Well, it's been almost a month since my final follow-up appointment for tattooing. I've been dragging my feet with my final blog post. It's just hard to say good-bye. Although I didn't decide to have a bilateral mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction to make friends, that's what I did. So, writing my final blog post feels like I am leaving a part of me behind. Yes, I did leave my breasts behind, but that's not what I mean.
Before I close, let me just tell you that this journey I have been on for almost three years has been a blessing in disguise. First and foremost, I reduced my risk of breast cancer to 0-2%. I can live with those odds!! Secondly, I made the right choices in procedure, medical team and support system. With those decision I actually found a whole new circle of friends.
The DIEP is not for everyone; however as I type this post I can honestly say that I rarely think about my breasts. They feel so much like my originals that I don't even notice that they aren't. My medical team was absolutely the best choice I ever could have made. I don't think they come any better than Dr. Tobias and Maria at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. I have absolute trust in them. And for support I had a core group of family and friends who were beside me the entire time through the decision making, surgery and recovery. I chose not to tell everyone and was quite selective in who I did tell. The key to the inner circle of support was if I felt someone would truly be there for me and my family. I chose well. So thank you!!
Regrets? NONE! The surgery is now in my past and every once in awhile I hear myself saying that it was 'the best thing I ever could have done for my family'. I truly believe that, but I also remember being in the PACU wondering if I was going to die (from the phlegm ball and morphine sensitivity). But all these months later those are fading memories.
One thing that will never fade is my desire to continue to help other women who are facing the same decisions that I faced. My DIEP Sisterhood continues to grow with Sara, Kristine and Laurie. All of us are different ages and were diagnosed at different stages; however we found each other and have been able to support each other through surgery and recovery.
As my DIEP Sisters know, I am always willing to reach out and talk or email anyone who wants or needs support. People from all over the world visit this blog, but it is the rare person who reaches out. So, to all those women who read my blog, but never reach out, I wish you the best with your decisions and just know that I am an email away!
There is one person I owe so much gratitude and that is my husband. Now that life is back to normal I sometimes forget just how supportive from Day One. He stood by me, he didn't complain when I spent hours and hours on the computer researching my diagnosis and my options. He took care of the girls when I was obsessing on 'just one more thing I need to research'. He was beside me on the decision making rollercoaster. One day "I'm in" and the next "I'm not in". He took time off for every doctor's consultation, appointment, follow-up, etc. He stripped my drains gently. He told me I looked great when I felt awful. He got me up exercising when he knew I was ready. He encouraged me every step of the way and truthfully if he hadn't been my side, my choices may have been very different. He is my unsung hero!!
I am at peace and excited about the life I have ahead of me. I've realized that it's not the problems you face that define you, but the way you face your problems.