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.