Saturday, April 12, 2014

~nineteen~


Happy 19th Birthday Jensen!

Jensen,
Dad and I are so very proud of you!
You are rocking it in BYU "Marriott School of Business."
You have brought so much laughter, happiness
and joy to our family.
We are blessed to be your parents!
We love you!
Mom and Dad 

Tid Bits about Jensen;

1. Loves to give hugs and cuddle
2. Always been very determined and dedicated
3. Huge Testimony
4. Loves her brother and sister
5. Very inquisitive
6. Loyal
7. Has a strong moral conviction
8. Fabulous sense of humor
9. Fashionista from a very young age
10. Accident prone
11. Oh, so very smart
12. Loves to bake and cook
13. Dance has played a huge part of her life
14. Loves to go on a "food crawl"
15. Miss Independent
16. Loves to read
17. Can quote any movie
18. Life of the party
19. Not afraid to take a risk

Happy, Happy Birthday!
XOXOXOXOXO 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Twenty-one

Look Who is "21!"

A very Happy Birthday to our oldest who is turning 21 today!

Mackenzie,
Dad and I love you beyond words.
You are an amazing, talented, smart, witty and beautiful woman.
We are so very proud of you and blessed to be your parents.
We love you!
Happy Birthday!
Mom and Dad

A little bit about Kenzie...

1. She is called the "Child Whisperer" (kids of all ages love her)
2. Very well respected and highly regarded as a teacher
3. Huge Testimony of the Savior and the gospel
4. Loves to tease her little brother
5. Has accomplished so much in her life
6. Very loyal
7. Dedicated to whatever she sets her mind to do
8. Loves to play the piano
9. Love her dry and sarcastic humor
10. Her 6th graders love her 
11. Very shy in new situations
12. Learning to try new things
13. Very competitive
14. Has a very tender heart
15. Loves a Route 44 Diet Coke with Vanilla
16. Not afraid of hard work
17. Beautiful
18. Loves her sister (may not always show it)
19. Has strong convictions
20. Great example
21. Smart, smart, smart

Happy, Happy Birthday Kenzie!

Friday, November 1, 2013

This is it!





Today is the day!  I am having my final surgery!
I enter this with mixed emotions.
Excited to be at this point, can't believe it is finally here,
scared to be having surgery again, hopeful that the
outcome will be what I want, blessed to have an
incredible and amazing plastic surgeon...Dr. Mark Jensen
and the most fabulous husband who has been there
every step of the way.

Through this journey I have had to remind myself
that "Things will work out".
I believe in my doctor, I have faith that my
Heavenly Father is watching over me and
has a plan for me and I have tried to be happy.
I have been strengthened and comforted by
the countless prayers on my behalf. 

Dr. Mark Jensen is such a caring doctor.
This week at his office he held a lunch in honor
of those patients who are fighting, surviving or
are a previvor of breast cancer.
It was a great experience to be around all those
incredible women.  

Today is the final step in the reconstruction process.
Nine weeks ago I had my first surgery.
Due to an amazing recovery I am
able to have this next surgery so soon.
This is called the expander exchange.
The expanders will be replaced with implants 
(no more foobies!),
Dr. Jensen will do some lipo so that the fat may be
used to help contour and fill where I no longer have tissue.
I will also be receiving a mastopexy (lift).
It is a total makeover.  I am anxious to
see the final results. Dr. Jensen is excited
for this surgery and the outcome.
Recovery should be much easier and shorter.
I have been reassured that the worst is over.
There is always a worry about infection, rejection
or some other complication, but Dr. Jensen feels
that all should go smoothly.

What a roller coaster ride of six months! 
Can't wait to see my final results.

Thank you everyone for all the love, support,
prayers, cards, flowers, and food.
I have such fabulous friends, family, neighbors
and ward members.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Brave


The Future Belongs to the Brave

brave

  [breyv]  Show IPA adjective, brav·er, brav·est, noun, verb, braved, brav·ing.
adjective
1.
possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.
2.
making a fine appearance.
3.
Archaic. excellent; fine; admirable.

This is a word I have heard a lot over the last 6 weeks.
There are so many that are brave in their battles.
Whether it be fighting cancer, preventing cancer or
watching/helping a loved one fight.
I want to help spread the word to
fight, prevent and be proactive.

Barb was 28 years old when she found a lump in her breast.
She was diagnosed in October 2011.
Barb and her husband Brig made this video in December,
 shortly after Barb began her first chemo treatment. 

I got very emotional watching this video.
What an amazing, brave woman!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One Month



It has been one month since my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM).
What a mouth full!  At times I still can't believe I had surgery.
My recovery seems to be going really well.
The doctors are very pleased with how well my body has recovered.
At times I feel like it has been forever since surgery and at 
other times it feels as if time has flown by.

Here is where I stand to date...
~I have good days and not so good days. Each day
I am feeling stronger.  Some days I have more pain
and discomfort than others.  I think that will
be the story as long as I have the expanders...
darn Foobies!

~I have pretty good arm mobility.  I am still
limited in my arms reaching straight up.
So, I can't wear anything that goes
over my head. Only zip up or button up.

~I take daily walks.  My speed and endurance
are increasing, which is fabulous!

~I can not clean the house for another
two weeks. Poor Scott and Alec
who have to do it.

~I no longer have to have the expanders filled.
That is a very good thing.  It is painful
to have them filled with saline.
They are hard as rocks.

~I am now healing and waiting for the next surgery.
November 1st I will have my exchange surgery.
Woo Hoo! I can't wait for these expanders
to be gone! 

~I can drive.  Although I have only driven
very short distances.

~Scars look amazing! Very minimal.

~Sneezing still hurts.

~I still sleep propped up in bed.
Can't lay flat or on my side...Ouch!

I really can't complain about my recovery.
My surgeons are pleased and surprised with my progress.
Now it is a trial of my patience.  Even though I feel
great I have to take it easy and lay low.
The body is not ready to be back at 100%.

I am so grateful for all the prayers and service
 on my behalf. I feel so blessed and
 extremely fortunate.
Thank you everyone!

As always, KNOW your family history 
(ovarian and breast cancer),
EDUCATE yourself and be tested for BRCA.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

~2 weeks~



 ~Know your family history
~Get BRCA tested
~Knowledge is power
~There are options and we can choose what best suits us
~Be educated and AWARE

It feels great to be 2 weeks post op! Life right now
is based on little milestones.  Each day I feel better,
stronger, and more like myself.  I have learned so
much through this process.  I continue to read, study
and educate myself and family.  At some point Kenzie,
Jensen and Alec will undergo testing and it is my
job to be fully educated for them and myself.
It is scary, overwhelming and somewhat surreal when you know
you are positive for this gene, but how blessed we are to have
amazing medical advancements, doctors and options.

Two weeks was my magical milestone as I entered this.
At about day 11 I started to see major improvements each day.
~Day 7 - Saw Dr. Jensen (plastic surgeon)...tubes were removed
(he has never removed tubes at 1 week)
and my expander's were filled.  OUCH!  The filling of the
expander's felt like a semi truck was sitting on my chest.
It was hard to breath, everything felt as if it was being squeezed 
inward, I had the feeling that my chest was like bricks and
my ribs were hurting from the pressure.
It took about 2 days for things to calm down and each day got better.
Everything is measure in cc's...just like implants.
Expander's are much larger, harder and ridged than implants.
They are referred to as "FOOBIES".  hahaha!
~Day 8 - I was able to have my first shower.  AHHHH!
It felt so good.  I still needed Scott's help to shower,
dress and dry my hair.  Arm mobility was improving
each day.
~Day 10 - I showered myself!  This was a huge milestone for me.
It felt great to be able to do this.  However, my arms were still
limited and Scott had to help me shave and wash my underarms.
How great is he?!  He is the BEST!!
I started figuring out how to get in and out of the recliner myself.
Every little bit of independence felt awesome!
~Day 12 - I was now able to shower, shave, dry and dress myself.
I can also blow dry my hair.  Feels great!
Arms are getting much better...reaching straight up is the most
limited.  Walking each day and able to go a little further.
~Day 13 - Saw Dr. Tittensor (general surgeon) and
got a glowing post op review.  She was more than pleased
with my recovery and reconstruction.  It felt great to
have her so pleased and telling me that everything looks
amazing!  Yeah!!
Went to Costco and walked for about 15 minutes.
It was my first time out of the house and it felt great!
I was exhausted afterwards, but so happy.
~Day 14 - Another major milestone for me was being able to sleep
in our bed and I was able to do that at the 2 week mark.
Scott had to carefully pile some pillows so I could sleep on
an incline, but I made it through the whole night. YEAH!!

I feel stronger each day.  Working out hard before surgery helped immensely.
Reconstruction is coming along great.  It is uncomfortable and I can 
feel the edges of the expander's from time to time, but I remind
myself that this is only temporary.  "Foobies" are hard as rocks,
ridged and uncomfortable, but it is a small price to pay.
My cancer risk is now down to 3% chance.

I have comfort and peace.
Right now the goal is to be ready for implants by
the end of October. For now I continue to set little
goals for myself, work on my recovery and feel so 
blessed and grateful for all the help, meals, visits,
phone calls, texts, words of encouragement and for
an incredible husband and family who have been so
supportive and the best care givers a girl could ask for.