Genetic Risk

My experience of loosing my sister to breast cancer, discovering I had a genetic fault and going through a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery with implants.

By kc

This is my story. I am currently 35 and I lost my big sister to breast cancer March 2007 age 35 and discovered that we had both inherited a faulty gene (brca1) from my father's side of the family. As a result of this I decided to take the drastic action to prevent me too getting cancer and had a double mastectomy 31st december 2007 and reconstructive surgery with implants September 2008.

Losing my sister to breast cancer
It was June 2005 and I had just been away for a short holiday with my older sister Becki to Majorca. We had a really nice time but I found out after that she had in fact discovered a lump in her breast whilst applying sun cream. We lived quite far away from each other so she called me to tell me she had found a lump and had immediately gone to see her doctor and had been referred for tests. She rang to tell my mum and dad too but was so calm and strong about it all that we all believed it would be nothing. It turned out it was in fact a cancerous lump but was low grade and the doctor reassured her she had caught it very early and it was very small. Later that summer she had a lumpectomy. Throughout all this she was so positive and strong about it all that she put our minds at rest and we all believed it was all going to be fine!

6 months later just before xmas she had the devastating news that it had spread and she had to have a mastectomy and courses of chemotherapy. It was a big shock to us all. I stupidly thought it was one of those things that would never happen to us! She came through the surgery still smiling and determined to fight the cancer.My sister had a big personality and a very infectious sense of humor that could literally light up a room full of people! She even managed to laugh at all the weird side affects the chemo gave her! When she wanted to see her doctor without an appointment she would demand to see him and wait outside his office all day looking cross until she was seen! She even got seen in a broom cupboard once as there were no rooms free! All the medical team that treated her thought she was great! and she made them all laugh! Between treatments she kept up her busy social life and carried on enjoying a great night out with her friends. She was the most outgoing sociable person I have ever known but only told her 3 closest friends about her illness! She bravely didn't want any pity and just wanted to be treated normal! I'm not sure I would have been so strong!

May 2006 I finally got engaged to my husband after years of being together and we were away at Lake Windermere. It was perfect and I was so excited and rang my sis immediately. We already got carried away planning the big wedding! A month later I had the most devastating phone call ever! My sister's cancer had spread since xmas to her other breast and lungs and she had been given between 6 months and 2 years to live!I tried to be really strong on the phone as I didn't want her to feel sad for me but I was shattered! She was very complicated to treat as she was triple negative so wouldn't respond to any of the hormone treatments. The way her cancer was spreading was really confusing all the doctors! She said she was still determined to fight it and had plans to go over to America for specialist treatment. I was awake all night with my husband lying in bed with complete and utter disbelief! It felt as though my whole life and future had fallen apart! I had just taken it for granted that I would grow old with my sister! I felt like my whole life had been rewritten and my childhood made no sense anymore! We were very different and didn't always get on but she was my big sis and we loved each other! She had even asked me to have her 2 beloved cats that were like her babies! I She had split from her partner of about 9 years about a year previously so wasn't married and had no children. It was like waking up from a bad dream but it was actually reality! I was supposed to meet my dad the next day for lunch at our chosen wedding venue. I put a lot of waterproof mascara on and tried to make my eyes look less puffy and decided to be strong so as not to upset my dad. We managed to have a nice lunch in the garden and raised our glasses to my sis. She had actually met him and told him in person, then they had both cried lots and then decided to go out for a lovely lunch. That was very my sister she was always happiest enjoying expensive food and staying in luxury hotels she really couldn't afford! She was an extremely generous person but had the most extravagant taste! I am so happy now that she lived life to the max even though at the time I always worried about her expensive taste! Me and my dad talked and we decided we were all going to be as positive as we could and enjoy all the time we had left with her rather than spoiling it by grieving! Later that day we met the vicar who was to marry us. It was really hard and we ended up stopping at a country pub after still trying hard to make sense of it all. It was so painful I think I found this news even harder than when she actually died! She still felt absolutely fine!

I can't remember the exact dates but I notified my doctor of my sister's cancer and because my aunt had died of Ovarian cancer and had got cancer in her forties I was contacted by Nottingham genetics department who were looking into brca 1 and brca2 gene faults. I spoke with them at length and they explained to me about the connection between Breast and Ovarian cancer and that it might be hereditary in my family. I spoke to my sister about it and we agreed to get her blood tested. She had assumed that her cancer was as a result of recent stress and not the healthiest lifestyle! She had incidentally been told it could only be passed down from your mother which is completely wrong!! I felt very concerned that I too may get cancer and found the meeting upsetting! I thought that if I did have a gene fault I would just make sure I had a very healthy lifestyle! Eat lots of antioxidants etc! My sis always thought I would be fine as we were so different! Her bloods were sent away to be tested.

After that I went on a lovely holiday to Corsica with my sister and we went on our last family holiday to Jersey and then I threw myself into all the wedding plans and as I'm very creative and a perfectionist it certainly kept me busy! I think it helped us all to have something positive to look forward to. My poor sister had lost all her hair and had put on at least 2 stone in weight with all the treatments but she bought a fantastic wig and always wore fake eyelashes! She hated the fact the steroids gave her 'moon face' but always looked her best. People had talked about her putting on weight etc totally unaware that she was fighting for her life! In the September my sister came to stay on my birthday but she was in a lot of pain believing she had a cracked rib but I think it was the cancer on her lung. She came for my first dress fitting and in the end I actually chose the 2nd dress I tried on with her which now means a lot that she saw me in my wedding dress! She was still putting up such a fight and went to see a spiritual healer and went to a special cancer place in Bristol. This she found really helpful as she met other ladies in a similar position. She did lots of research on the internet and even went on a special vegan diet but it actually made her anaemic!

January 2007 we had more terrible news: The chemo had worked really well and it was clear from everywhere it had been found in but she had been having lots of headaches and vision problems and after a scan it showed that it had travelled again and she had mets. on the brain. When she was told about this she was more upset that she wasn't aloud to drive anymore as she had a lovely new Audi! It was looking really bad! She had a course of radiotherapy on her brain to try and shrink the tumors. Generally she felt fine apart from several episodes of terrible headaches when she had to call an ambulance and go to hospital for a night. She was well liked at the hospital so always got the best private rooms! She sold her car and with the money on her birthday in February booked a private dining room at her favorite boutique hotel that she often drank at and invited all her closest friends to a meal. She paid for champagne all night and paid for everyone's food. She even paid for me and my husband's amazing room! It was a magical evening I will never forget. It was thick with snow and it looked like a film set! We all went to a club and she stayed out until 5 am! We only managed until 3am! A few weeks later she came with me to meet my chosen wedding photographers and we went into town for lunch. She was having dizzy spells and vision problems but otherwise felt fine. She had started arranging her own wake!! She was very particular and wanted the most amazing venue in the area and chose all the miniature gastro nibbles! She was very particular!! It did freak the staff out a bit when they asked who it was for!!! She loved funerals! She had a very dark sense of humor and loved wearing black most of the time!

Me and my husband had been going to the country church we were to marry at most Sundays as it wasn't our parish and we became very close with the Vicar and small congregation. I decided I could either get very angry and blame God etc or embrace and turn to religion. I became much closer to God and it really helped me get through it all! I got baptized mid march but my sister couldn't come as she fell very ill and had been admitted to hospital again. They had put her on oral chemo which had made her very ill. I didn't realize how bad she was but my dad seemed very distant and preoccupied all day. She never properly recovered and a week later was put in a hospice. She did seem to perk up and when I saw her was having a good day and was at large her lively self. Then it was a mixture of good days when she would eat and be fairly cheerful and others when she looked dreadful! Me and my husband stayed at her house and we spent her final week by her side in the hospice. My dad, my husband and her closest friends were there with us too and despite everything we all managed to have some laughs and keep things as normal as possible. One of her friends is very mad ( like Phoebe from 'friends' in her own little world) and she was brilliant company in such a hard situation! We had a few false alarms in the middle of the night when her breathing had got really bad and we all rushed around her bed to find her sit up and ask us what we were all doing and that she fancied a Bacardi and diet coke!!! typical my sis! We got a small bottle of champagne and a straw but she couldn't manage it! It got harder and harder to watch her suffer in her last days. I found it so painful as she was trying to communicate with me but her eyes were rolling back and she could no longer speak. I didn't know if she was in pain or what she wanted and I felt so upset and responsible for her wellbeing! I tried to waffle on about all our favorite places in Jersey, nice restaurants and tried to make her imagine walking along the beach and swimming in the sea! It was torture and I prayed that she would die as I wanted to stop the suffering! This I found so hard!

She died in her sleep March 28th 2007. When we went to see her the nurse opened the window as she believed that you should let the spirit out and just then a golden bird landed on the window looked at us and flew off! I believe maybe it was her spirit leaving and typical sis it wasn't a common sparrow! It was all so surreal! We had to plan the funeral and organise everything! We had to choose what to cremate her in! It was all so strange! I found it hard that all her food shopping was still in the cupboard and the cornflakes had outlived her!! Adrenalin kept me going whilst we made all the arrangements.
The funeral was perfect. I got very dressed up in black, large hat and red lipstick. She would have loved it! It was a really hot day despite being April and we used the church we often had school services in. There were nearly 200 people there and it was the perfect send of! We all went to the pub after and got fairly drunk! This was exactly what she would have wanted! It was all so surreal!

June 16th 2007 we married. Despite everything we had a wonderful wedding day. All the preparations had been extremely hard work and stressed me out. I had to post the invites when my sister was in the hospice and the whole thing had really upset me. My family really wanted the wedding to go ahead as planned so we got ready for the big day!
In the morning I did have a very hearty cry before I had my hair done for half an hour to get it out of my system! If my sister had been there she would have been perfect as she would have been organized and quite bossy with all the other bridesmaids which is exactly what we needed! I found it difficult but everything was perfect.Most of the guests still talk about it even now! My dad paid for it all and really had pushed the boat out so the champagne was flowing and everyone got very merry! We raised our glasses to my sis but kept the occasion a happy one as she would have wanted that! The next day with a stinking hangover we left for the Italian Lakes and had 2 of the most perfect relaxing weeks at a classic luxury hotel! We started thinking about planning a family!

Tested positive for BRCA1
July 2007 I got my sister's genetic test results and she tested positive for BRCA1 genetic fault which had been passed down from our father's side. My Grandma had several cancers too but as she was a very private lady we weren't exactly sure which? She had lived into her nineties despite this! I chose not to tell my parents about this until I had been tested as I hoped I may test negative. I spoke with the counselor and had a blood test there and then! It would then take about 3 weeks for my results! low was now really starting to worry that I too would have a fault. It felt like my future had a dark cloud over it. Would I get cancer the same as my sister? Would I have to go through all the suffering she did?

September 2007 I went for the test results and just as I feared I too had a genetic fault that put me at very high risk of getting Breast cancer! My husband was more upset than me about it and got very angry with the counselor! I almost knew I would test positive! He felt they gave me the results and then washed their hands of me! He demanded to see a specialist and surgeon! We had a few weeks before I met the surgeon and nurse and all sorts was going through my head! I felt faulty and like a time bomb waiting to go off! I had always assumed I would grow old and have grandchildren but at this point I wasn't even sure I would last to 40! I decided I would make sure I kept healthy eating lots of broccoli, blueberries etc etc!!

So I met with an oncoplastic surgeon and my breast care nurse 3 weeks later. I wrote down so many questions but expected them to say that I was high risk but had a healthy lifestyle so would just have to be healthy and to go for regular mammograms. At worse perhaps have surgery later in life! I asked my very long list of questions and did even manage to crack some jokes (just my way of coping! It was immediately made very clear to me that my risk was at least 80% and that looking at my family the only truly safe option was radical surgery right away! I was told They would recommend a double (bilateral) mastectomy and then I must have my ovaries removed after I have completed my family ideally by age 40! I was only just 33! This really was a shock!!! It was explained that I could have my breasts reconstructed probably with implants as I was very slim. I had made it clear that we were trying for a baby but they told me off the record that they had seen some heartbreaking cases of brca ladies getting cancer whilst pregnant! Perhaps the hormones trigger it? Also did I really want an operation whilst I was looking after a baby? Normal breast cancer patients are told that breastfeeding reduces risk but they believe in my case the risk is too high! First of all I was gutted that I couldn't have my family first!! Then it was obvious to me that my decision was made I must have the surgery as soon as possible. Having watched my sister get cancer age 33 and die less than 18 months later I wasn't prepared to take any chances! I just wanted to live! I said a big yes to the operation but they said I had to go away and think hard about my decision! I was put in touch with a lady my age that had it done.

The weeks following my meeting were extremely hard! I felt like my future had a big dark cloud over it! I worried that my parents would loose me too! Then I felt bad for mutilating a perfectly healthy pare of breasts! It all span round my head! I got very stressed at work and snapped at lots of people I shouldn't have! I did also worry I was going to have some kind of mental breakdown as I had been through so much loosing my sis, the wedding and all this in about 7 months! It was a crazy time!

I then spoke to the very lovely lady who I had been put in touch with and she was so helpful! She had a huge sense of humour like me and made it all much easier to understand. She e-mailed me her before and after photos and gave me info of this forum! As soon as I figured out how to use the forum it gave me a whole new insight! Everyone was so lovely to me and had all similar sad stories leading to their surgery!
I decided to call my breast care nurse and arrange dates for my surgery as soon as possible! I managed to completely bypass my gp and any counseling but I think they knew I was so certain and a strong person. I really wanted it doing in 2007 so I could move on with my life in 2008! I was told I may be able to have my surgery before xmas. I immediately spoke to my HR department at work and they were really supportive. They had been great when my sister died and the lady that always seemed quite hard faced had actually broke down in tears! I made it clear that I would be needing a minimum of six weeks off to recover but it could be as much as 12 weeks depending on how it went. They were fine about this as I had never had a single day off sick in 7 years!

November I booked my operation. I was offered xmas eve which I said no to as I thought it would be too much for my family to not have me home for xmas as it was the first without my sis! I did joke to the nurse that if the surgeon dressed up as Santa I may consider it! I was also offered New Years Eve as both these dates were very quiet and less likely to be cancelled! I decided to have it done New Years Eve so I could leave all the horrible stuff back in 2007 and move on with my life!

I felt like my future had a big dark cloud over it! I worried that my parents would lose me too! Then I felt bad for mutilating a perfectly healthy pare of breasts! It all span round my head! Some days I felt super strong but others I got very stressed at work and snapped at lots of people I shouldn't have! I did also worry I was going to have some kind of mental breakdown as I had been through so much loosing my sis, the wedding and all this in about 7 months! It was a crazy time! I could be really strong but small things would nearly tip me over the edge! I had worked in a small lovely close team and been really happy for 7 years but then got told we were all to split up and move into other departments and I was to move into another building with a new team after I returned back to work! I was devastated! This was the final straw! In my mind I felt like my work was the only thing that had remained constant through all this as everything else in my life was different since my sis died! I did a lot of snapping, shouting and crying that week! I just let myself let it out! I think my boss could have been far more sympathetic to be honest! I did manage to pick myself up again and felt some comfort from the fact I was having time out and at last perhaps I could grieve properly!

The Operation
Dec31st 2007 I had my bilateral Mastectomy with tissue expanders.

The morning of my operation arrived and I had fake tanned, had an eyelash tint and straightened my hair! Perhaps I am too vain but I just thought it would help me to feel more human when I was recovering!

I was terrified when we drove to the hospital and so bloody hungry having no breakfast! I am so grumpy without my food! I was put on a bay on the ward and all the ladies around me were over 80 years old! I unpacked and got into my surgical stockings and gown and waited on my bed. The anaesthetist came to speak to me first and then I went in to speak to my surgeon. It was strange as I suddenly was incredibly calm. He drew on me where he would be cutting. I asked a really silly question which was what would happen if I sneezed and if they would cut off the wrong bit!! It was probably a talking point when they were performing the op! They checked I had a supportive sports bra that was suitable as I was to wear it for 24 hours for 3 weeks after the op. I bought 3 in different sizes as I wasn't sure which would fit best due to the swelling. Then I had to lie down on my bed whilst a porter wheeled me down to the operating room. It was so surreal! I was taken into a storage side room where I was given a cannular in my hand! That really hurt and was unpleasant but before I knew it I was put to sleep!

I remember waking up but everything was very fuzzy in the observation room! I had an oxygen mask on but got really fixated on my tickly nose! I pulled off the mask and had a good scratch! It is a side affect of morphine apparently! I wasn't in pain but felt like I had a heavy weight on my chest. It felt very tight! I was wheeled back to the ward feeling very spaced out. I did get quite edgy and grumpy but otherwise was fine. To my horror I had started my period! Typical! The nurse was lovely about it! I also had to go to the loo on a bed pan thing but couldn't so had a commode! I just had to laugh as it wasn't very dignified as I couldn't pull my knickers up!
Then before I knew it my husband arrived and it was dinner time! I think I was supposed to have soup but insisted on the fish and ketchup! It tasted great (must have been all the drugs ha-ha!) I cheered up fast and was sat up in bed chatting away! One of my friends came to visit and said I looked like an angel! She expected me to look really ill but I was fine and very relieved! The relief was huge!

I had 2 drains attached under each breast ( 4 in total) and they drained into what looked a bit like tuppa wear bottles! These were placed in fabric bags so I didn't drop them and the tubes would pull out. It was quite annoying as they get all tangled up in bed! Too many wires! I asked for my cannula removed as it ached and set off a trend as all the other ladies wanted theirs removing! Later that evening I walked to the toilet with a little help from the nurse in case I got wobbly! It was really frustrating not being able to reach over and pour my own water and getting the pillows arranged was difficult!

Later that evening my husband left and it was fairly quiet. I did find it hard being on a bay without anyone nearer my age but the old ladies were all pleasant to me. One poor old lady was completely bedridden and couldn't even go to the loo on her own, another must have had lung cancer as needed a machine to drain the fluid so she could breathe! It was horrible hearing moans and groans and people being sick as I'm not very good at that sort of thing! I did feel very sorry for all of them as it was hard enough for me and I am young and able bodied! When it got to midnight I watched through the window as all the fireworks went off. What a sober New Years Eve this one was to be. A very funny nurse did come round and check I was ok and gave me a teaspoon of sherry! It tasted lovely even though I normally hate the stuff! I found it very difficult to sleep due to a combination of snorers, moans and noisy nurses that would talk full volume and put all the lights on even in the middle of the night! Also I was so bloody hot as next to a radiator and all the drugs gave me hot sweats all night! Hospitals are always too hot and stuffy! Thankfully I was near the window and could open it a little! You need plenty of fresh nightwear!

The next day I was able to walk around more and managed to go to the loo and clean myself as best as I could.The lights are switched on so early and breakfast is brought around. I put on some mascara and lip-gloss so I looked more human and was quiet naughty as I rearranged the vases and flowers on my windowsill! I just felt I couldn't sit still and did lift things perhaps I shouldn't! I walked up and down the corridor and made conversation with some of the other ladies on other bays.

I did find it quite lonely and did wish the nurses would come and chat more. I think they are always short staffed and literally have only enough time to perform their main duties. Considering it was mainly ladies with cancer on my ward I personally think it is really important to speak and be friendly and this is as important as giving medication etc! Hospital is a lonely place and must have been so difficult especially for the older ladies! I witnessed the lovely bedridden lady being mean to by a horrible nurse. We were all outraged! There were also some very lovely nurses too! I think on any ward there is a real mixed bag of nurses and always some you don't like!

The third day after my op I decided to have a proper wash. I did wait for a nurse but they took ages so I went for a shower. There was a sit down shower room and I managed to get undressed sit down and put all my drain bags in poly bags which I hooked onto to somewhere near the shower head. I then very gently ran the water over myself and my wound. I think I washed with the surgical gel you use before the op. I washed my hair too. It took over half an hour as I had to do everything so slowly but I felt so much better! I then looked in the full length mirror. I was glued together so no dressings were on and I actually didn't look half as bad as I expected! I was very bruised and scabby but I expected that. My boobs had been expanded to at least an A cup so I wasn't completely flat but they did look quite square shaped. I just had think work in progress! I was more concerned with my huge looking tummy! I reckon all the drugs and being less mobile makes you so bloated and you feel quite fat! After I borrowed a hair dryer and a mirror and applied a little make up! All the old ladies found it all very entertaining and were quite proud of me I think! My very lovely surgeon came to visit me after. He was pleased with my progress and the way the wounds were healing up!

On the fourth day I woke up with awful period pain and they forgot my medication and suddenly burst into tears! I was fine but I think it was the after affects of the anaesthetic wearing off! I ended up sitting at the end of a lovely old ladies bed having a good sob! I felt quite silly! At lunch I was getting really fed up of the slop they call food and I escaped with my friend to the hospital cafe for a tuna mayo jacket spud! It seemed like miles away and although I felt very dizzy and spaced it was worth it! I figured I was in the right place if I did collapse!! It felt quite naughty but fun! You do get quite obsessed with food in hospital as there isn't much to do! Later that evening I sent my husband for a big Mac meal!! Later that evening a very poorly lady came in and she was vomiting and needed a machine to drain her lungs I think! I found it very difficult and decided to go home the next day as I was meant to have the last 2 drains removed! My surgeon had said I could go whenever I liked but I wanted to make sure I was well enough first! Maybe it's because you are more likely to get infections in hospital these days?

On the fifth day I was ready for home but it took all day for the pharmacy to sort out my medication! My drains were still not empty enough to take out but I was allowed to return the following day. Late afternoon my husband took me home. It feels very strange leaving hospital as 5 days in hospital feels more like 2 weeks! It is also quite hard as you are used to your bed and everything being easy to access. You are in a safe little bubble in hospital but at home you feel more aware that you aren't quite yourself! I felt surprisingly well and actually quite enjoyed being waited on all weekend!!
I couldn't believe how thoughtful people were as I kept getting flowers and cards for weeks! I did find that I couldn't help tidying and lifting vases I shouldn't have in preparation for all my visitors!

Recovering from my op
I was off work for 10 weeks but felt physically fine after about 5 weeks. I had some telephone counseling and needed time out to come to terms with loosing my sister. I didn't have much pain apart from a horrible tingling feeling when anything rubbed the skin on my boobs. I think it was the nerve endings knitting back together! Each day I made myself do small tasks like washing up, walking to the local shop etc! It does knock you out a lot after such a big operation and you tire easily. I made sure I kept moving and did some of the exercises handed to me by the hospital. The physio was rubbish at the hospital as she literally handed me a leaflet and read it out aloud! I spent a lot of time on this forum too which was so helpful. People on here were really there for me and I felt able to be truly honest about how I felt each day! I found that people I never thought of as close friends were amazing and have since become great friends whereas some of those so called close friends really let me down and turned out to be fair weather friends and really weren't there! This I found very upsetting at the time but now I know the ones that are true friends! It is hard though!

Following my operation I had to go to the hospital every few weeks for my expansions. This is when the empty implants are gradually filled up with saline fluid in order to stretch the skin to make way for the implants. In my case I had my first expansion done 2 weeks after the operation. The first one was quite uncomfortable and felt very tight but wasn't painful! I had 50ml in each side. I had my next one was 4.5 weeks after my operation and had 80ml each side, 9 weeks after I had another 80ml put in each side and then finally 13 weeks after my op I had 65ml in each side. It all depends on your chosen breast size as to how much you have put in. Generally they over expand you in order to stretch the skin. At this point I had at least 32d size boobs which was very exciting for such a flat chested lady! They do look incredibly fake, round and like porn boobs but I found them funny!! I ended up having to buy more bras and clothes to accommodate them! It was embarrassing on holiday as I felt very obviously fake looking! The scars were healing nicely too.

I returned to work in March and I did find it hard adjusting to my new surroundings and new department. People made some very stupid comments. My boss likened it all to her tummy tuck!! One of my colleagues joked I had set a trend off as a few ladies had just had boob jobs! I did put him straight about it! It is completely different! I had been put on a desk far away from everyone so felt quite lonely and bored. I hardly had any work to do which made me have too much time to think about it all! I was quite unhappy at work. My next operation was scheduled for July and I couldn't wait to get it all over and done with. I was looking forward to my summer holiday with my family with my new more natural looking boobs!

10 days before my implant exchange was due to take place I was getting psyched up and was mentally prepared for it. I was then called to tell me it had been cancelled due to more urgent operations for cancer ladies. I was very devastated about this. I really understood but just wanted to get on with my life. I felt very fed up for a week but then bounced back again! It is hard as this type of surgery can get cancelled frequently. I was given another date which was in September.

Sept 08 The Implant Exchange Operation
I got really nervous on the morning of my operation but once again when I was at the hospital and ready to be wheeled down was actually really calm! When I had spoken to my surgeon he gave me the option of going a little smaller or a little bigger as he had 2 pairs of implants. I found this very confusing as I didn't know whether he was comparing with my natural boobs or expanders! My expanders were as big as I wanted to go so opted for smaller ones!The cannula was put in much better this time and didn't hurt as much. I forget exactly how long I was operated on this time but I think it was nearer an hour so much quicker! I woke up and was brought back to the ward. Once again on my bay there were mainly old ladies but they were slightly younger and active than last time! I was very edgy once again from the morphine but felt fine! I Actually got out of bed and put a little lip-gloss on probably too soon after! I felt wobbly and spaced out and hyper! I was feeling very cheerful and it was so nice to be able to move this time! I think I had 2 drains in to start with. It was all fine and I felt well adjusted as it was my second visit to the ward. All was so much easier this time! The worse bit was when I had my dressings removed! It was like pulling a giant plaster off! Ouuchhhh! It even left me a few blisters!! I looked at my new boobs and immediately stressed that I had chosen the wrong size! They looked so much smaller than the expanders and the shape initially wasn't nice! I tried not to worry!

A few days later I returned home as I couldn't get any sleep due to noisy snorers! I once again got very teary from the anaesthetic for a few days and cried at every daft program on telly! Suddenly I seemed to feel very upset by my new boobs. I felt like I had a couple of imposters on my chest that weren't mine! It was weird as I had no issue after my mastectomy. Maybe it was because the expanders were filled gradually and just looked so pretend! I cried when I looked in the mirror every day for about 2 weeks! Suddenly I noticed that they were actually changing shape and started to settle. Part of the problem was that the swelling made them look different. They did look far smaller than the expanders and projected less. I felt flat chested again! I think that everything had caught up with me and perhaps I was just coming to terms with loosing my breasts! I was fine a few weeks later! The sports bras I had to wear all day long for a few weeks seemed to really help shape them. They definitely looked better and better with time. In the end I'm actually glad I didn't choose a slightly bigger size as they look more natural for my frame and they can push together in bras to create good cleavage. They actually look better than my original boobs in a bikini!

Oct 08 A few months later
I thought everthing had settled down and decided to try for a family but I then discovered after a cervical smear test and being referred to a specialist that I in fact had a double womb! I really felt very negative as I was told that getting pregnant may be very difficult and that I had a high chance of miscarrying and early labor. I think once you have had to deal with life all seeming to go wrong you tend to expect the worse out of situations! It is quite rare. However less than a month later I managed to get pregnant and although it was rather a worrying pregnancy with internal scans every 2 weeks I had a beautiful healthy baby girl by planned c-section 2 weeks before my due date!

June 2010
At the time of writing this my beautiful daughter is 10 months old and thriving! I named her after my sister and I really see my sister's strength and independence in her! I was obviously unable to breast feed but my daughter is really healthy and happy and I have pert boobs that are actually the envy of my friends who breast fed there babies!! I just have to have my ovaries removed in the next 3 or 4 years and then I've done all I can to prevent my life being cut short by cancer!
It has been a very difficult journey and I miss my sister every day but I am so glad that I took the action to have preventative surgery as now I can really get on and enjoy my life and concentrate on being a mummy! I look forward to having another child soon!