The day I found out my cancer was still there isn’t a day I will forget. I really thought the cancer would be gone after my lumpectomy. I had just sat down with my iPad to accomplish some work as my son took his nap. I had started to write when my phone rang. The doctor on the other end didn’t sound happy.
My oncologist explained to me that when they went in for the lumpectomy, they tried to get everything, but cancer remained. My heart sank and hands shook. Now I had another hurdle to overcome. I couldn’t believe this and didn’t want to believe it. He set an appointment to discuss all of my options. I hung up, and sat quietly for a few minutes. I turned my iPad off and called my sister, mom, dad and so on to give them the news. Unfortunately, my husband heard me talking on the phone as he walked in from school. He was in disbelief and gave me a huge hug.
We both sat on the couch in disbelief. The good news remained that the cancer was still the very early stage of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). The bad news seemed to be that I would need a mastectomy. I didn’t want to have one and really dreaded it. I especially didn’t want to tell my daughter. She was so strong the first time, but now I knew her emotions wouldn’t be. The Rachel Platten song, Fight Song, kept playing in my head as I tried to make sense of everything.
When my daughter came home from karate, my husband and I sat down with her. After I told her that the cancer came back, we all had tears in our eyes. I tried to muster as much support and positivity as I could for her. I’m not going to lie — it was very difficult to be positive about a possible mastectomy. But to know I would live longer to do more things and see my kids grow made it worth it.
Mastectomy: My choice, single or double
On the day of my appointment, my husband went to school in the morning and came right home. My mom came and started to tear up when she saw me. My sister met us at the doctor’s office. Usually when we all get together, we are laughing and having fun. Today, we were solemn as we waited for the doctor.
My husband held my hand as the doctor explained that he recommended a mastectomy. The cancer consumed a much larger area than anticipated. He said it would be my choice if I wanted a double mastectomy or single. He said that I had about a month to decide. In the elevator, my sister started to cry. It felt so bad to put everyone through this roller coaster of emotions.
Normally, with DCIS, radiation would be the recommended treatment. However, I have a disability called cerebral palsy which makes my body move almost constantly. For radiation, you must remain still in the machine. I can’t be still and sedating me wouldn’t be an option because it wouldn’t be safe. So, for me, it seemed like a mastectomy was my only option.
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