August 9, 2021

Well, here we are. The day before my bi-lateral mastectomy. I’ve been looking forward to and yet dreading surgery and my stomach has been doing flip flops since late yesterday. I keep remembering that stupid choking feeling I had when I awoke last time and pray that it’s nonexistent tomorrow.

It’s weird when you talk surgery with people. Everyone wants to share their experiences and/or thoughts about it. While mostly it’s to be helpful, sometimes it still backfires. These are some things I’ve heard recently: I wasn’t completely under anesthesia and could hear everything. I wonder if surgery makes cancer spread. Anesthesia makes me feel like I’m dying.

Um, thanks?

I’ve also had folks point out that mastectomies are a common procedure, which is true. There is some comfort in knowing that hundreds of others have lived through it. But I haven’t yet.

It’s a big deal. And not just because all major surgery is. It’s a big deal for me because this will change me. I’m having parts of me removed. Parts that are visible and somewhat defining and so natural that I don’t usually notice them. But the replacements will be something to get used to and will be unnatural for a while. I’ll have scars. I’ll lose sensation. I’ll have to think about them.

This morning I met with my plastic surgeon so he could do his markings on my chest. In four different colors of Sharpie. I look like an art project. But once again, he told me that everything would go well. His confidence was reassuring.

I know I’ll be fine. My desire to lose the cancer is stronger than my sadness at losing my breasts. I trust that my surgeons are talented and care about doing a good job. I’ll heal. I will get used to my new look. I know this and I’m thankful for it, even though I’m still a bit nervous today.

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