Sunday, June 5, 2011

Who Needs Them Anyway!

So, as I said in my story, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Breast Cancer. It all happened so fast and my GYN, Dr. Ghophrany was an amazing quarterback to get the game going. She scheduled and arranged my first appointments within a day of my first communication with her. I met with my breast surgeon, Dr. Menassah, and then my plastic surgeon, Dr. Passaretti. They all worked together so well all I really needed to do was show up for my big day. On June 12, 2009 I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Boobs, I thought, who needs them anyway. And people out there are "dying" for fake ones anyway, why should I die because of the real ones.
The surgery went as expected and I really was relived to be the one in the operating room out cold and not in the waiting room with my mother, aunt, father and his wife, and my father-in-law and his wife, and Tim and thankful for him his best friend Jason.

When I woke up I was even surprised to see that my boobs were still there. Dr.P does amazing work. No nipples at that point but full boobs.

The hospital stay was pretty uneventful with the exception of one panic attack.
My amazing support system was there for every moment (with the exception of the panic attack! Which was my own fault. Shouldn't have tried to be the tough gal. My memories of those days are a little blurry from the morphine but I remember my mother, aunt, Tim, father, and Hillary (one of my closest friends) visiting me. I also remember the shocking moment I was being wheeled out to see my two best friends, Carlene and Pam running frantically out in front of the hospital looking for me. For a few brief seconds I thought the morphine was still kicking in. Being home was good but difficult. I couldn't lift my children and Nate was only 17 months old. He was still in his crib I couldn't lift him out for six weeks. I think not being able to lift him and be the strong mom that I once was, was the most difficult piece. And again, my support system was unbelievable. Every morning someone would come help out. My friends husband, Brad even came one morning some time between the hours of 6:30 and 7, donuts in hand. The community that we had just moved to made us feel as though we had lived here for years.
Then we had those silly drains, for two weeks I had a holster (I used a belt under my shirt and pinned my drains to them). It was absolutely breath-taking to get them out. LITERALLY!!!

Six weeks seemed to go by so fast. The next step meeting Dr.Lo my oncologist. Such a nice man, very positive but occasionally I wanted to knock him out for that. I remember sitting in his office thinking alright they took the boobs, really what else. Boy, the what else was a lot. He told me I was going to get EIGHT chemotherapy treatments. Just to ensure the cancer cells be zapped. Great I thought, how bad can a little chemo be. Well, then he told me my hair would fall out. Really that to. Oh and then after the 4 months (8 treatments of chemo) I would need to meet with the radiation oncologist to get 30 days of radiation. But not to worry, I would be done by the new year. 2010 HERE I COME.
It was a crazy time but boy did I have support. It came from every angle you could think. Meal after meal, package after package, popcorn, flowers, plants, babysitting, daycare, house cleaning, food shopping, gift cards, grants to pay bills and our mortgage. The people never gave up. One day I will list everyone's name that helped out but I think I would use up to much internet space. We even had friends from New Jersey drive down to give us a meal and friends in Colorado offer to order in meals for us. CRAZINESS and KINDNESS!
What I want to do is provide information for everyone who knows someone that needs help. I know first hand what was the most helpful during those first days and throughout the process. My hope is to help make it easier for the next person. Lets just say to pay if forward.


  1. Aimee - Such a wonderful way to include the rest of us in your journey - as you have always been so open about. I can only imagine how hard it all was - but you rarely showed it on your face. You stood proud - and continue to do that - and it is something to be admired!

  2. You were amazing to behold during this time. Your strength and positivity totally inspiring. :)