So after the past few months of attending appointments, going through processes, having my MRI, filling in all of the paperwork (then finding out they lost all my paperwork), I finally have a date for my next operation – a double mastectomy with reconstruction.
You may be wondering what exactly it is that I am going on about. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, as a female carrier of the CDH1 gene mutation, I am also at a higher risk of developing Breast cancer, therefore I will be undergoing a double mastectomy – removal of both breasts as a preventative measure. During the same operation, my reconstruction process will begin, with the insertion of tissue expanders (No, this is not a boob job). It wasn’t an easy decision to make, for so many reasons, but it is a decision I’ve made after a lot of research, time and consideration, and I can confidently say I am ready for this next step.
The reconstruction process will take approx. 6-12 months to complete, every 2-3 weeks after the 1st operation, I will need to go in for an appointment to pump saline into the expanders and after a period of around 3 months, I will then need to let the expanders sit and slowly stretch the skin for a few months before going in for another operation at which point they will remove the expanders and replace them with the permanent implants. Although it is quite a process, and a little daunting, I am ready for it. Once again, I already have an amazing support crew behind me including my dad who will fly over a few days before the operation and will stay for as long as I need him to help us out in our home and our daily routines. I’m definitely blessed in this regard, with so much love and support and I appreciate you all.
I do feel that this is one of the final steps / challenges for me in this journey as a carrier of the CDH1 gene mutation. Don’t get me wrong, I know things are not going to be all rosy and perfect after this procedure, and I’m not expecting that, but I know my mind will be at peace and I feel I can move forward without the thought of ‘what if’. So August 9th 2017 is locked in! This will be the day I undergo the preventative Double Mastectomy and start the reconstruction process.
The past few months have flown by! My youngest son started ‘big school’ and is absolutely loving it, we had another amazing family holiday in Bali with some friends, we have been spending a lot of quality time together as a family and working on improving our health both physically and mentally and just recently I was also surprised with an amazing weekend away with 2 of my besties. Now that we have a date, we can organise what needs to be done and start preparing ourselves and our children for the recovery ahead.
In regards to my Total Gastrectomy, I still have a few ups and downs and challenges thrown my way, but nothing I can’t handle. A few weeks ago I ended up in the Emergency department at the local hospital with cramping and abdominal pain, after undergoing a number of tests, x-rays and scans, I was basically ready to go home with no known cause or reason behind what had happened. The pain subdued so I was happy to head home and see how things went. That was a bit of a wakeup call for me to get back into things and really take care of myself and listen to my body more.
I feel confident is saying that I know I have found my new ‘normal’ and I wouldn’t change things for the world. This whole experience has taught me so much and has given me more of an appreciation for everything that I have. It’s true what they say, you never really realise how strong you are until you are in a situation where showing strength is your only option.
Whenever I think of this saying, I always think of my husband, and his strength over the past few years – he has lifted me more than he’ll ever know (I’m a lucky lady x)