Sunday, July 19, 2015

Moving Forward and Letting It Go in Bali- 5 Weeks Post-Op

It's five weeks post-op for me, and I'm sitting here in Bali loving the looks of my future.  I had this trip planned well before my surgery, hoping I'd be recovered enough to come.  I wanted a target, a goal to look forward to after all was said and done.  A moment of...breathing.  No appointments, no agenda, no worries, just...being.  So here I am.  I made it.  I'm sitting in Bali.

There was a time in my life where everything centered around the damn "C" word.  I HAD to have a child before 30 which meant I needed to find that "someone" in my 20s, I HAD to tell that someone early on about my predisposition and possible breast surgery down the road, I HAD to breastfeed a certain length of time for maximum benefits, I HAD to do this and that...I HAD to do everything I could to keep it away from my body.  I hated this time of my life.  I felt pressure from every which way.  I love my good wines, but felt guilt when drinking.  I love to indulge in some of the richest foods around the world, but wondered if I was feeding the beast inside.  I'm not saying that I'm going to splurge now and live care-free because I'll never get it, I'm just glad that I was able to do the most that I could to get to where I am today.  I made it to 38 cancer free.

One of the biggest worries I have had since giving birth to my daughters in 2006 and 2008 was what on Earth have I just given them in terms of life.  I had guilt at times.  Have I wronged them in my choice to continue having children AFTER I found out I was BRCA positive?  It's almost haunting at times.  However, I look at my mom's options back in 1989 and I look at my options here in 2015, and things have surely changed.  There are doctors out there who listen to these worries, who want to help make a difference in not only the quality of your physical life, but your mental life.  No one wants any mother to worry her entire life, about herself nor her children.  I have comfort in knowing that my girls will be given the same opportunity as me, probably even better, when the time is right.  I can't decide for them, but already, at ages seven and nine, they are very well informed.  Even my son.  He knows this affects him too, as he could be a carrier as well.  I've released this guilt, turning it from fear-based thoughts to advocacy and education in hopes of changing their futures.  I will help them instead of sheltering them, I will educate them instead of keeping it taboo and I will hold their hands through it all, just like they held mine.  I'm thankful there's a place called PRMA and a Dr. Chrysopoulo who can someday help them, if not them directly, help educate the future of medical practice where its patient centered.

I'm sitting here and realizing how different my mental state is.  Every day I wake up is a new day, a fresh start.  I don't look in the mirror and think, "when am I going to get cancer."  Instead, I think, "wow, they look pretty damn good!"  I no longer spend a moment during a day thinking, "I'm almost 40.  My mom was diagnosed at 40.  I'm scared."  Instead, I sit here looking at my children thinking, "what adventure will we be on next when I'm 40?"  I've allowed myself to breath new life in, and I think my husband would agree.  Something has been released.  Something has changed, for the better.  

This summer will forever be the 'Summer of 2015' in our family.  Monumental, life-changing and forever remembered.

5 Weeks Post-Op Physically:

For a quick update on how it feels five weeks out, here's a quick glance.
* I'm completely off medication, not even Advil at this point.
* I still have soreness/tenderness on the outer sides of each breast, my sternum area is tender and my nipples are still quite sore.
* Regular non-underwire bras are the norm for me now, although I still prefer my tighter Genie Zip bra at night.
* This week in Bali has given me more to consider about recovery and my new breasts as 1) bathing suit tops are tight, and it hurts a bit getting them on and off, 2) swimming was not easy and 3) running is NOT an option for me yet as I had to grab my chest when trying to bounce off the hot sand (no, I wasn't wearing my flip flops...they were in my hand.  Don't ask.  Already got scolded.)
* I'm proud to look in the mirror as my breasts keep settling into their new shape.
* The scars are looking better and I'll past more photos at six weeks.

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