PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I have never been good at making decisions. I literally answer almost every question with "I don't care" or "It's up to you." It takes me forever to figure out what I want to eat for lunch! So, you can only imagine how hard it was to make the decision to have the PBM in the first place. Especially when doctors, Mike, my parents, other family, and my friends all responded to my endless questions and talking about having the surgery with "It's your decision" I have never felt so much pressure in my life. I'm always scared that any decision I make will be the wrong one..and this was definetely something I couldn't undo after I did it!

Once I finally made the decision to have the PBM I had always assumed it would be with TE's to implants. That's the most common way to do it and especially for young women who don't have cancer and are relatively healthy. I never really considered a nipple sparing mastectomy, because I knew if I was going so far as to have risk reducing surgery, I wanted to remove all the risk possible. I figured if I could live with foobs, I could live with fipples! I honestly thought that once I finally made up my mind with this decision to have my PBM that I was done with having to make decisions. I figured I could just lay back and go through the process and really not have to decide anything else.

And two months later, I am hit with two decisions that I have to make. First, I am wavering on my decision about the fipples. Yes, it's far off. I have to be completely done with surgery, expansions, and exchanges. At first, I thought I didn't want them. What's the point? I asked myself! Nipples are good for really two things- foreplay and breast feeding. Those two things are off the table anyway, due to my milk ducts being gone and sensation being lost for the most part. Other than those, nipples really just in the way. So I didn't think I wanted them. HOWEVER after being through this whole process and talking to the doctor today I think I might want them...I need to feel NORMAL. The doctor also said that some people go to a tattoo parlor and instead of getting their areolas tattooed they get something else tattooed to commeorate the occasion. I can't really see myself marching into a local tattoo parlor and asking some fat man with a beard and lots of tattoos to tattoo my foob. Besides the doctor said they use numbing cream, and my experience with tattoo parlors is they just tell you to shut up when you complain that it hurts. I really feel like I want fipples now so I don't have to go through life with barbie boobs. But as much as I change my mind about everything I may change my mind ten times before it actually becomes time to decide!

When I went for my fill today, I was also presented with another decision to make. The doctor has been keeping an eye on my flat right side to see how it was healing. She said it was healing very well, but she still wants to wait three months before the next surgery (that would put me in mid-august). We had orginally talked about the lat flap procedure BUT she said based on how the skin looks now, I may be able to handle another TE placement. However, I will face the risk of having the wound healing issues and infection issues. That doesn't happen all the time with TEs and I,would hope that it wouldn't happen again! The doctor says that with the lat flap is very reliable and won't get infected. But with the lat flap my scar pattern will be different on my right side and I'll have an extra scar on my back, not to mention the pain and discomfort on my back. She took some pictures today and is going to show a partner of hers who has been doing breast recon for 20 some odd years. So I have no clue what I want! The doctor said she'd see what her partner says, and alot of it depends on me and what I want. Unfortunately I do not know. We'll see!!!

I feel like I'm being faced on all sides with decisions and pressures. Everyone says "Pray about it" "Follow your heart" and I'm just really someone wanting to tell me when to show up at the hospital and what's going to be done. I know this much, when this is all over, I'm taking a break from decision making! No more big decisions for awhile!

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