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Red, Hot and ANGRY Boob

Recovery from this surgery (and any surgery I would venture to guess) is just as much mental as it is physical. My emotions are riding on a huge rollercoaster. Sometimes laughing and feeling myself to suddenly plunging into tears of frustration for not being able to do something or simply from being tired of hurting. On Wednesday, when I only got one of my two drains pulled I was not a happy camper. I was extra grumpy because the drain…

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Doing the Hard Things: My Prophylactic Double Mastectomy

‘Twas the Night Before Surgery // Wednesday, January 6, 2021 Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. My eyes were glued to my watch – T-Minus 24-hours. Each passing minute another 60-seconds closer to my prophylactic double mastectomy, my thoughts clouded with future scenarios. “This time tomorrow… I’ll be in surgery…I’ll be out of surgery…I’ll be in post op, God I hope I make it to post-op. Don’t think like that, McCall.” The constant chatter in my head made the day pass painfully…

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Roadmap to LIFE: Countdown to Surgery

The purple pen dotted my sternum, top to bottom, side to side. In a small mirror leaning on the counter in front of me, I watched as the doctor’s hand moved across my chest. I felt numb. Dot…dot…dot…line…line…. My gaze went from the small, handheld mirror holding my reflection to the blank ceiling above not wanting to see reality. My kneecaps shook with anxiety. My mom sat in the chair behind me. The room silent, but her presence calmed my…

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Ten Years Later and Still Choosing LIFE

December 14, 2010 I woke up alone in a hotel room scared of the day ahead – scared of recovery, scared of the unknown and scared to let go of my eating disorder. In just a few hours I would admit myself to residential treatment at the Carolina House for my eating disorder. In the weeks leading up to this moment, fear crept through my veins, leaving me in a constant state of panic numbed by my eating disorder –…

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My 2020 Birthday: We Can Do Hard Things

Today is my 39th birthday. And I’m spending it in the hospital. With Marjorie. Again. A seemingly innocent cold once again turned to pneumonia. Thankfully, she actually showed signs this time giving me time to act before completely cratering like last time, resulting in five days in the PICU. A few days ago I noticed she had a runny nose. Nothing else. Then a cough started, but nothing alarming. And yesterday, I noticed her breath pulling from her abdomen, a…

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Save the Nipples: Meeting My Plastic Surgeon

Whether you are getting your yearly OB check, mammogram or plastic surgery consult, standing naked in front of a stranger is not for the faint of heart. This time was no exception. As I stood topless in front of a man I just met, I looked as far away as I could as the plastic surgeon precisely measured, lifted and examined my breasts. I thought about making small talk and decided against it, keeping my gaze fixed on the ceiling.…

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When Your Mammogram Isn’t So [Squishy] Funny

I looked around the waiting room, letting the sights, sounds and my reality sink in. Women well over 70-years old bustling around in the same pink robe as me – some waiting for their turn, others finishing their mammograms. I am well aware I am nearing the age of mammograms, but the reality of ‘why’ I was there hit me like a ton of bricks. “Dempsey!”  I jumped as I heard my name called by a woman in scrubs. She…

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Betrayed By My DNA

“Hi, McCall. I’m calling with your genetic results.”   “Yes, go ahead,” I said into the phone.   “You have tested positive for the CHEK2 genetic mutation. As we discussed, this increases your risk of breast cancer 40-percent, as well as an increases your risk for colon and thyroid cancer.” I listened numbly as she continued with screening protocols and the urge to start them right away. Words like MRI, colonoscopy and prophylactic double mastectomy buzzed through my ears. I…

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