Speak your mind. Even if your voice shakes.
Other good – no, great – pieces fell neatly into the puzzle of my post-diagnosis life. I had a primary doc who armed me with info, studies, details, data. I’m a freaking lawyer, after all. I found solace and strength in the research, the objective data, the bits and pieces I normally would use to build and win a case. And in doing so I became my own client, and perhaps for a time, my most important client. I wanted – no, needed – to live.
I had a therapist who breaking with tradition and probably some ethics rules someplace gave me a hug, a real, honest-to-goodness, hip-to-hip hug that filled me with comfort. He knew I needed just that, just then. My massage therapist and physical therapist gurus – without second thoughts – ministered to my spirit as well as my body.
And then there were the friends. Friends (you know who you are) who generously shared their experiences, the ins and outs of the process, the nifty tricks to utilize in order to stay sane, and – fuck, yeah – their survival. They are here, stronger than ever, going about their lives, doing what needs to be done. I so needed to witness that, draw strength from it, use it to steer my course to success. This was not a case where losing was an option. Not. one. bit.
Within days (truthfully, minutes) then, I knew, deep in my soul, what my treatment course would be. A treatment plan for a woman with breast cancer is a very personal thing, particularly an in situ cancer, which means my tumor was, for the most part, simply confined to a duct and quite small. It would be arrogant (and brutally thoughtless) to suggest that my chosen plan is the right plan for anyone else.
However those who know me know this: my 2 daughters are the center of my life. And I’m the only parent they have, unknown Chinese birthparents aside. And not to diminish their birthparents for a second – after all, I’ve honored them all the days of our life together – but, dammit, they’re not here. They’re not going over homework, limiting iPod time, figuring out for the 40th time what breakfast foods pass muster, encouraging science project completion, reading Fifth Grade Favorites book reports, saying “goodnight; I love you.” That’s my job. And I intend it to be my job for a good long time. Note to self: do not insist on picking breakfast foods for your college student when the time comes.
As a result I knew without a doubt that what I chose as a treatment plan was – is – the absolutely right plan for me. As I told my surgeon in mid-November as she patiently walked me through the various non-surgical and surgical options – just go ahead and jump to a double mastectomy. I don’t need to know about the rest.
Although less invasive options existed, I chose and now have had a double mastectomy along with the first step of reconstruction done at the same time. More on that later. And more on the serendipities that just kept showing themselves to me, like Gretel’s breadcrumbs leading the way through the forest.
P.S. I likely will say “fuck” and other choice epithets in this blog, maybe a lot of the time. As a result, if that offends your sensibilities, please and thank you – read someone else’s blog. No sense pissing you off. And, frankly, if you want to lecture me about my use of certain language, I don’t want to hear it. Fuck is powerful. And I am, too. #fuckyeah