We’re really here, aren’t we. My preventive double mastectomy is tomorrow. My bag is packed and in the car. My post-op prescriptions have been filled. My body is marked up with sharpie – a road map of where my surgeons will be making their cuts. I attempted a serious heart to heart talk with my 2 year old this morning about what’s going on to which he replied “Ok….Mommy, did you see that snow fall down?”. So much for that.
Other than tying up a few odds and ends at home — prepping food for my kiddo for the rest of the week, making my post-op clothes easily accessible, filling out the last form or two for my doctors — there’s nothing left to do but wait. Oh, and take my little guy out for a pizza date tonight as promised (if he still wants to after his nap, that is).
My feelings are sort of a whirlwind right now. At moments I am calm and focused. Then come the waves of panic and fear. And over the past two days there have been pauses where a deep, hollow sad feeling takes over. Like yesterday, while riding the train to the city for my pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon I thought of how my son will never again rest his head on my breasts…at least not these breasts. And then last night when we were playing in the rough and tumble way he loves, jumping around on the couch, wrestling and tickling, I though of how after today it will be at least a month before we can do that again….likely longer. I feel like I’ve already begun to mourn my body as it is now…as it has been for as long as I’ve inhabited it.
But I also have confidence and trust that this will all be ok. That my new body will function just as well as my old one given time. Actually, it will be an improvement because it will no longer have breasts that will someday try to kill me. I also know that my little guy will be ok, that he has an incredible network of people who love him almost as much as I do who are so willing to step up and share some of the load while I am recovering. I am so so so grateful for this and know how fortunate we are. I also know that my spouse will be ok. That he is strong, thoughtful, and in touch with his emotions. He knows how to access the support he needs and how to set boundaries that keep him emotionally safe. I forget sometimes that he is going through a lot with this process too…because he’s too busy being my rock to remind me that he needs support as well. And my wonderful friends have been reaching out, sharing support, planning visits to the hospital and my home to see me while I recover…and they even took me out for a Bye Bye Boobies karaoke night last week. I really am an incredibly lucky person.
I’m also lucky to have the chance to do this surgery preventatively. To be a previvor rather than a survivor (or worse). To know my BRCA status rather than sitting idly by while cancer sneaks up on me. I am grateful for all of the opportunities afforded to me by modern medicine, science….and health insurance. It really fucking sucks to be sitting here with all these feelings on the eve of a major, life changing surgery. But I know I am making the right choice. For me, for my family, for my future. And so it is time to say farewell, boobies!