It’s Time for Surgery

Dr. Cynthia Bailey Breast CancerDear Readers,

After four months of chemo and one month of recovery, it’s finally time for my breast cancer surgery. You, my readers, have sent me your kind regards and touching notes of support – they have been truly one of the richest blessings of this life-altering cancer journey. Your presence with me as I have walked this path has been a comfort and joy and I want to keep you abreast (yes, pun intended) of where I am in my treatment process.

As you know, I have breast cancer. My life changed in August when I also received the “two-fer” of both the cancer diagnosis and the revelation that I also carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. (Angelina Jolie and I share this; she is, needless to say, someone of whom I am very fond.) Having this gene mutation means that I had an up to 87% lifetime risk of breast cancer. It also means that I have an up to 50% risk of ovarian cancer: a “beast” I will tackle once my breast cancer treatment is over. My family has always known so little of our history, so the BRCA diagnosis was indeed a shock that no one saw coming. Needless to say, August 2013 was life altering at our house and at my office.

The good news is that I caught my breast cancer very early through a self-exam (so please everyone do them). The more difficult news is that the cancer is an aggressive type called “high-grade triple negative” and my doctors found another small tumor of the same type in my other breast. This is the kind of breast cancer that BRCA gene carriers usually have. Again, more good news is that this fast growing type of breast cancer often responds well to chemotherapy, so my doctors threw the roughest chemo at me for four months and my healthy body survived it. I am thankful.

The next difficult step however is a bilateral mastectomy with bilateral lymph node testing. That is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, January 7th, first thing in the morning. Both the surgery and the resulting pathology reports are frightening. The recovery will be slow and the pathology reports will determine both my long-term and short-term fate. (Angelina was very wise in my opinion to have her double mastectomy before cancer developed in her breasts. I am the proof, so you go girl.) I have prepared myself physically and mentally for both the surgery and the resultant pathology reports. I will meet whatever I must with tenacity. That said, right now I vacillate from my “game on, let’s get this over with” face to tears. Ultimately I am surrendered and will take each moment as it comes, trying to steady my nerves while leaving space for grief and apprehension.

I am grateful to have had the month of December to recover from chemo, to spend time with my family, and to prepare myself for surgery. As many of you know, I finished chemo on December 4th. During this past month, I have regained a little bit more of my old vitality and mental clarity each day. Though I’m still far from the pre-chemo me, I can see that bit by bit I’m improving and that there is hope. The body is truly a miracle of resilience and I’m looking forward to saying that again in a month or so as I heal well from this next step in my treatment process.

Until I’m back online, I’ll publish some posts that I’ve written in advance to keep things moving while I’m recuperating. Angela will also publish her “Find It Again Friday” series, where she highlights some of our most popular and helpful blog posts so that you can find them again from our library of over 400 original articles on skin care and skin health. (Wouldn’t we all love a really good search box for website blogs – I sure would!)

Wishing you all blessings and happiness in the New Year.

Warm Regards,

Cynthia Bailey MD, Board Certified Dermatologist

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64 Responses to “It’s Time for Surgery”

  1. Bren January 5, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Sending prayers and well wishes your way. Keep strong!

  2. Cura Pelle January 5, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Hello, Dr. Bailey. A solemn evening this one is. I don’t know what to say, but you know I’m thinking of you.

    Love, hugs and best wishes,
    Cura

  3. Monica P January 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Wishing you success with your journey .. {{hugs}}

    Monica.

  4. Monica Papoulias January 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Wishing you success on your health journey .. {{hugs}}

    Monica.

  5. Donna Brewster January 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    Will keep you in my prayers — best wishes for strength and healing as you take the next steps.

  6. Laura January 6, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    Thinking of you Dr Bailey. Sending positive vibes your way. Xo

  7. Monica H. January 6, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    As a 29 year (Stage 2) breast cancer/single mastectomy survivor, I send you prayers, hugs and warm wishes. May all the good you have done in your life come back to you now, in aces and spades.

    Yes. :)

  8. jenny January 6, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Dr. Bailey, thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. My thoughts & prayers are with you. I pray you know the peace and comfort God can give us in the midst of life’s trials. God bless you & keep you.

  9. Nicole K. January 6, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Dr. Bailey, you are an inspiration in so many ways! We are all standing with you, arms around you, wishing the best for you.

  10. Jennifer G January 6, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    Dearest Dr. Bailey-You have breathed new life into my life with your wonderful advice and your wonderful product selections. At this point, my issues with rosacea seem quite small, but my journey, with you by my side, has been meaningful. I have learned from you that all steps can make a big difference, that patience with the process is a must, and that with the assistance of a good doctor and good choices anything is possible! I thank you for my journey and I will be there for you throughout yours! With much hope for your renewed future, Jennifer

  11. Jennifer Gianni January 6, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    Dearest Dr. Bailey-You have breathed new life into my life with your wonderful advice and your wonderful product selections. At this point, my issues with rosacea seem quite small, but my journey, with you by my side, has been meaningful. I have learned from you that all steps, small and large, can make a big difference, that patience with the process is a must, and that with the assistance of a good doctor and good choices anything is possible! I thank you for my journey and I will be there for you throughout yours! With much hope for your renewed future, Jennifer

  12. Laurel Anderson January 6, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    I’ll be thinking of you and sending lots of positive juice your way. Looking forward to hearing good news from you when you’re up for it. All the best. (Thank you for your blog and willingness to share.)

  13. Pat G January 6, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    May God be with you and see you safely through this journey. We will miss you and look forward to seeing you back on the blog soon!
    Love and Prayers,
    Pat

  14. valerie rhodes January 6, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story and your journey Dr. Bailey. I admire people who have the courage,confidence ,and humility to publicly share their stories. As a result many women will benefit, lives saved,and those with a similar diagnosis will be supported. You are amazing. Thank You.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m looking forward to happy news and a Happy New Year for you and yours.
    Also please be aware of a wonderfully supportive Facebook page. It is the Melanoma Prayer Center. While it is focused on melanoma, it is meaningful to anyone in need of prayer and emotional support.
    Warmest wishes,
    Valerie Rhodes

  15. Penelope H January 6, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Holding you in prayers and thoughts, both in your journey and specifically for Tuesday’s surgery.

  16. Amrita Karen Carmichael January 6, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    All bright blessings on you and your doctors tomorrow, dear Cynthia. Seeing you healed, healthy, happy. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey.

  17. Kris S January 6, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Dr Bailey, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You have been in my thoughts and in my prayers and I’ll be sure to say an extra prayer tomorrow as you face the next step in your fight against this horrific disease. You are an incredibly strong, amazing woman so I’ve no doubt that you will make a quick recovery and continue your journey to full health and to being cancer-free. I look forward to the day that you return to your practice – you are greatly missed!

  18. Jan K January 6, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Dr. Bailey, I’m thinking of you and hoping you’re as comfortable as possible during this time and praying for your your fast recovery. I’m confident your strength and courage will be a godsend. Hurry up and get this over with :-) Miss you. XOXO

  19. Beth Bollinger January 6, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Dr. Bailey,
    You are an inspiration, a lovely person, and a wonderful doctor. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you happiness and health.
    Mike and Beth Bollinger

  20. carol woessner January 6, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    You are in my prayers for good news and a swift recovery. Also for peace of mind and heart and trusting in God to work all things together for good for you.

  21. jenny January 6, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Dr. Bailey, it’d like to share two encouraging songs that are so inspiring to me personally, and I hope you get to listen & be blessed by them too. One is “Overcomer” by Mandisa; the other is “Blessings” by Laura Story – they are both on youtube. If you get a chance to listen, I hope they give your beautiful spirit strength for tomorrow and the days ahead.

  22. Maureen January 6, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Hello Cynthia

    I hope it’s okay to use your Christian name, it sounds less formal. You sound a very brave and strong lady, physically and mentally, keep it up and beat this evil cancer!

    Wishing you a quick recovery from your surgery

    x Maureen

  23. Judy Hansen January 6, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Bob & I are familiar with the cancer journey and all its ramifications. You are in our prayers. We are so proud of your courage and willingness to share your experience. It will help many folks who may be unaware of the devastation of cancer in all forms. We will be thinking of you and praying for a rapid and complete recovery.

  24. Rosanna Ferrando January 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Dr Bailey: You are in my prayers and wishing you a successful surgery and speedy recovery. Your strength and goodness shine through everything you do and say….you are certainly an inspiration to others facing similar health issues. I had colon cancer surgery November of last year and by positive thinking, along with many tears, I made it through to being cancer free and healthy. I wish the same for you! Rosanna

  25. Tracey M. January 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Dr. B,

    Sending light, love and good juju your way! You got this! Know that your readers are rooting for you! Now let’s do this so we can get you onto recovery!

  26. Dotty & Jim Walters January 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Our Dearest Cynthia…You have been in our thots and prayers ever since we learned of your
    challenge. You are truly a brave soul and your wonderful attitude will help you greatly during
    your fight. It sounds as tho you are making good progress and we wish you well on tomorrow
    when you have the surgery.
    Thanks for keeping us updated and please give our love and best wishes to Frank and the
    kids. We love you and a with you all the way…Dotty & Jim Walters

  27. Alice Diefenbach January 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,
    I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and hope and pray that all will turn out well. Your grace and dignity through this ordeal gives inspiration to us all. Be well very soon.

  28. Marinell Eva January 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    I have you in my heart and mind, and will be thinking of you tomorrow with strong visions of healing, courage, and love. Thank you for your wonderful sharing of your life as you go through this journey. What a vital, courageous woman you are!

  29. Kathleen January 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you tomorrow. We are all hoping for a positive outcome to you battle against this horrific disease.Thank you for having the courage to share your journey with your readership; we can all learn from your experiences, and I realize that sharing is often a difficult thing to do. May your guardian angel be with you.

  30. Melanie E January 6, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    All blessings to you, Cynthia.. your courage deeply inspires & awes. I hold you in my heart & prayers…

    You go, girl!!

  31. Jerri Johnson January 6, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers daily. You are such an inspiration to all your friends and patients.

  32. Nancy S. January 7, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,

    You have met this challenge as you practice medicine, forth rightly, bravely, informatively. You are doing a great service for women by blogging your experience.

    I know you will do very well after surgery, I say this as one of four cousins diagnosed with inherited breast cancer. We are three triple negatives, two lumpectomies, two double mastectomies with reconstructive surgery. All survivors!

    Blessings and peace on the day of your surgery.

  33. Kathy K January 7, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Sending you so much love that I hope you can feel it’s warmth. My heart aches and my eyes are full of tears. Being so far away I did not realize that this was going to happen to you. Prayers are coming your way all day today and always. Thank you for your blog so I can still be a part of your life. We all love you, Dr, Bailey.–Kathy K

  34. Ellie Jones January 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    The reason we all love you so, is that you are incredibly honest and open with us, your loyal patients. I do not know of any other doctor who would share such personal information. You are the definition of strength …even if you have days when you do not feel strong, it is there and we all see it. You have proven yourself to be a warrior and I have no doubt that you will be victorious. 2014 will be the year you recover, put all of this horror and nonsense behind you and return to your life that is filled with achievements, and the love, and devotion of so very many, near and far. You have helped countless people with your courage. You have inspired, and given hope. You found a way to take your stress, fear and pain to help others who you have not even met. It is easy to say, ‘stay strong’ but you are certainly up to the task. We will all be waiting for your return….you are admired and loved and missed. All good wishes Dr. Bailey for a speedy recovery. Hurry back- we miss you!

  35. Tourism Tim Warren January 8, 2014 at 6:49 am #

    Sabrina and I have you in our prayers. We see you coming through this healthier and better then ever!

    You are not alone. I am honored to be a part of your success team.

    Blessings, Tim

  36. Sam January 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Thank you for all you have shared. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  37. Cara January 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    I am so happy to read that surgery went well. Rooting for you to get well soon.

  38. Herb and Georgia January 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    I have it from an authoritative source that wearing your funky shoes with speed up your recovery. You are in our prayers.

  39. Lara Branen January 9, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I’m thinking of you and glad to hear your surgery went well yesterday. Healing thoughts and kindest wishes for your recovery!
    Yours, Lara

  40. Lisa January 9, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Dr. Bailey,

    I am thinking of you and wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

  41. Jan Meyrick January 9, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Dear Dr. Bailey, I hope that you are feeling stronger after your surgery. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Like so many other women I feel that I know you. I am sixty-three years old and for the first time in years I have clear skin. When I came across your site I realized that my skin condition was exactly what you described. I bought your soap and moisturiser and have never looked back! I wish to thank you dearly for that. You have improved the lives of so many people that I am sure that fate will be generous and that you will thrive. As my hero Winston Churchill once said “Never, Never, Never give up! Jan

  42. Susan O January 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is a brave thing to do and gives us all an insight into something any of us might face at any time. I’m one of those who has frequent mammograms due to calcifications and know I could develop breast cancer at any time. By sharing your experience you shed light on a mystery we all wish we knew more about. My thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery from surgery and good news moving forward. Blessings and I hope I see your smiling face soon.

  43. Deb Leingang January 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Dr Bailey found your website over a year ago and love your products. About a month after you received your breast cancer diagnosis I found a thickening in my breast and was told it was early IDC. Wrong diagnosis- after lumpectomy mid October I underwent a double mastectomy a few weeks later and lymph node dissection. Felt like and told people I was now equipped like the Michelin man- humor does occasionally help.
    Now I am going thru chemo, 2 session underway already. I really appreciated your blog article on keeping eyelashes and brows with Latisse- I’ve lost my hair but so far with Latisse I still have them as well- thanks.
    I just read something that I thinks bears repeating, while it helps to be positive going thru surgery and chemo- let’s be honest just making off the bed or sofa to get to the bathroom can take all the energy you have. Here’s the deal you don’t need to heroic to get thru this, when you come out on the other side of treatment You will be a HERO! Only someone who has been thru this can understand that!
    Thoughts and prayers for you, your healing and whatever lies ahead. You have helped me immensely as I journey this difficult road.
    Blessings to a fellow warrior- Deb L.

  44. Betty Kovanis January 9, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,
    Thank you for your gift of openness with all of us so that we can share in this journey with you through prayers and good thoughts. May your days of recovery find you stronger with each one and be blessed.
    Hugs…gentle ones!
    Betty Kovanis

  45. Linda Francis January 9, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,
    You are in the midst of a huge battle, one that our family went through this last year with my sister-in-law’s diagnosis last January. It was her third bout with breast cancer, but the first time that genetic testing was available. She has the BRAC2 gene. Her daughter was positive for the gene as well. We just spent Christmas with them both and they are doing well. It was a long and hard year, but they, like you, are surrounded by loving friends and family. We are so grateful for our many blessings.
    When I saw, and hugged you in August, I’d mentioned a book. It is one I read through and now read a few pages a day. You may appreciate it as well. It is not a religious tome, but a thoughtful exploration of gratitude.
    Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer by Brother David Steindl-Rast.

    I look forward to seeing you and your great shoes later this year. ;-)
    Sending you many good thoughts and wishes.
    Linda

  46. Marg C. January 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Thinking of you Cynthia and feeling your strength and courage.Sending love and light at this most difficult time. xx

  47. Marg Chandler January 9, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    Thinking of you Cynthia and feeling your strength and courate. Sending love and light at this most difficult time. xx

  48. Sharon Wasik January 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Dear Dr Bailey,
    I am one of Ashley’s patients, and am also a friend and client of Gina Parmenter’s. Through the two of them, as well as blog, I have been following your progress. I am praying for your full recovery and many years of health to come. Thank you for sharing your difficult journey with us and for being such a fabulous example of strength in time of adversity. May God bless you and your family.
    Sincerely,
    Sharon Wasik

  49. Jeanie January 10, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    You are in our thoughts and prayers, stay positive, and God will see you through this.

    You are a blessing.

  50. kelley Steinhorn January 10, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    Having just been through this myself, I understand how life altering this process is. I pray that you will fully recover and continue on your path. Your website has helped me in many ways and I love the products you provide access to. IF there were only more health professionals such as yourself!
    I am behind you all the way and pray that you regain your health and continue making the world a better place.

  51. Mary January 10, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    You are in my thoughts. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from surgery and GREAT pathology results.

  52. Nancy A. King January 10, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,
    We have never met, but I found you a few years ago and buy your products and read your
    blog. God’s Blessings to you for courage and recovery. You will be in my thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Nancy
    xo

  53. Carla Ramey January 10, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Best wishes for a strong recovery. I have really appreciated your blogs. Thanks for sharing with us all. May the force be with you.

    Carla

  54. Patti Schrader January 10, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Dr. Bailey though I haven’t seen you in quite a while I have always thought of you. It was only recently that I found out about your breast cancer. My daughter’s sister in law just had her surgery on December 7th after four months of chemotherapy she is just 47. She had a clean mammography last January and like you found her lump in the shower last June. We are happy that her results were very optimistic! I can’t wait until you are back at work and I hope you will be able to fit me in. You are so very popular as well as dedicated and talented. Good time to catch up on your reading. I recommend Phillipa Gregory who writes about remarkable women as historical fiction. Very interesting and fun reads. Get well soon. Love and prayers

  55. Dianne de Monchy January 10, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,

    I wanted to share a dream that I had about you the other night that turned out to be the night of your surgery.
    In my dream I had an appointment in your office and when I went into the exam room, there you were! I hadn’t expected to see you and was thrilled that you looked so well. You had a short hair cut that looked really good on you. And you were completely better.
    Anyway, bless you and I hope that you are doing well.
    Dianne de Monchy

  56. Susan Watson January 10, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Cyndi,

    You are such a courageous person!

    Sending you all my good energy and love for a quick recovery from this phase and the best of outcomes.

    Namaste

    Susan

  57. Vicki T January 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    Sending you positive energy and wishing you a speedy recovery. You will be in my thoughts.

  58. Valerie P. January 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Sending you my love for a speedy recovery. You’re an inspiration to us all.

  59. David January 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    Best of luck Dr. Bailey! I hope you have a full recovery.

  60. Lynne Janssen January 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,

    I began using your skin products after 18 years of treating my face with tretinoin, Obagi NuDerm, Fraxel, you name it, I have tried it. One day my mother said,”when will your face start to look good?” I had minimal wrinkling, but maximum irritation, maximum flaking and dryness. I stumbled on your website, ordered a few products, and literally had non irritated facial skin within one week. Since my very first product order I have continued to order most of your recommended products. I finally have a daily sunscreen I love to use (Citrix). I follow your product tips, read your blogs, and feel I know you personally.

    I am so very sorry you are going through this cancer. I pray for you and your family. You inspire me. You are a beautiful person inside as well as outside.

    Sincerely,
    Lynne Janssen

  61. Paige Sobel January 13, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Dr. Bailey,

    By now you are recovering from your surgery and my thoughts and good wishes are being sent your way. I hope everything goes the absolute best that it can. Stay positive!

  62. Modeane Collins January 16, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Dear Dr. Bailey,
    My continuing prayers for your healing and recovery. All the goodness you have shared with us now returns to you tenfold. Peace, strength and blessings to you and your family on this journey. You are a positive force for all of us.

  63. Cura Pelle January 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    Hi Dr. Bailey. I hope that you’re feeling as well as you can at this time and that no matter what news you heard, you’ve made decisions and plans.

    Hugs,
    Cura

  64. Denisa Cinca January 20, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    I really hope everything works out for the best. I truly admire your optimism, it’s an essential ingredient in difficult situations like the one you are experiencing. I will anxiously wait for your postings!