My Life Update - Cancer

(back to 'normal' Tiptoe Butterfly posts tomorrow *hopefully*  - stay tuned)

i took last week off to get things worked out in my head - so far no luck - the entire week off was filled with "things to do" and "things to organize" - i also promised myself THIS Monday (today) will be the start of my new life - with a new life comes change - and changes need to be made - support groups will be called, therapy is on the docket, and soon enough the nerves and crying will stop - my mind will stay in the present, not the past nor future!
just to catch you up for any new readers - i'm BRCA positive - meaning i have the cancer gene and have a 90% chance of getting breast cancer - my ovaries will be removed at age 40 - the soonest decision i need to make is about my own breasts - to get a double mastectomy or stay on chemo drugs the rest of my life (which i hear is NOT fun) - ie. SCARY! - whole different kind of "scary" i never felt before

i got my first mammography and had a total breakdown before i could walk into the place - my Mom was there and supported me like no one other then her could do - and now i'm waiting for the OK from my insurance company to get my MRI of my breasts tomorrow - it's illegal if they deny me, so it's just a matter of waiting it out - weeks ahead will be filled with BOTTLES of champagne - with pain i grab champagne, what else is a girl to do?! - Joe said to me when he saw my recyclables - "the garbage men are gonna be like all this house drinks is champagne, beer and wine" - i consider that a compliment :o)
i had coffee with a dear friend last week (same age as i, married with 3 kids) - she actually got the double mastectomy the Monday before i got my news on Tuesday and my Mom had her 3rd session of chemo - i can't wait to meet her new boobies! - the greatest advice she gave me and is so true - no one understands - it's hard to tell people or talk to friends - b/c as much as they want to help or "be there" for you - they just don't truly get it, it's not until your in the same shoes, do people understand - so i will be embracing skype, support groups, and pink pals and work on being OK with being positive - and embrace the new ways to deal with my emotions - and look forward to meeting other BRCA positive women and the friendships that come with that!

life is back ON for me - back to work, back to responsibilities, back to routines, back to reality - i realize i define me, a disease does not - i do have to learn acceptance tho - i'm still at the point i don't want to believe it's true - and i haven't touched and looked at my breasts more then i have this past 1.5 weeks - i gotta admit my mind wonders off to all the possibilities - i never realized how much i really do LOVE my boobies! - as small as they are, i love em!

the whole situation is scary - i won't lie - i've learned the double mastectomy is a lot more involved then i thought - your breast tissue goes down to your abdomen, up your neck, down your sides, ect. - so when they "scoop" it all out they scoop A LOT out - then i need to decide to keep my nipple or have one tattooed and surgically made - which most likely will be the case - just so i don't have any worries - and the 'expanders' go in behind your pectoral muscles - you tell the doctor when you get to the 'size' you want to be - then you get the implants put in - then the nipple procedure gets done - it's a long tedious process

i'm taking the news as a wake-up call - TO LIVE - stop waiting to check off things on my bucket lists - to go out and do whatever it is i wanna do - yes i will drink champagne every night - yes i will smile at myself in the mirror every day - yes i will work on my weight gain (i've been binging but not purging) - yes i will eat dessert - yes i will not limit myself - yes i will 'just go and do it' - yes i will stay in jammies all day if i want to - my world will be a world of YES!
the chemo is really taking its toll on my Mom now - she's very weak, her balance is off, loss of sensation in fingers - pretty much all the bad side effects have fully kicked in - i cry thinking about the suffering my Mom is going through all the time - but she is strong and she will come out of this healthy and alive!

i'm generally a very positive person - i practice Buddhist beliefs - i practice grace, patience, happiness, forgiveness - a bit of me has fallen, but i have no doubt i'll be taller then ever - i've battled a battle before - a battle that went on for years and i thought it would never be over - but i conquered that battle and risen' to the top - it's now that time again for me to start fighting and to win again - i thought i would never face these emotions again, but HELLO to them - this time around tho, i KNOW how to make it all better!

strong is my ONLY option - well love too - i'm gonna get through all of this - i'm gonna do what needs to be done - i'm going to help all the one's i love - i'm gonna be strong and make everything ok - it's the only option and frankly i like it! - hopefully my MRI OK will come today and my MRI tomorrow will be good!


thank you to all my readers for all your kindness and love - the blogger community has been so much more then i could ever expect - thank you!

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  1. i will be thinking about you and praying for you. i can't personally wrap my head around all of it since i am definitely not in your shoes ~ it's all seems so scary, but you seem like you have a great plan for getting the support you will obviously need.

    im sorry you're having to go through this... and if you do need ANYTHING, please let me know!


  2. I can't imagine going through any of these things..I've been there when family members have battled it, but I myself have no idea what its like. But, what I do know, is that you are brave & showing more positivity and courage than most will show in their whole lives...I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers & your mother too! Keep being strong! Big big hugs and lots of love xxxx

  3. Erika your strength gives me strength.

    Love, prayers, hugs, wishes to you and your mom.


  4. My uncle has cancer and although we're very sad and scared, I cannot imagine how he's going through this. I cannot imagine how scary this is.
    I'm praying for you.
    Sending positive thoughts your way.
    Hang in there!

  5. Urgh, my heart goes out to you so much. What an intense decision to make- I cannot imagine. Prayers and hugs to you.

  6. I wish I had the words to help you through this but I cannot even imagaine what you are going through. You have an amazing attitude towards the whole situation and I wish you strength, health and happy thoughts throughout your journey.

  7. I really don't know what to say, but we love you, Erika! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.

  8. It's true, I don't think anyone can truly empathize or understand without going thru something similar. That sounds like a very invasive surgery, but you're also still young enough to bounce back from something like that. So maybe that's the better option than remaining on chemo drugs.

    whatever you decide, I feel for you. That's a huge decision to be facing. but you seem like an incredibly strong girl who will persevere.

    I wish you all the best and will keep you in my thoughts.


  9. Erika, you are right, unless someone has gone through a situation like yours it would be difficult to imagine what you are experiencing. However, it's easy to see you are a very bright and strong woman and that you will make the right choice for YOU. And you will know in your heart (if you already don't) what that is. I am so glad to hear you are keeping strong, but that you also allow yourself to sometimes feel whatever it is you want to feel. How's your mom doing, darling? Sending you lots of good wishes for good health, strength, and energy. Hugs.

  10. You write with such feeling an passion and no ill feeling at all. You are an inspiration to anyone who is suffering.

    My heart goes out to you and I shall hold you in my prayers. Stay strong but remember we all have moments of weakness and a tear or two can make you feel better if only for a moment.

    X x

  11. Erika,
    You are a remarkable woman. Life is easy, when it's easy. Life is challenging when it's not easy. You handle it with such grace, determination, pride and substance. I am impressed by you. I sit here feeling numb as I read your post. Each year that I get older I learn that life is not fair and that we don't know what tomorrow brings...so living life to the fullest should be our only option. I, like you, strive for happiness in my daily life. I believe we see what we look for and I am in awe that you are continually looking for positive aspects of knowing your battle. You a role model for women who want to curl up in a ball and hide from life when they are faced with hard choices. Much love to you and your family.

  12. Wishing you strength and a continued amazing attitude during this time. We're all cheering for you, and railing against it with you.

    Damn cancer...we will BEAT it.

  13. When I saw that you had a new post I clicked it immediately. I wish I could give you the biggest cyber hug! I can't imagine all of this. I have had 2 surgeries to remove fibroids from my right breast so I've had mammograms and sonograms. I've noticed nurses and doctors are extremely nice when dealing with delicate matters. I'm sure you will get the best care and the best thing you did was find out that you are positive. I've been thinking about you and just know you are an awesome strong woman & the coolest Jersey girl I know! I wish you all the best!!! And your Mom too!!

  14. Wow I had no idea what a double mastectomy involved. I am happy to hear that you will be seeking support from woman whom have gone through what you are going through. It really is the best way to get more information. I am sure you'll go through a lot of different phases and that is normal, let yourself go through them even if it is NOT being brave for awhile.
    much love

  15. Thinking of you during this time - Your positive post is truly inspiring!!!


  16. All I can say is that everything is going to be okey, I promise! Every time something negative happens in life, even when major bad things happens I like to think of and repeat to myself a quote made by Louise Hay 'Out of this experience only good will come'. You might not see that just now, of course you are not there yet, but in the future you´ll look back and see!
    I just stumbled upon a new book of Lisa Natoli. Lisa has a blog www.gorgeousforgod.com it has nothing to do with religion even if it might sound that way. Lisa likes to call this greater power of life, of the Universe 'God'. Myself like to name it something else, I´m not sure what...
    I know you are a very spiritual person and you might just find something there to help you in this hard situation you are in right now. Go check it out, it might just help you in some way!
    Sending all the Love in the entire World to You Sweet Erika!!!

  17. My dear, you are such an amazing, strong, wonderful lady. While I can't truly understand, I can lend support and hugs.

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  18. Erika, so good to hear your voice. I agree that only people who have been t here can understand, it doesn't stop the rest of us from caring/worrying/praying for you though. Surgery is intense it sounds and of course there is so much emotional stuff that goes along w/ removing breasts but chemo for the rest of your life can't be a good quality of life. Love your positive attitude but cry when you need to. Love you. xo

  19. You are such a strong woman Erika and although most of us can't fully understand we are all here to support you! xoxo

  20. Erika,
    I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Much, much love to you. XX

  21. Wow, you are such a strong person. This seems like a lot to handle. My dad has the big C word. and when he had to go through intense chemo, it was so hard to see him struggle. And even still with it. It makes me want to cry all the time.
    But I can't even imagine what you are going through yourself. You will be beautiful no matter what, inside and out. Especially inside, which is hard to find these days.
    But you are an amazing person, and I'm praying for you! You will be in my thoughts

  22. Erika - these are amazing quotes and your life will change forever, but it's all about how you face the challenge - right? I've been lucky and had a tumor taken out but it was noncancerous and I'm undergoing another surgery this month to remove something else - thankfully, I'm lucky it's not cancer.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and me.

  23. i honestly teared up reading this. your strength in adversity is incredible. i know when i struggle through things, i lean on the support of others, including others whom i have never met, via quotations and beautiful images. i can tell you do the same :)

    stay the strong woman we all know you are. and as much as everyone loves "regular" tiptoe butterfly, take all the time you need and know that your followers will be here waiting patiently for when you are ready to "return to regular programming" !!

    sending peace, love, & lots of laughs your way,


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