Friday, December 7, 2012

Last One!

Wednesday was my FINAL (6th out of 6) surgery of the year. I cannot even describe how glad I am to have it behind me. I’ve had enough IVs, anesthesia, and procedures to last me a lifetime! This one was particularly tough, as it involved two surgeons and three procedures. I feel completely run over by a bus! I had a full hysterectomy – ovaries and all – to prevent ovarian, uterine, and fallopian tube cancer, which are all linked to the BRCA2 gene that I have, that caused my breast cancer. My surgeon said that despite the risks, she’s only had 6 or 7 patients who were BRCA positive at my age do this procedure in the last 10 years, as most believe that even after having breast cancer, they think having other cancers can’t happen to them. The risk is up to a 40% for these cancers, which is something I just didn’t want to take. I want to be around a long time for our 2 year old daughter and my wonderful husband! And if the cancer should come back, I want to know that I’ve done everything in my power to prevent it. I’m very grateful that it is a laparoscopic surgery now, which means a two-week recovery instead of six weeks, but it is still a pretty difficult one.

A lot of people have asked how I felt about having a hysterectomy, at my age and with one child.  This was much more painful (emotionally) than the bilateral mastectomy. I felt so blessed to have gotten to experience pregnancy and feel little Stella kicking and growing inside of me. Babies are such true miracles! But the only thing worse than NOT getting to experience that again would be to not be around for the one we are lucky enough to have. So this decision, however difficult, was a no brainer. We do have three frozen embryos, so that if we are lucky enough to find a gestational carrier, we do have a chance at having another child of our own. Or we may look into adoption in the future. But for now, and possibly forever, Ben and I are completely fulfilled with our family of three. There are many people out there who don't get to find their soul mate, or experience pregnancy and motherhood! We are forever grateful for what we have. 
So, that being said.....normally I bounce back pretty quickly from surgery, but this one was particularly tough. It’s two days later, and I got to come home last night from the hospital, but I’m still walking around hunched over like an old lady, due to the piercing pain in my abdomen. Ugh!! I also had the final phase of reconstruction done: nipple creation and tattooing – a body part that you kind of take for granted until it’s gone! I feel like I look a lot more normal now. The plastic surgeon also took a little fat from my thighs and moved it to the top of my chest, to help make it look more natural, since it was just skin and implants. All in all, everything went very smoothly and I’m happy with the results – but I feel pretty banged up (in multiple places) in the meantime. The hardest part is trying to not let Stella climb all over me – it was so fun seeing her after being in the hospital for two days, but she just isn’t quite old enough to understand how gentle she needs to be. We told her that Mommy has some owies, and showed her the bandages over my new scars. She said “hello kitty band-aid for Stella too?” so we gave her one for her tummy, and Mommy’s tummy too. She thinks it’s pretty cute that we now have matching hello kitty band-aids.
So for now, I’m super grateful for all the help from Ben, my mom, my dad and Nancy, and Stella’s favorite babysitters as I get through recovery. And I’m SO appreciative of all the texts, calls, and e-mails – the love and support I feel has been amazing! And so fun to have my surprise visits from Blaire, Ashley (from Virginia!), and Kim at the hospital! Even if I was pretty out of it.
I’m going to sign off for now and try to get some more rest. I’ve gotten a little food down today and taken my meds – so now it will just take time to get me through this. Thank you in advance to my most incredible friends who have offered to bring dinners – I sure don’t feel like walking down the hall, much less making dinner, and I’m more grateful than you know. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and is doing something more fun than recovering in bed!