“For you will Light my lamp; The LORD will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm 18:28
Deciding to have a bilateral (double)mastectomy was the easiest decision I had to make and probably the only decision I got to make after finding out I had breast cancer. I don’t mean it was easy, I just mean in comparison to all of the scheduling of tests, scans, surgeries, treatment, it was cut and dry. What many don’t realize is the many surgery options out there! In my case, I went directly from the surgeon’s office to the plastic surgeon’s office, in between calling everybody I know to say “by the way, I have breast cancer, can you call so and so”.
For some reason, it was so important for me to get the word out quick, maybe so I could grasp it myself? Anyway, as Jeff and I sat in the plastic surgeon’s office and he began talking about tissue expanders and handed me an implant, all I could think of is..I don’t even know what bra size I wear right now (two children later) how in the world do I decide what size? The word “tissue expander” went right on over my head and I then starting fearing that I was going come out looking like Dolly Parton. It really is hard to tell, I promise. There is a reason why they don’t suggest you go there on the day you are diagnosed. I left there that day with a surgery date for exactly seven days later.
Looking back I should have listened to his idea (he does do this for a living, ya know), he did not have Dolly in mind with me. A tip for anyone in this position, take into consideration, that expanders mean expansion and there’s quite a bit of skin to fill so, listen to your doctor and don’t fear the size of that implant like I did, I know TMI,but this is important..smile.
I then went to the lab for blood work and a chest x-ray (at 7:00pm:)) and I remember stepping up to the counter and the lady asking me “What are you here for, darlin?” I answer “a chest x-ray”. “Diagnosis?” And there is was, hesitantly I say for the first time “breast cancer, I have breast cancer.” There’s the look, but she was very comforting and sent me on my way. I continued on with calls, and by that time my conversation went something like this “hey it’s Suz, I have breast cancer but I am going to be okay.”
When we got home, the girls in my Sunday School class had arranged a time of prayer, so that must have been when I came in the door and Abby saw that I was upset and that I didn’t want to (couldn’t yet, atleast not with her) talk about it.” I am so thankful that Jeff was able to tell them for me. Usually I am very upfront with everything. This was just so different. I needed to let someone take care of me now. Not my normal response. I was picked up by my sweet friends and we were at that church for two hours praying and talking, in a circle, I will never, ever forget the power of the Holy Spirit I felt that night. With all those hands on me, one by one praying for me and my family, and my sister in law, Paige via phone from Charlotte, NC in my hand. For the next six months and beyond these same women brought us dinner, did our laundry, helped with errands, the house, prayed and prayed, had a scarf and hat party for me and much more.The body of Christ is so amazing.
Community is so important when you are going through any kind of crisis. I had no idea how much I would need the army of people who answered the call! And God will send them right to your doorstep. Literally. I had people dropping stuff off the day before my surgery…gifts, flowers, food, cards, the love of Christ. Nothing like it.“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
Pre-surgery preparation ideas or gift options for a friend having a mastectomy:
Pajamas- I’d say three to four pair, and pretty ones.They need to button in the front, either with shorts or pants your preference. And if you could find some with pockets that may be even better because most of us have drains. (I had four).Consider these pajamas to be like maternity clothes, you will be happy to see them go when you are done and ready to buy a new pair. I lived in PJs for about five months!
Take an extra pillow or two with you to the hospital for your arms to prop on, very helpful
Several pairs of slippers or fuzzy socks
Chapstick-for after surgery, I had very dry lips
Camisole-made for mastectomy patients; mine was covered by insurance
Send Flowers… they still do what they always have done, cheer a girl up!I woke up to about a dozen bouquets of flowers, guess people know me well, I have always heard to give people flowers while they are living! Flowers are life. They are my favorite gift to give!
Cute tumbler cup with top and a straw (to fill with water constantly and replace hospital pitcher:))
Day six, I dedicate this post to my new friend and sister in Christ, Alyson Gulley, she is a breast cancer survivor that I heard about through my Cancer Support Group at church. I prayed for her, but did not meet her until much later. We are now in Sunday School together and she is such a delight, I love being around her! I celebrate her God honoring testimony, I so look forward to getting to know you better, Alyson!!
“So it shall be, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by.” Exodus 33:22