In 4 weeks’ time I will undergo a preventative double mastectomy and the start of my reconstruction procedure will begin and I’ve kind of been freaking out! This whole process can take approx. 6-12 months, starting with the double mastectomy and insertion of the tissue expanders under the muscle, infill of the expanders every 2-3 weeks, letting the skin slowly stretch over a period of time and then the exchange surgery where the expanders will be removed and the permanent implant will be placed. (So, No, this is not a boob job!)
This is the first time in my whole CDH1 journey that I’ve actually felt a bit anxious and nervous about what I’m about to do. It’s not about the decision I’ve made, it’s about the process – going into hospital, being away from my children and husband, being out of action for a few weeks, all these things have been playing on my mind big time lately. I haven’t been sleeping well, and constantly have things going through my mind.
The past 2 weeks have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and I’m not really sure why. I’ve never really felt nervous or scared throughout this whole journey, but all of a sudden I’ve been feeling quite alone and anxious. I’m also missing my mum like crazy, and think of how different this journey would be if I had her by my side (I do know she is watching over me though, and that brings me comfort). Before my last op, I didn’t really know what to expect, I had never experienced anything like it, so I had no expectations, and this time round, I do! I know what to expect staying in hospital, being away from my family, feeling of pain and being uncomfortable and being out of my comfort zone. I know what it’s like having incisions in my body, having drains (tubes) pulled out of me, the pain, the feeling of not being able to do things and feeling frustrated, I know what it’s like not being able to get out of bed or cuddle my babies whenever I want to, and these are the things that have been playing on my mind.
As time gets closer, I’ve also been following other people’s journey’s online who have also undergone the same procedure, in a way it has helped prepare me for what is to come, but on the other hand some stories have actually made me really sad and then the nerves kick in. After speaking with a friend yesterday, I’ve decided to stop all of my research and focus on my journey ahead. I’m also blessed to have met and become close with another CDH1 female carrier who had her mastectomy operation late last year, and she has been an enormous help for me emotionally (without knowing it). We caught up with her and her gorgeous family last month and just speaking with her about her journey has helped me so much!
Once again, my kids, husband and dad are my rocks at the moment, and they never disappoint me with their unconditionally love and support.
We’re off to NZ in a couple of weeks and my dad will be coming back with us to be here for my operation and also to help out for a few weeks after.
Friends have also started offering to do school pick-ups / drop offs and offering support in any way we need, especially straight after the operation, all of these things mean so much to me, and definitely helps with my preparation, knowing my family will be ok during my recovery.
Although I have been feeling nervous, I am ready! I am ready to tackle this part of my journey. I started looking at photos of when I was last in the hospital for my operation and it just reminds me how far I have come and encourages me to remain positive and focused.
My plan of attack for the next 4 weeks is to keep up my regular walks, meditation, surround myself with loved ones who support and show love to me and my family and to focus on the reason I am doing this – for my children – to be here for them as long as I possibly can. This is just another hurdle to overcome and once I’m over it, I know I’ll be a stronger and better person for it.