Personal Reflections {BRCA Journey}

Pink box of colorful Laduree French macarons by Hello Lovely Studio

This post is actually one from two years ago which
I penned as I recovered from a mastectomy as a preventive
measure for breast cancer due to my BRCA2 genetic mutation.

Though pretty pictures of a boutique hotel I discovered
in Paris and cancer talk may seem impossibly disconnected,
to my open, one-off, and brokenish heart, the pairing brought
a certain mysterious measure of balance to my experience.

Red bottom Louboutin pumps on Paris apartment balcony by Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo – scuffed up Louboutins hint at a part of my story

Today this pairing serves as a reminder of
my BRCA journey toward wholeness in the last couple
years and as an encouragement to keep aiming high
with hope and peace in my heart even when things
around me are in pieces and in transition.

Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

me, mom, and Jo…not just surviving breast cancer but thriving

God is doing a work in me right now, right where I am,
(still in gypsy limbo mode, still vulnerable from life’s pains,
still saying YES to the invitation to be stretched)
and I am choosing to listen attentively, to allow
these love lessons to refine and redeem me.

Inside Musee de Carnavalet in Paris - Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

our first trip to Paris just before mom’s BC diagnosis and my BRCA2+ journey

Here is my post from two years back:

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).

Le Pavillon de La Reine
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo

In the heart of Le Marais, is the loveliest first-class hotel

Pavillon de la Reine.

Climbing red vines on Pavillon de la Reine - by Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo

  Oh my, the elegance. Heavens, the discreet luxury!Join me in the library for a chat, won’t you?

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?

Climbing red vines on exterior of Paris hotel - by Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo of the autumn splendor climbing the hotel’s walls

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’s Sunday evening, and I feel pretty dang fierce.

My surgeries were early morning on Thursday.

I went for a walk around the block today.

On our balcony in a Paris apartment - Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo
(shortly after this photo was taken, i became very ill, and my weight would drop 15 pounds)

Surgical chit chat on 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 in no time.

Wouldn’t this be a sweet space for cardio?

Didier Benderli (Kérylos Intérieurs) is the designer

of the interiors, combining aesthetics with innovation.

Gorgeous gated entrance to Paris boutique hotel
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}
Vine covered Paris hotel in fall - by Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo

Red vines climbing on limestone facade of Paris hotel - by Hello Lovely Studio
Personal Reflections {My BRCA Journey}

my photo

Ahhhhhhh, Pavillon de la Reine relaxes me.

The BRCA 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

* * * * *

I think it’s helpful to take diversions
from the mundane of the everyday
to reflect on how our stories are
shaping us and equipping us
to live richly full lives.

Thank you for reading with compassion and love.

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. September 21, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    Dear Michele ,
    Reading about your journey through this oh so challenging life event shows me more and more what a strong and vibrant woman you are!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. One thing I tell my friends who are going through cancer treatments is to take time and do small things for themselves every day, a walk, a new lipstick, music, a new book or movie etc…..
    The Arts by Karena
    Painting Central Park

  2. September 22, 2015 / 10:37 pm

    Ethanol you beautiful for taking us along on your looking back at a beautiful time in Paris.
    My French is leaving the middle of October, she will be hitting all the brocantes, I have given her my long LIST !!!

    This was a nice break from your fixer upper, but truly we love seeing every inche of what you are up to next on it.
    See you soon.
    Can not wait to see you in your home and it all dressed up in your designs.


  3. September 24, 2015 / 10:57 am

    Hello Michele,

    reading about your journey was like.. I was there with you. My best friend moved to Paris a few months ago and I can't wait to visit her. Of course, after your post I want more and more. 🙂 xoxo,


  4. September 24, 2015 / 1:41 pm

    Paris is always a good idea. And, you are a fighter. Wish you all the best!
    Pippa from London

  5. September 24, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    I remember when you went through that and cant believe that was two years ago..look at you now…your rebuilding a home and doing a lot of the work…you go girl!

  6. September 26, 2015 / 4:06 am

    What a great idea. Revisiting this difficult period as a way of honoring where you've been and sharing how hope and love and your inner strength prevailed (with God's gracious help). Boy those were some tough days. I also can't believe it's been two years, I still remember reading about those pre-and post surgery experiences. And there's nothing that makes me happier than to hear how well your Mom and Sis are doing well too. I've often wondered about that. Can you believe how much has changed in your life? And here you are running around like a creative madwoman with your paintbrush all over your new home now. That's pretty damn cool. Also your son's paint color sounds wonderful. I can't wait to see the room!

  7. September 29, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    Places like this make Paris the magical city that it is and had always been. This hotel, as well as Palais Athenee are hotels worth spending tons of money on. Luxury doesn't necessary means glamour like in the case of Dubai's overrated multiple star hotels. Luxury also means rich history , often associated with royalties, aristocrats or other important public heroes. That is why each of the world's most famous hotels have a penthouse named after a public figure that has stayed there. These places not only sell rooms – they rather sell tickets to a high society members club. Great find, great post! Thanks for sharing Michele 🙂
    Clean homes, clean souls!

  8. May 5, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    Oh my dear, what you have been through and survived! You are truly an inspiration to me! So blessed that our paths have crossed:)

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