When I think of the past month of recovery after my preventative double mastectomy, three “S’s” come to mind: support, smile and selfies.
Support: I have felt very supported in my decision for months, even a year, up to deciding to do the surgery. Of course, I always had doubts. Would it hurt? Is this the right time since we have a baby who needs to be lifted up regularly? Will I still be at risk to get breast cancer after going through all of this?
Now that a month has passed by in such a speedy way, I am so confident in my decision and the timing that I chose to have it completed. I will never have the answer to the last question but I know that I did what I could to prevent this horrible disease.
I received support in the ways I always did before the surgery and feel that I truly have the best husband, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends and neighbors.
I told my husband Logan that I felt God’s calming presence as I was wheeled back to surgery. We know that this is due to our community gym, (although it’s more than a gym!) Trinity Fitness Ponte Vedra, who had friends praying over both of us regularly.
My parents put their lives on hold for one full month to come to Florida to be the daily caretakers for our boys, aged four and one. My mom took the baby, Griffin to sing along Co-Op preschool playdates and my dad rocked the double wagon to the park every afternoon like a champ. Those who have two young kids know the long, long days that this entails so Logan and I are truly grateful to my parents for that time of rest for me.
Lastly, my local mom’s club, The Real Housemoms of Nocatee, had SIX full weeks of meals provided for my family. Six. We were flooded with gift cards, meals, baked goods, babysitting/cleaning help and even goodies for the boys. I know how busy my fellow housemoms are in their own daily schedules so we want to send a shout of THANK YOU! to those who have helped in my healing.
Smile: Many of you may not know this, but four days before my mastectomy, both boys started to get extremely fussy which usually signifies illness. Seeing that the timing was terrible, I rushed them to our pediatrician, Rainbow Pediatrics.
Dr. Aurora, who is a neighbor, fellow housemom and friend broke the bad news: they were both positive for strep throat.
I was so overwhelmed by life – this was not a great time for illness! She suggested that I, too, get a strep test to rule out the need to possibly postpone my surgery should I also have the virus.
After leaving my doctor, both kids in tow, feeling emotionally and physically drained, I parked my golf cart at Publix to get the kids their prescriptions. I just started to cry. It was a lot to handle at once. Seconds later, a woman and a cameraman came up to my golf cart – “Can I interview you about a potential daycare coming to Nocatee?”
Action News Jacksonville crew was watching me meltdown in a big way. The reporter, Letisha, sat and consoled me and my children as I told her my story of why I was so overwhelmed and what I planned to do the following Monday.
Letisha and I both feel that God sent her to be in the exact place at the exact time not to get an interview about a potential daycare, but instead about breast cancer prevention despite not having the BRCA gene.
Interview will air in November!
That night, I searched Letisha on social media and found this quote on her Twitter account:
One thing I will always love about this job. Every now and then I meet someone and it’s just meant to be. This time it was a mom in Nocatee. She shed a tear seconds after I introduced myself. I know it’s cliche but, you never know what people are going through. Be kind.
Smile – you never know what people are going through.
Selfies: This one is a little uncomfortable for me. I have always been very active on Facebook but have never really aired much into my personal life. I’d share a cute baby photo here, a travel check-in there, but something that has helped me in my mastectomy recovery is to take selfies to document my journey and strength.
It is really nice to have these selfies to look back and remember where I was on my healing journey.
This first one was taken eight days after my surgery. I was so pleasantly surprised about how little pain I felt that I was bursting at the seams: (I learned that a partial or nipple sparing mastectomy that I underwent is way less painful than the mastectomy that breast cancer patients undergo).
Three weeks after surgery, I was getting my energy back and ready to rock some of my new Breast Cancer Awareness month gear (Go Jags!)
One thing that occurred during the last two weeks of my recovery was a hurricane projected to literally pass right over the towns near where we live. We will continue to pray for friends who have lost material possessions but mainly have had emotionally tough journeys.
Hurricane Matthew was no joke, but fortunately our home and our neighborhoods were spared. Since I was still supposed to be resting, my family decided to head to Clearwater Beach and we were able to enjoy some special family time, including forcing my loving husband into a selfie as well (sort of!)