Preventive Mastectomy: One Year Later

Posted April 26, 2017 by Prairie Wife - 40 comments

When I began this journey, a year ago

A year ago this week…

I was fearful and determined, nervous and prepared, alone yet surrounded by love.

PW and kids 2

My inner mantra, the one I held on to and repeated over and over as I prepared for every step in this journey was #strongenough.

When I first went public with my choice I heard it all, and I continue to hear many of these comments even now…

Why don’t you wait a few years?
I would never do that to my body.
Lead a healthier lifestyle and you don’t have to worry about cancer.
You’re so brave.
At least you get/got a free boob job.
Breast implants kill people.

I am #strongenough to know that this was the right decision for me, and remember that all those comments come from a place of caring.

As I met with my Plastic Surgeon and Breast Surgeon this week (one for an appointment and one for dinner as we are now friends) I recalled how hard it was to look them in the eye, to nod my head yes and to be #strongenough to put my future, my life in their hands. Nothing prepared me for the emotion of picking the right doctor, the fear of misplaced confidence, and the relief when I was reminded over and over that I made the correct choice.

When I decided to share my story and pictures on my blog I knew there could be some awkward moments. I was NOT prepared for everyone to look first at my boobs then me. I was NOT ready to battle with The Cowboy over posting pictures after a few too many male colleagues made comments. I was NOT prepared for the emotions that came out when I received hundreds of comments, emails and messages from other women telling me that reading my story helped them on their journey.

I am #strongenough to honestly share my story, every part of it, to help support others.

after mastecomy 2

The physical pain was bearable and way less of an issue for me than I thought. The one time it knocked me to my knees, I was #strongenough to let others hold me up.

The depression that came along with the hormone changes tried to take over my life. I fought the feelings of uselessness, I focused on my children, I forced myself to leave the house. I relied on my faith and prayed often to God for strength. I put one foot in front of the other and started over every three months, teaching my body to move again, to work again.  I was #strongenough.

PW and kids

I forced myself to look in the mirror. To really look at my body, to touch my breasts even though I couldn’t feel anything anymore…even though I felt completely disconnected from them. I looked in wonder as they changed from misshapen and bruised to beautiful. I am #strongenough to let go of the old and learn to love the new.

I was #strongenough to be honest with The Cowboy about the ups and downs instead of hiding behind a smile. To let him lift me up when I needed it, to allow him to be my partner and my strength. I allowed TallGirlJ, MaryPoppins and CollegeBFF…and even the Cowkids, to see me cry. I took time to wallow, to take a step away when I needed too, to let my body heal and rest when I was tired instead of pushing through.


I will be #strongenough to keep pushing that mean little voice in my head away. The one that shouts “It’s fake, it’s all fake.” When someone compliments me on my nice figure. The one that says I have no right to wear clothes that show off my body, that I can’t enjoy how I look because it’s cheating. That whispering in my head…if I wear something low cut people will knowingly nod and say “Told you she just did it to get nicer boobs.”

I am #strongenough to keep pushing my body physically. To try new sports without the fear of hurting myself overtaking the fun. To keep adding miles and miles to my running goal and to not let the daily aches and pains from my surgeries hold me back. I am #strongenough to keep working at wiping the table, the one damn household chore I still can’t do correctly after my surgery.

Before my first surgery, when I made my decision to throw the first punch in my fight against Breast Cancer, I called up my friend and photographer Erin Potter. Many people do a photo shoot before their mastectomy. I guess it’s to have a record of how beautiful they were before.

That wasn’t for me.

I didn’t know what my final results would look like but, I knew I didn’t want to be looking back at pictures of before.

The whole reason I had a preventive mastectomy was because I was looking forward, because I wanted a future.

So we scheduled a photo shoot for a year after my mastectomy.

All these pictures are after pictures.

after mastectomy 1

Pictures I wanted to take so I could show my friends, my family, my children, my readers and myself that I am #strongenough.









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40 thoughts on "Preventive Mastectomy: One Year Later"

  1. Pa says:

    I’m proud of you.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks Pa love ya 😉

  2. Ma says:

    OH…these are AFTER pictures ?? Your smile is EXACTLY the same !!

  3. kendra says:

    Uhh yeah you are strong… strong enough and strong period! And brave for sharing so openly your journey and being willing to let others weigh in when it’s truly a personal decision. Nobody knows what they would do in any situation until they face a situation.
    xx K

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Kendra 🙂 and thanks for your support through my journey xoxo

  4. Bennie says:

    It was very brave of you to do this with the hopes it will only help you in the future. You have a beautiful family. The cowboy is pretty hot. 😉

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Bennie…and he’s a keeper for sure 😉

  5. Tanya Gygax says:

    Love this!
    Although my mastectomy wasn’t preventative, (I was too late for that), my hysterectomy was preventative so I can relate and empathize with the things you shared. You are definitely #strongenough in so many ways.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Tanya, it was an honor to meet you this last year, and thank you for you kind words 🙂

  6. Pat McCarthy says:

    So my friend, I need you to know you helped me through my own breast cancer ordeal as I made new friends with my aging body and breasts that are now different sizes. I thought about you and all you did to be STRONG ENOUGH and it helped me, it really did to be positive and to do what I had to do, to let others help me and care for me and yes, even to complain less. I’m on the other side now and I intend to follow your example, in my own way, on the road to recovery. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you a hundred times. Someone said to me, “God is good.” He is and I am beyond grateful but I know He would still
    and always be good even if I didn’t recover. After all He gives us so many blessings to light our way. You, for sure, are one of mine.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      This brought tears to my eyes, your support and prayers helped me so much to focus on the good in my journey. To know I in turn helped you is an honor. Love and prayers to you xoxo

  7. Katen says:

    You are the courage and the strength for so many. Thank you for sharing your story! Beautiful photos!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Karen xoxo

  8. Stefanie Saporito says:

    As a fellow previvor, this brought me to tears. I’m over 2 months out (in expanders) and fully relate to not looking back. I did not do the photo shoot as well for that reason, but instead threw a boobvoyage party before my pbm which in my mind was the funeral – how I was saying goodbye and moving on so I can live a long life. I love that you did after photos and might steal that idea. These foobs are me for the rest of my life (well after my exchange next month) so in my mind they’re very real and part of who I am.
    I’m constantly being told how brave and strong I am – physically I get it – the pain wasn’t bad but granted plenty of nerve sensation is gone – but emotionally not so much,
    You are an inspiration and truly so brave to post your journey – while I’ve considered it myself because so many people just like you and I rely on these blogs and other social media support groups – you’re truly helping people through one of the toughest things they’ll ever have to gather the courage to do. So seriously thank you.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. There are so any emotions and ups and downs that come with this surgery that at I times I felt like I was the only one feeling the way I did. I wrote it anyway and to hear that I’m not alone helps me as much as you reading my posts hopefully helps you. Remember, you ARE #strongenough being strong is not about never feeling weak or crying or wallowing…being strong means not letting those emotions take over. Feel what you need to feel have a bad day or two and then breath deep and charge forward.

      Lots of love to you…and I can’t wait to hear that you’ve done your after pics 🙂

  9. Sharon Bresler says:

    Thank you. Love your photos and your family is adorable! <3

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Sharon!

  10. Tracy Cullen says:

    You are amazing! I so respect you! ❤️

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you so much 🙂

  11. JennB says:

    beautiful family and gorgeous photos! Yay to life!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks Jenn xoxo

  12. DawnGotts says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had myPBM in December 2015. As I sit here now, in prep for my 2nd fat grafting, I am anxious to finally be done with all this. I know this was the right thing to do, and each surgery has gone very well, I just did not expect to not have it all behind me by now. One day I’ll get there!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Dawn thank you for taking the time to stop by. I feel blessed that I was able to be done after one year, I know that’s not how it goes for everyone. Remember your why, you ARE #strongenough and hugs and best of luck to you as you finish your journey.

  13. Eva says:

    Thank you for your story. I am 10 days out of bilateral mastectomy. Struggling how to share my story.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Sending you hugs and healing thoughts, you are #strongenough

  14. caire VanHee says:

    Dear brave cowgirl l,
    I have just scheduled the same procedure with the same doctor. No matter what they tell you, you really cannot know what it will be like.
    Thank you for your honesty and sharing your experience. I have to get through this like a champ for 2 of my 3 daughter who also need a prophylactic double due to BRCA1 I had BC 21 years ago and got though it. I cannot go through it again and do not want the girls to either.
    I love you motto. Strong enough. I know that we will be too.
    To happiness, health and peace of mind

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      This brought tears to my eyes. I am sending you so much strength. I know this part of the journey can be overwhelming…I have no doubt that you are #strongenough xoxoxo

  15. Jess Zukin says:

    I’m preparing for my July 17th Miller/Bateman surgery and I’m feeling so terrified, overwhelmed and wondering if I’m making the right decision. Thank you for sharing your story. I need to mentally prepare for the journey ahead and your grace, wisdom and positivity are helping me tremendously. Though I can’t seem to stop crying 😉

    1. Claire VanHee says:

      I had my surgery late Aplril with the same team and they are great!! I was very emotional as well and I think it is totally normal to be scared and feeling vulnerable. It is something you can not control. I think it is conflicting because we are only removing breasts, not a leg or an arm. Yet it is still so scary and hard.
      You are in very skilled hands and will get through this!
      I am now hiking, doing Pilates, golfing and enjoying the summer. I will be doing the second surgery in November and then have this behind me so that I can support 2 of my 3 daughters with their prophylactic mastectomy’s. We have all discovered we are BRCA1. I am 22 years cancer free (now 58) and will now never have to worry again.
      There is life on the other side of this and I don’t regret the docs I selected nor the choices I made.
      My prayers will be with you that you come through with flying colors and feel good. I really had little pain and the mobility came back pretty fast.
      Feel free to reach out again.
      All the best,

      1. Prairie Wife says:

        Love to hear another happy experience, it gives women courage to know that there ARE many of us that are 120% comfortable with our decision 🙂

    2. Prairie Wife says:

      Jess, I am so happy that you have such a great team of dr. If you read the pro op posts you know that I was for SURE a bit emotional the days leading up to surgery. I think it’s normal and do what you need to do…even if that means cry and wallow for a day. Afterwards, I was shocked at how relieved I felt to have it all done. Glad you reached out to me on messenger and know that I am here cheering you on. #strongenough

  16. Rachel says:

    You are truly awesome xxx

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Rachel!

  17. Kat says:

    Great encouragement! Thank you.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thanks for stopping by Kat!

  18. majan says:

    Hello, I read your story and was very helpful for me. I would ask are your breasts still 36D? or fat abserved? Thank you very much

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      34 D is where I am now 3 years out. Depending on the brand and style I can be a DD too.

  19. Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am 5 days out from DMX and struggling. Your story helped:)

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      It is such a hard process, but stay strong and know that it is a short amount of tough for a long beautiful life ahead of you!

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