People in general are so kind and caring. It is amazing how understanding people have been when they learn about my decision to be proactive against my BRCA positive status. I even mean acquaintances that don’t really know me. I really expected to have at least a few reactions that I have read about other women receiving. Things like them saying, “But you don’t even have cancer,” or looking at me like I have lost my mind. But what has actually happened is every single person I have told has told me that they understand my decision and of course I have to do the surgery. I was honestly worried before I would discuss my surgery decision with others (besides my family). Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go around announcing this to anyone and everyone. But I informed my son’s teacher so she would have a head’s up in case he was acting a bit emotional and to explain why I would not be picking him up and dropping him off for awhile like I always do. She was so sweet and wonderful. I am also thankful for how caring the ladies were who watch my youngest son when we go to the gym. My gym also has drop-off hours, and I had to take advantage of those so many times for all of my appointments during my decision process and surgery preparations. Those two women never once made me feel bad for having to drop my son off for an hour here, two hours there. And they always ask how the appointments go and how I am feeling. People are so kind.
There is a support group at my hospital for young breast cancer survivors. My genetic counselor suggested I attend one of the meetings and discuss my situation with the brave women attending. I went to one of the meetings when I was first making all of my decisions and arrangements. I also attended last night. These women are SO courageous and caring. First of all, I felt unworthy to be with them. I have never had to go through the pure hell all of them have. I did not want any of them to think, “What does she have to complain about? She doesn’t have cancer. She doesn’t know what we are going through.” However, my fear and worries were soooo unjustified. Many of the women shared their stories and feelings before it was my turn. And as I described my BRCA status, my family history and what I had decided to do – they were all nodding and listening intently. During my sharing, I pointed out that I knew I had it nowhere near as difficult as they had it and that I really appreciated them allowing me to listen and share. One of the woman spoke up and told me that she thought I had a more difficult decision to make because I didn’t already have cancer (and may not actually ever get it), but that for them they weren’t really given that opportunity. There were nods from the other women. I was stunned, because to me they are the brave, strong ones. The women gave me hugs after the meeting and told me I would be in their thoughts and prayers. I am so appreciative to them for sharing their experiences with me and listening and supporting me. These women are amazing and I am in total awe of their strength and love. People are so kind.
My family and friends have been so wonderful! I have had nothing but support from all of them. Friends have been so sweet listening and advising and sending their love. My sisters [all of them, I include my husbands :) ] have been very understanding and supportive. They all make sure I am doing ok and that I know how much they love me. My dad has been there for me since the day I found out I was BRCA1+. He knows me well enough, that he said, “So, it’s actually more a question of when, not if, you’re going to have the surgery, huh?” He was right on the mark. My husband’s parents have been just as great. In fact, my mother-in law is coming today to spend the next two weeks helping with the boys, helping around the house and helping me heal. She has been so wonderful. After I first told her my decision, she agreed it was the best decision for me and told me if I was ever having doubts or any fears to just give her a call and she would give me a pep talk. My strongest supporter is my husband. He is truly amazing! Honestly, I talk a little too much normally and he has had to listen and listen and listen these past months about surgery this and breast that and on and on. My fears, worries, concerns, questions, etc…he has worked through all of them with me. One day I apologized for BRCA babbling again, and he told me that it does not bother him. He said he knows that the surgery is all consuming right now and I should discuss anything with him because that is what he was for. I am sure everyone thinks their spouse is the best, but my husband really is! He is the most caring, loving, thoughtful, supportive, wonderful man. I can’t even begin to describe how much he means to me. We have been together for 14 years this fall and I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my best friend, my confidant, my love. He knows me better than anyone, sometimes better than I know myself! :) I love him more everyday! I am truly the luckiest woman in the world! Thank you everyone, for everything!
Tomorrow morning is the PBM surgery. It is the end of my natural breasts, the beginning of my new “foobs”, as many call them. The end of my waiting, the beginning of moving forward. It is the end of my fear and the beginning of my relief.
Until next time, when I am on the other side of my surgery, here’s to kindness, love and silicone.