So here I am, two weeks and one day out from my double mastectomy. And the big question everyone asks is, "How are you doing?"
I am grateful. Just absolutely grateful.
This experience, though dreadful in some ways, has literally been life-saving. When I say "life"saving, I don't only mean physical. I believe this has and will continue to change me in about every way possible. I thought for sure that there would be this emotional dam-burst moment where I would deeply mourn the loss of my breasts and feel so very cheated. But it hasn't happened. In fact, just the opposite has happened. I look at the big angry scars running across my chest and I smile, knowing that I've won.
When I saw my surgeon for my post-op appointment, he said, "everything turned out looking good on your pathology report...well, except...one thing...when they tested the area of cancer, they DID find 3 small pockets of invasive cancer that were just barely starting to break out- all less than 2 millimeters. It was barely invasive cancer, but you absolutely chose the right surgery in this situation."
I think some people kind of raised their eyebrows when I told them I was having both breasts removed for a cancer that was non-invasive. Call it a "gut feeling" or "luck", I knew it was the right decision when I made it, because I instantly felt the peace that passes all understanding descend into my heart and mind. No one should feel peaceful about deciding to remove body parts...but God steers those who are open to suggestions and willing to believe that He can make all things new. I now know that it was absolutely the best decision. I had peace when I made the choice, and even greater peace now as I move forward, cancer-free.
Now I sit here counting down the hours (50) until I can get these final two drain tubes removed. They are part of the "dreadful" experience I mentioned earlier. I will be glad to not feel like I have tentacled grenades coming out of my body. Oh Thursday, come swiftly.
I feel like I have accelerated, healing-wise, in the last couple of days. I am not taking the heavy duty pain killers anymore, just Tylenol. I am getting loads of rest (thank you, Mother, for tending to my children...and she also makes the best hot tea ever...). And my husband has been way beyond supportive and accepting. We have pushed "in sickness and in health" to it's very limits this month. He's the same Jarrod. I'm the same Carrie. It's the same love we've always had, except, I think, exponentially stronger now.
So that's how I'm doing. I am undergoing reconstructive surgery in a few months. I have tissue expanders behind the pectoral muscles, and oh you had better believe that it is NOT comfortable. At all. I can feel the edges of the devices as my muscles go into spasms and grab on to them. It feels very foreign and at times, painful. I will begin having weekly fill-ups of the expanders and have heard that those fill-ups can cause some discomfort. But it's all part of the process. And so, with gratitude, I will go through a few months of inconvenience in order to be fully restored. God is teaching me so much about patience and waiting well and being intentional in noticing all the good that is coming out of what could have been a very bad situation.
All is grace and thankfulness precedes the miracle.
Thanks to all of you who have cooked, sent cards, prayed prayers, watched kids, raised funds. Our hearts are full.