Thursday, May 23, 2013

MY NEXT THIRTY YEARS


Me & My Friends - Niagara Falls 2005
The New Year of 2007 began with my seventh chemo treatment on January 11 and I can say with certainty that each one is definitely worse than the last.  I was finding that I couldn’t do simple things anymore.  I didn’t have energy to change bed sheets.  I would have to stop a couple of times to go upstairs in my own house.  Hard to believe that not long ago I could run for an hour.  Now I just couldn’t do anything.  I physically couldn’t and it was so frustrating because I wanted to do things so that Mike didn’t have to do it all.  I felt like it was too much for one person to have to do by themselves and I wanted to contribute.  However, I had accepted that I simply had to stop doing.  Well maybe I hadn’t totally accepted it but I was trying.  It was so very difficult to accept and some days I just wanted to sit down and cry.  But I couldn’t go through each day like that.  I allowed myself to lose it once in awhile and cry like a big baby but I didn’t want to let it get to me.  I’m just too stubborn.  However, I had to learn to live within my limitations and there were getting to be many of them.
Me & My Crazy Family - Montmartre, France 2012

After getting through the post-chemo week in a fog, I had an appointment at the Women’s Breast Health Centre again with Dr. Surgeon to discuss what happens next with the upcoming mastectomy.  I had thought a lot about what to do and discussed it with Mike many times.  I realize that for some women it is a very difficult decision to have their breasts removed.  I knew that I would have to remove the left one because of the cancer.  There was no choice there.  They had found no cancer in the right one so I didn’t have to remove that one.  But why would I want to save it when I might develop cancer there in a year or two or five or thirty?  I didn’t want to have to go through this all over again.  Nor did I want to worry about it and have that little black cloud hanging over my head all the time.  I wanted to be sure that I did everything I could possibly do to prevent cancer from ever coming back.  I wanted to enjoy the next thirty years.  I wanted to have fun and try new things!  Besides, if I had only one breast then I would be all lop-sided and that would be kind of weird for me.  I decided to have the right one removed as well.  As a preventative measure and for peace of mind.  Mike supported me 100%.
Cycling at Presque Isle State Park
- Pennsylvania 2011

I wasn’t sure how Dr. Surgeon would react.  I had this feeling that I was going to have to somehow justify my decision so I made a list of all the reasons why I wanted to do it and I was prepared to argue my case until the cows came home.  I didn’t have to argue at all.  Dr. Surgeon was also in agreement and had no problem with my decision.  So he would do a bilateral mastectomy and the surgery was scheduled for March 8, 2007.  It would be about a five to six hour operation followed by a three day hospital stay.  The recovery period afterwards would be several weeks.  Radiation therapy might still be a possibility after the surgery recovery but that was still to be determined.  Another potential surgery down the road was a hysterectomy because I was now a higher risk for cervical or ovarian cancer.

Just when I was coming to the end of the chemo there were a whole new series of challenges ahead.


My Next Thirty Years - Tim McGraw



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