Friday, October 12, 2007

The Signs say "YES"

Isn't it strange that when you open yourself up to it, the Universe seems to send messages loud and clear to help you along your path? For me lately, it has been more about affirmation. I'm aware that some of my friends think my decision to have a double mastectomy is an overreaction on my part. I don't feel the need to defend my decision because I know what I've put into making it and the treatment is something that works for me. I've been told time and time again that this is a very individual choice. I'm certain that 10 women would come to differing decisions based on completely different motives. But I have tried to put myself in my friend's shoes to see it from their perspectives and I suppose I can see how people could think that I'm overreacting. But they've not walked any distance in my shoes.

I've just finished a great little book that The Martini Princesses in Charleston sent to me. It's called "The Victoria's Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming and Other Lesson's I Learned from Breast Cancer" by Jennie Nash. It is a very quick read and I highly recommend it to anyone. As I was reading I felt as though I could have written much of it. Her story completely affirmed the decision I've made to have a mastectomy.

Last week, my "old" friend Fish emailed me an article in Time about breast cancer. Of course, you know it (breast cancer) is all over the news right now since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I read through the article which was very well written. A researcher at University of Michigan stated that women with early stage breast cancer go from diagnosis to surgery in about 2 weeks. Most choose less invasive lumpectomy but at least one-third of them are eventually unhappy with the decision. At least 50% of women didn't feel fully involved in the decision making process about their treatment. The kicker is that the more involved a women is in the decision of her treatment, the more likely she will choose mastectomy! By the time I have the mastectomy, it will have been two and a half months. I'm not sure what the average time to treatment is at University of Maryland, (where I'm being treated) but I think that having the time to fully consider ALL of my options, research information online, talk to other women and families who've dealt with breast cancer, and get a second opinion has been beyond helpful. I'm not sure if what Fish intended when he sent me the article, but it was certainly an affirmation for me.

Now I'm not going to sit hear and type that I'm not scared. My entire life (besides when I was a newborn) I've only been in the hospital overnight once, and that's when I was 5 and somehow got dehydrated. So being put under for 12 hours gives me the willies, not to mention spending 5 to 7 days in the hospital! Nevertheless, I am not deterred. All the signs the Universe is sending are saying ' Go for it!'

1 comment:

Deb in Atlanta said...

You know this, but I want to publicly say that I'm 100% behind you on your decision to have a double mastectomy. (The key word is "your" in that sentence.)

Steph, you continue to be an inspiration to me. You have always been a giver, and you are being forced to "take" a good bit these days. With respect to ONLY that, I'm sure this isn't a comfortable situation for you. I am proud of you, and I'm so glad that you are determined to beat this disease.

Love always,