When I last wrote, I was anticipating my upcoming double mastectomy. I wrote about the wonderful advice I got about putting my fears aside and living life with purpose. Sure, I was admittedly scared shitless about voluntarily having my boobs whacked off. But really, that positive mindset helped me get through all of the pain, uncomfortableness, and crazy process.
I’ll spare you all the big details about the process, but it was something else. I am just starting to get to a point where I can sleep in my bed, on my stomach. And most importantly, I changed my chances of getting cancer from about 85% to less than 5%. The surgery was a great decision for me.
I’m not done yet. I see the genetic counselor tomorrow about the next body part I have to get checked. There are about five different areas of potential concern. And my mindset has not changed as we go forward; I’m scared, but ready to hear the good and the bad. But what has changed, is me.
I’m now feeling this heightened sense of ensuring my family knows I’m present. A few nights ago, our youngest asked me to play Hungry Hungry Hippos. We were laughing, having a good time, and our oldest daughter ended up joining us. Nothing else mattered but being there with them. They knew it, and I knew it. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I are both there for our kids every day. But it’s different; we are getting out the playdough even though it’s a crazy mess, or going out in our PJ’s to play in the snow and squirt whipped cream in our mouths. My husband and I are spending time with friends and making time for each other. We are enjoying every minute.
I’ve found that I’m more incapable of bullshit than ever before. I’ve always been very candid, but I’m now to a point where I really don’t want to waste time. I work hard to check off the “to do list” at work and avoid drama. I try harder to make sure nothing gets left unsaid, and that more people get positive feedback. And when I see this cloak and dagger bullshit happen where people don’t say what’s on their mind, I try hard to address it appropriately.
I feel stronger. A friend of mine told me about a cool quote from someone who had a double mastectomy. She wrote “The first time I looked down and saw my scars after surgery, I thought they were so beautiful that I cried. I felt proud and sexy because they symbolized the fact that I took charge of a bad situation and did everything I could to ensure that I would live a long, healthy life. I want to show them off; I like when they poke out of my swimsuit. They prove I’m a warrior. I feel that I saved my own life—I can’t think of anything sexier than that." Listen, I don’t quote her to say I feel sexy; I’m not ready to go there with this blog post (LOL!). But I really do feel pretty good I had the strength to do this for me and my family. It gives me the courage to do a lot of other things that will come my way.
I don’t know exactly if I see changes in me because I’m 44, because of the surgery, or what it is. But I like it. It’s this new appreciation for what I have and what I am. I’m anxious to look back at the end of the year and see what more changes are coming. Bring it on.