Monday September 26
My mastectomy is scheduled for Friday, October 7. I have not been able to make peace with this decision, I guess that will come later. Previously, I gave myself way too much credit for being able to cope with the situation.
Twice I’ve changed my mind about surgery- both times because I don’t believe I’ve done everything I can to fight using alternative methods, and also because I fear the surgery itself. I do not have the medical knowledge to know surely that the mastectomy is a good choice. I do not want an ulcerating wound which may come if I do not remove the breast. I would like to be relieved of the burden of active cancer, which is what will happen after the mastectomy.
I look at myself in the mirror, pressing my left breast flat and covering it with my hand, trying to get a faint idea of what I might look like. I’ve been to the breast care center to be fitted for a post-operative camisole and mastectomy bras. I’ve looked at a breast prosthesis. The bras and prosthesis come after I’ve healed from surgery. The camisole has a zipper in the front, it has a pocket inside for a soft pad that will stand in for the prosthesis until the mastectomy site has healed. There are inner pockets for the drain tubes that will be in until the surgeon removes them.
I decided against breast reconstruction because it would have involved more surgery to reduce the size of the other breast, in order to match the new one. Women with large breasts almost always have a reduction because the implants don’t come in a large size and the cavity in the chest for the implant can’t be made big enough- The strongest factor in the decision was that reconstruction would add hours to the initial surgery, not good for my lowered immune system.
The stress has overwhelmed me, my doubt and finality of the act itself has combined to create a sense of impending doom. However, after reading the thoughts of many other women who have gone through the same process, I think my “jumble” is probably expectable. Now it is time to pull out of it and lead myself to acceptance. I also must go shopping for button front shirts to make my post-mastectomy dressing easier! Small smile… XX, C