I survived my second tissue expansion which was a lot less painful than the first, but just as uncomfortable. I was constantly checking my calendar and counting down the days until my final surgery.
I had returned to work on a modified schedule which was a huge help considering I was struggling with getting my energy back. I thought that I was going to dive head first back into life as usual, but I had been sadly mistaken. I immediately realized that this was going to take time.
July 30th was the big day! I had gone to the surgeon the day before so he could once again scribble on my chest. I woke up early that morning anxious and nervous, but beyond that I was grateful to have made it this far. There had been many days where I really just felt like saying “forget it, this is too much.” BUT much prayer and encouragement had given me strength to push forward.
My mother and I arrived at the hospital while it was still dark. We pulled into the parking deck and after stepping out of the car, my mom realized that she could probably move up a little more. She got in the car to crank it up….nothing. She tried again with no success. The car wouldn’t crank.
If this was any indication of how the day was going to go, I was afraid, very.
We got settled into the waiting room and I was immediately taken back to the registration desk. Different hospital, same questions.
Once I was registered and sporting my wristband, I joined my mom in the waiting room. I couldn’t be still. I tried to calm my nerves, but my thoughts were all over the place. I sat and watched the automatic door slide open and shut as people came inside the hospital. I wondered what had brought them there.
I watched as strangers walked by and smiled, trying to read my shirt. I had on my ” Heck yes they’re fake the real ones tried to kill me” pink tank top, which I felt was appropriate for the day, which I dubbed my ” Boobday.”
I was finally called back and greeted by two nurses. When I had my mastectomy, I had a nurse named Monisha (my name), today I had a nurse that shared my mother’s name, Sylvia.
We laughed as we shared the funny coincidence with the nurse.
Once again I found myself in a long hospital gown and socks. I laid back on the bed and waited for the needles to come in. The nurse came in and starting poking around getting the IV in place.
I don’t care how many times I’m stuck with a needle, it will never be an experience that I grow accustomed to. I always tell myself “this time I’m going to look at the needle,” and every time I turn my head and close my eyes tight, holding my breathe and bracing myself for the needle to pierce my skin.
My mother and I prayed before I was rolled off to the operating room. I remember the nurse talking to me about being strong and having made it through the “hard part” and I was out…
What seemed like minutes to me passed and I found myself struggling to open my eyes. “You did great” a nurse said rubbing my shoulder.
It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the light of the room. For a while I just laid on the bed. I was so tired. I looked down at my chest and once again I was all bandaged up under a surgical bra.
I was rolled back to recovery where I was joined by my mom, boyfriend and my sons. Thankfully I wasn’t spending the night at the hospital this time.
After what felt like forever, I got dressed and the nurse rolled me out in a wheelchair to the car. All I wanted to do was go home and get in the bed.
My boys climbed in bed with me when I got to my parents’ house. If all that I had gone through meant I would continue to see their smiling faces, then none of the pain and discomfort had been in vain.
I was glad to have this last surgery behind me. I felt like this was finally the end, but little did I know, recovering from months of chemo and surgeries was going to take time…
I've always believed that we tend to be the most effective in areas where we have been the most affected. It's often our deepest pains that draw us closer to our purpose. Those words never really hit home until I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 28. I had watched both my mother and grandmother battle the disease, but never thought I would find myself in the same battle, especially not so young. I've learned through this journey that it's not what you go through, but how you go through it. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will inspire someone to keep fighting, keep the faith and live on purpose.