In one week I go under the knife for my first BRCA-related surgery. In one week my ovaries and fallopian tubes will be removed from my body. In one week I will forever lose the ability to have another biological child. In one week I will throw my body into surgical menopause.
In one week I will have a greatly lessened risk of ovarian cancer.
And how am I feeling? Anxious and scared mostly.
I’m really scared about going under anesthesia. I’ve only been fully under once before in my adult life (during shoulder surgery in 2014)…and I was totally freaked out about it then too. I’m scared that something could go wrong during surgery. I’m scared that the menopause symptoms won’t be manageable or that for some reason I won’t be able to do hormone replacement. I’m scared that they’ll find pathology. I’m also scared of the pain being worse than I expect it to be and scared that I won’t be able to go back to work 6 days after surgery as I’ve planned to.
I’m coping with all of this fear and anxiety by trying to be as prepared as possible…because that’s what I do.
I’m stocking up on what everyone tells me are my post-surgery necessities:
- Throat lozenges, as sore throat is common after intubation during surgery
- GasX, peppermint tea, and gentle laxatives, because I’ve heard that the worst part of recovery is the gas pain from having the abdomen pumped full of CO2 during the procedure
- Shows to watch and things to read while I’m at home recovering
- Healing foods (high in protein & anti-inflammatory). This one is tricky without a usable kitchen but I plan to make a big batch of instant pot chicken curry soup before my surgery and stock the freezer with bone broth. I’m trying to figure out a way to make natural gelatin gummies too…but that might be impossible without a stove.
I’m trying to get myself emotionally ready:
- Talking to my therapist
- Meditation as usual, plus today I started a “Successful Surgery” guided imagery meditation that I plan to do daily for the next week
I’m attempting to enjoy the hell out of life for the next week:
- There’s a big family wedding this week which will be a great opportunity to connect with people I don’t see often
- We’ve planned a date for the night before my surgery…pending finding a babysitter. (We started taking ballroom/Latin dance classes last week and scheduled a lesson and have a dance “party” the night before surgery).
- Getting quality time with my kiddo (thankfully I have the day off before my surgery for MLK day, and am planning a fun “mommy and me” day).
- Seeing friends
I think that’s about it. I’m controlling the things I can control, trying to set myself up for the best outcomes possible, and letting the rest happen. I don’t know what else I could do.
And in other BRCA-related news: I have a breast MRI tomorrow…so fingers crossed for clear results! It’s the 6 month follow up to the MRI/biopsy I had last summer. With all the focus on my surgery I’ve forgotten to be the slightest bit anxious about it. Blessing in disguise? It’s amazing to think how anxious I was for my first breast MRI last year and how this time around it just feels so…normal. My new normal. It’s amazing how adaptable we humans are.
Although, I’m hoping there’s not too much more medical stuff I have to adapt to in the near future!