Preventive Mastectomy: 6 Years Later
Posted May 4, 2022 by Prairie Wife -
6 years ago, I underwent a Preventive Mastectomy.
The reason was simple, I wanted to live.
It was a decision that was made with little to no understanding of what the journey ahead held for me, my family, and my friends and loved ones.
And because I knew there would be other women out there facing the same big black hole of uncertainty that I did...I decided to share my journey on this blog.
As I look back, I know that for me, sharing my story and focusing on how I could use my fear and pain to help support others was a vital part of the positive outcome of my surgery.
On days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, I thought about the example I wanted to set for others.
When I stood at the end of the dirt road for my first post-surgery run I focused on what I wanted to share with readers about the experience…
And as I clicked “publish” on the first set of pictures showing my amputated breasts I took a deep breath and reassured myself that it was the right thing to do. I knew in my heart that I was giving other women the support and information I had so desperately needed, and that was worth all the backlash.
As the years have passed, what once was all-encompassing has simply become a small part of my story, a piece of who I am, but not everything.
But, it took a hell of a lot of time and work to get there.
And, there are STILL women reaching out to me for help, and it’s truly a privilege to be able to be there for them.
Out of respect for their privacy, I won’t share names or even direct quotes from their emails, messages, and comments…but here’s an idea of the need that is still there.
One was a young mother in England who was worried she’d never be able to get back to working out again after the surgery.
Another was a mother wanting to know how to tell her kids about the surgery.
Yet another was a simple message of thanks, letting me know that reading through my posts allowed her to make the right decision for herself, and her family.
As the last 6 years have gone by I find myself wondering if I truly have anything valuable to say about this topic anymore.
And then I find myself asking a friend at a photoshoot to make sure nothing is hanging out because I still have no feeling in my chest and don’t want to accidentally turn a family-friendly product shoot into a XXX movie.
I’ll be getting ready for the day and suddenly the pale pink slice of scar that runs along the bottom of both my breasts will catch my eye…and I’ll remember again how long it took them to heal.
Or, I catch myself wiping away tears as I look at something as simple as my children laughing at a funny movie and am completely and utterly caught up in the blessing it is to still be here with them.
A lesson I learned that has not dulled with time, is that we are not guaranteed another year, another day, or even another moment.
The way that I have lived my life in the last 6 years has become defined by this way of thinking.
I have found myself taking risks and chances I never would have dared before.
With no fear of failure, only excitement about the journey and adventure ahead…and anticipation for the story I’ll have to tell.
And without a doubt I know that this desire was all created as I sat in bed, unable to use my arms, longing to pick up my children, listening to life go on without me as I healed from my surgery.
Today, right this minute, I’m living the life I dreamed of 6 years ago.
Photo Credit Erin Potter Photography Skyla Lee Photography
Categories: Preventive Mastectomy, Support
Tags: , breast cancer, healing from trauma, life after a mastectomy, preventive mastectomy, prophylactic mastectomy, support for women
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