There are less than 7 days left before I have the most major medical procedure I have ever faced done. If I said I didn't have any anxiety at all, I'd be lying. For those of you who don't know what's happening, I'm having a double mastectomy, with reconstruction, port removal, and lymph node dissection done all at once. That's about 10+ hours of surgery.
The procedure I'm having done is a bit of a medical miracle. They are removing all my breast tissue and putting in its place my excess stomach fat and skin. Yes, you read that correctly--I'm having a tummy tuck next week. Praise God for silver linings. He knew I needed to birth boys that weighed over 9 lbs in order to have enough "material" for this surgery. You see, everything is a matter of perspective.
While I wish there was another way to complete this cancer treatment, this seems like the right thing to do. I have spent hours in prayer about it. It is a BIG decision. A lot of people have wondered why I am choosing to remove both breasts when the cancer was only found in one. Good question.
Statistically speaking, my mortality rate (the likelihood that I will die from this disease) does not change whether I remove one or both. What does change, and only a matter of 3-4%, is my recurrence rate (the likelihood I will get cancer again). The other thing that changes? My peace of mind. You see, I have met no less than a dozen women (who are not genetically predisposed to breast cancer) that only had the cancerous lump or single breast removed. They are now 2-3 time cancer survivors. While I applaud their tenacity at beating this disease, I just want to say I'm a 1x survivor. In other words, I NEVER WANT TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN.
There are no hard-fast guarantees here. Let's make that clear. But I'll take an extra 3-4%. I'll take any bonus I can get. The luxury (if we can take it that far) of having breast cancer is that the affected portion of my body is disposable. I don't need breast tissue to live. Praise God for this medical development.
The other reason I need to have surgery is because they have no idea if the cancer is still present. It has never been visible on any sort of imaging device. No mammogram, ultrasound, CAT scan, etcetera, has show that I actually have cancer. The way we knew is because the cells were removed from my body during biopsy and surgery. So, in order to make sure it is gone (and I believe it is--Praise be to God), means that surgery is necessary.
So, that leaves me at 6 days until my body is drastically changed forever. I'm not scared of the physical result. I know it will take getting used to, but I seriously think I'll just be happy to be alive.
Many of you have been asking me from the beginning what you can do for me. Honestly, between our moms being here and how good I've felt, I haven't needed much help. Until now.
Next week my life will slow down considerably and I'll be needing more help than I ever have before. That looks like a lot of different things, but I have one thing that I feel God has laid on my heart.
Fasting. I haven't ever asked anyone to do this on my behalf, but a few weeks ago I read this article on intercessory fasting. It is part of a Lenten reader on the website She Reads Truth. It is one of 3 articles on fasting and why we do it. This is the part that struck me:
"Fasting is a tangible way we can declare our utter dependence on the Lord. It can also be a way we lay others at the feet of Jesus."
Wednesday, March 30 is going to be a doozy of a day. And that may be a gross understatement. Yes, I am going to need the doctors to be in top form--but even more than that, I need God to do what He does best...care for us! Friends, if God so lays it on your heart, would you fast on my behalf that day? There is no pressure here, so don't feel any...I just felt compelled by the Spirit to invite you in to this space. I don't believe I've had greater need than this, or ever asked for anything that feels this big.
If you are wondering about fasting, especially on someone else's behalf, I encourage you to take a moment to read the article I linked to earlier. If you just want to pray, and not fast, that is ok too. God surely hears our prayers.
Thank you for allowing me to be so vulnerable as to ask for this kind of help from you. God has been faithful to work in big ways these past 9 months, and I'm trusting he'll continue to do so!
If you were here (and I wish you were--all of you!), I'd give your neck a squeeze and tell you I love you! Your support and encouragement has been an immeasurable to me.