If you’ve found my blog, you are probably wondering just who I am and why you should keep reading. My name is Britta Wilk McKenna and I live in Batavia, Illinois (a western Chicago suburb). I’ve been married to my best friend, Steven, for 28 years and am blessed with two wonderful sons, Kyle (25) and Owen (23). I was diagnosed with DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ) on December 30, 2010, at the age of 49, coincidently the same age my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. To read more about my diagnosis, thoughts and feelings during ‘the process,’ please read the “My Story” page. If you want to skip the graphic details, that’s fine too. Here is the abbreviated version.
My journey with DCIS had me encountering “information silos” that had to be navigated or just a plain lack of information. “Really?” I thought, 60,000 people are diagnosed with DCIS each year and nobody has blazed the path of helping others chart their course? Because of this, I started writing down my thoughts and insights along the way to share what I’ve learned with the thousands of others who will be diagnosed in the future. I hope what I have to say helps those with DCIS and those that love and care for them
My surgical treatment of choice was a left breast mastectomy, performed in January, 2011. Reconstruction surgery #1 took place on May 31, 2011 right after I received my Masters in Public Administration at Northern Illinois University and dedicated our community bandshell I worked on for almost three years (I had my priorities). My last reconstruction surgery was in November, 2011 for the “switch out” and right augmentation. Early 2012 I had a procedure to construct a nipple and in late April got the nipple/areola tattoo.
This blog is intended to help those diagnosed with DCIS, their family and friends and to bring together the pieces of information that exist and put them in one place to make at least one thing in your life easier.
PHOTO NOTE: The picture above was taken outside Leadville, CO at Independence Pass on the Continental Divide (altitude 12, 095). This was four weeks post op from my first reconstruction surgery and my PS had ‘released’ me from the restriction of not getting my heart rate over 120. Good thing…have you ever snowshoed at that altitude? I made it to the top of the ‘hill’, which was a personal victory for many reasons.