So much for my stay in Oblivion. Time to pack my bags, check out and head back to Reality. My doctor wants me to consult with the RadOnc today. I have always been a strong believer on getting all the information you can to make the best decision you can make, so this is sound advice. However, my MedOnc has practically obliterated my false hope to push the surgery date. She isn’t content on waiting and I believe has been giving me all this time to let me really wrap my brain around the life altering decisions I have to make within the next few weeks. Have I mentioned how much this all sucks? What a ridiculous understatement!!!
I’ll be preparing and focusing on the start of my retreat this weekend. I’m excited to take some serious time to focus inward and make serious changes regarding my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I’ve been teetering back and forth for some time. Making strides and then collapsing back into old habits again. This last time in a serious way! I need crucial change now! It’s time to dig in, work hard and move forward.
Yesterday was my 9th chemo treatment on Taxol. 3 more to go. The countdown has begun! My last treatment is November 14th. I was thinking of an ‘end of chemo’ happy hour or something–Possibly at my favorite Austin restaurant, Fonda San Miguel. I will think on it some more. For the very few who actually read my blog, please chime in!
I had a long heart to heart with the nurse practitioner at the MedOnc’s office yesterday. She noticed that I’ve been moving in the wrong direction regarding my health and wellbeing and not focusing any longer on preparing for surgery. I seem to be sabotaging myself, yet again. Just the thought of surgery makes me teary-eyed. I started getting emotional just talking with her about it. It’s not just that it’s a major, life-altering surgery; my fear comes from the pancreatic surgery I endured 3 years ago for a rare, mucinous cystadenoma. Initially, everything went fine, and then the complications started. I suffered many complications, several more stints in the hospital, more surgeries, and painful rehabilitation with a 6-month recovery. I cannot express here how brutal that all was. I almost didn’t make it a number of times.
This has struck a fear of surgery in me that is so strong. Honestly, it’s not the fear of surgery itself, but of the complications that can develop. I have to move past it, somehow. I’m hoping my DIY retreat will help me conquer this fear and move forward with preparing for surgery. I cannot afford to keep moving the timeframe of surgery. It must happen within the next 6 months, and my doc has made it clear sooner than later. My MedOnc has given me a window that I must stick to, to stay on the safe side of things, hopefully!
My MedOnc has asked me to consider mastectomies and delaying reconstruction, but even now, as I write this I’m tearing up. I cannot. It’s too hard. It’s all really hard. My situation is different than the average woman’s, always has been.
Many women jump at having this done, immediately. Their fear is very justified. More and more women are having bimx/recon surgeries, a good majority who do not need to take such drastic measures. Breast cancer scares the crap out of you. I know, I’ve had this monkey on my shoulder my whole life! I, unfortunately, fall into the category that absolutely should take such drastic measures.
I’ve always been on the forefront of this. Knowing of my family history, I started seeing my breast surgeon in my early twenties. She has been monitoring me ever since and even performed my recent lumpectomy. When the BRCA gene testing became available, well, I didn’t do it right away but knew if I found out I did have a mutation I’d do what I needed to do to save my life. But, after the panc surgery, everything became so much more difficult. So many obstacles, around every corner. The opposite has happened. I’ve turned my fear of surgery into a more palpable beast than my fear of dying from breast cancer. What kind of crap is that? It’s all hard–So many brutal decisions!
I know I’m a survivor, I always have been, my whole life; but, how much can God place on one person? How strong do I have to become?
Since it is the month of Halloween and the month of Breast Cancer Awareness, I’d like to pay tribute to one of my favorite characters of film. What could be more fitting?
I’ve often stated when all is said and done, I’ll likely come out looking like the Bride of Frankenstein, with scars everywhere. I’ve felt virtually heart-broken by this inevitable outcome. However, I now realize I’ve been looking at this in entirely the wrong light; moreover, I’ve been paying a disservice to Elsa Lanchester, the actress who played the ‘Bride.’ Again, a different perspective can do wonders. I’ve decided I must try and celebrate this. I have a horrible mutation that leaves me with having to make brutal choices for the sake of my own survival. I must count myself lucky to have the knowledge upfront. Hopefully, in enough time to change what could be a tragic fate had I not known of my mutation. Hopefully!
Furthermore, scars bear witness that you have survived something; that you are still alive to tell the tale. And, who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and even excited with the outcome. All tucked up, lifted boobs and tightened here and there. That is if I can lose the weight and overcome this debilitating fear of surgery. Hey, maybe I will get a nice set of “Franken boobs.”
As for the ‘Bride,’ truthfully, I’ve always loved the way she looks. I think she’s beautiful and I’ve always liked her hair.