Post-Chemo & Pre-Surgery

Chemo is done, and this month has been a slow return to “normal.” Something that has been tough for me is the weight gain associated with cancer. To be completely frank, I started this journey weighing about 115 pounds. At one point, I dropped to 108. Every week, I would go to the infusion center, crossing my fingers, that I had gained weight. I did not want to drop too low. Post-chemo, I weigh 130 pounds. Now I step on the scale, crossing my fingers, that I have dropped some weight. I am not used to carrying this much weight, and I am unsatisfied with how I look right now; yet, I am grateful to be alive, so the struggle is real. I started working out again, and just as I am starting to feel better – BAM – surgery is happening. The recovery process will inhibit me from exercising for a while, so I am paying attention to my diet and looking forward to going on some walks. I am determined to get back to my fighting weight. I have to accept that I am in a transformation. My body is doing some crazy things right now, and I can only focus on what I can control.

Surgery is next Monday, and I am having a bilateral double mastectomy with reconstruction. The last two weeks have been full of pre-op appointments – a mammogram, an ultrasound, an EKG, a chest x-ray, a physical exam, labs, etc. On the day of my surgery, the doctors are also going to do a sentinel lymph node biopsy. If there are lymph nodes that need to be removed, they will take them out as well. The surgery is going to last about five hours, and when I am done, I will have way less breast tissue plus expanders. For the next six weeks, I will return to the plastic surgeon and he will inject saline into my body to fill the breast area. When I have reached a size I am pleased with, I will return for an outpatient surgery to place the implants in. The entire process takes up to three months. A common question I am asked is “What size are you going to get?” While everyone’s intentions are good, this question concerns me. I wish I wasn’t even in a place where I was determining my breast size. I wish I could just keep the boobs I have and not be in this cancerous situation. I was thinking the other day that the risk to keep my boobs is greater than the risk of surgery, so regardless, I am in an uncomfortable place. The last thing I want to think about is my breast size, but rather, will the cancer be gone? Can I go on with my life and not be in hospitals anymore? The emotional toll of a surgery weighs on me for many reasons because once again, I will be a slave to my body’s healing process. I won’t be able to go to work. I won’t be able to exercise. I won’t be able to lift my arms. Sometimes people say this is great because I can rest and relax. Well, if you know me, I’m done resting and relaxing. I want to LIVE. I want to be done with this madness; yet, if it wasn’t for this madness, I wouldn’t be alive. I’ve been given a second chance, and you better believe, I’m going to come out of this stronger than I started!

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