The week before my bilateral mastectomy I pondered taking a photograph of my breasts so that I could remember what I look like (sorry guys, not too many nude photos floating around featured yours truly). It may seem minor, but I was thinking about it because I knew they would never be the same.
I didn’t take a picture. I realized that I could not bring that piece of what would become my past forward to haunt who I would become. I can’t spend the rest of my life trying to undo what has been done, and dwelling on what had been. I am just over a week away from a fairly major surgery that I will have to do twice, rather than once, because it was the circumstances that life chose for me. I have walked in the shoes of women who have had a mastectomy and lost their breast, I have learned to stuff my bra and wear my clothes as if nothing has changed. Each time I look in the mirror I know something has changed. I have a deep respect for women who decide not to undergo the extensive process of breast reconstruction.
I am incredibly nervous about the surgery and this is the first time that I will have surgery and Mike won’t be able to be there when I wake up (unless they schedule me late in the day, and you usually don’t want to be the last one of the day with a major surgery). Mike was laid off from his job in May, his company decided that they would roll up the functions of the IT team (along with several other departments) into the office of the parent corporation, leaving several people at his company without a job. Mike is so talented and has such a diverse skill set he managed to get a great job within a fairly short amount of time. A new job means he needs to stay at work and show what a great employee he is. I have lots of amazing friends and family members who will be helping out, but it will be hard on us both.
The “take a picture” question has come up again (maybe because I did all of those photos of me bald). I think part of me wants to remember what it was like to live without a breast and to live with stitches for 99 days so far this year (not like I am counting… ). Sometimes the trials and challenges life brings us can teach us what does and does not matter. Emotionally I thought having a breast mattered most at the times that I lost it, but losing it taught me that quite frankly it is something on the surface and it is the fact that I am alive surrounded by people that I love those that matters the most.
A note for those that volunteered to bring food after my surgery on the 22nd, I need the email address that you would like to use for the http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com website so that I can give you access to sign up for a day. I set it up electronically to try it out, as my memory is a bit less functional when I have had surgery (and those pain medications).