The week before my double mastectomy happened to be very busy. The Saturday before I had terrible pain in my right cheek through my jaw. I felt certain that I had a cavity. Of course, it was Saturday and my dentist’s office is closed on the weekend. I called a few emergency dentists, but I couldn’t make an appointment. My husband brought home teeth-numbing liquid for my tooth that worked temporarily.
I play goalie and defense for a local power chair hockey team, and I had a hockey game that day. I definitely didn’t want to miss the game because I knew I’d be unable to play for some time after the double mastectomy.
The next day I taught my last Sunday school class for a while. On Sunday night, my face hurt so badly I could hardly sleep. I made an appointment with my doctor for Monday morning. It turned out that I had a miserable sinus infection. Once the antibiotics kicked in, I felt like a new person.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I did my shopping, cleaning, writing and prepared my children for the weekend. My daughter went to her best friend’s house, and my son went to my sister’s. I felt very fortunate to have many people offer their help. One of my friends suggested that I sign up on a website that organizes people to bring over meals for my family. It will just give us one less thing to worry about as I recover.
On Thursday, I had my regular dentist appointment for cleaning and check-up. I’m extremely fortunate that I had my appointment on that day because I had a very loose crown. It could have easily fallen off when I was under anesthesia and choked me.
The weather was terrible with crazy rain. I tried not to focus on fear and unknowns, but to make sure everything was taken care of. My dad and I ate lunch together, and when I got home, I wrote my daughter a letter to comfort her when she felt scared or lonely. I also gave her jewelry that had her connected to me. She was touched by the letter and jewelry. I felt at ease that she knew how important she was to me and everyone else.
That night, my daughter, father and I went to a local high school to see the play Les Miserables. It’s one of my favorite musicals, and I felt so happy that I didn’t have to miss it. They did an amazing performance. When we arrived home, my dad took my daughter to his house for the night. She started to cry when it came time to leave because she was very worried about me. It was quite an emotional goodbye. I had my own tears, but I tried my best to hold it together until we parted.
After she left, I ate as much as I could because I couldn’t eat after midnight. I climbed into my bed, snuggled up to my husband and cried, laughed and talked. I knew it was the last night that I would be all in one piece, be in no pain and be … me. The next day in the hospital I’d still be me, but different, and I had a recovery to get through. On the bright side, I would be cancer-free and wouldn’t need to worry about breast cancer ever again.
On Friday morning, my husband kissed me and he got ready. I laid in bed taking everything in and keeping calm. In the shower, I took time with my body, knowing that it would never be the same. Tears stung my eyes as I got dressed. It would be my last time getting dressed looking at the body I always had. Soon, it would be very sore and different.
I really hate cancer.
During the drive to the hospital, I smiled as friends and family texted me and wrote encouraging messages on Facebook. Jeff made me a playlist of songs to listen to as we drove. It was a gorgeous April day. I made my way into the hospital, took a deep breath and was ready to beat this thing.
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