It’s only been a week since I learned of my 2nd breast cancer diagnosis. A week? Really? It feels like a month! So much has happened in a week, and yet, nothing has happened. If I had my choice, I would have had surgery yesterday, but, I’m at the mercy of doctors, hmo’s, and schedules.
Yesterday, I met with a surgeon and an oncologist. I marched in, told them what I wanted, and they didn’t argue with me. So, a bi-lateral mastectomy is in my near future. I’m not sad, upset, or even afraid. I’m ready to cut them off. They are not my friends, they are enemies and must be destroyed. I feel an incredible sense of relief that they’re coming off. It’s hard to feel regret over losing body parts that have twice tried to kill me! This, incredibly, was an easy decision.
The decisions from here…….well………not so easy. I know I want reconstruction. At 39, with hopefully many years to live, a normal looking body is certainly worth a try. I may never be the same underneath my clothes, but, I don’t need my pain and struggles to be visible to the outside world. I can, at least on the surface, appear to be a normal woman. I have several options for reconstruction. I know pretty decisively the procedure that I want. The real decision is to do reconstruction immediately, or to wait. I weigh the pros and cons. The biggest problem is the lack of information in regards to my cancer. The biopsy shows carcinoma, but has little other information. Is it aggressive? Does it respond to hormones? How likely is it to have spread? All questions that are not answered and making the decision that much harder.
Now the “what ifs” begin. What if the cancer is agressive? What if I have major surgery and then need chemo? What if the cancer spreads while I’m recovering from surgery? What if I need radiation? What if the radiation messes up the reconstruction? What if I delay for no reason? What if I put myself through two major surgeries when it could have gotton done in one? What if I can’t do reconstruction for a year because of chemo? What if I make a bad decision? What if my decision costs me my life? Endless “what ifs.” I know I am in control of the decision, but I’m not sure I want to be! Sometimes, you wish somone would just tell you what to do.
Tomorrow, it’s back for another CT scan. I’m getting to know the people at medical imaging by first name. I’ve forgotton how exhausting it all is. The testing, the blood draws, the meetings, the reading. My whole life now revolves around cancer. Again. The difference, now, is that I know there is life beyond cancer. In 2001, I wasn’t so sure.
The only thing to do, is keep waking up, going through the process, taking it one day at a time. As much as I wish life had a fast forward button, it does not. There is one decision that I cannot make, that is completely out of my hands. There is no way over, under, or around this. I have to go through it. Straight through it.
Last night, I read day 25 of “The Purpose Driven Life” (by Rick Warren). This entry discusses how we can be “transformed by trouble” and that God has a purpose behind every problem and that everything that happens to us in this life has spiritual significance. What really resignated with me is when the author wrote, “Since God intends to make you like Jesus, he will take you through the same experiences Jesus went through. That includes lonliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection, and many other problems.” I feel strongly that our character is made stronger as we experience trials in this life. I think of all the struggles my Mom has experienced in her life, which I’ve experienced along with her, and I know we’re both stronger for it. One of my favorite scriptures is from Romans, which talks about how suffering produces perseverence, perseverence character, and character hope.
Hope is where it’s at, as far as I’m concerned. Part of hope comes from the fact that God’s plan is good because He has our best interests in His heart. “The plans I have for you are plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When we go through obstacles, straight through them, the author mentions that we can ask ourself what God wants us to learn. My initial questions, when I learned of your diagnosis, is, “Okay, God – don’t you think once is enough? I think the point was made the first time around.” We can question why struggles, like Cancer, are put in our lives and the lives of those we love. Perhaps the intent is to learn something that we’re unaware we need to learn. I don’t know, but I know that God loves you.
Thanks for sharing this blog. Your journey will remain in my prayers everyday. Heather.
Kay – you are a very strong and intelligent woman and I know you’ll make good decisions. I also know the need to prepare and plan for what MAY be ahead, but be careful not to dwell toooo much on the “what ifs” because you have NOW to enjoy and live. Don’t forget today – it’s not past yet! One of my favorite songs is Roger Whitaker’s (sp??) song “IF’s an Illusion”
You are my hero. You are strong. You are amazing. You WILL make the right decision. You will get through this. I will be following your journal each day. What a lovely thing to do.
I love you and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers each day. Jean
P.S. LIKE GWEN, I, TOO, LIKE ROGER WHITAKER’S SONG.
Kay – You are an amazing and intelligent woman. (When you were small there was no way I could have told you that because you already knew it.) You have turned into a wonderful niece, daughter, mother, wife and friend. I am thinking of you constantly and pray that you will get through this difficult time. I have to question why God has put you through so much. Of course I will be in touch with your mother every couple of days so I will be getting updates from her. Please know that Neil and I love you dearly and are praying for you daily.