What a week I had last week, and how it has affected my mood since! I'm not terribly worried about all the mood changes, though they have made me turn a little inward - I feel like it is probably perfectly normal to go through periods of sadness, and fear. I feel that sadness and fear are both part of the process of moving forward with life in the face of a scary cancer diagnosis.
So on to the fear - the infection really has made me more nervous about everything to do with cancer and the recovery process. It opened up all the possibilities of things that can go wrong from here on out. There are so many opportunities for infection in the upcoming months, and after my most recent experience I am terrified...but there are obviously other, more dramatic and serious things that could go wrong as well. I've been pretty optimistic that I have a best-case scenario, but sometimes I feel around that best-case scenario and realize how close that scenario lies to sad endings.
The floodgates of fear that opened when the infection came led me to venture into the land of reading about cancer - also I know I have chemo coming up so I needed to read a little to be prepared. So NOW I am encountering all of those stories of death and metastasis that I had avoided thus far. Lovely! But I am growing through this and needed to see these stories sometime if I am going to evolve into a stronger, braver person.
Add to that the fact that I received my BRCA results last Thursday, and did test positive for a mutation on my BRCA-1 gene. I suppose it is something to know WHY I developed a breast cancer at 34...but now I also have the fear that other family members carry this mutation, and the fear that I'm going to develop a tumor in my ovaries. I was not looking forward to having my ovaries removed, but every day since I found out about the mutation, I am more and more ready to have that surgery. I think I'll go in tomorrow! Ha ha - it will wait until after chemo, of course. I'm also horribly worried for my sisters to take the genetic tests, as well...and my daughters! (It is not even suggested until my daughters are over 18, and the counselor suggested closer to 24 years old.)
As an aside, for those who might not be familiar, here is a brief explanation of the BRCA mutation: the BRCA genes monitor and protect against tumor development in the breasts, and also the ovaries. If a person has a mutation in that gene, it means that you have the possibility that a tumor will develop and go on unchecked by normal cell processes that stop tumor growth.
Today I got my drain (now my 3rd drain) out...I hope everything will go well. I also had my first fill on the left side, which was basically like getting a needle inserted into your skin, and now tightness. Basically I wonder if my chest will ever feel the same because something is always uncomfortable or not quite right! (I'm sure it will someday.) The plastic surgeon re-assured me that I did nothing to cause the infection that led to my expander needing to come out, and hopes that my second try at an expander will go well (after chemo). Of course I am afraid it won't, but I'm afraid of everything these days, as I have mentioned!
This leads me to the point of this rambling, fear-filled post...I am coming to the realization that I can deal with this, but it is going to take much braver living than I have ever lived before. It was easy to say I could live and enjoy life when I was purposefully living in the face of my diagnosis BUT avoiding the most scary scenarios that might come. Now I realize I'm going to be living and enjoying life in the face of all of these horrifying, scary scenarios. I'm getting there, but I would not be telling the truth if I said I was there already!