. I spent several summers with her, my GF and my Aunt , near Virginia Beach when I was  about   8  through 11 years old. Since my GM didn’t drive, and my GF  and my Aunt  were at work, my GM and I would catch a bus to the beach , all day, every day  from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the entire summer. The lack of one breast didn’t stop GM from going or from wearing a swimsuit. She delighted in sitting at the edge of the surf where the waves would inevitably wash out her  falsie at least once if not many times.She would yell to me to “go catch my falsie it’s getting away”, she also added some urgency, “hurry up now, go catch it!” Of course, I would delight that she needed me for such an important task . She never went home without it ,  and never left home without it!

Her matter of fact approach and  jovial attitude combined with her zest for life certainly strongly influenced my quick decision for mastectomy. I was confused with the choices of what  comes after the initial biopsy, lumpectomy and staging of the cancer . Once all the information and reports are complete the doctors are able to offer choices. In my case,  I initially had a huge problem, the type procedure I was considering required I have sufficient fat in my lower abdomen or buttocks to harvest to make my new breasts . In 2003, I weighed 205 pounds and only 5 ft 3 inches tall, I wore an 18 or 1X size. I lost  to a size 4 and about 135 on my own diet plan in less than a year. After hurricane Katrina,  in August 2005, I  lost even more and remember purchasing a pair of  size 2 white  jeans to wear in  the following 2006  Mardi Gras  Parade called Krewe of Eve ! I was too thin and certainly did not have any body fat! Little did I know I would need that fat in August 2006 to reconstruct my new breasts!

Next time, I will explain how I overcame my “problem”  and share more about the final outcome and how you can lose weight too  ( or gain!)  ….if you want to do either you can!