As I cried to a precious friend about just wanting to be "Normal and Anonymous," she said:
"Lori. You are never going to be normal and anonymous because it is not who you are. You are fabulous and fantastic. People look at you and think you are strong and amazing."
This humbles me more than I can express...even more so because I am doing a pretty great Bible study and the other day, the focus was on realizing that God made me to be exactly.who.I.am. We always think about our personality and character traits as gifts given, but we rarely see who God made us to be physically as strong gifts as well.
I mean, let's be real. 4'11", crazy frizzy hair and humongous mouth...strong gifts? A broken body that looks fabulously fertile (again, even more amazement at this since I'm almost 41) but has lost more children than it has kept? Purposed?
Yes. Even me.
My ovaries and endometrium look great. No masses, no cancer, no nothing. I was sort of disappointed because I was hoping to hear, "You need a hysterectomy," and then would not need to keep thinking about a mastectomy. I know that sounds horrible, but in my mind, taking ovaries out is kin to taking tonsils out, while taking breasts off? A big difference. (And please...obviously I know it's more than taking tonsils out. I am STILL recovering from that blasted sinus surgery I had nearly a MONTH ago!)
I did not realize, however, that though removing my ovaries would take my estrogen away and lower my breast cancer risk, doing so would also increase (significantly, because of family history) my risk of heart disease, and that's the number one cause of death for women in America. According to my doctor, there's less physical trauma to the body with an ovariectomy than mastectomy, but an added inherent health risk (heart disease) that does not exist with removing breasts.
He essentially said my risks are significant and I get to pick which I want to deal with. Breast cancer or heart disease?
Isn't there an option C?
As I told this to my friend, she mentioned how this day and age offers so.much.support for women—so many women who have gone through mastectomies and so many support groups for women as they face all that comes with them.
I am just tired.
I am tired of reaching out. I am tired of needing support. (But please, please, please don't confuse that with not being grateful for it. I am so grateful.)
I just want to be normal and anonymous.
But since I'm not, and apparently made that way, I press on.
I go for a third opinion on Monday. It's at Duke and then I guess I'll make some decisions. I'm not likely to hear anything different; risk assessments are pretty formulated. I'm hoping that this doctor will be the one who just tells me what to do instead of tells me I need to do something.
I know I need to do something. I recognize that I cannot spend every month wondering if this time, the lump(s) is cancer.
I also know that 'chopping' them off is not as easy as it sounds, and 'getting a new, improved set' is a LOT more of a process than people think. More than I ever thought.
Either way...'normal' just isn't in the cards, is it?
You'd think I'd totally learned that by now....