Today it is only nine days until my surgery – a total right mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction and left mastopexy. Fourteen years ago I tested negative for BRCA2 gene but in light of my age and mum being BRCA2 gene carrier, I am now being re-tested in case my result was a false negative. If so, I’ll have a prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy but I’m not worrying about that right now.
Today, I had a CT angiogram of my abdomen which is used as a road map for the plastic surgeon, allowing them to identify blood vessels to be used during surgery. I hadn’t realised I would need contrast dye and that it would be given intravenously though it was seamless, as was the scan. It is the first of a number of tests over the next few days. Next up is the anaesthetic assessment and then sentinel node biopsy the day before surgery, I can’t lie, I’m not looking forward to that!
Today though, it was the moments after the scan as I got changed from the hospital gown, my cannula still attached and I thought about the enormity of the task ahead. My eyes pricked with tears and I wished in that moment that someone was in the room with me but Mark was at work; we’re trying to save his time off for my post op recovery; my mum – that is impossible, though I know she is here always; dad is currently in hospital recovering from his own surgery and my brother juggling visits between dad and worrying about me. I collected my thoughts and returned to the waiting room pleased to see Mandy who came with me today. I was grateful to see a friendly face but felt emotionally drained.
I tried to call my husband who was in a meeting. Later, when I desperately tried to talk to him amidst after school lessons, the children’s friends coming around and me dashing off to see dad in hospital, the moment had passed. It was at hospital then, visiting dad that emotion poured out and I sat next to his bed as he held me in his arms and the tears I have perhaps been refusing to let fall, finally came like a waterfall and with it, the guilt as I was leaving dad in hospital tonight worrying about me. A girl’s first love is her daddy and for me this is certainly true.
So now I am home and feeling more focused again, I have chosen this picture of a butterfly which has a damaged wing which I took at Pili Palas in Anglesey. After my surgery, I will have new body that will tell of a journey I have been on, scars I had not anticipated, one hip to hip, a new breast, no nipple but they will not define me. It reminds me of Amy Bloom’s quote, ‘you are imperfect , permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.’
Tomorrow is another day xx