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Just when you think you’ve learned the lingo and all the intricacies of the BRCA world, you find out about another important day! That’s right, ladies and gents, it’s National BRA Day. Some seriously creative marketing peeps had to be involved with this one, but in all fairness, it’s a day that truly deserves to be recognized. It’s National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.

This is a day to recognize the true art that is breast reconstruction. Like wow. I joke about how I will likely look better than how I did when I started when we’re all finished, but it’s really not an over exaggeration. So in order to appreciate reconstruction, we have to recognize the people behind it: the absolutely incredible plastic surgeons. So here’s my shout out to mine, the one and only Dr. Teotia, and to all of the hardworking men and women who truly put their heart and soul into their work so women can feel like women again. They minimize what could be emotional devastation amidst an already ridiculously emotional process, and truly become like family in the process. I’m so grateful to be blessed with such an amazing surgeon, and wouldn’t do this journey justice without recognizing and him on this day!  He has been such a positive force throughout this journey and has made it as enjoyable as possible.  I would never say I look forward to doctor appointments because that’s just crazy talk, but when you’re always greeted with a positive attitude, smile, and hug, it’s almost hard not to. Plus we always all end up laughing about something or other, so you leave with a smile too. Despite being a brilliant surgeon, he truly cares about his patients as people first, and for that I am forever grateful.

I’m also not exaggerating at all when I say that reconstructive surgery is an art, and particularly in the case of Dr. T – he really is a classically trained artist.  At one of my appointments, I had the great honor of getting to see some of his work, and he gave me permission to share it on here.  I was waiting for just the perfect time, and what’s better than the day that recognizes the artistry that is reconstruction?  These are all his original drawings, and evidence of many hours of hard work (and some aren’t even finished!) So needless to say – you can imagine what his surgery results are like!  Anyhow, a perfect day to share these pictures – enjoy!




Full Circle: Pinktober Style

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WOW!  What a day!  And what a difference a year makes!!  I’ve been looking forward to this day for so many months, and it was everything, and more, that I could have ever imagined.

I finally got a chance to write out the “back story” a couple months back on why I decided to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, and today it truly came full circle.  For ease of reading, from “The Story:”

“We have to go back to October 2012 – that’s when it really hit me that I was turning 25 in 3 short months, and that I was inevitably going to have to face the fact that I am a “mutant” instead of just having it in the back of my head, like I had for the past 4 years since I found out in 2008. Every year since my Aunt was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, she and my cousin have participated in a Breast Cancer Walk in their hometown each October (you know, when the world turns pink for a month). It had always been a wish of mine to complete this walk with them, and I decided what better year to do it than right before I was going to be thrown into the “pink world” myself? So that summer while visiting our family, my Mom and I decided we would go up, make a long weekend of it, and get our walk on.

At that point I was a full-time ICU nurse, so scheduling was easy – I worked 3 12 hour shifts a week, so long weekends were a frequent occurrence for me. We bought flights, and we were set. Well, as luck would have it, a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity got literally dropped in my lap that August, and by September I found myself an 8-5, Monday-Friday girl. What?! Yeah, talk about transition! As I quickly caught onto the gist of this new job, I realized there was just no way I was going to be able to go up to the walk. I was pretty upset, to say the least. I insisted that my Mom still go without me, and being the jokers that my family is, they decided that I still had to go with them, one way or another.

This is the part of this story that gets a little funny (and hopefully not offensive!) Chances are if you spend any time around kids, you’ve heard of Flat Stanley… if you haven’t, Wikipedia is your friend. So the basic story is that little kids are given a paper doll-like little guy and he goes on travels/vacations with kids, and they take pictures with him. Well, my Mom decided to make “Flat Diana.” We laughed, Mom took a picture of me, and THIS is what happened (though for the record, they all insist they didn’t carry it like that for the entire 5K… the three of them took turns “carrying me through” to the finish line):


In the most innocent of ways possible, it looked like they were memorializing me. I thought maybe it was just me, so I showed the picture to a doctor I work with and, with no filter, he says “oh my God you’re dead.” And that’s when I had the moment of (excuse my French): “Oh shit. I can’t die. I can’t do this to my family. To my friends. I will NOT be THAT GIRL.” And that’s how it all began.”

And today, just one year later, after a successful surgery in August, I got to come to the walk and cross the finish line holding hands with my incredible Aunt, Mom, and Cousin.  It meant so much more this year, knowing that I have done everything in my power to beat breast cancer before it can even start.  It was such an incredible experience to see the SEA of pink (5000+!!) and be a part of it.

The absolute best part was, without a doubt, recreating this picture – having decreased my risk of breast cancer by over 90% from that horrible, scary one above, to today.  And all smiles, of course!


Here’s a montage of alllll the pink – such an inspirational experience to be surrounded by all that!


When we were last up here over the summer, my Aunt dug out all of her shirts from all those walks starting in 1995.  We had a lot of fun looking at all the designs, and then my Aunt sent them home with my Mom to make a quilt of them.  Well, my Mom truly redefined “T-Shirt Quilt,” that’s for sure, when she created this beauty.  See, those drain aprons were just a small taste of her craftiness!!  Such an incredible, thoughtful gift that I know my Aunt will treasure forever.


It was such a special, emotional experience to be out there today that I don’t even know what to say at this point.  So, instead of blabbering on, I’ll end with my personal favorite picture of the day, a butt pic, if you will – walking with my Aunt.  Survivor on the left, Previvor on the right.  THIS is what this is all about!



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After such boring, monotonous posts the last couple weeks, I don’t even know where to begin… So much excitement with the beginning of “Pinktober!”  And it couldn’t be more fitting to fall on the big 8 week post-op milestone!

I am feeling fabulous.  Brilliant.  This past weekend marked the halfway point between my two surgeries (yeah I miscounted before…), and it was a perfect occasion.  I had the incredible opportunity  to be part of Bright Pink‘s FabFest (hosted by Giuliana Rancic!) in Chicago with Amy and Eryn.  It was such an incredible, almost surreal experience.  To be surrounded by 600 (!!) women that truly “get it” was truly indescribable.  I kind of alluded back to FabFest a few months ago when I mentioned raising money for an organization – well raise money, we did.  To attend FabFest, you must raise $500 for Bright Pink.  Well I finished with over $700, and had the necessary $500 in less than 12 hours.  Because my family and friends are that amazing, and we believe in the cause that is Bright Pink.

There were so many moments over the weekend that were just amazing.  First, just being with Amy and Eryn, two girls that I had no idea even existed 9 months ago, and yet have become such an integral part of my journey.  I would have gone through with the surgery regardless, but having them there to show me that it really was going to be okay, is something I will never take for granted. We had so much fun together, and it’s just surreal to think back to how our journeys crossed.  That we all met because of a blog – just wow.  Gives me chills to think about.

Then getting to FabFest and just seeing the sea of pink was almost overwhelming.  Lindsay Avner has created something truly incredible, and I am so excited to be a part of it.  Lindsay founded Bright Pink when she was just 23 – and at the time, the youngest in the country to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.  She realized the lack of support for young, high risk women, and the rest is just history.  The organization is fun, smart, and so needed.  It’s such a fantastic resource, and the energy in this hotel ballroom was just contagious.


Lindsay and Giuliana had great things to say and led us in the world’s largest feel-up… to teach everyone the proper way to do a breast self exam, but still – hilarious!  They had incredible workout sessions, a ton of amazing booths with all sorts of vendors, and TONS of information on taking ownership of your breast and ovarian health.  And of course, and endless supply of bright pink.

But the most touching and memorable moment of the entire weekend was when we met two of the most amazing women I’ve ever met.  They were the gracious, and so very deserving, recipients of this weekend’s Fab-U-Wish.  Both girls were diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant, and, living across the country from each other, finally got to meet.  And in style.  The pictures are incredible of their time in Chicago, and there was not a dry eye in the room when they were introduced.  But what touched me most was getting to talk to them.  And, after explaining our stories, they applauded US for having prophylactic surgeries.  These women, beautiful with their post-chemo short hair and glow in their faces, who just fought one of the toughest battles out there, are giving US the kudos?!  Seriously?!  It was just amazing.  I am forever in awe of their strength, beauty, and courage – they are such examples of everything that Bright Pink embodies, and an example of true bravery.  Sarah and Adrienne – you are an incredible, and it was an honor to meet you both!

Suffice to say, I came back home inspired, empowered, and thrilled to become more involved with Bright Pink – I just attended a Bright Pink Dallas Meet and Greet last week, so it’s perfect timing.  It’s a cause near and dear to my heart, and an organization I am proud to support.  Here’s to a fabulous kick off to October, and particularly National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week.  Hug a Previvor tomorrow – it’s National Previvor Day!  Celebrate this month however you wish, to celebrate all going through the journey, whether surviving, previving, or simply supporting!  Much love and pink to all!