Monday, December 7, 2015

One month

In exactly one month I will be going in for surgery for a prophylactic (preventative) double mastectomy.  It's a little surreal. I've been thinking about this and researching this for years, and now it's just weeks away. It's something I've always known would happen if I tested positive for the mutation, but even so, its always seemed like something that was in the future, and now here we are.


It has been the easiest and the hardest choice I've ever had to make. Easy, because logically speaking, this is the most obvious choice (in my opinion). I will bring my cancer risk down from 87% (based off the very high numbers of cancer in my family history) down to less than 5%. Easy because I will get to have this surgery done on my terms and on my schedule. Not having cancer means not having to have surgery on top of chemo and radiation. The kind of cancer I'd be facing would be the triple negative, metastatic cancer-so very aggressive and very deadly.  Easy because I will never have the regret of having been able to change my path, but sitting by and doing nothing. I think of all the women who died in my family, and I am humbled by the fact that I have a chance they were never given. I am so, SO blessed with this knowledge! Easy, because when I think of my babies or my amazing husband, I know that I would do anything to have the opportunity to spend another day here with them.


Hard, because I will forever be changing the look and feel of my body. Despite how I joke with my friends, this is completely different than a boob job. Not even on the same playing field, and vanity is a tricky little monster. Hard, because I fear that on some level there will be regret, and this is obviously something that can't be undone. Hard because of the fear of recovery, of the long reconstruction process...of what the first look after bandages come off will be like. There is always the chance that I could be the small percent that would never have gotten cancer. Hard, because any kind of surgery is scary!

Back in July, I had a real crisis of decision, and I ended up writing and lengthy pros and cons list. Everything that I could think of went on that list, and at the end, I found that the pros list was absolutely the strongest. The cons list was by far more fear based. I thought it would be the other way around! Seeing everything laid out so clearly though-seeing what is at stake in black and white and in my own thoughts-really solidified my choice and I haven't wavered since. This surgery to me is exactly the same thing as wearing a seat belt. The belt doesn't guarantee anything, but it most certainly improves my odds.


So here I am. One month left of being "whole." One month left to mourn what I will lose. One month left until I have to discover what my new normal will be. One month left of having a disturbingly high chance of getting breast cancer. One month left before I can tell my kids that I did everything I could to spare them pain,  to give myself the chance to see them grow up, and to one day be able to meet my grandchildren. One month and I will be a breast cancer "previvor."


3 comments:

  1. my eyes are welled up right now. you. are. amazing. and i wish i could physically be with you to support you on this journey and really BE there for you. i'm so proud of you!! i pray often for you and your doctors/surgeon

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    1. thank you so much friend! I wish you could know how much your support has meant to me all these years. Truly.

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  2. My Mamaw Hilda was a throat and breast cancer survivor. She just passed away at 80+ years. If there'd been a way back then for her to be spared that pain and suffering it would have been such a blessing. But still she was blessed and we were blessed to know her. She loved God and had such strong faith that still inspires me. Don't doubt yourself. I love the positive attitude you have. You're strong and courageous. I'm proud of you. Sending hugs and prayers.

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