Anxiety · Breast Cancer · Cancer · Depression · Grief · Life

Head vs. heart

When my doctor asked me when I thought I could do my next mastectomy surgery I told him that I was good to go as soon as he was. I was beyond anxious to be done, as I know I’ve said before. But now, as my date moves closer, I’m becoming worried in a way I wasn’t the last time. I spent some time in my reflection mode trying to figure out why my anxiety is so high around this mastectomy. I think I know at least part of it. 

My other breast, my left, had cancer. It appeared to be small cancer and then, when the surgeon went in for my lumpectomy he saw that it was small, yes, but that there were three more lumps of the same size. My margins having pathology come  back the way they did led him to speculate that thisncancer was caught just in time and that my full mastectomy needed to happen sooner than he originally thought. I was totally on board. Yes! Get cancer out. No brainer. 

But there’s nothing wrong with my right breast. 

That’s the part I’m struggling with. If I were to do nothing at this point, no medication or radiation or surgery, my chance for breast cancer again hovers somewhere in the range of 93-97% according to my oncologist. That’s pretty high. I know that. I also know that with treatment through medication, no radiation needed because of the surgery, and the other mastectomy, the odds drop to about 8%. It’s still a number I don’t like, but I can live with it. Literally. 

The thing is, I feel so young. I feel so alive and, other than the new and surprisingly constant burning on my left chest side from nerve regrowth, healthy. I feel like I’m so in control of my life. It is so hard for me to fathom cutting off something that is currently healthy. I understand the odds and I know they’re great and not in my favor. It really doesn’t matter. My heart keeps telling me that my doctor is butchering me unnecessarily despite the fact that my brain knows that to be untrue. It’s so untrue, in fact, that this isn’t even considered a prophylactic mastectomy but a necessary one due to genetics and cancer. 

And still, it doesn’t matter. It was the same being told that my ovaries need to be removed sooner than later because my chances of ovarian cancer are quite high with my gene mutation, too. All I can think is: it’s all healthy tissue. 

So. I lie in bed and I let my heart and my head argue. I know the head will win eventually, but he heart might be pretty ticked off for a while. I just hope I can someday forgive myself. 

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