I suppose it is comforting that most of my conversations land at "the thankful list."
My list looks like this:
- I am thankful this cancer was found very early.
- I am thankful this cancer does not appear to be invasive so no chemotherapy.
- I am thankful to live in a time and place with medical options to rid my body of this cancer.
- I am thankful to be picking a treatment path and not preparing for battle.
- I am thankful to be in Dallas with my incredible support system of friends and family.
- I am thankful for Commuter Husband who philosophically aligns with me.
- I am thankful for the health insurance provided by Commuter Husband's employer.
- I am thankful to have gotten through 47 years without cancer.
- I am thankful to be a woman with choices and the grit to make them.
My choice is a bi-lateral mastectomy on January 14th with a sentinel biopsy and no reconstruction.
I have another list of things I have learned and that list would fill a multitude of blog posts. But one important thing I have learned is that a treatment decision for Stage 0 breast cancer is an individual choice and the circumstances are unique to each woman.
I will share my thoughts that fit me ...
- I am past child bearing age but have many more years of life and risks ahead of me.
- I do not like introducing anything foreign into my body thus I want to avoid medications and radiation and chemotherapy and implants.
- I do not want to spend any extra time with any extra medical procedures. I do not want to do anything except the surgery to remove the cancer which requires 2 surgeon visits, 1 pre-op hospital visit, 1 surgery with 1 night in hospital, 1-3 post-op appointments and DONE.
- I do not need my breasts to live - not a vital organ.
- I have looked at many photos and I think I can live with being breast free.
There are still things I do not know.
- My post-surgery pathology could come back with invasive cancer which could mean chemo. 20% chance
- I could get lymphedema. 5% chance
- I could decide to do reconstruction later. Slim chance
- And then there are the practical things like what the heck am I going to wear when I am breast free?
These days have not been easy ones. This decision is hard to make. But then I go back to my thankful list and thankfully my life will definitely go on ...