I hardly remember the operating room – I remember being wheeled in on the bed, I remember them asking me to sit up so they could give me a block to help with the pain, then I think I told a joke (go figure!!!) and then it was good night Irene!
I woke up and remember seeing Jackie, one of the nurses of the plastic surgeon and she said I was giving her thumbs up and smiling! (She is an amazing nurse and I get to see her every week now for my reconstruction!) That’s because of the block and drugs for sure! They brought me to recovery and there was my husband Aaron and my friend Rosie, what beautiful faces to see! I really don’t remember too much about what I was saying, so I will have to ask Aaron to write about that part one day!
I remember asking two important questions, because they still stand out. One – was my mama still alive and two, did they have to take out the lymph nodes. My husband, knowing that if I ask the question, that I want to know the truth, told me what happened during surgery. The good news, my mama was still alive.
When they went in, they had checked the one lymph node and it tested positive for cancer, so they took out 31 lymph nodes on my left side. When they were doing the bi-mastectomy they found another tumor in my left breast that didn’t show up in the earlier tests and it was a more aggressive tumor, so it ended up that there were three areas with cancer, which put me at a stage two cancer.
When Aaron was telling me this, I remember thinking how happy I was that I listened to that “gut feeling” I had or ” Gods voice” telling me that the lumpectomy was not enough and that I needed to do the bi-lateral mastectomy. It was such an overwhelming feeling that came over me, but the greatest feeling I had was that of thankfulness. I was thankful that they found all the cancer, I was thankful that they took out everything and I was thankful that I was obedient and “listened” to what God was showing me to do.
The last thing I ever wanted to do was have a bi-lateral mastectomy – I mean what woman would want to ? I also could not imagine waking up from the surgery if I had gone with a lumpectomy and in a few months or more found out I had another tumor and having to go through another surgery and this time doing the mastectomy. If I would have gone by what I wanted, and how I did not want to suffer, or lose my breasts or look sick or different, things would have been so much worse.
Often we make decisions based on fleshly things and shallow things and in the light of eternity does any of that even matter? Who cares if I have no breasts? Who cares if I would of had to do chemo and lost my hair? Who cares what strangers thought when they looked at me. I should be listening to what God is showing me and asking me to do. That no matter what I have to do, I will do it wholeheartedly, and do it with praise and thanksgiving. Being around for my husband and for my three boys is far more important then not having breasts – especially ones that were trying to kill me……true story.