I realize it has been a long time since I’ve updated this. In the time since I last updated I’ve come to the realization that being a Survivor is much more difficult than going through all of the treatments. All of the physical pain doesn’t seem anywhere as hard as the daily struggles I fight through now. Exhaustion, fear, insecurities with my body, grief of everything I’ve lost, acceptance of my new “normal”, all of my favorite post menopausal symptoms, and did I mention fear?
It has been 2 years, 1 month, and 21 days since my bilateral mastectomy. I have an upcoming appointment with my plastic surgeon to revisit the discussion of reconstruction. As you are all aware, I attempted reconstruction prior and truly gave my all. My body could not handle it. The pain was something I will never have the words to explain. After the 3rd time I was taken directly to surgery from my plastic surgeons office due to yet another infection I decided to walk away for a while. It’s been 1 year, 8 months, and 14 days since my last surgery on my chest. October 25, 2016 was the last time Dr.Kiehn took me from his office to the OR to remove the infected expander and to remove as much of the affected tissue as possible. Since then I’ve shut of my mind the best I could and took a break from all of doctors appointments. I’ve been being a momma, wife, daughter, friend, ect.
For the past few months I have not been able to find anything loud enough to drown out my thoughts and worries about reconstruction all over again. Out of no where my thoughts and heart are weighing so heavily on me daily. This coming Friday I will meet with Dr. Kiehn for the first time in a year and a half. I want to revisit the discussion of the DIEP surgery and ask all of the questions circling through my mind. I don’t know what I’m going to do. This surgery very much feels like the final step in this process. I want to get through this and continue my survivor fight. This last “treatment” has always been the last thing on the “list” I had originally made once I was diagnosed.
What I seem to be struggling with is the “why” behind this surgery. I have made it through more than I could have ever imagined I could. I am here. I am alive. Yet, I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin. I can’t help but emotionally struggle often with the “why” behind this and feel somewhat disappointed in myself for wanting this for myself. I should be proud of who I am and carry my head high. The truth is, I don’t. This body is so foreign to me and I feel like I’m living my life in someone else’s body daily. Will this surgery change that feeling? Will this surgery make me feel any better? What if I have all of the complications I had prior? What if I can’t handle the pain? I’ve enjoyed sleeping in my husbands arms in our bed. With this surgery I can guarantee I will be back attempting to sleep in a recliner followed by months of exhaustion from the inability to sleep in my bed. I know this seems so minimal, but I did this for months and still to this day don’t know how I did it.
It’s a beautiful Sunday at home with my family, my heart and soul. I’ve been very distracted by my wondering mind. My husband and I sat and watched a DIEP surgery condensed to 47 mins while the boys played in their pool. I was hoping watching the surgery would give me some sort of clarity, but nothings seems to help me make a decision. I’ve promised myself that I would not make a decision or commitment unless I am 100% confident either way. This is proving to be more difficult than anticipated.
Below is a screen shot from the ending of the DIEP surgery we watched today. My surgery would be very similar except it would be both breasts being reconstructed from my abdomen. I will have many surgery sites to heal. Both breasts, the incision I will have from hip to hip, and the belly button they will create. My surgeon says I will be in the ICU for 24 hours after surgery, and then in the hospital for 5 – 6 additional days after that. This is a MAJOR MAJOR surgery. Nothing about this journey of mine has been easy, but it has all been worth it I can say that with confidence. I am so thankful each day for the many many blessings I have.