First there is surgery. Fortunately, there are several options for surgeries, all of which have pros and cons. I am currently leaning towards bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, which all of my doctors have fully supported (those reasons would fill up another entire blog post of its own). While I had always thought it would be relatively easy to simply say, "Yes! Take my boobs and give me new, fun ones!" it has not been easy. I am still praying over this decision, asking for God's guidance and peace. 2 Corinthians 5:1-7 has been very helpful:
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. (NIV)
I will not dwell in this body for all eternity, only for a short while here on earth; therefore I can have no fear in removing any body parts that may prevent me from living the life God has blessed me with to the fullest. We are here to do His work, and I can't have dysfunctional boobs getting in the way of that! :)
Next there is all the treatments after surgery. My oncologist said they definitely want me to do chemo. We asked when the treatments would begin. The doctor said, "After surgery, and after your have had a period of convalescence (approximately four weeks), we will begin treatment."
Convalescence??? As in, convalesce??? What the heck does THAT mean?!?!?
I had to ask for clarification, as my early-onset chemo brain had lost all meaning to this word. All I could think of was "convoluted" and "essence," and I wasn't able to make sense of these. Of course she explained it means a period of time spent recovering from an illness or surgery. AKA recuperating.
AKA recovering. Ok I know what that means!
So after I'm recovered from surgery, then we can start chemo. While I am thankful there is chemo to help me survive, I am SCARED!!! I will have a port placed, which is better than regular IV's. I will lose my hair, which makes me VERY anxious; however I am actually kind of excited I can wear cute winter hats and not worry about my hair becoming smushed! Plus, that is a legit reason to go shopping!!! My parents can't argue that one with me! ;) I've always known that with chemo, you can lose ALL your hair; but it just dawned on me today that my eyelashes and my eyebrows are composed of hair! How in the WORLD am I supposed to stay warm all winter, especially having Raynauds?!
Cue more shopping! ;)
Losing my hair and worry about side affects are my biggest concerns right now. Fortunetly, I know that with God (and not to mention my AWESOME support network - I love you ALL!!!) I can get through it!
The third thing is something I did not expect, or did not think about being an issue when I got my diagnosis. The subject of fertility. I never thought about chemo affecting my ability to have kids. I now suddenly feel pressured to quickly figure out if having children is something I truly want to do. I've always joked about how I don't want kids, but I've never been at a place in my life where I had enough financial/emotional/etc stability to have them; not to mention I wanted to experience just marriage first, before starting a family. God has never really put it on my heart to have children, so why am I even worried? What if I choose not to have children, go through chemo without freezing eggs or anything (I have no idea what all they do to help chemo patients have kids in the future), then later in life regret NOT having children? Or regret not even TRYING to have children? I have never actually considered the thought of starting a family, because it seemed so far away, and I wanted to make sure I was married and had stability in this crazy world before bringing a tiny human into it.
But, that's where prayer comes in. I am so thankful for a God who does love us, guide us, and give us peace. I am also thankful for YOU!!! Your love, support, and prayers (plus God's goodness) are what is keeping me going. Blessings to you!!!