When you finish reading this post, you are officially current. I am writing today about what happened yesterday.
Disclaimer: This post is a little hard core.
Yesterday I met with Dr. F. It was a work day for me, so I had 12 4-year-olds to keep me busy until the appointment at 11:30. A dear friend took me. Actually, she not only took me, she went IN with me. (Cancer people: take someone IN with you---seriously--it matters!)
I just need to take a minute here to say how much I really LIKE Dr. F so much. I know I mentioned it in a previous post, but it warrants mentioning again. He pulled up a chair. He looked me AND my friend in the eye. He was kind, humble. He listened. He respected. He was honest. As one of the gals in his office said, "He is 'old school.'" Cancer people: it is important to LIKE your doctor. (Okay, I guess that goes for ALL people.)
Anyway...Dr. F re-explained what Dr. R had explained 10 days ago: the post-MRI-biopsy pathology report. He told me that the new, pre-cancer on the right could do one of two things: given two years, it could revert back to being normal cells. Or, it could become cancerous. He explained some other stuff about surgical biopsy vs. the biopsy I had and how the results could vary depending on the sample taken.
I then spoke. And here is what I said. (Not verbatim, but pretty-much)
"Dr. F. Here's what I've been thinking the last 10 days. There is breast cancer in my family. (maternal grandma). I have a definite cancer on one side and a pre-cancer on the other. I have seen enough in the last months to know that I NEVER want to do this again. I am thinking of a bilateral (double) mastectomy. This choice is consistent with who I am as a person." I then cast a sideways, affirmation-begging glance at my friend. She agreed with me. (Thanks, Rhonda!)
Dr. F responded in such a gracious way. He said something along the lines of YES, you can do that. That is a very valid option for you. In fact, if you were MY wife, I'd advise you do to do that, because I have a stable marriage, and I will love my wife whether she has breasts or not. It IS a more complicated surgery, but I'll do it.
On Tuesday, October 18, 2011, I will have the ultimate "breast reduction surgery." I will undergo a bilateral (both boobs) mastectomy, under general anesthesia, spending at least one night in the hospital, hopefully being sent home the next day, on my son's 17th birthday.
That was yesterday. I am now 30 hours into this decision, and I feel good about it. It is drastic. I do not HAVE to have a bilateral mastectomy. Nope. I could choose a double-lumpectomy, 6 weeks of radiation and 5 years on tamoxifen. And then I'd be fearing every mammogram. I'd be constantly wondering if I was cancer-free. I would adopt a new normal in terms of my level of anxiety, which is really NOT who I am.
So. Who AM I?
I have had to ask myself this question many times in the last three months. And I won't go all into it here, but I will say that I am a person who values character and heart over looks and....boobs. As a person newly-single, if I were to, say, meet another man in 5 years, I would tell him up-front, "Hey, I have no boobs." And he could say, "No big deal...big or small, I like them all." And I would reply, "No. I have NO boobs." And then he'd know. Depending on his reaction, we'd BOTH know.
Who ELSE am I?
I am creative. That means a "new normal" is NOT beyond me.
Who else am I?
Really, first and foremost, I am a strong believer in Jesus Christ. This means that I have FAITH. Here's what that looks like in my situation: It means that I believe that God knew, on 3/7/60, when I was born, that this would happen on 10/18/11. And God has been preparing and equipping me ever since. "Stuff" has happened along the way that has strengthened me. Let's just say, God has "prepped me for surgery."
I am resilient. I have been through JUNK. I won't elaborate, since this is a breast cancer blog, but yeah. I am a strong person by nature. My Dad built me strong.
If you are a praying person, pray for me. My hope is that my children will not have anxiety about me. I do not want them to fear that I will die on the operating table. I do not want them to fear that I will be somehow "different" after having a mastectomy. Words cannot express what my kids mean to me. So I'll stop here and just ask for your prayers for them.
I will post again at least once before surgery.
Thanks for loving me and reading my blog.