Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Surgery update...finally!

I've done my surgery update finally. It's a bit long, so hope I don't bore anyone with it!

Surgery Day ~ November 25th, 2009

My surgery wasn't scheduled until 12:30, so we headed to London the morning of surgery. My husband and I arrived at St. Joseph’s around 10:30. Dr. Temple was ahead of schedule so I was taken into Day Surgery early. At this point, the nerves hit. For my mastectomy in July, I didn't have the nerves. I should have seen this as a little foreshadowing that things weren't going to go so smoothly.

First, I changed into my sexy gown and then Dr. Temple came in to mark me up with her trusty Sharpie!

Next came the part I dread, and that didn't go so well...the lab tech arrived to put in my IV. Not such a fun experience. I have small veins and it's usually difficult to give me an IV...today was worse! My wonderful caring husband held my hand for support (and for me to squeeze). She couldn't do it and tried poking and poking and poking at both hands. After about 10 minutes of this, she gave up and was going to speak to the OR staff. At this point I'm just about in hysterics. Despite my tattoos, I HATE needles and was almost at the passing out stage. I started to cry and could not turn off the waterworks. Shortly after a medical student working with Dr. Currin, the anesthesiologist, arrived. She did her 20 questions with me regarding medical history. She said not to worry about the IV, that she'd do it down at the OR. Ok, I felt a little better now. Since the hospital staff would probably frown on me bringing my dogs and cats with me, I brought Mickey and Minnie for moral support! This picture was taken by my hubby just before they wheeled me out.

About 10 minutes later, Dr. Currin's medical student and a very handsome orderly (had to mention that...I hate seeing a good looking man when I'm looking my worst!) arrived to wheel me down to the OR. They park my gurney in the hall just outside my OR door. The student doctor says she's going to do my IV now. Nope, my body had other ideas! She tried a couple of times in my right hand and ended up blowing 2 veins. My right hand turned a lovely purple colour! She said she was sorry and was going to speak to Dr. Currin and have him take a look at me. I start crying again!

Dr. Currin comes out of the OR and starts chatting to me. He looked familiar. He took one look at the Oriental goldfish tattoo on my right arm and says "I remember you, you have the carp on your arm!" He starts to laugh. He had been my anesthesiologist for my mastectomy in July. I knew I recongized him! He's older and English and had this aire about him that just wanted you to cuddle him like a grandfather or a teddy bear. He was such a sweet man. He put a tournequet on my lower left arm (instead of the usual upper) and started to slap my wrist VERY hard! OUCH!!! Next thing you know, I had an IV needle in me. He had that sucker in there in under 15 seconds and with no freezing first. What a wonderful doctor!!! The nurse hooked up my IV and started the antibiotic drip.

A couple of minutes later, they took me into the OR. As usual, I moved myself to the table and tried to get comfortable on a table that's only about 12 inches wide! They covered me with wonderful warm blankets. Dr. Currin rubbed my shoulders and said "You've been through a rough time today, I'm going to give you a treat. I'm going to give you the best buzz you've ever had." Whatever he gave me was WOW! Can I have some of whatever that was to go please? He put something into my IV and left me buzzed for a couple of minutes while the nurses hooked up the blood pressure cuff, heart monitors, etc. With my previous surgeries they had hooked me up wide awake and then just put me under. This time was definitely different!!! :-) They finally put the oxygen mask on me and told me to take couple of deep breaths. They injected the Propofol (a.k.a. Diprivan; think Michael Jackson, may he rest in peace) and out I went.

Skip to Recovery. I wake up and with worst sore throat EVER! I could hardly speak...the worst laryngitis I've ever had. I had been previously told that I was difficult to intubate and they had to use a special type of tube on me. Apparently this time was no exception. The recovery nurse told me the sore throat was from that. Other than the throat, I felt pretty good with very little pain although I'm sure the morphine I had been given during surgery was still at work. I'm lucky and wake up very easily from anesthetic and never feel nauseous, etc. As soon as I was able to sit up, the nurse gave me some Tramacet for the pain. I had two drains in (yuck ~ I HATE the drains).

After about 30 minutes, they took me back to the Day Surgery Unit where my hubby was waiting for me. The same very handsome orderly mentioned above got me some ginger ale and a cherry popsicle to help with the throat. He was very very kind and chatted with me for a few minutes. Shortly after that, Dr. Temple came in to see me. She laughed at my throat and said Dr. Currin really had to ram my throat a few times to get the tube in. I told her how wonderful I thought he was and she said if I decide to do nipple reconstruction or if need to do a revision surgery, we can request him again. I've made a mental note of that because I have a feeling there'll be a revision in my future...but more about that further on.

About an hour after I was in back in Day Surgery, I was allowed to leave. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, my previous mastectomy and today's breast capsulatomy and implants are day surgery. I was given two cards with my implant serial numbers (one for each side) and a prescription for Tramacet as well as a heavy duty antibiotic to prevent skin infection. I joked with my hubby that if they ever find my body and can't identify it, they can use my implant serial numbers to identify me. The nurse and I talked about the serial numbers and noted a recent case where this had been done. We both wished the authorities had never released that type of information because they are a lot of sickos out there. If someone would go to the efforts of disfiguring a body so much that it can't be identified (cut of finger tips and knock out her teeth), then we said we could see women being mutilated to remove their implants as well. But I digress. I was also given the instructions for the home care nurse.

DH went to get the car and the nurse wheeled me down to the hospital entrance. I was starving so part way home we stopped at McD's to get me some chicken nuggets and fries. The drive home was uneventful. It was good to get home.

Skip to next day. Good thing I had experience emptying drains. When I called the homecare people, I was advised someone wouldn't be here until Friday (my surgery was on a Wednesday), but I could call if there was an emergency or I had any problems they would send someone over. I saw my first homecare nurse on Friday. She's a neighbour of mine and she had visited me back in July after the mastectomy.

My tubes were removed on Monday. Dr. Temple had ordered that they had to come out on Day 5 regardless of home much drainage I still had. Removal was virtually painless and it felt good to have them removed. Sleeping with them in is next to impossible! I was pretty sleep deprived at this point. The nurse showed me the tubing and explained how much was actually in my breast (nearly faints)...I didn't need to know that!!! LOL I did enjoy many naps with my fur-nurses. Cats are the BEST fur-nurses. Raven (the little black cat) never left my side. Animals definitely have an instinct for when you're not feeling well. Both of my dogs who can be pretty rambunctious didn't jump on me once during the healing process.

Skip to next week. I'm so depressed and hate my new foobs. I have this horrible arm pit cleavage (for want of a better term) and to me my foobs look like flat hamburger buns. I spent about a week crying. Everytime someone would ask how I was doing, I'd start crying. I was miserable. I had moments where I had wished I hadn't done reconstruction at all and had opted to remain a no-boober.

I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Temple on December 7th. My sister came along as driver and moral support. Margo was there too (my angel Margo). Dr. Temple said I was healing nicely. When she asked what I thought, I started to cry. I told her I didn't like how I looked and had been afraid to tell her for not wanting to hurt her feelings (silly I know). She said I still had a lot of swelling in my chest muscles and that it will take quite some time for things to settle down. She said not to be silly about hurting her feelings. 10 - 15% or reconstruction patients require some sort of revision surgery. I'm to go back to see her on June 21st, 2010, the day she returns from her maternity leave. If I'm still not happy then, we'll schedule a revision to place them differently, or perhaps change the profile and/or size. I currently have medium profile implants. Dr. Temple showed me some massages to do on my foobs. I'm to push them up, push them down and push them together to create cleavage. This is done because there's scar tissuing forming and this is to help put the implants where I want them. She said to do them everytime I sit on the toilet, or whenever. I told her "hell, I'll do those at work! LOL" They joked about the guys looking at their watches wondering what time Shari starts work! LOL I almost obsess about the massages. I'm constantly doing them. Anyone who doesn't know I've had reconstruction surgery could see me and think I was constantly playing with myself! :-) The only down side is the massages to cause some discomfort. That's probably from breaking up the scar tissue.

Once Dr. Temple left the office, Margo sat next to me and we had a good chat with me and my sister. If you recall from my first blog entry, my sister tested negative to this nasty mutation. Please read here from an old blog of hers for an account of our genetic testing and my positive result. Margo said she understood my emotions and that I'd been through so much in the past year (3 surgerys virtually removing every female part I had). She was going to have a psycologist friend of hers, Colleen, give me a call to talk. Margo is so wonderful!

After my appointment I felt so much better. I can wait six months. I'm hoping with the constant playing with my new foobs, that things will settle down and I'll start to like the way I look.

For your viewing pleasure, this is how my foobs look today. I have to say the incisions are healing very well. Dr. Temple definitely is a talented plastic surgeon. Her incisions are very fine.

I finish my sick leave tomorrow, and start Christmas vacation on December 24th. I'll be back to work on January 4th, 2010. It will be good to get back. I have certainly missed everyone and my work (yes, I love my job and the work I do!).

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone for all your support in 2009. I couldn't have done this without you. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2010.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sorry; I've been neglecting my blogging responsibilities!

Sorry I haven't updated since my surgery. That update blog will be difficult to write and I've been on a emotional roller coaster since surgery. I will update sometime over the holidays when I feel more up to it. I am healing well (at least physically!). I'll update about my day of surgery and the roller coaster ride that followed. Again, sorry for not updating...will get to it soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

4th and Last Fill ~ better late than never!!!

Sorry for the late posting, but my life has been crazy for weeks!

I had my fourth and final fill on September 21. This fill was incredibly painful. There was 100cc more room in each expander; however Dr. Temple could get no more than 75cc in each side. My poor body would stretch no more. This suited me fine as the pain was excruciating. It was so bad; I had to take a couple of days off work afterwards. Thanks goodness the pain is all gone; just a little discomfort every now and then.

My exchange surgery is scheduled for November 25 at 12:30. Dr. Temple has ordered me 395cc implants; she thinks that size will look pretty. I can’t wait to have the exchange surgery done and have this all behind me.

Here are a few photos after the 4th fill.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Survived!!!

Wednesday was my first day back to work following my PBM. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it with the pain I was in from Tuesday’s fill, but when I woke up Wednesday morning, the pain was gone!!!! There’s still a very slight tightness in my chest, but that’s it! Since the pain only lasted the first day, maybe I will complete the rest of my fill at the next visit on September 21...I'll see how it goes and she uses 50cc syringes; I can always stop after one.

Going back to work Wednesday and Thursday was exhausting, but I did manage to work a full 7 hours each day. I have today off ~ I usually don’t work Fridays. On my first day back, I received the most beautiful bouquet of sunflowers from my cohorts in crime, er, I mean my co-workers, Mark and Tammy! Thank you both! They are beautiful. Mark said since I was returning to work, so was the sunshine. So very sweet.

Many many of my girlfriends at work copped a feel of my new foobs with many varied reactions. The hardness of the expanders surprised quite a few! LOL Everyone said I looked great. I’m starting to get out of my funk and am feeling much better about myself. Those negative thoughts are beginning disappear. It’s good to be back and to have the “distraction” of work. I had really missed all of my friends and coworkers!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fill #3...almost there!

I had fill #3 today. OUCH! At my insistence, Dr. Temple put in 100ccs on each side instead of the usual 75. Most of the pain is not in my chest strangely enough; most of the pain is in my left shoulder, shoulder blade and back. My fault, I know! My last fill went so well with virtually no pain and very little discomfort, that I thought I would try more. I’m in a fair amount of pain, although it’s started to subside a little...thank you Advil. My drive home was not fun and very uncomfortable. Since my last fill went so well, I didn’t take a driver with me today...OOPS! Lesson learned.

I’m now at 350ccs, so have only 100 more to go. She said I may only need one more, but after today, I may have less put in next time. We’ll see how long today's pain lasts and how I feel for the next appointment. I’m scheduled for September 21st.

Dr. Evans assisted again today, so with one on each side, today’s fill went just as fast as the last one. Dr. Temple started to giggle near the end of the fill and said “you’ll really notice the difference now!” And, boy what a difference there is!

Here are a few photos after today's fill. The dots are little bandaids they put on after the fill...after seeing them in a photo, they look like bad fake nips to me! LOL The right one leaked when the needle was removed and even after the bandaid was put on and soaked through my t-shirt...I looked like I was lactating! LOL They are coming along really nicely and I am beginning to really like the way they look in clothing...undressed I still am having problems with the way I look, but in clothing, I'm beginning to look pretty "normal"...which is very important to me.

Larger pictures will open in another window.

Monday, September 7, 2009


There are some cute t-shirt sayings out there that play on the whole BRCA thing (I have quite a few of them myself), but I’ve come up with one that’s not so cute ~ BRCAnxiety. I am beginning to wonder if learning of a BRCA mutation isn't somewhat like having Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). I have more anxiety now than pre-surgery. I’ve even started having panic attacks in the middle of the night...what a treat that is combined with night sweats! I think I’m becoming sleep deprived...my insomnia has returned full tilt! Last night I received a grand total of 2 hours of sleep. I do have some other unrelated personal issues going on right now, and those seem to just escalate my anxieties. Not a minute of my day passes where it doesn’t come creeping back into my mind.

I am an otherwise healthy woman in my mid-forties, have had a hysterectomy, BSO, PBM and am part-way through the reconstruction process. After watching my mom suffer for three months after a terminal ovarian cancer diagnosis and learning of my own predisposition for cancer, I just can't move on. Every little ache and pain sets me off. Peritoneum? Pancreas? Residual breast tissue? Something else??? Since the BSO results in the early onset of menopause, my risk of dying of heart disease rises to the top over my cancer risk!!! So now I need to try to get more exercise, eat healthy and try to focus on good health....not very successful these days but I'm giving it my best. It just seems so unfair! I want my old pre-BRCA life back.

I've just contacted my employer's EFAP program and am awaiting a referral...at least it's a start! I have to keep reminding myself that I need to be my own advocate.

Sorry if my posts of late seem rambling, but blogging to me is like journaling and is very therapeutic. It helps to get this all off my chest (No pun intended!). Thanks for always being there, for your caring and kinds words and most of all for always listening to my ramblings.

Luv & Hugs,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Counselling following a positive BRCA test result...or should I say the lack thereof!

I find I’m not alone in my struggles with this. It seems I’m not the only one who was never offered any type of personal counselling after positive BRCA mutation tests results and their devastating effects on a person. It’s sad really. I have BRCA sisters all over the world and I know of very few who were offered any type of personal counselling after receiving positive test results.

Sure, we received “genetic counselling”, but nothing to deal with the personal issues associated with it...the fear of cancer, our perception of cancer risk, the sense of being “different”, making the decision to have preventative surgery, the huge loss following surgery, second guessing yourself afterwards..."did I make the right choice?", self-image, etc., etc. It’s a big deal and so many people in our lives, both personal and professional, just brush it off. They figure once you’ve had your surgeries and are “on the other side”, you should just get on with your life and forget about the whole thing. Well news flash, it DOESN’T go away, even after surgery!

It’s sad really, in this day and age, we can test for things such as a BRCA mutation, and have preventative surgeries to reduce our risk of cancer and probably save our lives, but we still don’t know how to treat the people aspects of it...it all seems so cold and clinical. Don't get me wrong, medically, I’m not complaining, I’ve had the best medical team you could ever ask for...having a BRCA gene mutation is like having a gold card for medical care, but the mental and emotional aspects of it all seem to get left behind.

I was never really offered any type of support from my genetic counsellor other than a support group in London. That’s over 2 hours away from me and just wouldn’t work. My sister just confessed to me yesterday (yes another confession...it’s good for the soul), that last Fall she was so worried about me and how I was reacting to all of this (if you don't remember, she tested negative...maybe a little "survivor's guilt"?) that she emailed our genetic counsellor for help. Her response was blah! Apparently other than the aforementioned support group, the only other offer was a “non-denominational spiritual advisor” at the LHSC. That’s not what I’m looking for. No other counselling was offered or was available...if she could come up with something else, she would let her know....needless to say, she never heard back from her.

I have even thought that maybe this is "female" issue. If it was mainly men dealing with this (and there ARE men who deal with this) and they were having to remove body parts, that you could bet your butt there’d be more resources available, but I hope that this isn’t the case; that we’re past all that. This is the 21st century! But again, I digress...I'm feeling rather sensitive these days! I know there is some support out there, maybe in the bigger medical centres, but so far, I’ve found none really available to me.

All that being said, thank goodness for the internet and online support groups such as Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), BRCA Umbrella, the world of blogging and even Facebook. As Lisa said, at least we have each other.

I love all of my BRCA sistas...I really don’t know what I’d do without you!!! XOXO

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feeling the loss of my feminine self...

My BRCA sista and blog buddy, Lisa, made the following comment today on Facebook about this whole process and what she said rang so true with me...“The mental impact is kinda huge though and comes at you when you're least expecting it.” Lisa’s statement has inspired today’s blog about this mish-mash of emotions I’m feeling...the timing couldn’t be better. There are no such things as coincidences, right?

As I recover from my mastectomy the message I get from family and friends is “you’ve made the right decision”.

But some feelings are just beginning to rear their ugly head...I am starting to suffer difficulties in adjusting my self-image to my bodily loss. I see myself as “mutilated” and am terrified of rejection.

I feel that following my hysterectomy and mastectomy that all that was my former female self is gone. I know I am more than just boobs and tubes, but at times I don’t feel like it. I’m scared!

From what I’ve read, these reactions are common apparently. My breasts were a symbol of my femininity, my desirability, my ability to entice. We live in a very breast-oriented society, and it's like everything I can offer a man is gone. It isn't a vanity thing. It's an essential part of my core existence as a woman. Wrong or right, that’s how I feel and feelings are very very real no matter how “sane” or “insane” they may seem.

This BRCA thing with its horrendous chances of developing cancer (and yes, with every new ache or pain I develop, in my mind, "I must have cancer" ~ I think I've had every type of cancer in the last year and a half)...but I digress. As I was saying, this BRCA thing that resulted in me having a preventative total hysterectomy and bilateral mastectomy is a terrible test, and it has the potential to destroy a person...ME! It also has the potential to offer the greatest growth...one day...maybe... but I need to feel secure, that I’m loved for me and not because I’m “attractive”.

At times I find myself starting to withdraw into myself. It takes a great deal of sense of self to project myself as a woman following the mastectomy. I feel damaged. I feel a total loss of confidence.

My family doctor sort of brushed aside my fears, telling me to “'give it time”. Time alone will not take care of this...perhaps an intervention would be a better idea!

I try to wear a happy, confident mask...I even joke about the new bigger boobs I'll have when I’m done with the reconstruction process, but at the same time I’m trying to deny these feelings. I’ve been afraid to let anybody know how I’ve been feeling.

Sorry for the ramblings and please consider this post my Confessional.

EDIT: Please read the comments people have left...I am so lucky to have my BRCA sisters for support...seems I'm not alone.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fillin' those Foobs!!!

Today's fill went extremely well and was a very well attended event. Of course there was Dr. Temple, nurse Christine and my angel Margo, the nurse practitioner; but today's audiance also included Dr. Evans, Carlos, a clerk (student maybe? not sure?), and a photographer, DH. Yes, today's session was photographed from start to finish so everyone can see the process. I hope it doesn't freak anyone out. It looks a lot worse than it is!!! Notice how Dr. Temple managed to somehow dodge the camera's eye (other than her hands)...next time!!!

I received 75cc in each side today...I wish she would have given me 100 as I feel pretty fab after today's session...maybe next time. She didn't want to give me more because of my "small frame"...bleh...I could have taken it! I have 450cc expanders and so far I have 250cc in each. At least I'm over half-way full. My next fill is set for September 8th...I can't wait!!!
Images will open up in a new window.

Syringes and other medical-type goodies needed for the fill.

Dr. Evans



Dr. Temple finding the fill ports.

Needles in and tubes attached ready for the saline-filled syringes.

Since Dr. Evans was helping out Dr. Temple, they filled both sides at the same time and were done in no time flat...no pun intended!!!
and a special message for you cancer...CAN'T GET ME!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm still here!

Sorry, but I've been bad at updating my blog. To be honest, I just haven't felt up to it; physically and emotionally.

I had my drain tubes removed on July 23, no problem. It was actually painless and it sure felt good to get those drains out!

After that though, I sort of went downhill. Physically, I've been in a fair amount of pain and discomfort. Emotionally, I been on a rollercoaster. Today is the first day that I've actually felt sort of human.

I saw Dr. Temple on August 4 for a follow-up appointment. She said the incisions are healing nicely and everything looked good. She then sprung on me "are you ready for a fill?" Well, I wasn't expecting that, but I thought why not. I was terrified after seeing the syringes, tubes and needles, but believe it or not, I felt nothing when she inserted the needle into my chest. She put in 50cc into each side. I tolerated that very well, so she put in another 25cc in each side. That was enough. I definitely felt that...it was tight! 100cc was put in at surgery, so I'm now at 175cc's per side.

The week following has been hell. I've had horrible nerve regeneration pain where my breasts used to be. I've also had horrible rib pain following the fill. I'm living on ibuprofen to help with the swelling and pain and today is the first day I've felt somewhat human. I hope the fills get easier but I have a feeling they won't.

Dr. Temple also broke my heart and told me I likely won't be able to go on any of the big rides at Disneyworld when we go on our family trip this October. She said the pain will probably be horrible and she's unsure about damaging the expanders. She said we'll keep talking about it each appointment and see how I'm progressing.

This is what an expander looks like. The round disk is the filling port. A needle is inserted through your chest into the port and then a large syringe filled with saline is attached and injected into the expander.

My next fill is scheduled for August 24. I couldn't get in earlier as Dr. Temple is on holidays. DH will be going with me next time, so I'll be getting him to take some photographs of the fill process.

Here is what I look like on day 26. I have a little more shape following the fill last week. Click on the thumbnail for a larger picture (will open in a new window).

12Aug2009_01_thumb.jpg (2306 bytes)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Viewer Discretion is Advised!

Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!

Here I am at day 5 out of my PBM and I'm feeling pretty good considering what I've been through. I am tired and sleep a lot but I blame a lot of that on the lovely cocktail of pharmaceuticals they have me on!

Of course I was a nervous wreck on surgery day...the thing I dread the most is the IV. I have small veins and they always have a difficult time putting the IV in. I had the same lab tech and pre-op nurse as I had for my hysterectomy. I thought that was kind of strange, but was also a little comforting.

I saw Dr. Temple around 9:45 just before I was going into surgery. She quickly marked me up and then we were good to go. Surgery went very well. It was scheduled from 10:00am - 1:00pm but I was out and awake by 12:30pm. I did have to stay in recovery until about 5:00, but I did come home that night. DH had me home by 7:30.

These expanders will sure take some getting used to and they definitely feel like I have waterwings stuck up under my arm pits!!! 100cc was put in the expanders at surgery, so I'm not totally flat...and these puppies do sit high...I can only imagine what they'll be like as I fill up!

I'm going to post photos as I progress. Just a warning, you may find these images to be personal, graphic and contain partial nudity. Don't let the Franken-boobs scare you!!!

These were taken on the day of surgery, July 17, 2009, just after we got home from London. I still have the gauze on.

Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures (will open in a new window).

17jul2009_01.JPG (150657 bytes)

17jul2009_02.JPG (150657 bytes)

17jul2009_03.JPG (150657 bytes)

17jul2009_04.JPG (150657 bytes)

After two visits with home care, I now only have the steri-strips on the incisions and no more gauze. The home care nurse said the incisions are perfect.

The following were taken July 21, 2009, day 4 after surgery. Aren't those drains lovely? They are scheduled to come out on the 23rd. I can't wait!

21Jul2009_01.JPG (142106 bytes)

21Jul2009_02.JPG (147878 bytes)

21Jul2009_03.JPG (141790 bytes)

21Jul2009_04.JPG (137521 bytes)

That's about it for now. I'm in the lazing around recovery stage and am enjoying it. I'll update later!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

T-5 and counting!

I can't believe my PBM is only 5 sleeps away! I've been suffering from the worst anxiety and insomnia EVER!!! I know this is par for the course and will pass in time. My doctor gave me a script for sleeping pills, but I was afraid to take them (I'd never had sleeping pills in my life), but 2 weeks of no sleep and the pleadings of a pre-op nurse convinced me to use them...I'm so glad I did. The past 4 nights I've had the most heavenly, peaceful, restful sleep that I've ever had.

I've been busy "nesting" and getting everything ready at home for my return from surgery; I've actually been compulsively cleaning and organizing. I actually defrosted and cleaned out my big freezer this morning...YUCK! It has been very therapeutic and has keep my mind off of things...and it's been good for the soul. I'm starting to feel more at ease with everything ahead of me.

I just wanted to say "thanks" to everyone for all your support and words of encouragement.

I'll try update as soon as I can.

(((BIG HUGS)))

Friday, June 5, 2009

Boob Voyage!!!

My Boob Voyage party is set for Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ ma sista’s house in Kincardine. WOO HOO!!!

I’m finally getting the boobs I’ve always wanted!!! and I'm “celebrating” the departure of my former girls! They’ve served me well, but it’s time to say tata to the TaTas!

My mastectomy is scheduled for July 17, so as I embark on this journey, I want to celebrate with friends.

Thanks to everyone for all your support. (no pun intended!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bald is Beautiful!!!

I DID IT! Last Saturday, May 30th, 2009, I shaved my head in support of Cops for Cancer.

This is me with my long-time friend, Constable Darryl Campbell.

I raised close to $1300!!! WOO HOO!!! Thanks to everyone for their generosity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I need my Mom...

I had my final consultation with the plastic surgeon this morning and it went very well. She explained the procedure, my scarring, expanders, fills, size, etc. etc. etc. So much to digest!!! But I'm glad things are moving ahead. However, on my drive home from London, I was alone and had a lot of time to think....I went over and over all the little details trying to get everything planned out in my head; work, home, care for my fur-kids, care at home afterwards, you know, that kind of stuff. I'm just trying to get mentally and emotionally ready for this huge event...and then I got really sad...

It just hit me how much I need my mom for this. I need her to talk to, to squeeze my hand and reassure me; to be here and stay with me after the surgery, to tell me I still look like her little girl when I feel like I have water wings in my chest. Moms are supposed to be there to help us get through these big life changing things, right? But, my mom is the one person who isn't here because of this nasty BRCA2 gene! This damn BRCA thing that has me at this place, is the same thing that took her from me. When I think of my upcoming surgery, its not having my mom here that gets me crying...not the surgery itself or the loss of my natural breasts (although I'm sure that will come as the day approaches).

I lost my mom 2 and a half years ago to ovarian cancer. It was the most devastating thing in my life. I know that she is around me, watching over me and would be proud that I am doing these preventitive surgeries.

I know I will get through this just fine (and am mostly excited to have it done - well, sort of) and that there will be all kinds people who will support me when I need it...and I am not going to feel sorry for myself, but this one thing does not feel right and I wish I could change just this one detail. You know?

You'll have to excuse me; I'm pretty emotional from the surgical menopause, and I'm trying to quit smoking...today's not a good day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Don't mess with the Papaya!!!

I just had to share this video. My niece, Maia, took part in the Kincardine Karate Club's "break a board" fundraising event. Maia is only 6 and by far the smallest in the club. I don't think Auntie Shari has ever been so proud!!!!! WAY TO GO PAPAYA!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I finally have a much-awaited surgery date!!!

JULY 17, 2009 @ 10:00

...not that I wanted surgery smack dab in the middle of summer, but I've waited so long for a date, I'll take what I can get.

Now reality hits and I have a million questions flying through my head. I'll deal with that when I've digested the newness of having a date.

and the planning, oh yes, the planning begins, work, home, care for my fur-kids, and especially the most important thing, my...

(details to follow!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cops for Cancer ~ May 30, 2009


On Saturday, May 30, 2009, I'll be shaving my head in the Kincardine Cops for Cancer event. It takes place at Sobey's parking lot. Come on out for a fun-filled event...and to see me go bald!!!

To sponsor me for this fabulous event, please visit my personal site.

Click here to visit my personal page.

Thanks to everyone for your support!

About Cops for Cancer

Police officers across the province play a leadership role in organizing the Canadian Cancer Society's Cops for Cancer events by involving the community in fundraising and cancer awareness activities. Police officers both men and women agree to have their heads shaved at a public place (such as shopping malls or city hall) or participate in bike rides. The police officers collect pledges from co-workers, friends and family.

To date, the Canadian Cancer Society's Cops for Cancer program has raised more than $16 million across Canada!

Funds raised help the Canadian Cancer Society fund the most promising research projects in the country, provide information services and support programs in the community and advocate for public policies that prevent cancer and help those living with it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Messages of Love

Today being the 2nd anniversary of Mom's passing, we decided to send her messages in Heaven. We did this at the Station Beach at the Boardwalk where Mom used to love to walk.

Mother Huron

My niece Maia...she was sending messages to Grandma Nancy and MooMoo (her beloved kitty she lost a few years ago)

Wayne sending his message.

Maia sending her messages.

There they go!

My message...it gently started to rise out over the lake and northwards; then all of a sudden went straight up really quickly and disappeared up into the clouds. It must have hit an up-current; but I like to think mom reached down from Heaven and grabbed it!

In Loving Memory of Mom ~ June 8, 1941 - March 29, 2007

In Loving Memory of my mom, Nancy Anne Storms
June 8, 1941 – March 29, 2007

"Hi mom it's me again"
Just came to say hello,
I miss you mom so very much,
more then you'll ever know.

I see your face almost every night,
in every twinkling star.
I feel that you're still with me,
whether it be near or far.

I know you didn't want to die,
but a part of me died too.
I'll never be the same again,
because I don't have you.

Remember when I called you, mom,
it was almost every day.
But you just kept on talking,
you never pushed me away.

I wish that I could turn back time,
if only for one day.
So I could hold you in my arms,
and kiss your tears away.

I will always remember you mom,
even though we're far apart,
and the love I have for you,
will remain within my heart.

Me and Mom

You never said "I'm leaving"
You never said goodbye
You were gone before I knew it,
And only God knew why

A million times I needed you,
A million times I cried
If Love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died

In Life I loved you dearly
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place,
That no one could ever fill

It broke my heart to lose you,
But you didn't go alone
For part of me went with you,
The day God took you home.

My beautiful mom...I miss you so much!!!


If Roses grow in Heaven,
Lord please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother's arm
and tell her they are from me.

Tell her I love her and miss her
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her a while.

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it everyday,
But there's an ache within my heart
that will never go away.

Don't think of her as gone away
Her journey's just begun,
Life has so many facets
This earth is only one.

Just think of her as resting
From sorrows and tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days or years.

Think how she must be wishing
That we could know, today
Now nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away.

And think of her as living
In the hearts of those she touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And she loved so much.

Rest in peace mom...I love you and miss you so much!
Love Shari