Treatment & Care: Surgery
Day 52: Gearing up for my mastectomy tomorrow at LMH. Is it normal to grieve when you lose a part of your body?
Tomorrow’s the day – the day of my mastectomy.
I’m going to LMH Surgery at 9am for Dr. Kolkman to remove my left breast, along with two sentinel lymph nodes near my left armpit (because IF my cancer has spread, the sentinel lymph nodes are the first places it would have spread to).
When Dr. Kolkman is finished, my plastic surgeon, Dr. John Keller, will follow with the first phase of breast reconstruction surgery: putting in an expander and doing the first of four fills. For those who don’t know what that means, they incrementally expand the breast tissues with saline solution to help the breast skin and muscles – what’s left after the mastectomy, that is – slowly expand and take the shape of a healthy breast again.
Am I ready for this? No, not really.
Can a woman ever feel “ready” to lose one of her breasts? I mean, it’s part of my body, just like I have hands and feet and ears and a nose and so on. How do I say goodbye to something that is, quite literally, part of me? I’m in a strange state of mourning, I guess. It’s the weirdest, most conflicting feeling…hard to describe…I wish it didn’t have to happen, but I’m also eager to get it done. Ultimately, I just want to put it behind me…like a major obstacle in my rear-view mirror as I move onward and upward into my new, cancer-free life.
So, despite the emotional rollercoaster that cancer sets in motion, I’m taking things in stride. If I find myself starting to freak out a little about the mastectomy, I make a conscientious effort to step back and look at the bigger picture – that I’m getting rid of cancer, not just my breast. With that, my steely resolve comes back, and I’m once again prepared to fight.
Dr. Soule says we should know the results of my Oncotype DX later this week, and then I’ll know if chemo is in the cards for me or not. Keeping fingers and toes crossed that I won't need chemo, but if I do, then I do. Crossing each bridge as I come to it, one step at a time.
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