Sunday, July 29, 2012

three surgeons.....
I feel so special!!! NOT. I will have three appointments with three different kinds of surgeons over the next two weeks.

The first will be a well known thoracic surgeon at Emory to review my rib lesions case. He will hopefully let us know what is ahead with the management of the Hemangiomas of my two ribs. I'll be curious to hear what his concerns may be about any reconstruction of my right breast which is directly in front of one of my rib lesions. I'm hoping that it won't interfere with my mastectomy on that side. My oncologist referred me to this surgeon first out of several because he is the "conservative" one, the one not racing to practice his skills on this rare condition.

The next will be the plastic surgeon who will perform the reconstructions of my double mastectomy. The third will be the surgeon that performed my previous lumpectomy and will be the "dismantler" of my existing breasts. When I have the mastectomy surgery both the "dismantler" and the "builder" surgeons will practice their skills side by side. Along with choosing the plastic surgeon I've also been tirelessly researching the various methods of rebuilding the breasts or "foobs". 

Getting to the point where my surgeons have been chosen and appointments scheduled has been a painful and stressful process. Choosing the thoracic surgeon was not a problem––chosen/ recommended by my oncologist––and the general surgeon that did my lumpectomy was not a problem because I am already happy with him. It was the choice of a plastic surgeon that caused me the stress which in turn led to a 4 day obsession of studying the credentials, experience, schooling, patient feedback, and sample images of boob reconstructions galore!

I was online for hours at a time for days and I just couldn't stop myself. I compare it to shopping for a house to purchase.  It is hard to settle on one thinking that the next one will be better and your emotions lead you to continue the search even when you have found "the one".  I had asked my general surgeon to give me a referral and he gave me two names. I began the lengthy process of comparing the before and after pics of patients of the suggested docs with about twenty other surgeons online and just became more and more confused.

Finally God gave me the assurance that the first plastic surgeon's name given to me by my existing surgeon was the right one. Because the decision of choosing a plastic surgeon was the first decision in this cancer journey that was mine to own and not a life and death issue I think I just wanted to feel like I could take possession of this step - have some say about what my "foobs" will look like. Maybe just maybe I could have some control over some small step in this whole breast cancer thing––a life changing event that has taken me by such force and dragged me around by the hair for the last two months. I was just fighting back and taking control of some minute part of that. It is humorous that I was finally led right back to the straight path that God is leading me down as I trust in him and am acknowledging him in all things. It just took me a while to see that I could choose some things but still not have to lean on my own understanding. In the end he has given me peace again.

As stated in my profile to the right - this blog was to share some elements of life as an artist with breast cancer. Well I have shared about the cancer but have you noticed that there has not been one word about the artist part. I haven't painted since February of this year sad to say. Earlier this year my 84 year old Dad had open heart surgery and my Mom with Parkinson disease had issues that kept me from my part time job of painting. Because my husband and I have a full time cleaning service business my art time is relegated to nights and weekends. When extras in life happen my painting is the first thing to be sacrificed. Now the last two and a half months dealing my own health issues have continued to thwart my ability to paint. But I'll be back and hopefully as I recover from surgeries and not able to do the physical labor required in our cleaning business then maybe I'll be able to handle the more sedentary activity of creating new art.