This morning I finally picked up the phone that felt like it weighed 50 lbs, and made the appointment for the final stage of my reconstruction…tattooing. You would think I would be thrilled and anxious to get this over with, but I am afraid that something will happen, that I will get another infection from the needle, or that I will experience the physical pain that I experienced then. I’m such a wuss! The end of March will mark two years since this journey started for me, a finding on a mammogram, a stereotactic biopsy, the results…. The cancer has been out of my body now for a while, it is the reconstruction, the putting Donna back together that has taken the most time and is the most grueling. But it’s almost over…. in 3-4 weeks the tattooing will be done, I will have follow up appointments and that will be it!
Ironically yesterday my sister had a double mastectomy with the start of reconstruction. She had breast cancer 11 years ago. She underwent her treatment, the long grueling 5 years on tamoxifen (which since they have found another drug to put you on after this which will not help her), they have also learned a lot more thanks to research and studies. For a person with a BRCA+ 1 or 2 gene mutation the risks of cancer returning go up over the years. It is not like that of someone who is not positive for the gene mutation when they reach 5 years they’re risks go down, 10 years they go down more, and so on. My sister went through the very difficult decision making process based on recommendations from top oncologists in the country. Many people including family members do not believe in this, which makes it worse for her or whoever is going through this. My comment is, how arrogant that they think they know more than top oncologists in their field? Would any woman (or man) want their breasts removed? Go through what for me was a painful process of reconstruction? I think not. I’m pleased to say she did very well during surgery. There were problems in recovery, but all seem to be okay now. Soon she will be home resting in her own bed, my mother is there to care for her. I’m sure she will be a much easier patient than I was… just ask my mom!
Hope, all of this done to save or prolong our lives, to hopefully ascertain our health. When cancer is a prominent part of your life, your families life, you grow accustomed or strong to what you have to do, and learn to live with it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it is without fear. We do what we have to to reduce the daily fear, to hopefully be able to live our lives on a daily basis without the heaviness of cancer hanging in front of us. We do all that we can, and then we work hard to let it go, knowing its potential, not waiting for its return.
The only member of my immediate family of 7 who has not had cancer is mentally handicapped, unable to communicate. Her caseworkers are working with my father right now, there is something very wrong, she is biting her wrists, as if she is in pain. Dr’s appointments will be made for her, but that is no small undertaking for all involved. In the back of my mind I fear, she is in physical pain, not privy to screenings as her siblings, does she have some advanced cancer? Hasn’t this woman been through enough in her life? And yet, we don’t know…. but what are the chances that she be the only family member of 7 that bypassed this disease? I hope she did, I truly hope so, but the odds….
I remind myself that we are not given more than we can handle, that there is a Divine plan, and sadly I know there are others who have it so much worse, which helps me adjust my eyes and heart to the gift of perspective. Count your blessings.
Soon I will have aereolas (I’m thinking about having giant hibiscus tattooed around the nipples, don’t ya think that would be nice??? Nah, I’m grateful that for me, this chapter, this journey will soon be coming to close, though today I am not sure that I will actually show up at the appointment! Now isn’t that silly? After all of these surgeries I am afraid of silly ole tattooing? But I am…
I’ll do this as I’ve done the rest of this trek, just one step at a time…….