A breast cancer survivor shares her experiences with the BRCA gene.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

B-Day (Boob Day)

In 30 minutes, I leave for the hospital for my 2nd operation -- a hysterectomy and final reconstruction. Most importantly, but what I've not focused on these past 2 weeks when I learned I had to undergo surgery again so soon, is the chance they may find cancer in my abdomen. From my experience with living with cancer, I don't dwell on "what if." Doing so drives you crazy with worry and destroys the joy of the day. "What if" may never happen. And if it does, then you deal with it when you know for sure. It's interesting that I've applied this theory to other aspects of my life. Although I'm not worry free about jobs and finances and my future, I don't dwell on worse-case-scenario, but know that I will somehow muster the strength to face life's challenges.This surgery has me more unnerved than the last...because I know what to expect. My memory is too strong. I explained to a friend who had recently given birth, "It's like having a baby and then delivering again 3 months later." You need to give your body a chance to heal physically, but more important, emotionally. I remember too well my last hospital stay and recovery time. Now that I'm feeling healthy and strong, it's hard to subject myself to being cut up and starting the healing process over. It reminds me of when I was going through chemo. I had had several chemo treatments before my lumpectomy -- so they could see if the chemo drugs were working on my tumor. Surgery provided a wonderful break for a month. And then, I had to start back on chemo...and that killed me. I had gotten used to feeling great, only to have to gear up again for a few more bouts of the nasty stuff.My thoughts about my faith have also fluxated during this time, going from holding God at a distance, to being moved by something said or something read. My friend, Sue, wrote a devotional book for women in mid-life, and I've found this extremely comforting. One night (as with most nights), I was unable to sleep, tossing and turning and fixating on my surgery. I tried praying and my mind raced. I tried reading the Bible and couldn't concentrate. So I picked up Sue's book.She began with the story of her living her dream life in a small town in Pennsylvania with her growing family, when her husband got a job offer in Atlanta...where she didn't want to go. After a while of struggle, she realized that "God had a different plan for my life than the one I would have chosen."She sums up her decision to move from her comfort zone with this: "We dream big when we are little. Unsettling as it may be, God dreams bigger."Her words and insights have comforted me and moved me. I've been carried by her and two other women, who I met years ago when we formed a writers' critique group to share our personal work. Life's craziness dissolved our regular writers' meeting, but grew us into an amazing, deep group of friends. In fact, Sue, Casey & Laura are meeting Gary & me at the hospital this morning to hold me hand and pray for me, and to be on-hand for Gary.So, now I end my blog for a few days as I head off. The next entry will be after surgery, after the first few days in the hospital, after the heavy drugs wear off. And then, I can move on with my life.

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