There were two words that sent shivers down my spine when I realized that a lumpectomy was just not going to cut cancer out of my life...
Chemotherapy and Mastectomy
It was surreal to use those words when talking about something that I had to do. In the beginning I was still in the mindset that cancer happened to other people. But as I faced each challenge head on, I began to realize that this was really my life and I began to search for tricks that would lessen the discomfort or at least made it somewhat bearable. The plain fact of the matter is...breast cancer treatments (any cancer treatments actually) just suck, for lack of a better word. However, I was very grateful for advice from other survivors when they shared things that helped them. I thought, "Even if their tricks don't help me, what have I got to lose?"
So that is what I would like to do for today's post...share some tricks and tips that helped me before, during, and after my bi-lateral mastectomy (in layman's terms, I said goodbye to both of the ladies who had tried to kill me.)
Before Surgery Day
It's all butterflies and anxiety in the days and weeks leading up to your surgery. So many unknowns about the process and the pain that will follow. It's tough to keep your mind out of "worst case scenario land." But the thing that helped me the most was to just keep busy. Which is also easier said than done considering that you have probably just spent the last 4-6 months being hammered by chemotherapy.
The day has finally arrived. It's time to say goodbye to "the girls." Everyone experiences their own emotions when thinking about this separation. I went through all the emotions...the relief that I would no longer have breast tissue in which to grow cancer, the anger that the cancer had descended upon me in the first place, and the sadness of losing an important part of me.
Obviously the time immediately following your surgery will be a big blur. I remember people coming in and out of my room and talking to my kids via Skype, but that's about it.
I hope that this post was helpful. Obviously it has been a few years since my actual surgery and if I had written this post right after surgery, maybe it would have included a few more things. But, since I was inspired to keep a daily journal and have since compiled my journal and blog together into a book, I feel like I can remember the things that are most helpful.
If you know of anyone who is facing a mastectomy, please share this post with them. Give them my email address (which is firstname.lastname@example.org) It breaks my heart when I hear of people who are alone in this process and I will do anything within my power to help them or find someone to help them with their needs.
I am loving my second chance at life.
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Copyright Desirae Ogden, www.desiraeogden.com, 2015.
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