Thursday, March 24, 2011

It is what it is

Tomorrow I am going in for what will (hopefully) be my final surgery in awhile. Or at least for a couple of months. After weighing my options, researching thoroughly, talking with others in similar situations, and lots of tears I have decided to have a mastectomy.

I could go on and on about how I came to this decision, but basically it came down to my young age and increased chance of local recurrence if I don't have a mastectomy despite research showing similar long-term survival in mastectomy vs. breast conserving treatment (lumpectomy). Fear was definitely a factor in my decision. It scares me that cancer somehow found a way into my strong, fit, and healthy body. More than anything, I want to move on with the next chapter of my hopefully very long life.

This has been the hardest decision of my life. My head is constantly spinning weighing the pros and cons of each option and the possible outcomes that I have no way of predicting. Over the past few weeks I have been all over the place emotionally. Some days (or moments), when I choose not to think about it, I feel great. Other days (or moments), not so much. 3 months ago if you asked me how attached I was to my breasts, I would probably be more or less indifferent. When put in this position, it is amazing how that changes. I also worry about needing more procedures down the road. Really I just want to be done!

The good news is that there are options for reconstruction, some of which I just learned about this week. My surgeon(s) are very skilled in this area. I am hopeful that I end up with cosmetically attractive and perpetually perky breasts:)

I catch myself sometimes feeling sorry for myself, however with everything going on in the world today I really do feel fortunate. I feel healthy, have a wonderful husband, supportive family and friends, a great job that I love, and medical insurance.

Most importantly I have passion for living.


12 comments:

  1. Good luck in surgery. I wish you a speedy recovery! They will take good care of you at Huntsman.

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  2. Praying for you tonight, Jen.

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  3. Wow! You are awesome. If I ever find myself in this situation I will be so much more prepared for the path and required choices. I think I speak for everyone who is reading or will read this blog, thanks for sharing. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

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  4. Jen you are incredible! Emotionally you have been running on overdrive these past 2 months. Your decision was not an easy one yet as you present yourself in your blog your thought process and reasoning is very solid. With the mastectomy will chemo still be required? Thank you so much for allowing us to follow you in this chapter of your life. The Jordan's are thinking of you and we are only a shout away if you guys need anything.

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  5. Jenn, you are awesome. Thank you for sharing this blog. You are brave and a fighter and I miss you! I am tracking you down in July to give you a hug in person for sure! Here is to putting this nightmare behind you and to your new and perpetually perky breasts!!!

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  6. Sweetheart~ Please believe me when I say I totally understand how you feel. I also elected to go with a bilateral mastectomy and I just did that one month ago. I am so glad and I dont regret it one bit. Ultimately deep down inside you know what is right for you. I will hold you dearly in my prayers. Its scary but once you do it you will feel so relieved. Every woman i talked to (and i talked to so many) that had a mastectomy has never regreted that decision. Please know that I am here for you in anyway that I can. Please reach out if you need to.
    Gianna Bianchi (602) 743-9833

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  7. Jen,

    I know it's been along time since we chatted, but I reminisce often on my past life, and the fun rides and races we all had together. I am sorry to hear that you have been faced with this obstacle. However, I had and will always admire your drive and passion to go after what you want. And, I know that you are strong in mind, body and spirit, and will overcome this. I think that sharing your message will help others as well, and I commend you for telling your story. You are in thoughts...

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  8. I can see why your decision was the hardest you've ever had to make. Not that it matters what anyone but you thinks of your decision, but I think you made the right choice. You are one strong individual!

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  9. You are a strong, beautiful and brilliant woman. Any decision you make is the right decision. You are truly loved. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and Shannon. Thank you for letting us share in your journey.

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  10. Jen I have been thinking of you, I want to bring you both over a yummy green dinner. Thank you for sharing your experiences so sincerely, you are inspirational to us all. I am sure you will heal well and have peace of mind very soon. Take care, Sarah B.

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  11. You have a figher's spirit! Hang in there.

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