Tag Archives: mastectomy

My First Race After Cancer

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Last week Carrie at Family, Fitness, and Food wrote about her very first race.  She then asked others to share their first race stories.  My first 5K wasn’t a big deal, and I can’t even find the pictures from it…This was back in the day before digital cameras.  However, my first race back after my mastectomy was a big first in quite a few ways for me.

I found out that I had to have a mastectomy in June of 2007 at the ripe old age of 27.  My first surgery (there are a total of 3 surgeries when you have a mastectomy) was scheduled for August 27th.  In this first surgery, they remove your breasts and place expanders in your chest to slowly inflate your boobs for the next cosmetic surgery.  Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about this, but I like to look on the bright side of things…That being that I will never have saggy boobs!  I’m gonna be one “perky” grandma someday, if you catch my drift Winking smile!

The tumors I had (all 31 of them) were caused by hormone problems.  Any abnormal changes to my hormones (which can be caused by the unnatural ingredients in our food) will cause my body to react in this tumor forming way.  All my doctors sat down with me and explained what I would need to do for the rest of my life, which is mainly staying away from bad ingredients in food and anything else that will change my body’s normal hormone levels.

Therefore, it was time for a massive change in our home.  No more food with crap in it!  I also wanted to set a recovery goal for myself after my second cosmetic surgery, so I signed up for the Minnie Marathon Weekend 5K at Epcot on May 3rd.  This was the last year for the Minnie Marathon Weekend, and the Princess Half Marathon Weekend would take it’s place the next year.  I hadn’t set a goal for myself in anyway for quite a few years, and it felt so good to make this 5K my recovery goal.

After my recovery from my second surgery, February 18, 2008, I got out there and started running again in preparation for my 5K in May.  It felt so good to be on the road to recovery and healthy again!P5030496

On May 8th I headed over to Epcot for my first race post mastectomy.  It was a perfect cool May morning, and everyone was in such a happy mood.  Once the race began my mind started to wander…like it always does.  I started thinking about how after this race everything was going to be different.  It made me feel like I was starting over again and making an amazing start to another chapter in my life.  No more chemicals in our foods,  becoming more aware of my health and my family’s health, educating others on the causes of breast cancer, making goals for myself, and making sure I stay active with my son for the rest of my life.  I finished that race with a smile on my face, and a new and better outlook on my life.

What is your most memorable race?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a Free Giveaway!!!

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a special month for me for personal reasons.  Back in 2007 I had to have a mastectomy at the age of 27.  When it was all said and done, they discovered I had 31 tumors many of which were precancerous.  The doctor told me that if they had not caught it when they did things would have been way worse and I may have been looking at more than just a full mastectomy.

Instead of talking about “awareness” and the whole detailed story of my mastectomy, I would like to talk about the support and awareness of friends.

Like all breast cancer stories, I was completely floored when the doctor told me I had to have a mastectomy.  What to do next?  This was my biggest question.  I didn’t know anyone personally who had gone through a mastectomy, so I really didn’t know what the whole process entailed (my surgeon was awesome, and he gave me a ton of info and talked to me about everything, but I needed more personal info and info from someone who had been through it), and I refused to get on the internet, because I knew that would have a bad outcome.  Instead, I just went on with my daily business.

The next day at the gym my friends asked me how my appointment with the doctor went, and I told them the outcome.  Well, after getting a bunch of hugs they all went into overdrive researching and helping in any way they could.  That same day, one of my trainers and friends, Hal and Sam (husband and wife), introduced me to one of their friends who worked out at our gym.  Her name is Kathy, and she is an angel.

Kathy was the woman who made it possible for me to get through my mastectomy.  She 41490_1423880202_673_nis just an amazing, generous, and caring person.  She allowed me (a total stranger at the time) to ask her a ton of questions for over an hour about her mastectomy, experience, and recovery.  And let me tell you, I was asking some pretty detailed and slightly embarrassing questions too.  Not once did Kathy hesitate to answer any of my questions or brush a single one off.  She took her time and gave me all the details she had to give, which included details about the 3 surgeries I would have to go through, and my recovery for all of them.  Then, she and I continued to talk up and through my surgeries about everything.  Honestly, she was my mental life saver going into those surgeries.  I know I would have been a wreck if it hadn’t been for her.

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After my surgery not only did I have Kathy there for me, I had a whole group of friends and trainers there for myself and my family to help us get through everything.  I couldn’t be more thankful for all the meals, phone calls, Kim coming over to do laundry (a butt load of other chores) and wash my hair, Teresa and Cheryl for your support and helping out so much with our son, Skip and Walt for helping my husband through everything, and an overall outpouring of love and prayers from all of my friends.  From our home/neighborhood to the gym, (Hal and Jessica helping me get through my physical recovery and everyone elses support there) everyone was just beyond supportive and helpful, and I know I would have never made it through the whole ordeal without them.

With their help I was able to go through with my surgeries with my head held high and a smile on my face and a positive outlook.  Thankfully I’m young and had a quick recovery…Plus my boobs will never sag!  Below are pictures of some of the wonderful people in my life who were there for me through all of my surgeries and recoveries.

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I honestly hope there are a ton of “Kathys” out there, and I’m sure there are!  All of us women who have been through this need to help anyone who may have to go through any breast surgeries or are going through them. If you need someone to give you details, email me. I will be there for you and answer all your questions that I can.

Which brings me to the Giveaway!!!!  The giveaway is 2 necklaces!  One necklace is for you, and the other necklace is for a friend in your life who has been there for you.

This charm necklace, Sterling Silver with 14k Rose Gold Plated “Be, Kind, Free, True, Brave, Strong, Happy, Thankful, Compassionate” Two Charm Graffiti Necklace, 18″, is for you.  I want you to always feel these things throughout your life!

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The second necklace, for your friend, is two sided and has a wonderful quote about friends: “A Friend May Well Be Reckoned The Masterpiece Of Nature – Ralph Waldo Emerson”

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This giveaway is for you and a friend!  All you have to do are two things:

1.  “Like” From Florida to North Dakota on Facebook.

2.  Leave a comment on this blog post about the friend you would like to give the “friend” necklace to, and how that friend has been there for you.  Even the little things they do can mean so much!

It is that simple!  The giveaway will last from Oct 28th to Oct 31st.  I will post the winner on my blog, fromfltond,  and the From Florida to North Dakota Facebook page on Nov 1st!!