On June 5th, I had a nipple sparing bilateral mastectomy and an axillary lymph node dissection. I went under around 3pm and when I came to, the clock read 11:30pm. The surgery was about five hours, and the doctors removed all of my breast tissue plus two lymph nodes from each side. On June 13th, I received the final pathology reports that my tumor was less than 1 mm in size, meaning I had a 95% response rate! The treatment shrunk the tumor from 2 cm to nearly nothing, and I couldn’t be happier! My lymph nodes tested benign as well as my left breast tissue and the rest of my right breast tissue.
I did it – I beat cancer.
As I have begun the final phase of my healing process, everything feels so surreal. I have hoped for this day, thinking that I could put cancer behind me, and suddenly I realize that cancer will also be a part of me. My chances of getting breast cancer again are slim to none; yet, I still feel haunted by this nasty disease. I can’t even imagine how people deal with the cancer returning or worse, the cancer becoming metastatic. Terrifying. I feel fortunate that I have dodged a bullet, and I am extremely grateful for all of my doctors who have helped me through this journey.
I sit here now with drains coming out of my sides as I begin the reconstruction process. My hair is growing back, and I am learning how to be patient. Just sitting up hurts, and this is hard for me since I’m used to being so active and doing things myself. On Monday, I get the drains removed and the process of filling my breasts will begin. Once I have reached a size I am comfortable with, I will go under once more to remove the expanders and place the implants. Then, it’s onward and upward from this experience. I appreciate everyone’s support, and I become more and more hopeful each day. Cancer will always be a part of me but it does not have to rule my life.