I’m not at a good place this week. I admit it. I wasn’t even going to write this post, but I changed my mind and decided why hold back now?
I feel like I am sitting poolside, but the pool I am sitting by this time is the one called the pool of self-pity. One little nudge and I’d fall completely in.
The other evening I even had another one of “those meltdowns.” My poor husband wondered out loud, “What is wrong with you?” I had to explain to him I was simply processing again. Like so many times before…
This latest round of processing has not been smooth sailing for me us. “I had no idea you felt this way,” he acknowledged. (Another reminder, our loved ones are not mind readers!)
Later this week it’s time for another big moment on this bad road trip (I will not call it a journey this week) I’ve been on for about a year now. It’s time for yes, more surgery. It’s time for my bilateral salpingo oophorectomy and total laparoscopic hysterectomy. It’s quite a mouthful to even say. But there, I said typed it. Besides being a place for me to safely share and vent, my blog’s purpose is also to inform, so here are Mayo Clinic’s links to the explanation of these terms if you are interested in learning about something you probably don’t really want to learn about.
This particular surgery will be of the “assembly line” variety. My doctors call it tag surgery, which really just means more than one surgeon is doing stuff. I kinda like my assembly line description better. After surgeon number one finishes up, surgeon number two will be stepping in to complete a few finishing touches on my reconstruction project. Many of you know exactly what this means. If you don’t, trust me, it’s probably better that way.
The fun just never ends.
I have consulted five doctors about this particular hurdle. I even put my plastic surgeon on the spot and forced him to throw in his two cents worth, although he did half- jokingly say, “Don’t quote me on this one, it’s not my area of expertise! He’s always such a wise guy. He did agree with the rest of them. Considering my cancer and my BRCA 2 status, they all concurred; this is what I need to do.
So why has coming to terms with this particular surgery been so difficult?
Wouldn’t you think surgery impacting your inner organs would be less traumatic than, say a bilateral mastectomy?
I have found this to not be the case. Deciding on my bilateral was “easy.” There was a tumor there after all. It had to go. I was BRCA positive so the breasts “had to go” as well. Once I knew I was parting with one it was relatively “easy” to say goodbye to breast number two.
Preparing for this surgery seems harder in some ways. These organs are coming out only because they represent potential trouble. They might be too receptive to new cancer cell growth sometime in the future. The key word here is might. They might be troublemakers sometime down the road.
Right now these organs are fine. I think this makes saying goodbye to them a whole lot harder. I have a whole new respect now for all those women choosing prophylactic mastectomies and oophorectomies.
Perhaps another reason accepting this surgery is harder is because these organs represent fertility and femininity and even though I’m done with the fertility part, my mind isn’t? After all, the mind is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Or is it because it feels a bit like tempting fate? If something’s not wrong, don’t mess with it kind of thinking?
Or is it really hard because I’m facing the anniversary of my diagnosis in a couple of weeks? There are many heavily weighted dates looming ahead. Did I plan poorly? Should I have waited a while longer? (My oncologist and husband don’t believe in waiting here, that’s tempting fate of another kind they say…)
Is there a better time? And when might that be?
I’m not sure, but I don’t think there is. So…
I guess this is just another one of those things I must do. I must listen to my medical team and my family. I must put my trust in them; I don’t want regrets later. I want to get on with life and put this, too, behind me.
It’s just one more hurdle.
Still, I can’t help asking, “How much does cancer have to take from me? How many body parts must I give up?” How many hurdles do I have to make it over?
Of course, questions like these lead me right back to my little self-pity party. I don’t like this party much, so I’ll try not to stay long…
Time to get on with more hurdle jumping!