Sunday, October 18, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to step away from the fiction and jump into real life. I feel from my own experience, it has motivated me to reach out to other young women much like myself. Any way one can bring upon awareness is an excellent way of spreading the word about how important self exams are. So, I have met many amazing people through this little blog of mine, and decided what better way to spread the word then to begin here. So this is my own personal story.

Around the time I was 17, I began asking my mom questions about my family's health history. I don't know what brought it up, but I never really knew what my grandparents had died of. Both of my grandmothers had passed on long before I was born. So my mom and I had a lengthy discussion on how both her mother and grandmother passed away from breast cancer, and then my father's mother passed away from ovarian cancer. So I asked both my mother and primary care physician if I should worry about my family history. "No, you're too young to worry about breast cancer." I didn't know anything about self exams, and so I went online and looked up how to do a self exam. So I began to do self exams around that time. It only took a minute or so, and I just felt better mentally about everything doing them myself. A doctor doesn't have to tell you to do self exams, you can do them freely.

A month before my 22nd birthday, I was doing a self exam, and discovered a lump. I felt it for probably ten minutes straight, trying to self-diagnose myself. "What can it be?" So I called my OB/GYN, told her what was up, and was in her office a few days later. I went to the doctor and she did an examination, and sure enough she felt a lump and was concerned because it was stationary, it wasn't rolling around. So she did an ultrasound to determine if it was a cyst that was filled with fluid, or if it was solid. It was solid. So I had scheduled to have an excisional biopsy. They wanted the whole thing out. So three days before my 22nd birthday I went in for a minor surgery to have a lump removed from my breast. Three days before my 22nd birthday! I can't stress that enough! My doctor told me I wouldn't have anything to worry about considering how young I was. A few days later I got the results back, benign. A pseudolump, pretty much just a collection of dead fat and scar tissue.

WHEW! I was in the clear!

Fast forward to the middle of September. I hadn't done a self exam since the one I did back in March when I found the lump. So I figured, hey why the hell not. I found another lump, except this time in my other breast. I nearly collapsed, I didn't think I could go through the stress again, and I was leaving for vacation to Pittsburgh in only a week. I did the only thing I could think to do, and that was push it to the back of my mind. I scheduled myself an appointment for when I got back from Pittsburgh and my mom told me not to worry about it, it was probably just another fatty mass, and try and enjoy myself on vacation. So that's what I did. I went to vacation, came back relaxed and then Monday morning it felt like dejavu all over again. Another solid lump, another one she wanted to surgically remove. So last Wednesday I went in and had it removed, this one much larger than the last. My OB/GYN sat down with me and we had an indepth conversation on my family history, so much so I called my mother and put her on speaker phone so I wouldn't miss out on any details I might not know. My doctor highly suggested for not only me, but my mother and sister as well, to have a test done to check and see if we carry the breast cancer gene. So last Wednesday when I went in to have my lump removed my sister and mother came with me and we had a blood draw for the test, simple as that.

Another pseudolump. WHEW! But now I need a drink. The stress all of this has put on my heart is nearly overbearing, but I can only cry tears of joy knowing that I'm one of the lucky ones. So my doctor called me today, which I found very strange for a Saturday, but she is a sweet, sweet woman and I have formed a very close bond with her. So it turns out my sister nor mother carry the breast cancer gene, but I do. So what does that mean for me? Other than the frightening statistics (women without the gene have a 12% risk of developing breast cancer, while those with the gene have a 60% risk) there's really not much. Just knowing that I have the gene is terrifying, but my doctor told me, if I do develop breast cancer I will more than likely find it early because of how well informed I am.

How well informed I am. I had to repeat that sentence in my head a few times. No one told me to do self exams, I didn't even know how, I just went on the internet and figured it out on my own. So that's where I come out and stress to women of any age, how important it is to be informed. To do self exams, no matter how old you are. To know your family history as well is very important. So this is my story, and I hope I can encourage you and all of the women you know to be aware and to feel yourself up every once and awhile.

Here are some awesome websites about Breast Cancer Awareness:

Much Love,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


It's short, I know, my apologies. My trip to Pittsburgh was amazing though, and it gave me so much inspiration for this! So yay on that!! Unfortunately I have the flu, so this update might have been influenced by DayQuil. I hope not too much. =P Thank you for your continued support!!

Max's POV

"So let me get this straight, this helps with the acoustics?" Flower asked as we watched two guys install wood paneling on what was supposed to be our man cave. I nodded my head as I continued to supervise the installation. "And what the fuck is acoustics again?" "It helps with the sound . . . I guess. I don't know!" I felt nearly offended by my choices for this room. "Where are we going to hang out now?" I looked over at him and was half tempted to laugh. "Real life begins now buddy, you have Vero and I have Lil. This is what they call 'adulthood'." Flower groaned next to me as he turned around and made his way for the door. "I'm going to the brewery; meet me there when this stupidity is over with." I nodded my head and chuckled as I watched him leave. I knew deep down, that if anything was going to help keep Lillianah sober, that this would be it. It was only a week until she was back, and I wanted everything installed and perfected before she got back. The piano was on its way from New York, I only wanted the best for my girl. I wouldn't settle for anything less.

After everything at the house was installed, I jumped in my car and headed for the Strip District. It was a sunny day in Pittsburgh, with a slight breeze, and people crowded the streets more than usual on my drive. They were all going about their lives without a worry in the world. I would be doing the same, but I couldn't. Not until Lillianah was home. I parked around the corner from the brewery and made my way inside. I headed upstairs and Flower and Sid were sitting at the bar chatting up Avery. "Hey Superstar, how are you?" She asked as I sat down next to Flower and she poured me a beer. "I'm hanging in there, how are you sweet cheeks?" I only called her that because she hated it. I could see her roll her eyes as she walked back down the bar and leaned on in it in front of Sid. I knew never to label a relationship as perfect, but theirs came pretty damn close. I could only hope mine was as well.

Lillianah's POV

"I normally wouldn't do this, but I think you should see this," Mark announced once we were settled in his office for my daily therapy session. I got up from the couch and took the newspaper he was offering me. I ran my finger over that familiar face printed on the back page. He looked so . . . distant. Just like he had looked at the game two nights before. The words were staring up at me, but I couldn't bring myself to read them. Why was he in the newspaper? A picture of him in a suit, with almost a full beard? I finally glanced over the title. Talbot back in action after mysterious emergency. He explained to the press why he's missed those games. I looked up at Mark, and he was studying me closely, motioning me to just go ahead and read it.

Maxime Talbot barely managed to keep his emotions in check while explaining to the press yesterday why he has missed two games. After a very public, dismissal of a marriage proposal, Talbot's girlfriend, Lillianah Jenkins was admitted to the hospital. He would not give the cause of her admittance, but because of this Talbot had to step away from the game.

"There comes a time in every man's life when we realize there are more important things in life than a game," Talbot stated before a few dozen reporters at Mellon Arena. Talbot is known for making quick recoveries, from whatever it could be that's dragging him down. It seems as though the young Talbot we welcomed to Pittsburgh a few short years ago is becoming a man.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and got up and set the newspaper down on Mark's desk. "How does that make you feel? Reading that?" I pursed my lips together and tried to pin point an emotion I was feeling. “Angry as hell.” He looked at me shocked, obviously not the response he was expected. “Angry? Why?” I looked down at my cuticles that had taken a beating from me over the past couple of days. They were an easy target to pick at when I had to come up with words to express how I was feeling. I always thought I was good with words, Mark obviously proved me wrong. “None of this would have happened if I wasn’t such a fucking idiot.” He cleared his throat, causing me to look up at him. “You’ve realized you have made mistakes in your life, now it is time to get over them and move on. Now without thinking about what happened, and why Max is in the newspaper, how do his words make you feel?” I didn’t need to ask for the newspaper back to remember what Max had said. There comes a time in every man’s life when we realize there are more important things in life than a game. Was he saying I was more important than hockey? I felt the first sob escape the more I thought about it. Mark got up from his desk and handed me a box of tissues before returning to his chair. “Happy? Sad? Relieved? In love?” I shook my head as I cleared my mind, allowing the main emotions to float forward. “I don’t know how to deal.” “How to deal?” I nodded my head before lying down on the couch. “With this fire I’d fallen in. I don’t know what to do anymore. My life has completely changed since meeting Max.” “For better or for worse?” I held my hands up in front of my face and proceeded to pick at my cuticles. “I don’t know. That’s what I need to figure out. Before him, I was living a simple life; I only had myself to care about. Then all of a sudden we throw ourselves into this relationship, the first I have ever had, and now I worry about him constantly. I know he hurt his shoulder, I just know it, but he won’t say anything. Then his concussion on top of it, what if he gets another one? I’m putting him before I put myself. Does that make sense?” I looked over at Mark to him scribbling down notes like always. “It does make sense. Do you feel like because of this new lifestyle with Max, you’ve let yourself go and that’s why you went back to the drugs?”

Max’s POV

“She comes home on Sunday, eh?” Sid asked after Avery brought us another round of beers. “She does, I can’t wait. You have no idea what this week has been like for me. Only six more days.” “Did you tell him?” Flower asked pointing to Sid. “About what was supposed to be your man cave?” I asked laughing and Flower rolled his eyes, nodding his head. “What did you do to the man cave?” Sid asked a little frightening. I didn’t realize these guys were counting on me so much for their ‘escape’. “It’s not happening anymore. Lil plays piano, I bought a piano. So it’s going in that room.” I could see the idea floating around in the Kid’s head. “Alright, I guess I can be okay with that.” “What?!” Flower shrieked looking at Sid like he had grown a second head. “It’s alright Flower, we can turn my basement into a man cave. Right baby, you wouldn’t mind?” Sid turned to ask Avery who just shook her head and laughed.

Back at the house, I relaxed on the couch with King’s head resting on my lap. Now that a week had passed since she entered rehab, I was able to come home and just be myself. No more tears, no more doubts. Just King and I. Two guys and a remote control. We would survive. At least King would, there were a few times when I didn’t think I could. I scratched behind his ear and he lifted his head and smiled up at me with his snaggle tooth appearing outside of his jowls. “Oh, I hope our kids are more attractive than you King, sorry,” I smiled down on him and leaned back against the couch. Six more days till this picture was complete and I would have Lillianah sitting on the other side of me. Our small little family, reunited. I couldn’t wait.