Personal Reflections: BRCA journey & Paris

Thought I would update you on my BRCA2 journey

in a gorgeous setting far away…a fantasy destination

we stumbled on in Paris (must stay here someday).

my photo

In the heart of Le Marais stands the loveliest first-class hotel

Pavillon de la Reine.

my photo

  Learn more about a suite I love at this place right here.

Join me in the garden for a chat, won’t you?

(i snapped the above shot at Carnavalet)

Let’s whisper here about victory.

I made it through the bilateral mastectomy

and reconstruction (NOT a cakewalk).

I do not resemble Angeline Jolie in any sense

except I can now join her in the great relief

of decimating the significant risk of cancer

which has tortured our mothers.

Where is the Pavillon de la Reine?

my photo

Slightly set back from the Place des Vosges.

Just around the corner from the

Place de la Bastille,

Hotels Particulieurs (my fav museums!),

and the shops of the rue des Francs-Bourgeois

(no shopping on the planet like the Marais!).

It is Sunday evening, and I feel pretty dang fierce.

My surgeries were early morning on Thursday.

I went for a walk around the block today.

my photo

Surgical chit chat from my Paris balcony.

Some high drama. Not enough Alloderm (cadaver skin)

for reconstruction, and in case you were wondering, you can’t

ask your nurse to make a 7-11 run for a lil’ mo skin for a petite fairy

in the middle of surgery. A small miracle…more skin secured.

We are hoping and praying all of my skin survives.

I am so grateful for my surgeons and medical team.

Post-op, I had intense hallucinations, steroidal rage, freeeeeky

side effects of anesthesia, and no sleep until Friday afternoon.

On the upside, my view of the Chicago skyline was rad.

I left the hospital Friday at noon.

There has been no pain (believe it!)

except for migraines from the evil anesthesia.

I am sure I’ll be working out and painting again in no time.

my photo

Ahhhhhhh, Pavillon de la Reine relaxes me.

The journey continues, but today was a

simple lovely day of rest and time with my family

after a challenging chapter…victorious is the mood du jour.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

(which is serving me quite well)

for all the loving comments and concern.

8 Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris

Telephone: + 33 (0)1 40 29 19 19

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. June 17, 2013 / 3:23 am

    Beautiful photos followed by a beautiful victory! Here's to you and all your strength!

    Shabby Brocante

  2. June 17, 2013 / 11:18 am

    Man…I can't believe all you have been through recently. Amazing you can even blog…..but hopefully your cyber friends will give you are warm embrace so you know you are loved. I hope your family is taking good care of you?.

  3. June 17, 2013 / 11:27 am

    I am so happy that this is all over, Michele. You have been a trooper throughout the entire dilemma. It's uphill from here!
    Love the images here. Wow, such a lovely place.
    Happy Monday,

  4. June 17, 2013 / 2:25 pm

    Holy Moly… drugs are great except for when they aren't… Not surprised that you were sensitive to all that, and i'm sooooooooooooooooooooooo glad it is mostly behind you. I mean, wow… you did it, you did it, you did it! and no pain!? Cool!!!


  5. June 17, 2013 / 4:06 pm

    The only thing more beautiful than these lovely photos is you, dear, gorgeous, courageous blogger. I'm glad you made it through and are on the road to recovery. Take things gently at first, one foot in front of the other. You'll be running marathons – figuratively and perhaps literally – in no time. Sending prayers and thoughts. XOXO
    PS – You are far, far, more beautiful than Angelina any day in my book!

  6. June 17, 2013 / 5:36 pm

    I am embarrassed to say I am not aware of your health problems. But you inspire me with your go get it done and move forward attitude. Best wishes for all good things, health at the top of the list. xo

  7. June 17, 2013 / 7:33 pm

    You are a strong lady and you followed your gut and your body will thank you for this!! you can visit your Paris 10 times over now!!!
    Heal well my friend!!
    xo Karolyn

  8. June 17, 2013 / 9:48 pm

    I have been following you on this journey for about 2 or 3 months, happened upon your blog from another I was reading. Simply wanted to say that your courage inspires so many and I'm thrilled that you are already on the road to recovery. Healing prayers to you.

  9. June 17, 2013 / 10:15 pm

    so much sweetness from you all, thanks so much! i have received great help from my family. i am having another awesome day at 4 days post-op. i actually feel better than i did the day before surgery. i was perhaps more stressed than i was even aware. i still have no pain. can you imagine? i am not even taking tylenol. and i'm sleeping well which is not at all familiar to the newly menopausal me. i have 2 drains with tubes. they have not bothered me, but i have help caring for them so i'm lucky. my chest looks like a big ol' mess right now, but i'm okay seeing it and feel hopeful about how the appearance will improve with healing and time. i see the doctor tomorrow and the drains will prob be removed!

  10. June 18, 2013 / 12:24 am

    Michele I'm so happy you made it through so well, congratulations on your new ladies! Best thing for you right now is rest my friend. And trust me I know about menopause and believe it or not but I sleep like a rock. Here's hoping you keeping recovering so well.

    Hugs and much love to you my friend!

  11. June 18, 2013 / 3:46 am

    Love you girl! So glad you are healing and using your journey as another lesson in life and helping others with your sweet, thoughtful words. You are a jewel among women,
    xoxo Kathysue

  12. June 18, 2013 / 5:56 am

    Michele, These pictures are beautiful and the perfect reprieve from your current events. I am so happy that you are free again and have persevered through these recent events. How wonderful it is to be able to begin the road to recovery .. the next chapter will be a good one for sure.


  13. June 18, 2013 / 8:00 am

    Maybe you should have written down your hallucinations! I hope you'll be full of energy in no time.

  14. June 18, 2013 / 9:20 pm

    Whispering victory with you. Your attitude is inspiring and I'm sending thoughts for a quick recovery. Happy to hear that you've been relatively pain free. I LOVE the images you've shared. My favorite, of course, is you. xo

  15. June 19, 2013 / 1:17 am

    I can't believe your amazing attitude!! You're one brave and inspiring individual. What a beautiful post on all levels, thank you for sharing your journey and I hope you continue to feel well and recover quickly!!

    Love ya girl!

  16. June 19, 2013 / 7:45 am

    You are a true inspiration, Michelle. So glad to hear you are doing well. Your attitude is truly incredible.

  17. June 19, 2013 / 3:51 pm

    You look fab – and the other pics are gorgeous! 🙂

  18. June 19, 2013 / 8:03 pm

    I read this last night and for some reason I couldn't comment. But I had to return to tell you how happy I am to read this post and learn about your recovery. Your attitude is amazing and I can tell that you're blessed with so many loving family and friends. Including of course,blogger friends like yours truly. I'm so relieved the pain is minimal. Now if only we could do something about these damn hot flashes 🙂
    Leslie aka gwen moss

  19. June 20, 2013 / 2:29 am

    Ah, my sweet friend,
    I thought about you
    as I traveled to my
    brother's family last
    week. He means the
    world to me, as I know
    your sisters do to you,
    and now you have greatly
    increased the odds of
    being there for each other
    for many, many years
    to come. So happy that
    you came out of surgery
    so well, and I just adore
    your attitude….and you!

    Heal quickly!

    xo Suzanne

    PS: Love how you entwined
    your health update with your
    "happy place," in Paris.

  20. June 20, 2013 / 8:08 pm

    Only you my friend can combine the beauty of Paris with the beauty of victory so eloquently. I'm so proud of you hunny, you fighter you! Inspiring 🙂 xxx

  21. June 20, 2013 / 11:22 pm

    Always lovely and inspiring Michele. You are also a warrior on this stand against cancer. I am so relieved to hear you are on the other side of this surgery and are feeling no pain. You are courage and wisdom on this journey.
    xx, Heather @ stylemindchic

  22. June 21, 2013 / 12:33 pm

    Michele…back and catching up with all my faves to see what I have missed. Good to hear from you. Glad its all over and the worst is behind you. You are a superwomen and I have no doubt you will be flitting around in those ballet slippers, working out and rocking out in no time. You are unstoppable and I know this will not get you down. You are a hero…a beautiful strong able hero. May this journey continue with bright skies ahead. Sending you a hug.

  23. June 24, 2013 / 2:04 am


    I was completely unaware of this and I want to apologize for not taking the time to come visit as often as I did. Know that you're always in my mind… when I see Matthew's art, when I bake your bagels, when I watch the Blackhawks kicking Boston butts… LOL


    I'm sorry you girls are going through this difficult time, but know that you all will come out stronger from this. The connection you're living with each other is beyond words… I'm sure you're aware of that.

    Know that I'll be praying for your recovery.

    I adore you.

    Luciane at

  24. June 24, 2013 / 8:47 pm

    Gorgeous photos, Michele! You take care, and continue to heal. We want you back in Paris very soon!
    Lots of luv,

  25. July 3, 2013 / 7:04 pm

    SO AMAZING pics:) I really love your blog and your sence of style.

    If you want some European travel inspiration…check out my blog:)

    Have a great day dear

    LOVE Maria from

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