After all the test and appointments were finalized , I had to prepare for my mastectomy. I believe that so many do not understand the emotional impact that this has on oneself. Heck, even my son, who at the time was 20 years old said, “Mom, what do you care it’s not like you have any game at your age.” Well, he sure did stop the tears for a minute as I laughed and was so taken aback by those words; “No game.”
Maybe it would have been easier if I was married and in a beautiful, loving relationship, but I was alone. With all my insecurities about me as a woman, now this…I’m sorry, but whether we as women want to admit it or not, first impression is your outward appearance. Now my insecurities that drove me to get breast implants years ago, were now going to be taken away. As I think about it today, I rationalize, that maybe this was a way for me to learn to love me from the inside out. Dr. Harris, my radiation oncologist, stated that I was fortunate that I had implants, because of the location of the nodule I wouldn’t have found it for some time.
Four weeks to prepare for a mastectomy. There was no counseling, no support groups, or at least I didn’t go hunting them down because I was still in disbelief that this was happening to me. I called one of my best friends at the time, Amy, and we decided to celebrate every Friday and Saturday night until my surgery in celebration of the Tata’s. We sure did. As I look back, I don’t know how I danced and drank so much. Was it the right thing to do? I’m really not sure, but during the week I would hit and kick the bag in my cellar trying to relieve all the hidden pain, and on the weekends I just forgot about it with my best friend. Life changes though, Amy and I are no longer friends, painful as it is. They say that people come in and out of your life for a reason.
Deborah, my colleague and friend who had forced me to see a physician was by my side on the way to my mastectomy. We stayed overnight at a hotel in Boston, because I had to be at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for 5am. When we checked into the hotel I saw that “Mary Mary” was performing live. Deborah was in. She had never heard of them, but took me on the subway and we got to the hall on time. I felt empowered for the next day. Somethings are just not a coincidence in life.
I stayed up all night. Well, I think I got an hour sleep. The alarm went off and we headed to the hospital. I was doing pretty good, especially with what I was up against. I did fine as my surgical oncologist came to talk with me, and then my plastic surgeon came to talk with me. When my plastic surgeon, Dr. Hergrueter leaned over to give me a hug and sat on the edge of my bed I couldn’t stop crying. As he left pre-op he stated, “Everything is going to be alright”. I looked up at him and stated, “Doc, the word for the day is Perky”, and we both laughed. Deborah gave me a hug, the anesthesiologist came in to give me pain medications, and that is all I remember until I woke up. That was November 14, 2011.