My birthday is December 31st. Go ahead, mark your calendar 😉 What a great day to reflect on the year behind me and focus on the new goals for the year ahead. There is something to be said about having the last day of the year as your birthday too. For the girl that loves to celebrate, it has been awesome! If years have themes, then 2014 was a year of change. Becoming a mother, learning about myself in a role I had no idea how much I would love, was at times challenging but also incredibly rewarding. The first year of motherhood meant a ton of focus on my little chicken. And I’ll admit, at times this meant not truly taking care of myself. I set a goal for 2015 to really refocus on my health. I joined a January Meltdown Challenge at my local barre studio and felt so excited to kick the year off right. 10,000 steps a day and 32 barre classes in 8 weeks. Challenge accepted: Game ON!
If 2014 was the year of change, then 2015 is the year of taking charge. I hit the ground running and never felt better about my decision to refocus and take charge with my level of fitness. And then BAM. The LUMP put all things to a halt. I have to say, my competitive nature was not willing to give up my barre challenge despite the doctor advising to take a break from physical activity. Oh and let’s add that Boston had a record breaking amount of snow to burry us inside this season. So here we were buried, with all of my festering thoughts and left with some major decisions to make. Boy…if you could have been a fly on these walls.
I couldn’t freeze this February, my life had to move forward. I was not going to let this lump get the best of me. I started googling ways to find support for someone like me. I had never heard of Bright Pink, but when I clicked the link I thought FINALLY! A place for women like me! A woman that doesn’t currently have cancer can join a network of people to feel supported. In an instant, I filled out an application to gain a Pink Pal. I felt so overwhelmed by my health scare. I needed to talk to other women exactly like me. I needed someone to hear my thoughts and anxieties about every possible scenario running through my mind. My Pink Pal gave me more than I ever imagined. We connected over the phone so easily. It was like I was talking to my best friend, only Julia and I had never met.
Julia never pushed or campaigned for me to get surgery. She never told me how to handle my health. However, her story echoed mine. Her triumphant decisions gave her an outcome that I dreamed someone like me could one day have. Her decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy gave her peace of mind so she didn’t have BRCA taking over her brain.
I needed to make my own decision though. After talking to Julia about her personal experience, I was still on the fence if surgery was the right option for me at this point in my life. I needed to see what surgery entailed. I needed to know what life would be like if I proceeded without considering surgery. I needed to meet surgeons. I needed to talk about all the pros and all of the cons to have surgery or not to have surgery. I needed to research what my life would be like after surgery. And so I took charge of my health in a way I never expected to at 29 years old. Later, I will share what my consultations were like and how I ultimately made my decision.
After finding a dream team of surgeons, I wanted to book surgery for yesterday. You read that correctly. There is nothing like booking major surgery and then having to wait it out until surgery arrives. In the end, I couldn’t find the appropriate time to schedule surgery for 2015 that wouldn’t interfere with other major events happening in my life. So I scheduled surgery for January 2016. In case you are wondering, 2016 will be the year of Bon Voyage Boobs. But with my 30th birthday on the horizon, I thought I can’t have this whole year go to waste leading up to surgery.
So you might have heard a major bucket list item of mine is to run in a marathon. I am pleased to announce on October 11, 2015 I will be crossing this item off of my list. I will be joined by my sister, Vanessa Bramante and my best friend, Meghan Nowakowski. And together we will be running for Team Bright Pink! 2015 is still the year of taking charge.
I will be refocusing my energy on fundraising for an organization I so greatly believe in and also on training for such an amazing event! Did I mention I’ve never ran more than 4 miles at once? I am so honored to be running with two amazing people and I am so floored by the amount of support we have received thus far. Friends and family have already booked flights and hotels to cheer us on. You should think about coming to Chicago too. It’s going to be a good time. I’d love to see you there. We plan on taking Chicago by storm!
I am so looking forward to October. I am so looking forward to embracing my Pink Pal and telling her face to face she saved me. I am so looking forward to achieving goals and going on this adventure with people I love. I can’t wait to cross that finish line. Are you with me?
It would mean the world to me and my teammates, if you could show your support by making a donation to our team and by sharing our story. Each and every donation, no matter how big or small is motivating us through training. And you better believe we will be thinking of you on race day!
Together let’s finish the year now with strength, courage and gratitude.
Thank you all so much for your support! YOU ROCK!