I hung out with my friend, Connie, on Saturday. We grabbed some lunch, did a little shopping, got a mani/pedi, and then had a little dinner. She brought up a crucial point I must consider in making my decision. I have to think about which choice will not limit my future reconstructive or treatment options.
You can only have so much radiation in your lifetime. They cut you off after a certain amount. Makes sense–Who wants to spend the rest of their lives glowing like a neon light bulb and irradiating everything in their path. Radiation may also limit my reconstructive options. Plus, I planned to have boob surgery regardless. In choosing radiation, I’d likely have to wait much longer for bimx/recon surgery.
I think now that it may just be more favorable for me to separate the mastectomy and reconstruction for a number of reasons (i.e., safety–it lessens the risk of complications, less surgery and recovery time, less trauma and contemplation over choices). Many women choose to wait on reconstruction simply because they don’t want having to think about reconstruction to intervere with the cancer treatment itself. Plus, with my hightened fear of any surgery, in this respect, taking it one step at a time would be more beneficial.
The fear of reconstruction has kept me from really going for prophylactic surgery prior to this. Reconstruction has more risk of complications (failure of implants or flaps, higher rates of poor wound healing, skin and donor tissue necrosis, and the list goes on). Mastectomy alone, as with all surgery, has its risks, but I’ve already been through the mega trauma of serious surgery with major complications and my fears of having these surgeries together are valid. I’ve already witnessed first hand the misery complications produce. Separation will allow for a slower induction into the long, reconstructive surgery process.
With delayed reconstuction, my fear is what psychological damage may come in the aftermath of the mastectomies alone. I was never really into shoes, but after my panc surgery, I totally become a shoe girl. The higher the heel, the prettier the style, I had to have it. I wanted some small part of me to feel pretty and feminine when the rest of me didn’t. Who knows how intensified such a feeling could become after mastectomies. This is a very scary concept for me. All of this comes secondary to the simple fact I’m doing this to try and save my own life, but it doesn’t lessen the valid, emotional trauma I’m still faced with.
I watched Super Soul Sunday yesterday with Mark Nepo and Kris Carr (two of my favorites). In listening to Mark Nepo’s conversation with Oprah and the words of Kris Carr, I was able to gain a greater understanding of my own personal growth in relation to my cancer. I see the role it’s playing in opening/awakening me to my own spiritual path. I understand more clearly about my own conscienceness and the power and strength that come from surrender and acceptance.
I know we are all constantly learning, changing and evolving. My hope is that I am able to surrender to and accept making such a profound choice with enough strength and courage to lessen any psychological hardship. My desire is for such growth to bring me to a state of grace, acceptance, extreme self-worth and self-love. This, in turn, may help me to dismantle some of my own false beliefs about the shallow, physical aspects of beauty and gain a truer understanding of my own womanhood.