What about my “foobies” surgery?

I did finally come to terms with my decision to have a preventive bilateral mastectomy to lower my risk of breast cancer from my BRCA2 gene mutation. I was scheduled with my surgeon, but I was put on a rolling schedule, which meant my date was not set in stone. I asked at what point I got to keep my surgery date, instead of my date being given to another patient. I understood that there were emergency situations, such as women with advanced breast cancer, who needed immediate surgery, but after months of my surgery being cancelled and rescheduled, I had enough. I felt like I was always going to be bumped by someone else.

Emotionally, cancelling and rescheduling was difficult. I not only had to wrap my head around it all over again, but I also had to readjust my work schedule. When I called to discuss the situation, I was told because my surgery was “elective”, other patients took priority. The word “elective” vs “preventive” was used without care. Elective? Really? It upset me that my surgery was being considered elective, like a boob job or a nose job. It was a surgery that I had “elected” to have because removing both of my healthy breasts would significantly reduce my risk for cancer, but wanting to do any of this was not the case. The feeling I had with this label of “elective” also reminds me of the many comments I received from friends, family and even strangers. I was asked questions like: Aren’t you overreacting? Is that really necessary? Why would you remove healthy body parts? Are you having reconstruction? People also told me that the surgery seemed drastic and that I should wait until I calmed down to make a decision. As you can imagine, these questions and comments were not helpful to me and made me think that many people didn’t understand.

When I finally had a solid surgery date, I had a little celebration. Ten of my closest friends showed up in support of me in Laguna Beach at Las Brisas for “my boobies final sunset”! I felt so loved and supported by everyone. I made really cute boob cupcakes as a surprise dessert for everyone. I was nervous about my upcoming Tuesday surgery, but everyone pitched in with a schedule to help me out the following week. My daughter,  Delanie, was the biggest help. She was 16 years old at the time, and helped me with my drains, taking a shower, keeping my meds straight, keeping me hydrated, and telling me it would all be okay. She had experience helping. She helped me care for both my mom and dad as they were dying of cancer, and she was only 6 years old at that time. This time we were taking preventive action, rather than reacting to cancer but certainly not elective action!



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