Today I had an eye-opening experience. I follow Teri's Blog. I went back through some of Teri's posts from right before her PBM + DIEP, through her surgery and now almost a month later. "Brave" is the word that comes to mind as I read her posts. Brave in moving forward with surgery even though she didn't have invasive breast cancer (BRCA+) and brave for sharing her feelings and thoughts as she moved through her decision making, surgery and now, recovery.
Although I am heading down the same PBM + DIEP road, I feel anything but brave. I am scared. I really don't like pain and really worry about never being pain-free again. I worry that I don't know enough about what to expect. I guess I should make a list of questions for my pre-admission testing date (March 8-9). I worry that I will doubt my decision. I worry about post surgery depression. I worry about my husband being the only one with me in Boston. I worry about my kids back at home, with a very favorite aunt. I worry that I will sacrifice my pain-free life for a breast cancer-free life riddled with pain. I am not BRCA+ (at least I don't think so), but have LCIS, ALH, ADH, family history, and all the risk factors which gives me a greater than 1 in 2 chance of getting breast cancer.
One of the things that struck me on Teri's blog was a video she made right before her surgery. Here is this young mother who appears as healthy as you and me heading into major surgery. It's incredulous. One day healthy and happy (and high risk) and the next day cut open from hip-to-hip with breast tissue removed, drains in and in pain (with a 2% risk). I don't have any friends who have chosen this path. I have lots of friends who have had breast cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation, then reconstruction. They all agree that I am doing the right thing. BUT, I don't have to. I can let life choose my direction instead of being pro-active and choosing this very difficult path. If only I had a crystal ball.
My thanks to Teri for her courage to move forward, her courage to share and her courage to educate. Because of Teri I have a much better idea of what to expect before, during and after surgery. I haven't heard any of this from my doctors, yet, but will on March 8-9. But now I feel much better prepared and will know what to ask and what to expect. I do think keeping a steady dose of pain meds in my system will be at the top of my list!!