Today I have a double mastectomy and I am every emotion wrapped into a mess that sits here writing. Some say this is elective, others say that I really have no choice. One thing is for sure, I am not the only one that is going through this today, this week or this year.
I am a #previvor, which if you have never heard the term before you are not alone. I didn’t know about it myself until earlier this year when I was diagnosed with the BRCA2 gene mutation. A previvor is someone that has a genetic mutation that makes it more likely that you will face Cancer in your lifetime and you have done something about it. It isn’t just BRCA gene, there are so many.
In my case I had a complete hysterectomy is May and today a Double Mastectomy and in November reconstruction. This means three major surgeries in the span of a year. Just having one takes a toll on your body — I am just now starting to feel “normal” after the hysterectomy. Proudly I have lost 13 pounds. I have had to work out every day and walk a lot of steps to achieve that!
Everything in my being is telling me that I doing the right thing. This is a deeply personal decision that every woman that is diagnosed with a Genetic Mutation faces. For me it was an 85% chance of breast cancer and I am behind — most women decide to do this in their 30’s and 40’s. I am 53, in menopause when I started. Even knowing that, I am faced with mutilating my body which I already have body image issues. How am I going to love this body after all the changes? I see absolutely beautiful women struggling with self-love, how am I going to do this?
I have this wonderful man, my husband who is my rock. This is not easy for him either. As a Medium he can’t hid his anxiety from me. So I try harder and harder to be perfect. He tries harder to not let me see his anxiety. Last night we just clung to each other as we both slept fitfully. The good news is we have each other. We are prepared as we can be. I have cleaned the house, prepared meals in the freezer and now all that remains is getting to the other side of this surgery. I read stories of other women who have to do this alone, or their spouse is not supportive. I feel guilty complaining.
But I have to remember this is my experience. That negating the feelings I have because others have it worse is not helpful. I just need to remember to breathe. Take each day as they come. That means dealing with the emotions that I have been hiding from. Bravery is pushing through fear and having faith that in the end everything will be okay. Most importantly, this is not the end.
So off I go on an adventure that in the end I will have discernment and peace. Interesting how my #threewords are playing out this year….