Wednesday, September 29, 2010
6 Month Anniversary!!
A year ago I really was obsessing on whether or not I should have my breasts removed to fend off my risk of invasive breast cancer. There were endless hours of internet research trying to figure out if this was my best option or if I should wait and watch. There were endless hours connecting with new friends on the best breast cancer support site online. I can't say enough about the support these women gave me. I found women there who represented both sides of the question, "should I or shouldn't I?" Listening to both sides was key to making my decision. One thing that was very apparent to me was that in 3, 4, 5 or 10 years I DID NOT WANT TO BE spending endless hours at breastcancer.org. I did not want to waste another minute on this horrid disease. I wanted to be done with it and move on to living my life.
The only hurdle I had to moving on was a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. This was very scary to me. How could I possibly live through and recover from a 14.5 hour operation? Would I be normal after all that? Would I regret my decision? These were very real questions.
Sometimes in life you just have to take a leap of faith. I knew in my head that a PBM/DIEP was the right thing AND I found, what I believe to be, the best team in the world to do my procedure. I just had to get the courage to schedule my surgery. That was probably the toughest phone call I had ever made. Once it was made and the surgery was booked, I started reaching out to people I knew personally who had taken this path before me. Five friends come to mind as they spent lots of time with me on the phone answering questions like, "what do they feel like now?", "how did you make your decision?", "did you go with nipples or tattooing?", "what kind of follow-up have you needed?". You get the picture, nothing was off limits. These women were my lifeline. Not one person regretted her decision. No one was in pain. No one died. I could do it.
So on March 29th, 2010 I was as calm as I've ever been as I walked over to BIDMC for a 14.5 hour surgery. I knew I was doing what was right for me and for my family. I trusted my medical team. And now, I simply feel relief that that part of my journey is over. My risk of invasive breast cancer is now 0-2%, not 50-85%. I can live with that!!