Friday, June 28, 2013

Coming to a decision...

The past several days have all blended into one long day.  I have stewed about what to do with my breast cancer surgery.  I weighed all the pros and cons and just kept seeing red flags with every option.  It was ALL CONSUMING.  It was on my mind every second.  When I went to bed at night, I wrestled all night with it.  It was usually in the 4 o'clock hour that I would wake up....and be up, for a long time.

I had a couple of choices to make...
  1. I could have a lumpectomy with some lymph nodes removed.  Then after surgery I would do 6 weeks of radiation 5 days a week.  After that I would need to have reconstructive surgery to fix the...I can't even think of the word to put here.  Mangled boob? Hole?
  2. Or I could do a mastectomy with some lymph nodes removed, and not have to do any radiation. 
The problem with the first scenario was the radiation.  I have been on the phone hours and hours talking to several different people who have dealt with breast cancer.  The radiation was so hard on their skin that it almost made the reconstruction impossible.  I think my lump is big enough that reconstruction will be necessary.  They also complained about how horrible radiation was on there skin and how tired they were.

The second scenario...cut my entire boob off?  Was that really necessary?  If so, yes, I would do it!  But, was it over-treating?  And, how do you match up the reconstructed breast to the real deal.  One...(once again not sure what word to insert) breast, boob, "lady" would be at fully attention sitting up nice and high.  The other breast would be sad, saggy, and just look different.  So do I just cut both of them off and make them match?

John brought balloons and pies home
when we found out it was a
treatable cancer.  We had a little
celebration.  Riley took it upon
herself to position them and take
a picture.  Oh Riley!
I have been trying not to stress so much that my kids feel nervous.  I know they are worried and I don't want them to also be losing sleep at night.  We have tried to keep it light by cracking a few jokes about cutting your boobs off.  Have you seen the Muppets Movie?  Do you remember the song, "Am I a man?, or am I a Muppet?"  We have changed the words when it comes to a double mastectomy, "Am I a man, or am I a woman.  If I'm a woman, I'm a very manly woman."  Poor Jace, (the only boy in the house) is constantly cringing with all the "boob talk" going on around here.

I've prayed, fasted, thought about it, done lots of research--and I have finally come to a decision.  In all my studying, I found out that there is a hospital that does the lumpectomy--and then does the radiation right then during surgery.  The radiation is done under the skin and only done one time.  A one time radiation under the skin!?  I like the sound of that!!  Then while you are still under anesthesia, they do the lymph nodes and breast reconstruction.  Everything is done at one time.  I really liked this option, but didn't think it would be possible.  The hospital is in southern California...and I am not.  I was certain that I couldn't afford going there. 

A couple days ago, I was standing in my kitchen and I had the impression to call my insurance company.  I found out that this amazing hospital with the Breast Cancer Clinic was in-network.  My conversation with the girl at the insurance company was hilarious.  It went something like this.  "Hi I was just calling to ask about coverage at a hospital outside of my state."  When I gave her all the information she said, "Yes, it is in-network."  I was like, "It's IN net-work?"  To which she replied, "In-network".  Once again I said, "IN net-work?"  Then I called back the next morning and did the same thing to another girl.  I'm sure they noted my account that I was a crazy lady with a short term memory.  It was a no-brainer to go there!

I have not even mentioned that the CEO of this awesome hospital is my brother-in-law.  Bob has notified all parties involved that I am coming.  They are rolling out the red carpet for me by helping me get it all scheduled as quick as possible.  I think I will plant a big kiss on each of them when I get there.

So, I am scheduled to go have the surgery in the next couple of weeks.  I feel like I am making the right choice and doing what is right for me.  I am just anxious to get this done.  I decided to wait and have the surgery until I get the results back from the BRCA gene test.  The test will tell me whether or not I carry a breast/ovarian cancer gene.  The doctor thinks it is highly unlikely that I will test positive because all my sisters, aunts, grandparents and my mom have not had breast cancer.  But, just to be safe, I am waiting.  It would change the way we would do surgery.  I'm certain I would do a double mastectomy if I tested positive.  In the meantime, I am biting off all my fingernails and eating every last thing in sight.  Oh boy!

We have done a few things to help relieve some stress.  All of the girls went and
got a pedicure.  It was the first time for the girls and they were in heaven.  They
just kept giggling.  It was so cute!
My super-lady cape that my friend gave
me to help me through this!  Thanks Sydne!  This
picture makes my legs look so short! Ha ha!


Jennifer Nielson said...


I just heard the news about your cancer. I'm thinking about you! Praying for you! Your blog is a great journal of the ups and downs that life brings...keep up the good work. Your family is awesome and I can see that you are so blessed. I'm sending hugs and my best wishes for a quick recovery!
Love, Jen(Maughan)Nielson

Jill said...

Heidi, you're one amazing lady. Your strength and of course humor-but mostly your amazing faith will help you battle this trial. So grateful I got to know and spend time with you again through "the group". :) we pray for you every night. Hang in there.