Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I don't know...
I don't know how often I'll be updating in the next week or two. We (probably) leave tomorrow to head down to Houston for my surgery on Friday. The reason I say probably is that somehow one of my appointments for Thursday has disappeared off my schedule since last week. If I really don't have to have that test done, then we'll stay home the extra day. However, I'm pretty sure it'll still be required. I'm waiting on a call back from MD Anderson.
NOTE: I'm getting ready to give TMI (too much information) about my breasts, so you may want to skip this next portion.
Anyway, last night I was laying in bed & it struck me suddenly that by this time next week I will probably be in some pain, but I'll also probably have little to no feeling in my breasts. Its a weird thought. At this point it seems kind of like a big deal. I find myself focusing on what my breasts feel like - how the sheet/clothing feels on my skin, the texture of it all, and the way they just *are* a part of me. I know (from reading other people's experiences) that 1) the expanders feel like baseballs/hard, 2) sometimes the feeling comes back to the skin, but sometimes not, 3) the implants won't react the same way my natural tissue does, and 4) all in all its worth it to be 95% sure I won't get breast cancer again.
It seems pretty flaky right now that I'm concerned w/ how I'll look and how my breasts will feel. I've *never* really cared how I look - heck, I'm usually lucky to have brushed my hair (no need to worry about that right now) - but now I know I'm going to be different looking than before and it bothers me. I've also *never* really noticed how various parts of my body feel. I mean, I know I've got nerves & stuff everywhere. However, I can't even remember what its like to have real feeling in my fingers & toes, much less imagine not having feeling in my breasts. I mean, in the normal course of life, I'd say women only realize how their breasts feel when they're being intimate (if then) and when they're nursing. Otherwise, at least for me, they're just part of my body - a not-so-important part at that. However, now that I know I'm going to lose them, they've taken precedence over all else.
NOTE: I'm finished w/ the TMI portion of this post (I think).
I started looking online at other women's stories about their experience w/ breast cancer or even the way they dealt with their genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2). On the screen, it seems like everyone but me was/is just fine with the prospect of leaving parts of themselves on the operating table. Perhaps I seem that way too for others. However, I know (partly b/c I'm there now and partly b/c I've communicated w/ some of these other women) that a great deal of thought, agony, and tough decision-making went into the decisions made. I honestly don't know if I was 'just' a BRCA carrier that I'd go through w/ this type of surgery. However, the cancer decided my fate for me. It would be utterly ridiculous in my opinion to *not* have the surgery... I mean, a 60% risk of further breast cancer compared to a 5% risk??? Who wouldn't take that reduction in odds?
Anyway, time is getting short for me to be the way I am. I know that fundamentally I'm still the same and I will remain the same regardless of what surgeries I have. However, I know that in the past 4 years there has been a lot of changes in my personality, relationships, and body. I've gotten married after thinking I'd had the one love of my life (I was DEFINITELY wrong about that one - I love you Andrew!). I've delivered 2 healthy babies. I've mourned the loss of 4 babies through miscarriage. I watched (and hopefully helped) my mom through her battle w/ breast cancer. I've fought my own breast cancer battle and continue the fight. I used my breasts for their purpose - nourishing my infant son, and I've also had to realize that's not always an option. I've grown spiritually closer to God in my opinion, but I've also realized just how fragile our lives are even with His infinite care. I've met people who quickly stepped out of my life. I've met some, who through dogged persistence on their part usually, have come into my life to stay. I've communicated with people that I've never laid eyes on before. I've got friends from all over the country (world?) that I wouldn't trade for anyone. All in all, it has been a growing experience, not without its own pains, but definitely with wonderful rewards. I thank each and every one of you who has said a prayer for me or my family, kept us in your thoughts, or even just read my rantings/ravings/rationalizations. I know this fact alone has saved me - I have people, both near & far, who care about me almost as much as God, himself, cares about me. Thank you & God bless!