Skip to content

My BRCA Story (part 4)

Tree trunk that represents the feeling of walking the plank about BRCA surgical decisions

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Making surgical decisions were as challenging as choosing to either walk the plank or battle the angry pirates. My heightened fear of death forced me to take the plunge. The next question evolved from “should I have surgery?” to, “which type of surgery?”.

In BRCA forums, it is common to see posts asking how others decide. Some respondents take this as an opportunity to give advice. I like to counter with comments about how BRCA decisions are a very personal choice, which only the genetic mutation positive person can navigate. Personally, I appreciate hearing how women come to their own decisions.

My choice was relatively easy knowing that I couldn’t do implants. Although the more appropriate word could be “wouldn’t”, after unpacking my worries about “boob job” judgements, my stance on implants remained steadfast. Hear me out here, for I actually wanted to want implants, especially after seeing a friend’s very natural-looking results.

For those of you with highly sensitive bodies, you will understand. I have grown pretty tuned into my body’s internal energy flow, noticing when my emotions, negative thoughts or even certain foods cause a disruption. Any foreign body inside my body can potentially interrupt it. My composite fillings in my teeth bother me. Hopefully, I will never need a knee replacement or pace-maker. I may not have options in those instances, but in this case, I did.

The other growing surgical option is autologous, meaning using one’s own tissue. Upon researching the variety of Flap procedures, as they are called, I thought, “those seem really extreme for not having cancer!” However, when my fear of not having surgery weighed me down so much that it was hard to trudge forward in my life, I made what felt like a radical decision. From initial adamance of only monitoring, I opened to transplanting my abdominal tissue to create new breasts.

While the DIEP Flap surgery may sound like the answer to the prayers of those of you who dream of smaller guts and bigger breasts, trust me, it is definitely not as glamorous as it sounds. It was a painful process from preparation to recovery. Still, it ended up being the right reconstruction choice for me.

You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.

~Michelle Obama

Ha! And that’s exactly what I did and I have found relative peace with my decisions and results.

What has personally felt right for you?