Day 9 and I'm feeling already drained emotionally from all of this. We haven't even scheduled surgery yet, and I'm over it. This has got to be the toughest decision of my life - bar none. It's killing me to come to a decision about this. Not only will I have to deal with cancer for the rest of my life, the repercussions of my decision of treatment will impact me forever too. I'm inherently over analytical to begin with, and when the decision is something of this magnitude, I become hyper over analytical and it's exhausting.
I run through all the options trying to find peace with the choices that are in front of me. As odd as it seems, the only things I've made peace with are chemo and hormone therapy. Go figure - I've made peace with chemo and hair loss and 5 years of hormones. I guess because those therapies are only temporary. But the surgery -- those choices are long lasting. Forever.
I talked with the surgeon and plastic surgeon today -- again. As they both see it, because of the placement of the tumor -- because it's much higher than usual on my chest, they feel my best cosmetic option would be a mastectomy. Now - I'm not so vain that I can't handle a visible scar on my chest. I can. My concern is the divot they said that may be visible. Because there isn't much tissue to work with at that place on my chest, the likelihood of a negative indention is very possible. How far indented? Not really sure how to tell. But the plastic surgeon said to think of it as if they're removing a ball. For as high as it is off of the chest; for as high as it is sticking up -- that is how far sunken in the divot will be. Like a circle with a line through it -- a divot and a scar. Did I mention they're also putting in a "chemo port" under my collar bone. Another incision and scar. Oh, and since they need to do the sentinel node biopsy as well, they have to cut in under my armpit. Another scar. So what's that - 3 now? Frankenstein boob. That's what it's coming down to.
The plastic surgeon said that if I did a lumpectomy and the radiation therapy, that they would need to take a skin flap from somewhere else on my body if I wanted to do a reconstruction after radiation. Because the skin on my chest would be tightened and contracted, they would need other skin to complete a reconstruction. Taking skin from my back or tummy is NOT appealing to me. It seems unnecessary.
Alternately, there's the double mastectomy -- which yields large scars, and is incredibly invasive. They'll feel different, and there may be some sensation lost.
I just don't know to make the decision that I need to make, and how to accept that decision. How to make peace with it.
The good news is - if there is any at this point - is that I'm at least getting on their calendar so there's a date set to take out the tumor. Tentatively, we're looking at 6/28. We have tickets for the Red Sox vs Rockies game on the 24th -- and well -- I wasn't about to give those up -- So I let them know the preference was the 28th. At least we know where the end of this tunnel is. I just need to learn how to interpret it's light.