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Remembering, the Eve of my Bilateral Mastectomy

2 girls running on beach

Tonight is the eve of the anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy surgery. Seven years ago, it was as if I stood on a cliff wondering if it was a good idea to jump, to go ahead with my surgery first thing the next morning. But I don’t have cancer, was one of many thoughts that attempted to rock my decision.

There are so many reasons to undergo prophylactic surgeries when you are positive for the BRCA genetic mutation. Lowering your chances of developing cancer is one, potentially extending your life is another. Nevertheless, there are risks to most things; surgeries yield harsh recoveries and possible post-op complications. The worst one being death.

The possibility of death was only brought up by one doctor. While I appreciate the truth in theory, it was not what I wanted to hear at the time, and definitely not from a stoic surgeon. Truth be told that I feared dying during my operation, due to the DIEP Flap reconstruction. A tissue transplant can take upwards of 12 hours making it quite risky for the patient.

So, here I was, preparing to have this intense surgery with the hope that I might live a longer, healthier life. At the same time, I was afraid that I might not make it through the surgery itself. Ironic, isn’t it? Grief was still fresh for me with my brother-in-law dying suddenly only months prior.

Lo and behold, I made it through, rough recovery and all. Seven whole years ago!

This evening, instead of facing my mortality, I was able to delight in the details of my girls’ teenage lives. Belle secretly shared a conversation with a boy she likes, while Rosie updated us on prom plans with her boyfriend. My girls are growing up. I feel grateful that I am able to witness these milestones.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery,

and today is a gift…that’s why they call it present ~unknown

Which BRCA anniversary provokes a pause for you?