Welcome home

10/13 Everything was coming along beautifully with my healing so I got to come home today. I’m feeling pretty darn great considering that I just had my breasts removed! It is hard dealing with my physical limitations, but that is all temporary. I am in good spirits and couldn’t be happier with the way everything went. My husband is a natural in the caretaker role and he truly has stayed by my side every step of the way to make sure I am not dizzy or going to fall when I have to use the restroom. He’s been emptying the drain tubes attached to my ribs and measuring my body’s output. I think he’s excited that I’m not being my ‘strong independent woman self’ right now and he gets to take care of me. I deal with pain very well and it all feels pretty moderate. Nothing hurts when I stay still. When I have to get up to pee or empty my drain tubes, that does hurt quite a bit. I constantly feel a heavy pressure on my chest, and occasionally get a sharp pain where the incisions are. My body may hurt but it’s not the end of the world. It’s all for a very very good cause. I brought my breast cancer risk down from 89% to 2%. I’m so happy that I did this. Recovery mode will be over before I know it. Update: having the hiccups is absolutely awful right now. My whole body shudders in pain when it happens. However i can only drink out of long straws because I can’t lift a drink to my mouth. A necessary evil.
10/14 The first night at home down. I had amazing sleep finally! I can’t really sleep solid because every few hours I wake up from the pain but I handle that and go right back to bed. My cat, Mr. Man, is having the hardest time with this. He is such a snuggler and his favorite place to sleep prior to this was on my chest. Tim and Matt understand why I need my physical space and know that I’ll be ready for snuggles asap….Mr Man has been extremely offended about being locked out of the room at night. All in all we’re getting into a groove. I have a cool bed situation with a little lap desk, lots of books and snacks. I can’t get out of bed by myself. I can’t put that pressure onto my body so Tim lifts me up and tucks me back in. He gets the husband of the year award, no contest! I have been getting care packages from my amazing friends and family. So many flowers and people coming over to water my plants and cook for Tim & I while we just maintain. It’s truly amazing and I couldn’t feel any luckier about this whole situation. I feel very full of love and I think that is why I am healing so well.


Ta Ta

10/12: The day I have been anticipating had arrived…surgery day! I felt so strangely calm. I just knew in my heart that I was making the right decision and I never second guessed my choice. I think that’s a great sign. I woke up and made everyone snuggle up with me extra hard while they still could. Tim drove me to the hospital and never left my side up until they wheeled my away for surgery. We checked in at 11:30 am and then it was nothing but paperwork and inserting needles and answering the same questions over and over again to the slew of nurses that kept coming in for various reasons. One nurse asked if there was anything special about me she should know and I responded thoughtfully, “I love cats and reading and I love tea.” Apparently she meant something more along the lines of if I needed a cane or other special needs things. Oops. I then asked if they had therapy animals and they confirmed that they did and they would be sure to have someone fluffy visit me after the surgery. Hooray! Finally it was show time and they gave me a shot of sedative and I said goodbye to Tim (not easy) and then we headed to the OR. My doctors sang me to sleep as they put on the anesthesia mask and it was really silly and calming. My surgery was about 5 hours long. They had to put a breathing tube down my throat because you can’t breathe on your own under anesthesia that long. (My throat is still sore from that.) Both of my surgeons were there, Dr. J who performed the mastectomy and Dr. Z who will be working on my breast reconstruction. They worked as a team during the operation. When Dr. J was finished removing all of my breast tissue on one side, Dr. Z came in behind her and inserted the spacer saline bags behind my pectoral walls. They worked in a circle and sewed me back up. My incisions are actually pretty small. They did not cut into my breast at all, because I chose to keep my nipple. This makes my risk about 1% higher of getting breast cancer. I figure if I get it at that point, it’s meant to be. The cuts are right under my breasts from about 6:00 to 9:00 on a clock face. I remember coming to in the recovery room with a few doctors and nurses standing around me, smiling and laughing. They all said that I was funny and sweet and they want to keep me and take me home. I have no recollection of anything I was saying to them. They wheeled me to the hospital room where I would be staying the night. I kept asking about Tim and how he was doing. I was so worried about his poor nerves while all this was happening! They finally got him after what felt like a million years and he came into the room with a giant stuffed dog and lots of hugs and kisses. He looked very relieved. Not too much else happened in the hospital. Lots of pain controlling medicines, lots of snacking finally! (You can’t eat for 12 hours before surgery. That may have been the hardest part of all of this for me! You can have my murderous boobs but don’t take my snacks away!) We had some classic horrible hospital sleep. Time stopped existing in there. I decided that instead of getting hung up over having these new scars on my body, to embrace them instead. The Bride of Frankenstein is a total babe, and she’s got stitches for days. So I humbly and woozily played tribute to her in the hospital with a black wig that I had painted white on the sides. They say laughter is the best medicine… I know I will heal faster than Wolverine because Tim and Matt are the silliest and most supportive team I could ever hope for.

My breast friends

The past few months have been filled to the brim with doctor visits, figuring out insurance stuff and general preparations for my preventative double mastectomy. This is typical of anyone about to under go a major surgery but it’s all just very clinical feeling and definitely a vibe killer at times. In the midst of all that and working full time I decided that I needed to throw a party for my boobs to make all of this feel lighter. To celebrate their awesomeness and to say goodbye to them surrounded by my breast friends. 

(Invitation painted with Love by my pal!)
Honestly, party planning was the perfect distraction for me to not obsess over my surgery. I am in great hands with my doctors and I just had to let go of the worry and focus on all things pink, glittery and boobified for a bit. And I did. For me there is nothing like craft therapy. Making decorations and games was the perfect thing to keep me from having idle hands. Idle hands initially led to some mega scary google searches on mastectomies. Seriously just never google doctor stuff! What was I thinking? 

Finding time was hard so I did a lot of my crafting at work in between clients. Case in point: 

 My coworkers got very used to coming in and seeing boobs in various forms in my room. We’re all estheticians and massage therapists… we see a lot more than boobs on a daily basis. We are not easily fazed as a general rule. Even when I do things like this…

I put a titty twist on some games and had people give me some great ideas like Bra Pong. Super fun & right up my alley. My friends even had a “Boob Memory” card game to play.

And my amazing friend built me a boobie shaped piñata that I stuffed with pink, silly and some inappropriate things.

And there were some incredible snacks. When Anja at Miss Zumstein’s heard about my mastectomy she offered to make the boobie cake. 

It was seriously so perfect and cute that no one wanted to cut it. However it was pink champagne cake so I gave into my urges and ohhhh yeah. It was amazing. 

Did you know that cotton candy dissolves in champagne, turns it pink and is delicious? We had fun cheersing my boobs off. 

Seriously, anything that can be turned into a boob will be turned into a boob around me and my friends. 

“Silicone” Jell-O shots anyone?
It was an amazing night filled with so much fun. I was just amazed at everyone’s support and encouragement. I have the best friends in the world. I feel so loved and lucky! I’m not in this alone! 

Who could ever possibly feel bad around these amazing people? I love you all. (And I love my friends and family who couldn’t make it, due to life being life. I felt all of your love too, don’t you worry!)
As if that wasn’t enough I also have the most amazing husband that anyone could ever even possibly imagine. He believes in me so much that I actually feel stronger and more brave and ready to take on anything. He is going to have to take care of me beyond ways I can even imagine yet. I won’t even be able to open the fridge on my own for a while. He is my rock, my foundation and my inspiration. Honestly our family, he/my son/myself is the whole reason I want to get this mastectomy. I love them so much that I would do anything in the entire world that it takes to be here and living life with them. My son is proud of my choice and thinks I’m very brave. *Puffs up chest and puts on brave face*

My surgery is in less than two weeks. With no more boob party distractions it’s time to prepare for this thing head on! The party was my last hoorah in indulging in champagne and jungle juice! It’s time to exercise and eat right and get my body strong and healthy for surgery which means working out everything except for my chest. The weaker the muscle is, the easier it will be for them to insert the saline bag behind my pectoral wall. I have to avoid foods like chia, turmeric, fish oil and aspirins as well because they make the blood flow so well. Which is great except for in the case of surgery. 

The countdown begins. I’ll keep you all posted on this wild ride. Feel free to send me all your good energy. I am gladly accepting all that comes my way. ❤️❤️

Bonus picture: me the next morning.My friends immediately and graciously offered to have the boobie party in their beautiful home. I remembered to pack pajamas, but I did not remember to pack shoes that weren’t high heels. The fur coat really ties the look together. You’re welcome. 

👋🏻Boob Voyage👋🏻

Photo Cred: Ali Bonomo
I am getting a preventive double mastectomy. I have a family history of breast cancer. My grandmother passed away in her early 30’s due to this dreadful disease. When I heard about the debut of genetic testing to see if you carry the BRCA2 gene I signed up for it right away. I was the first patient of my doctors that had come back with positive results, which was no surprise to me. I got tested only to confirm what I already suspected. I was in my early twenties and just shrugged my shoulders like “Oh okay, good to know!” And kept living life as usual, because I had that classic invincibility that every 22 year old has. The years pass, a few lumps here and there. All biopsied and benign thank goodness. Now however, as I am approaching 30 I realize that I have been given a gift of knowledge with this genetic testing. Am I really going to sit with what I know about my BRCA2 genetic mutation and just continue to carry on as usual? No, not anymore. It’s insulting to women who didn’t have the chance to beat cancer in it budding stages or before it even formed. It’s insulting to my grandmother, who if given the chance, would have done anything to save her life and raise her children. It’s up to me to take this information and be proactive in living a long and healthy life. What I’ve learned in my research about my diagnosis and family history is that I have a calculated risk of an 87% chance of developing breast cancer. That got my attention. Additionally, since I have this mutation if I WERE to develop breast cancer, my cells would actually be resistant to chemo therapy, meaning that i would have to accept the most aggressive form of treatment right away. I decided that I needed to do the right thing. To accept this gift of information and get a preventative double mastectomy. This procedure lowers my risk all the way down to 1%. I like those odds much better. In this procedure one doctor removes all of my breast tissue. All of it, cells are small and if one stays behind and mutates then I could still develop cancer. Another doctor will have the duty of rebuilding my breasts from silicon, rendering my breasts not deadly at this point. I made some appointments and the doctors confirmed that I was making the right choice. The doctor who will perform the double mastectomy is a wonderfully nice and comforting woman. She radiates intelligence and kindness and I immediately felt great about moving forward with her. She looked at my charts and informed me that getting mammograms wasn’t enough and that I should be getting breast MRI’s instead, due to my dense breast tissue and BRCA2. The more you know! I then made an appointment to meet my plastic surgeon, who would reconstruct my breasts. Upon meeting him I had another intuitive hit that this was exactly the person for the job. We geeked out on the science behind implants and how the body reacts with them and I could tell by his enthusiasm for what he does that my new breasts would be a work of art! He took my measurements. I am currently a 27D. I was informed that due to my small build and the fact that my breast had recovered from the effects of breastfeeding rather well, that I could keep my nipples! This was really great news, and not an opportunity every woman gets in this procedure. I feel so relieved to get to keep that part of me. I was told that I could choose any size of breast implants that I wanted, but I want to be the same me so I am choosing to remain at a D cup. At this time I am processing everything but ultimately I feel great about my decision. I have known about my risks from a young age. When my grandmother passed away she left 3 children behind, one being my 12 year old mother. I have an 11 year old son and I won’t let breast cancer take me from him. I have the choice to take action and I am. My mother identified all of her life as a Motherless Daughter and definitely used her experience to spread awareness about this disease. I am grateful for her honesty and openness to share with me. My husband is being incredibly supportive, as always. Everyday I fall in love with him all over again. His strength and love make me feel strong enough to take on anything. I have a few upcoming appointments and a “Boob Heaven” party to plan. I’ll keep you all updated as it all unfolds. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Ultimately my goal is to share my experience in a positive light, to show that this procedure is a celebration of scientific advancements in the world, a celebration of life and living and a celebration of one of the best body parts ever!
My grandma Judith, pictured here while very pregnant with my mom. 

Our Wedding in the Woods

It was a no-brainer for Tim & I to get married in the woods. Sure, there are many gorgeous venues out there but nothing can compare to the beautiful woods we have in Oregon.  

  We planned on eloping but as the day approached, we realized that we actually wanted to share this beautiful day with some of our closest friends and family. Being the amazing people they are, they were super on board with being there for us.

  I asked my father to get ordained, that way he could be our officiant and legally marry us. I didn’t want a stranger doing something so important. He quickly agreed and was down to hike into the woods and marry us. He did not care that he had been battling with his own health issues for years. He had recently been removed from his feeding tube and was ready to take on the woods. When he arrived to Portland I was surprised to see him walking with a cane. Turns out, he fell down some stairs and broke 6 of his ribs a few nights before, but didn’t tell me because he “wouldn’t let anything stop him from being here.” That’s my dad. 


  Our friends were so on top of everything, sprinkling flower petals on the ground, getting the music and the blue-tooth speaker connected and keeping the booze flowing. Best moral support team ever!


     Seriously. It was all perfect. The day went flawlessly. My dad walked me down the rose-petal-covered hiking-trail-aisle to “Myth” by Beach House. Tim and I wrote our own vows to read, Matt jumped up and down excitedly during the entire time we were sharing our vows…ugh it was really cute. We then exchanged rings with each other and Matt, kissed and popped the champagne!!   



  Then we ran through our “Just Married” banner that Matt & Eden colored for us. 

  Miss Zumstein’s made our wedding cake. It’s seriously so beyond perfect. They totally went way above and beyond for us. Those trees, those mountains. The flowers! The slice of wood it was on… Perfection. Did I mention it was salted chocolate & caramel?? Seriously dreamy.

What’s a bride left to do but pop on her jacket and party in the name of love!! I had way to much fun with sequins and glitter glue, let me tell you.  

   I also made my own bouquet. 




  Tim and I have known for a while that we wanted to get married. There was not a second of nervousness or doubt for either of us. We were just beyond thrilled to dedicate the rest of our lives to each other.  We are the luckiest people in the world. 
     You may have noticed by now that our wedding pictures are amazing!! Right?? Tim and I were lucky enough to have the amazing Ali Bonomo as our photographer and she couldn’t have been more fun and perfect and talented. I feel very fortunate to have had the best day of my life captured and translated in her artistic vision. 

Our handmade wedding ring adventure

Look at these perfect circles we brought into existence! We decided that it would be a bit more sacred & fun to make our wedding rings by hand and pour our own good energy into the bands. Not that we are skilled metal smiths. We had actually never done anything like this. Rebecca Melton to the rescue, owner of Melton Metals and an instructor at the Multnomah Arts Center. I contacted her and told her my idea and she was beyond enthusiastic to help us.  

  Here is how our rings began. A few modest pieces of rose gold, silver, and gold.  

  Matthew loved heating up the gold with fire. We decided to have Matthew join us to make himself a wedding band as well, to signify our unity as a team and to remind him that we’re all in this together and it’s his special day too.  

   He was also a fan of hitting the metal to shape it. Fire torches? Hitting stuff with fancy mallets? Yeah. He was into it. 
  It was such a great experience making something so special with someone so special. I loved watching how carefully and meticulously Tim worked on his ring.  

    I’m so proud of our creations! 
  Handmade rings derserve a handmade display until our wedding day. This is what the ring bearer will hold at the ceremony. The crystals are continuing to put nothing but good vibes into our ring. It’s hard to wait. Like a kid on Christmas waiting to open up a gift I just want to wear my ring now! 


Wahclella Falls

Today we continued on with our mission to find our wedding location. We’ve checked out a few places in the gorge, only to be sprayed in the face by waterfalls and teetering on narrow ledges. Which is definitely fun but not the stuff wedding locations are made of. Today we stumbled upon our spot at the gorgeous location of Wahclella Falls.  
Matthew was super enchanted by the waterfall at the beginning of the trail.

The whole hike was a mossy green and shaggy adventure.

  Gentlemen, we have arrived.  Okay. Being here and seeing the place where we are going to get married is so cool! It makes it feel more real to be physically present and visualize the day. I’m officially ridiculously excited.