It’s 9pm and my phone has alerted me that snow is arriving in 9 minutes. This notice brings a certain sense of calm to my nerves. It’s the night before my prophylactic mastectomy and I wouldn’t call my feelings totally calm. But oddly I do feel at peace with my decision and there is a sense of calmness to that feeling. The impending snow makes me think of a fluffy, white, even blanket about to land on the earth. Almost like when you were a kid and someone would fluff a blanket in the air over your body and let it fall on to you. It’s the perfect end to my night before my surgery.
My husband sat across from me at lunch today and reminded me that this day was 10 years in the making. TEN years of MRIs and the stressful days waiting for results. You see, no news is good news and I would literally receive a letter in the mail stating the all clear. Each time, a relief.
However this last summer my husband called to say my doctor had left a message to please call him when I could. All I could muster out was a deflated, “oh crap”. My husband a little crack in his voice after a pause could only let out a “yea”. A few hours later we found out indeed there was a new something on my MRI. It was small and all points indicated to benign, but the radiologist wanted further testing and a biopsy. This ended up being the longest month of our lives, I don’t think my husband slept or stopped pacing. He didn’t care what the results showed, my mastectomy was being scheduled now.
After that appointments came and went, a blur to say the least. The final results showed PASH which is a benign but rare hyperplasia. Then there were more appointments with surgeons and genetic counselors. We found out although I have a variance on one of my breast cancer genes, I don’t not have a mutation. When further information is received in future breast cancer cases and screenings they will be able to make a final judgement as to what my variance truly indicates. For now, I am to check in from time to time with the genetics team. Even without a genetic mutation my risk was a staggering 40%, those are odds we didn’t want to bet on. You see, of the 10 women in our family, 5 have had breast cancer: my maternal grandmother, my mom, my aunt and my two cousins (just in their 30’s when diagnosed). Every one of the medical professionals I had talked with agreed that this decision although big, was necessary for me to feel at peace. They all stated I am young now, and healthy. I do not have to deal with the effects of a diagnosis of cancer, like chemo and radiation, and now I have choices in my reconstruction.
It’s no longer all about me. All I have to do is think about my beautiful babies and I know what the decision must be. I will walk into my surgery tomorrow with a grateful heart, a few nervous palpitations, and be changed forever by some of the finest surgeons in this nation. My little girl is nervous, she knows she will have tears for her mommy tomorrow. I tell her, don’t be afraid, mommy isn’t. I remind her I am grateful I have this choice and that I would do anything to protect them from seeing me with cancer. Many mommy’s don’t get this choice and I am so thankful this mommy does.
My surgery, just 2 days before “turkey day” is a bummer, and bad timing, but necessary. Thanksgiving will now have a whole new meaning for me and my family this year. It will mark another woman in our family who will beat the odds of breast cancer. So for tonight, I will lay in peace thinking of the white vale that is falling outside my window giving me a sense of comfort and calm.