BRCA Surgeries: Small Victories

After twelve weeks of physical therapy I have been turned loose. Thanks to New Leaf Physical Therapy I have made the transition from post-surgical wreck to a new sort of interim state that is relatively normal. Next week I will see the plastic surgeon and expect she will schedule another surgery for July. In conjunction with Stage II breast revisions I will get rid of those other pesky cancer-prone female parts – the ovaries and tubes. More boob and belly surgery. Oh great.

It has been eighteen weeks since bilateral mastectomies knocked me for a loop. When I think about that long hospital stay, the multiple surgeries I endured in the effort to save my reconstructed breasts and the slow painful rehab process, the last thing I want is more time in the surgical suite. And yet, I can’t wait. Treatment, no matter what form it takes has distinct milestones along the way. Each one is worthy of some sort of acknowledgement. How am I celebrating this time?

Here is a $14.97 dress I bought at Costco last weekend. Who doesn’t enjoy a bargain? I plan to wear it in Hawaii in October. A week in Maui is a very happy thing to anticipate. The fact it is a size 8 does not hurt either. For an old bag who’s had a tough year, I look pretty decent. Another small triumph.

I try to savor these moments as a way to balance the inevitable fear of the next step in the path I’ve chosen. July will mark not only another BRCA surgery, but fourteen years as a breast cancer survivor. When I was first diagnosed at age 36 I wondered if I would live to see 40. Here I am at 50, sometimes angry and often afraid, but still here. In those same fourteen years I lost my father, an uncle and a cousin to various forms of cancer. One of my relatives has ovarian cancer. That is why I can deal with the fear and look forward to more surgery. Bring it on. Me and my $14.97 dress can handle it.

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5 comments on “BRCA Surgeries: Small Victories

  1. That $14.97 dress looks great on you!

  2. caraelyse says:

    Looking great! So wonderful to hear you’re a 14-year survivor. After having breast cancer last year I often wonder myself how much longer I’ll be around, and seeing a living example of disease-free survival always helps! I, too, took a vacation to Hawaii, right after my year of chemo and surgeries. It was a great release – I hope you have a wonderful time! If you haven’t been before, I did the Road to Hana in Maui and also went to Kapalua Bay Beach, both wonderful!

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