Preventive Mastectomy: Two Years Later

Posted April 30, 2018 by Prairie Wife - 10 comments


You think you’ve gotten a handle on things, that you’ve healed and moved on, and then you start to write a post and end up in tears.

Tears of sorrow as I am reminded of the physical and emotional pain caused by my choices.

Tears of gratitude for the support of friends and family, and for the knowledge that my journey is truly done.

Two years ago, I underwent a Preventive Mastectomy.

Two years ago, I began, not the first step, but certainly the scariest step, of what would be a year-long journey.

As I drew closer to the two-year mark, I began to reflect on what I would write.

Part of that process was looking back at old blog posts and considering my journey as a whole.

The side-by-side pictures in this one made me feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my skilled and amazing surgeons.

At the one-year mark, I wrote this post, which turned out to be one of the most popular posts on this blog. It was the one-year mark of my mastectomy, but in truth, it was only a few months after my last surgery.

Rereading it brought a lot of emotions back. Holy cow, there were some hard days and weeks…

I still vividly remember the weariness that came with each surgery. The overwhelming feeling of knowing I had to start all over again, back at square one each time. Feeling uncomfortable in my skin was my new normal.

The overwhelming theme of that first year was #strongenough

And I’m proud to say that I repeatedly proved to myself that I could tackle the obstacles in my way.

I trained for a half marathon and finished 15 minutes under my goal time.

jackson hole half medal

I learned to embrace my new body, not feel ashamed of how much I liked the way I looked, and stop wearing baggy shirts and clothing.

The best way to describe this process is to call it a second puberty.

The hormones, the confusion, hiding your body, seeking affirmation from your friends (thanks for putting up with my angst), the high highs, and the lowest of the lows.

And then suddenly you realize…

I just went an entire day without thinking about my body.

I did a push-up, and it felt totally normal.

Without a thought, I closed that sticky window in my house.

I just wiped off all the counters and the table without having to rest or switch arms.

Days go by with no stabbing pain or random dull aches that last for hours.

I eventually got rid of the clothes that didn’t fit my new body and bought some new items that showed it off, and WOW, was it a healing process!

Yes, there are still challenges.

When I try something new physically, like skiing or getting back into a running routine after a winter break, I know I’ll probably ache for a few days afterwards.

I am #StrongEnough to push through the pain and use it as motivation to keep moving.

2 years later

I feel like people are still making fun of me and judging me when I post pics on Instagram where I am wearing something that shows off my figure.

But you know what, those same people were probably doing that to me before I had this surgery too.

I am #StrongEnough to face my insecurities (and the haters) and be proud of my body.

It’s been terrifying to show physical and emotional weakness to the world. To post my ups and downs so openly, and there are times I worry that it’s too much. There are times I’m overtaken with the anxiety of what others think about my openness…

Then someone messages me that reading my story gave them the strength to make the best choice for their family.

And I know I am #StrongEnough to share my weakness with others.

When you’ve faced the thought of an early death head-on.

It makes it easier to take chances.

To go on more adventures than I dreamed of.

I am #StrongEnough to say yes to my dreams.

For those of you just beginning this journey, breathe and take time to process all the information. A day or two mulling over a decision, wrapping your mind around a choice you’ve just made, is essential. But, in the end, you need to suck it up and make those decisions. You need to stop taking in everyone else’s opinion and make the choice that is best for YOU.

For those of you in the middle of your journey, hang in there. Rest, and give your body time to heal, as well as your heart. Take a break from reading all the posts and articles, and just chill. Parts of this suck, but I assure you good days are coming, and you are #StrongEnough to handle this path you have chosen.


For those of you who are at the end, rejoice! Be happy and proud, and take a moment to look back. Be amazed at yourself and grateful for all those who supported you.

You faced the possibility of death by Cancer.

Instead of waiting for the unknown, you looked Cancer in the eye and threw the first punch…and this is something to be so damn thankful for.


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10 thoughts on "Preventive Mastectomy: Two Years Later"

  1. Shannon Schmit says:

    I am three weeks post surgery. A friend sent me one of your posts and I am reading them now. Be proud of what you have been through. You are more than strong enough. Thanks for your posts.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Shannon, sending you strength as you continue on your journey. I am so happy that you found these posts. I hope they encourage and support you as you heal 🙂 #strongenough

      1. Shannon says:

        Thank you. Still catching up on reading your posts and realized you had your original surgery on my birthday, 4/29.

        You are so right in not having a lot of information out there, and your posts have been so helpful. I was telling husband tonight that my ribs hurt worse than anything, and now I have a pretty good idea why.

        A couple of questions if you don’t mind. Silicone or saline? I have read silicone tends to be better for augmentation and saline for reconstruction, but the photos on your PS’s website are impressive and it looks like she uses silicone. Also, how long were you out of commission after the exchange? Sorry if I haven’t gotten there yet. I have read a few days to four weeks. I really don’t have time to take more than a few days after this surgery and with insurance, I want to get it done this calendar year.

        Thank you!!

  2. Karen says:

    It was such an emotional, incredible journey you shared with the world! What you did takes an amazing amount of strength! I would be so proud

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Thank you Karen! I am proud, and humbled as well at the outpouring of support. xoxo

  3. Tara says:

    Tomorrow is my initial surgery. I can’t sleep and so I thought I should try reading some positive and inspiring stories of women who have gone through this. I just finished your journey. Thank you for sharing your story. I know I am making the right decision. My mother died a little over a year ago from breast cancer. That was after she’d survived ovarian cancer 5 years. Her sister and mother both died of breast cancer. We all were/are BRCA2 +. This will be a long journey but it will give me more peace of mind. Thank you, again, for your blog. You’ve helped me feel strong enough to go through it too.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Sending so much love and strength your way Tara. You can do this! #strongenough

  4. Carolyn Gold says:

    Thank you for this helpful article. This too was my experience and I am so thankful as you describe it so well.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      Carolyn, I am so thankful you stopped by.#strongenough

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