Sunday, a year ago today, I was preparing to change my life. I was to be at the hospital by the crack of dawn Monday morning to prepare for my 12 and 1/2 hour marathon surgery. A bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction. Over the year I have discussed at length the who, what and why’s.
One year later I look back and am still very surprised and how much this decision changed my life. Clearly the fact that cancer markers were found and I reacted before cancer, is an obvious reason as to why I would be happy with my decision. It is the rest that really has made me a happier person.
I enjoy every minute. I know that sounds ridiculous and of course there are the normal issues during the day that get on my nerves but as to my family I really can not wait for the next thing. The next wonderful thing that comes out of Madison’s amazingly advanced 6-year-old mouth. Watching my extremely talented Megan as she raises the bar of what is possible with each god given day. My wonderful husband who deals with the frustrations of thankless non caring bosses and the daily grind that allows me to still be home with my girls. I take nothing for granted, I thank god for each day. That may sound strange to many who are close to me since they know that I am not a very religious person. Raised Catholic, non practicing for more years than I can count, I can not deny that a higher being in involved in many of the things that have happened in my life even if I do not always buy into the norms of structured religion.
Unlike my mother and so many woman around the world, I was able to avoid breast cancer. I remember when the most important thing in my life was the next work ranking report, the next inventory, the next meeting blah blah. How small that seems now. Today the most important thing to me in ensuring that I hug my kids daily. So many people do not understand. Many never will , other just do not care.
I am no longer defined by what others think….another change that has come over the last year. Tomorrow we have no set plans. My girls and I will take the day as it comes. I am sure that the events of a year ago will be on my mind often this week. The pain, the struggles, the frustration, the relief that I did not have cancer, the realization that after many years of hate just maybe someone is watching over us.
I guess my mind will be a little full this week. Looks like it will be a great week.
While other celebrated Independence day last year, I laid perfectly still in a hospital bed, IV’s and monitors attached everywhere. Glass walls ensuring not a second of privacy. Less than 48 hours removed from a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and DIEP flap surgery, I laid in the ICU with crazy beeping machines and alarms because my heart rate continually dropped too low due to excessive (yet needed) pain medications.
I did not yet realize the struggles I was about to face in recovery. I was not aware that my husband had moved a bed into the family room for me. I did not think about how many additional surgeries would follow. At the time I lived 10 minutes at a time. That is how long it took before the little green light on my hand-held pain button would light up communicating I could once again push for a dose of Dilaudid.
Tomorrow I see my surgeon and will be released from his care. A final ending to this extremely long chapter in my life. It has been a life changing set of months. It has made me a better mother and wife. It has helped me put things into better perspective as to what is really important in life, my family.
I am both lucky and truly blessed.
Interesting when I see it broken down into days, 141 days since I made the radical life changing decision to take charge of my life and have the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. Three surgeries, lots of pain and some whining later I am almost through the tunnel.
Yesterdays surgery went well. Although I had to arrive at the hospital at 5:30, I was bumped due to an emergency before me. I was not taken back until about 9am. Although I was a bit frustrated due to having to arrange for care for the girls etc, I took it in stride remembering my time in the ICU and the possibility that I could have been that emergency. I breezed through recovery with no issues at all, thankfully! The last time was a real issue! Because things went so well there we were home and laying in my own bed by 1:30. Not too bad!
I am pleased with what we did yesterday. The Newpple issue seems to be corrected and the girls seem to be much more even. I do not think they are perfect but then again I do not think any woman’s are so I am pleased with them. He did revise some of the scares that were really off which was a negotiated middle ground between what I proposed and where he was so again I am pleased. He also did a minor cut along the abdominal scare where I have had an irritating lump. He thought it may have been a suture that did not desolve but instead turned out to be an area of scare tissue that had formed. Although the incision point is sore, I already feel better having the lump out!
So with all of that said, barring some strange outcome from the healing I have to go through over the next days, I have achieved a level of peace with the “girls” and see no reason why I would need to have any further surgeries on them! I follow up with the Surgeon on Wednesday.