So, one surgery is behind me. A surgery that no one could predict what my symptoms would be once my ovaries and fallopian tubes were out. How many changes would I experience? Would they be resolved by the hormone replacement therapy? Would I feel differently about myself? Would Jeff feel differently about me?
I healed so well that it’s nearly as if the surgery didn’t happen. Except for that twice weekly reminder when I put on my hormone patch and the occasional night sweats. Beyond that, I haven’t had to go through a tremendous acceptance about new ways my body is acting or not acting. I’m relatively symptom-free. And certainly, I’m liberated by not having to worry about the risk for ovarian cancer, while sending my love and healing energy to those fighting the disease.
I can’t help but think that my preparation for that surgery and my strong recovery bodes well for the next one. Though the PBM (prophylactic bilateral mastectomy) is a much more extensive surgery. And one that will test my ability to wholly love myself with the changes. I’ll admit, I fear being disappointed about how I will look and the changes in what sensations I will or will not feel when it comes to my breasts. Even typing that, I want to hit delete delete delete and climb over that negative thought with a bulldozer. But those feelings are real. I’m fully aware how lucky I am to have the knowledge of my BRCA2 mutation and the choice to avoid an inevitable breast cancer diagnosis. My heart hurts for my sister who had to receive that news twice, for friends, their mothers, their sisters, daughters, aunts and grandmothers who have been diagnosed and for the approximately 300,000 women that will have been diagnosed this year.
I’ll begin my prep for the PBM this week, starting with a seminar on breast reconstruction, followed by a physical, lab tests, an MRI to ensure I’m still cancer-free, appointments with both surgeons and a walk-through of what will take place the day of and after surgery, scheduled for December 4.
In the midst of all of this, Jeffrey and I launched a new idea. At its core, it’s about loving yourself. Something I do. Something that hasn’t come easy. I was an introverted, painfully shy kid. I was bullied, though it wasn’t called that back then. And it took until my 20’s before I found my voice. My confidence grew as I learned to play to my talents and as I worked on myself emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically. Yoga teacher training, which I did in 2002, was another big shift in my life. I’ve adopted the lessons on the mat for the real world. The work on myself never stops. That shy, scared girl can sometimes resurface. I just know how to take care of her now.
The loving myself work continues as I head into major reconstruction surgery. And the loving myself for a lifetime while I still have melanoma risks and appointments 4x/year to get checked as well as the mystery of the inner workings of my body that will continue to tick tock tick tock through the years.