Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I Chose a Prophylactic Mastectomy for Mopsy

I think one of the most difficult decisions during this whole "cancer experience" as they call it in the bizness, was regarding Mopsy, my healthy right breast.  Good ol Mopsy and the right side of my body sure took the hit for Flopsy, my cancerous left breast.

For some time, I was so focused on Flopsy and what might happen to her, it never even crossed my mind I would have to decide Mopsy's fate.  Holy crap.

As I progressed into the rigors of my diagnosis, and the lengthy chemo that followed, I started to consider what is called a prophylactic or preventative mastectomy.  These are some of the reasons why I decided to go ahead with it:

The likelihood of a recurrence in my "healthy" breast, based on the type of breast cancer I was diagnosed with.

Cancer in the other breast.  Invasive lobular carcinoma is more likely to occur in both breasts compared with other types of breast cancer. If you're diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma in one breast, your doctor may recommend examination of the other breast to look for signs of cancer. 

click here complications

The likelihood of a recurrence due to my tumor size, and because my sentinel node was positive.

For breast cancer survivors, factors that increase the risk of a recurrence include:

Lymph node involvement. Finding cancer in nearby lymph nodes at the time of your original diagnosis increases your risk of the cancer coming back. Women with many affected lymph nodes have a higher risk.

Larger tumor size. Women with a large tumor face a higher risk. Women who have very large tumors (more than 5 centimeters, or about 2 inches) — especially if lymph nodes are involved — have a very high risk of the cancer recurring in the same area. These women should talk with their doctor about the role of radiation therapy, even if they undergo a mastectomy.

click here factors

I considered a breast reduction for some time prior to my breast cancer diagnosis.  I did not realize in wanting one, as part of that surgery, I would have lost sensation in the nipples anyway.  Large breasted women, such as yours truly, often require a free nipple graft where the nipples are removed and then sewn back onto the breast, in the new correct position.  In other words, several feet higher than now baby.  You've heard this joke I'm sure.  "I used to be a 36 D.  Now I'm a 36 Long."  Free nipple graft almost always results in loss of sensation because the nerves are cut.

If I had decided to keep Mopsy, as a breast cancer survivor, I would have been subject to not only an annual mammogram but a breast MRI to keep constant surveillance on her.  I am sure, if any little blip occurred on Mopsy's radar, they'd have me in there lickety split to biopsy the hell out of her.  I been there done that.  The anxiety associated with those screenings and waiting for the results would have been unbearable for an over thinker like me. 

The type of reconstruction I will be having also factored into my decision.  I will not be having implants put in.  I will have what I've discussed with you before, the DIEP procedure. In this procedure, the tissue from a "tummy tuck" will be used to make my new boobs.  If I had left Mopsy untouched and had a future recurrence of breast cancer, you better believe I wouldn't just have a lumpectomy!  Off with her head!  If it was likely I'd have to get another mastectomy anyway, Mopsy would have needed an implant since the DIEP procedure is a one shot deal.  I just decided, and based on my plastic surgeon's recommendations, a better cosmetic result would be achieved if both girls were starting over, together.

All of these factors were a big part of my decision.

The deal breaker for me?  I wasn't willing to risk any possibility of gambling my life for Mopsy's.  Too many factors were not in her favor, and I've wanted a breast reduction anyway.  You think it's easy carrying these big girls around on this 5'2" frame?  Yes, you heard me, 5'2" - that's what my driver's license says!!  Not to mention, after two "C-sections" the tummy tuck will be a bonus.

I want you to know that I am very comfortable with my decision and feel I've made the right one for me.  Sure, do I wish I never had to decide this in the first place?  Duh.

The reality is, I did have to decide.  On April 21st of this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a 5 cm tumor, and positive sentinel nodes.

When your oncologist recommends FIVE MONTHS OF CHEMOTHERAPY right out of the gate, it's a pretty good indication baby, you are dealing with some heavy duty shit.

I believe I made the right decision, and even if I have another recurrence of cancer, I will still believe I made every treatment choice I could to stop this thing in its tracks.  I did everything I could to give myself a fighting chance.

I will never regret that.

I do regret that any woman has to voluntarily choose to mutilate, poison and burn her body in HOPES of surviving this bitch.

Well cancer, YOU picked the wrong bitch,
and even if some damn day I become one of those nameless statistics,

please do not ever say about me "She lost her battle with cancer."

Say this.

"Let me live as she did.  Love.  Love.  Love."


Beneath the Eaves said...

With bare fists- no gloves you will beat this beast. Cancer messed with the wrong woman.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sweet Lady ~

Love, love, love coming to you!


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