My Oncologist highly recommended I have a prophylactic mastectomy of my remaining breast because I am considered high risk for recurrence since I have a genetic mutation in addition to my initial diagnosis of Her 2 Positive Stage 3 Breast Cancer. He told me this 1.5 years ago, and I’ve put him off until now. Now it is time to face it and get it done.
It has been almost 7 years since I made the decision to keep one breast at diagnosis. Of course, if I would have known then what I know now, I would have had a double mastectomy. But I made the best decision for me at the time. That is all anyone can do. Simply, I could not see cutting off a perfectly good body part. It was not a wrong decision for me, just circumstances changed when my mom and sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer within 3 years of my diagnosis. The red flag then went up that it must be genetic even though there were no previous family members with breast cancer. It turned out to be genetic for my sister and me, but not for our mom.
One thing I’ve discovered is no one is too much in a hurry to chop off your breast if you don’t have active cancer. And I do believe that is a good thing. I am thrilled to let the women with cancer get the first appointments, the first test times, and the first surgery times. Having been in their shoes, I get it. Now I am very happy at the end of the line!
Certainly, I have more control this time than I did when it was an absolute emergency to cut off the breast with the 6 cm tumor the size of an orange and 9 positive lymph nodes. This time the tests and surgery are at my choosing and not being done within two weeks!
I was able to spread the tests and numerous doctor appointments out over the summer which helped the stress levels. And this time there is absolutely no grief about losing the remaining breast. I’ve lived with one breast for 2,555 days after that dreaded first day in the shower when you sob and cry as you see nothing where your breast once was. You never get over it, but you get used to it. So I will get used to living with no breasts as well.
After my sister had Diep Flap Reconstruction at the time of her Double Mastectomy, I told her I would not go through that grueling surgery for $1 million dollars. She said she would not go through it again for $1 million dollars. Some women have few complications. She had many even though she had an amazing plastic surgeon.
Breast cancer tries to kill you and often mutilates you. I’m not afraid of it anymore. There will not be any tears this time. I will choose to look at it and remember that the continued fight for 7 years has been worth it and how thankful I am to be alive!