My pathology report came back the other day. Having a mastectomy was the right decision. Turns out that along with the ductal carcinoma en situ ( DCIS), I also had paget’s disease of the breast in my nipple. I pretty much won the breast cancer lottery, this is a rare condition that only occurs in 1 to 4 percent of breast cancers and is usually misdiagnosed until it’s too late.
I always say that I have the world’s best bad luck. My attitude is that even if I have bad luck, if it had happened to someone else, it would have been worse. My oncologist said that my report couldn’t have been better,the margins and lymph nodes are clear. Now I have to wait a week or so for the histochemical report to determine what adjuvant therapy I will need.
Some friends came by and they commented that I look perky and vibrant, but I certainly don’t feel that way. I get tired easily and the other day just broke down and cried. I still have reconstruction ahead of me, which seems odd. I told La Primera that I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of being a “normal” B cup someday soon. She’s inherited my practical side and sees things as they are, her answer-”Better a live B, than a dead D.”
I’ve always had this uneasy truce with my breasts. When I a teen, I thought that I was fat and maybe a bit freakish because nothing ever fit right. I used to joke that most men not only didn’t notice my eye color, they probably didn’t even notice if I had eyes.
To be honest, I am afraid of the reconstruction. My right arm hurts where my lymph node used to be, even though it’s also numb there. My chest feels like someone someone is stabbing me or trying to break my lower rib. I’m off the pain meds and today is my last day of antibiotics which is good. Last Saturday, my stomach felt like I had eaten fire for breakfast, consequently my doctor has me swigging Maalox twice a day and I’m downing heavy doses of probiotics. I’m actually feeling pretty miserable and wondering if I want to voluntarily set myself up for more of the same. In addition, the reconstruction costs three to four times what a mastectomy does.
Is it right to drain our resources further for just cosmetic reasons? I feel shallow because I really want to appear normal on the outside. I know that I will bear scars from this, and that if I have the tram flap, there are possible complications that are frightening. The whole thing is overwhelming to me.