What This Month Means To Me

GOOOOOD Friday Morning to ya! πŸ˜€ I’m TOTALLY doing my Friday Happy Dance today- this week has felt supppper long again, but it’s OVER! Woop woop! Guess what I started out my day doing? Well, first gym, but then I had my lovely annual girl check up appointment- oh, fun! It really wasn’t that bad though, and my doctor is SO nice- I think she is the BEST doctor ever- love her! That makes the appointment not so awkward, she was talking to me about wedding planning & all that fun stuff πŸ˜€

Today marks a very special day- it is the beginning of October, which IS the beginning of BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!!

This is HUGE for me. I LOVE this month for that very reason. I’ll get to that in a bit.Β I also have a lot of other things going on as well:

Today: going to meet our wedding photographer: BIG BIG BIG THANK YOU to Miss, almost Mrs. Julie for the suggestion!! We are going to go with Ashley McCormick πŸ™‚ You HAVE to check out her website- her pictures are absolutely GORGEOUS & original. We actually got a really good deal from my parents neighbors (my neighbors growing up)- they are professional photographers, and they were actually going to give us two photographers for $1795, that includes eight hours of coverage, and 20% off of any products, but the thing is that they are just kind of ‘regular’ pictures. NOT saying anything is wrong with that, but Craig & I both agreed that we wanted really nice, original looking pictures. I think that is THE MOST important thing in a wedding is the photographer (& the liquor πŸ˜‰ ….JUST KIDDING!!)! Pictures last forever πŸ˜€

-Sunday: RAVENS v. Steelers- boooooooooooooooooooooooooo Steelers! We HATE the Steelers…I mean with a PASSION. It’s like PURE hate! So this Sunday expect some LOUD yells from our house πŸ˜‰ & GO RAVENS!!!!

October 11th is my EXCITING oh so fun colonoscopy! …again just kidding- but seriously, it is important for me to find out exactly WHAT is going on & what kind of new medications I should be on. He mentioned something about Humira. Anyone heard of it? Know someone on it? It was just one of a few things he mentioned, so this colonoscopy will really let my doctor know what to do next.

October 23rd: Is my sister’s baby shower!! πŸ˜€ She picked out a name- Ethan! Cute, right?! She is due December 11th! It is coming so quickly!!

October 23rd: After her shower, 4 of my bridesmaids will be in town & we are going to go to David’s Bridal to try on their dresses!! I also think that my Mom is going to bring down my dress so that I can show it to them, and so I can try it on with my shoes πŸ˜€ In case you forgot what the dresses for my bridesmaids look like, here is the link. Make sure you look at the one in REGENCY, not the color that pops up. And, we are going to take the little flowers off the sides too- I just don’t really like them.

October 27th: Craig’s parents are coming down for a week. I’m sure we’ll do fun wedding stuff with them as well. They would also like to get together with my parents as well- they all get along so great, it’s awesome πŸ˜€ I would like to take them to the Food & Wine festival at Epcot this year as well- I think they would really enjoy that, especially since his Dad makes his own wine!!

October 31st: Is HALLOWEEN! We won’t be doing anything for Halloween, but it’s still fun to give out candy to the little kids πŸ˜€

Pretty busy & exciting month!! πŸ™‚

To top it off, this is the PERFECT time to be in Florida- the weather is absolutely GORGEOUS right now! High’s in the mid- low 80’s, at night it even gets into the 60’s! wooohooo- fall is finally here!!

Now I’m sure that you know someone that has been affected by breast cancer, maybe your own Mom, sister, grandmother, aunt, or friend. It seems like it is everywhere now a days…but I’d like to share with you my story of how breast cancer has effected my life.

If you have been reading my blog for a period of time, you may know that my biological mom did not raise me, my step mom did. Now I do NOT refer to my step mom as my ‘step mom’- she IS my Mom. I did grow up seeing my biological mom at all- she pretty much left me to my Dad to raise me…and THANK GOD she did. Who knows how I would of turned out if not for him & my step mom raising me. I would go into that whole story, but that is WAY long!

Anyways, I did not meet her (again) until I was about 19 years old. My cousin found me on MySpace (remember when MySpace was the cool thing, rather than Facebook???) and then my cousin kept sending me messages from her- which was BEYOND annoying- so I just gave her my cell phone number & said if she needed to speak to me, than just call the number. Well, she did call- I was shocked- I just sat there & cried for about 2 hours…I didn’t know what to say to her. I was angry at her, I was mad, furious, and just so upset. Needless to say, I did end up talking to her, and about a year after that I met up with her at a mall. It was very awkward, it was weird seeing her, but I figured that I needed to do it. Just something that would kind of make me feel better in a sense.

It was a good thing I did. I found out that she had actually been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 (I think). Her mother hadΒ actually died of breast cancer as well.Β She had gone thru chemotherapy and also had a mastectomy. (both breasts removed) She did get implants after the chemotherapy was done. She has been in remission for about 3 years now, and goes for regular blood work & check ups- just to monitor things.

I really didn’t know what to think- it was a lot to learn in a short amount of time- kind of all thrown at me at once. I didn’t know how it impacted her life, I wasn’t there to see what kind of pain & suffering she went thru with all of it…so I didn’t know how to respond.

It was a good thing that I learned about his past battle with breast cancer though because I was able to find out that you can actually get tested to see if you have the ‘breast cancer gene’- known as BRCA 1 & BRCA 2. Did you know that you can get tested for this? I had NO idea until I was talking to my doctor about it a few years ago- the awesome doctor that I saw this morning πŸ˜€ She recommended that I get this done, and I HIGHLY recommended this for anyone with breast cancer in their family. I think the test is around $5,000, but because I got the paperwork from my biological Mom showing that she had breast cancer, my insurance actually covered the WHOLE thing.

I will NEVER forget the day I got my results. The doctor that was taking care of the testing, who was also one of the sweetest doctors I have EVER met, called to tell me. I had just gotten home from class, I was still in college, and Craig happened to be home from work for lunch. I picked up the phone & she told me “Holly, the results came back, and you tested POSITIVE for BRCA .” I just started crying THAT INSTANT. My sweet doctor just kept saying that she was sorry& that she was here if I had any questions or concerns, or ANYTHING at all. When I hung up the phone, Craig came over & gave me a big hug and told me that NO MATTER WHAT he would be here for me..and that was was definitely part of why I knew he was WITHOUT A DOUBT the one for me.

It was a really hard day finding that it. It means that my risk for getting breast cancer is 80%…which is huge, and really scary if you sit & think about it. Not only did I think about the 80% chance of getting breast cancer, but I also got really sad about the possibility of passing the gene on to my children.

I started doing a lot of thinking. I had a few options- to go ahead & get a masectomy done on myself- since that would take my chance of getting breast cancer to only 10% over a lifetime. I also could take the chance and just do a lot of monitoring, and self exams.

I immediately went for a CAT scan after I was told I was BRCA positive. The doctor wanted to see if they could find any kind of masses, tumors, or suspicious looking things. THANKFULLY nothing was found. But I still kept thinking about all of it. I actually decided that I was 80% sure that I wanted to go ahead with the surgery. Craig was kind of if-fy about it. We were really just kind of getting serious at that point, but I knew that he was the one for me…and the man that I WOULD marry. I think he knew it too..but wasn’t ready for marriage quite yet- I mean, hey, it was only 7 months into our relationship.

He said that I should wait until having kids, and then maybe re-consider having the surgery. I wasn’t sure, so I went to meet with a surgeon. He was happy to meet with me, and explained what he would do- like how the surgery would go- what exactly would be do. I was scared. I thought this was what I wanted. I thought I was FEARLESS and could handle all of the pain that I would be in following the surgery, but this made me think twice.Β It would mean pretty much NOT moving for two months- and in a LOT of pain, on a lot of medication, and just mentally a lot to deal with. In good news though, my insurance would cover it- since it would be preventative surgery.

I had a lot to think about. I considered maybe that I would get it done over the summer, and take the summer off from classes. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t want to get breast cancer…but I also knew that I was going a bit extreme.

I thought more about it, talked with Craig a bit more as well, and decided that I would wait. I might never have it done…I really don’t know. But I DO KNOW that I will be doing continued and constant monitoring. I WILL do my monthly breast self exams, and I WILL do all of the necessary measures to make sure that this disease does NOT attack me. I am READY & armed against it.

I just hope & pray that I do not pass this gene along (or the Crohn’s disease gene either, for that matter). I’m SO thankful & lucky to have a man in my life that will stand by my side no matter what & support me. I am ALSO thankful that I FOUND OUT about this- I was NOT afraid to know the trust.

So, in honor of breast cancer month, I urge you to make the same commitment to yourself. Take the time to do your monthly breast exams ladies! If breast cancer does run in your family, especially your mother, get the BRCA test. Don’t stay in the dark, the information is out there!

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  1. my birthday is December 11th so I hope he gets born on that day!

    and wow to your story. I know meeting your mother was hard, but meeting her just might save your life ya know?

  2. Go Ravens. I don’t like the steelers at all either. October is by far one of my favorite months as well. I love how festive everything becomes. I love love love Halloween and the Pumpkin.

    You are quite right about the photos as well. Those are something that can never be replaced.

  3. wow! I had no idea. I’m so glad I got to hear your story, no wonder Breast Cancer Awareness is so important to you!

    Looks like your October is busy!!!

    Love the bridesmaid dresses!

  4. Laura

     /  October 1, 2010

    wow, that is rough. Sorry to hear of that Holly. You have terrible luck, crohns AND this, you poor thing. Well hopefully this knowledge will help you in the future at least, early detection can make all the difference!

    Enjoy this wonderful month!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story girl It’s so important for us to remember that we always need to be aware. Not just b/c this is October, but each day. It’s really a blessing you did end up meeting your biological mom for this particular reason if nothing else.

  6. Kelly

     /  October 1, 2010

    Thanks for sharing your story with us…although it is scary I think you are deligent enough to stay on top of it.

  7. This is a great post – not that all of our usual posts about food or workouts aren’t great, but this is one that people NEED to read, you know? Sometimes hearing things from a real person speaks more than reading about it in a journal – hits home more. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. πŸ™‚

  8. mariesettles

     /  October 4, 2010

    great story.

    and, your photographer for the wedding looks AMAZING!! totally GORGEOUS!!

  9. Thank you for posting this. I need to get the test but haven’t had the courage just yet. Your words made me cry! I admire your positive outlook despite discouraging results. So glad I clicked on this from your post today πŸ™‚

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