I had the urge to call this “countdown to mutilation” but I thought that might be a bit too melodramatic? Things are getting a bit darker for me as I get closer to my surgery date. Thursday last week was my day off from the hospital and I spent most of the day in a funk, not the greatest use of a day off (although I did have a biopsy the day before so I was limited in what I could do physically).
Good news is that the lymph node biopsy is negative so that means they won’t remove all my lymph nodes around my boob, which means one less complication concern and hopefully no radiation. My Mom had some pretty unfortunate reactions that have stayed with her permanently from radiation, so if I can get out of it, I will.
Everyone was happy/excited when I found this out. How did I feel? I felt like I still have cancer. That’s great that it’s not even shittier, but not something I can feel a positive emotion about. I would definitely feel worse if that or any of the scans came back with bad news, but I just can muster up an positivity that a shitty situation isn’t worse. I am however, cool and supportive for anyone else that feels good about it, because someone should.
One of my classmates in 6th grade nicknamed me “little miss negative” (and by nicknamed, he was the only person who called me that). We worked on a toothpick bridge project together. Anyways, I was thinking about it today because I feel this darkness covering more of my head lately. I dread going to the hospital, which I did on Friday and am spending the day at tomorrow.
I am terrified of my surgery on the 25th. Not because I think I’m going to die or anything is going to go wrong, I just know it’s going to hurt and it’s going to take a long time for me to heal, and I’m going to be really restricted in what I can do, and I’ll never be the same after physically. See what I mean about darkness? Probably going to go murder some puppies after this for good measure.
It’s really hard though to be moving a day closer every day to something I desperately don’t want to happen, but can’t do anything about. Once I do the surgery then I’m healing so I can do chemo and chemo scares me because I may get some pretty gnarly permanent side effects and I’m also not stoked about my odds of baldness (although not permanent). It’s just a lot of stuff that I have to get through that’s going to take months and I think every day leading up to the 25th is going to get tougher for me.
Ok here’s some info about what’s happening so that I can get off the emotional stuff for a bit.
I’m doing a single mastectomy. The right one hasn’t tried to kill me yet, so if it ain’t broke… Based on the tumor size, boob size, and the fact there look to be some “cancer satellites” in the left, a lumpectomy isn’t really an option. My cancer is also really aggressive and has a high rate of recurrence, so this is the safer route. It also helps me hopefully avoid radiation which would be pretty tight since I have to do chemo.
Doing it with the surgery for a lot of reasons, chiefly because it’ll mean I don’t have to do another big surgery after going through this and I think it will help me mentally recover better. I’m doing what’s called a “tram flap”. Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either. By the way, how weird is it that you are now going to know this much about my boob? So a tram flap is when they take abdominal tissue and reconstruct with that. To be flip, you get a tummy tuck and a boob job. I picked it because in the video I watched about options, the woman who had a saline implant said it “slooshed” one night when she turned over. No fucking way. Silicon implants need work every 10-15 years, have higher risk of complications/infections, and you have to get a chest MRI every few years to check for cancer because a regular mammo won’t get through. I had the pleasure of a chest MRI and they suck pretty majorly. Also I’m just doing one boob. The perks of a tram flap is that they connect the blood vessels, so it’s your body and not a foreign object, won’t need to get replaced, will age with your body, and has lower risk of complications and infections. It does however have a longer recovery time because of the abdominal surgery. (For those of you that have done your homework, I do know what a DIEP is and have decided against with my surgeon). My focus on all of this is my long game because I’m 30, so that’s why I went with it.
The hard thing with all of my decisions in this is that there isn’t a right one or wrong one. I have to decide based on my limited knowledge and recommendations of my team. Even advice from people who have gone through this, there’s like 15 different types of breast cancer, there’s age, stage, tumor size, etc that all adds up to make it hard to directly compare experiences with. Seriously, if you want to feel like a special unique snowflake, get breast cancer. Or don’t.
So I’m in the hospital all day tomorrow for stuff. I can’t eat after 9am so I’m going for a giant breakfast. My scan isn’t until 4pm so it’s going to be a long day. I may be hangry.
Friday I’m at the hospital again so they can make sure my heart is in good condition for chemo (imagine just how excited I’ll be when they tell me it is) and meet with my oncologist.
Monday the 18th I go in for a same day surgery that’s a prep for the tram flap on the 25th. They’re doing something to the blood vessels in my abdomen.
I have a good friend coming to stay tomorrow night, and another good friend coming up from NY for a few days at the end of the week and weekend. I also just had a really wonderful time in Boston with A. So don’t cry for me Argentina, I’m not alone. I just feel that way at times because I’m the only one getting their boob chopped off in this play.