Heading into the Home Stretch: Some Pre-Surgery Thoughts

Here’s the post I’d created last week and was proofing just before my laptop died last Friday. It includes my thoughts going into Monday’s surgery, so I wanted to include it here. The photo is me, in the hospital Monday, Twittering away while I waited for the show to begin.

It’s down to a matter of days before my next surgery. Technically, it’s two surgeries in one, which still amazes me. And after such a long down time of relatively little contact with anyone in the medical profession, it seems a little weird that I’ll be jumping back into it in such a big way come Monday.

Yesterday I told someone I’m looking forward to this about as much as one could possibly look forward to major surgery and it’s true. After living with the inserts for nearly five months, I’m more than ready to be rid of them and move on to the actual breast implants. After my bilateral mastectomy on April 30th, my second stage surgery (swapping the temporary inserts for the implants) was to have been in August, but scheduling two surgeries at once (more on that in a minute) necessitated moving the date back another month.

The inserts, while not painful, aren’t exactly comfortable. Of course, they’re not really meant to be. Inserts are temporary, serving to stretch my muscle out to be ready to accept the implant. They don’t move naturally with my body and since they’re filled with saline, they kind of shudder and reverberate when I perform certain actions, as if they were filled with, well water. I don’t think I’d ever get used to that. Long story short, I’m ready to swap out.

I’m also ready to move on and get one step closer to the finish line. As far as the breast reconstruction goes, this surgery is the second out of three; the last one will happen at the end of the year and is more of a cosmetic procedure.

The second, simultaneous surgery on Monday will be an ooferectomy and this is the one that was giving me more concern this time around. I don’t know how much about this I’ve mentioned here previously, but I’ll say briefly that once I learned that I’d tested positive for the BRCA-2 gene, the decision to have my ovaries removed was an easy one. Doing so will decrease my risk of another instance of cancer by a huge margin and since there is currently no good way to screen for ovarian cancer, it made no sense in my mind to keep those ticking time bombs hanging around in my body. My cousin, who had double breast cancer died from ovarian cancer 15 year ago. The threat in my family history is real.

So, on Monday I’ll be treating myself to a surgical twofer. While the big scary CANCER fear doesn’t hover over this surgery date like it did back in April, I’ll be honest when I say that I was getting fairly anxious about the thought of dealing with surgically induced menopause. I’d heard some unpleasant stuff from some friends and acquaintances who’ve had a tough time with the adjustment and I was beginning to get anxious. (That’s what a month’s delay will get you, more time to worry and anticipate.) Without going into the details–we know what they are and every woman goes through it–after a few conversations with friends who’ve experienced surgical menopause in a more positive light, my perspective was renewed and my fear of the unknown allayed.

I am absolutely ready to take on this new experience.

It’s a little strange to think that the surgery date is almost here. It’s been in the future for so long now. Quite the opposite of the weeks leading up to my first surgery. Back in March, everything was happening quickly. There was a flurry of doctors visits and pre-op tests, something nearly every day. This time around, nothing. Just a simple doctor’s order about what to eat and drink the day before.

***And wouldn’t you know, just as I was typing this last line of text, who calls but the surgeon’s office to say they haven’t received the results of my pre-surgical doctor’s visit–the one that certifies I’m healthy enough for surgery! That would be because NOBODY TOLD ME I HAD TO DO THIS!!!!!***

At this point, last Thursday, there was a flurry of activity as I rushed to secure a doctor’s visit and get the appropriate tests run on Friday in time for my Monday afternoon surgery. And we all know how that turned out. 🙂

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