Every Wednesday at Leaving A Legacy, I’m going to be sharing with you my journey as a breast cancer fighter. I hope you’ll join me on this journey…..I’m going to be very transparent and very real, as I share with you what the Lord has placed on my heart, one step at a time.
As the days before my surgery inched closer, the fear in my heart grew. “What kind of woman would I be for my husband?” The voices of the enemy kept telling me, “I would never be the same again.” The words, “I’m so sorry” was the phrase that always crossed my lips anytime I saw my husband. He of course kept telling me, “Stop it! The only thing that mattered was me being there for him and the kids.”
The day before my surgery we were in the examination room at the plastic surgeon’s office. We were shown pictures of what their end results were for previous TRAM Flap patients.
Slowly, I flipped the pages and my stomach began to turn, this was nothing like I expected, nothing like other women had described. There were no, brand new breasts here. These women looked like they had been mutilated. “This can’t be happening I thought, surely I won’t look like this.” My mind went into self-preservation mode and I thought, “Nope, no way, mine will be fine, they will look just fine.”
The day arrived, the day that would change my life forever.
As I lay on the stretcher, fear began to creep over me, because of the 10 hour surgery I was about to face. “Please be with me God! Please let me live for the sake of my family! Please heal me!” I cried out. I knew this was Satan, trying to plant doubt in my heart. I had to stand firm in Jesus name. I had to declare victory over the enemy by the blood of the Savior. “I can do all things through Christ.” was the verse that kept playing over and over in my head.
When the nurses came to take me to the operating room, tears were shed, as my family, my safety net, walked out of site. I was wheeled into a large, blinding white room. They told me I would quickly fall asleep once various meds were injected into my IV. An oxygen mask was placed over my nose and mouth and they told me to count backwards from 10.
10, 9, 8…….
While I was under, many things happened, which caused shock among the doctors. Not only was the cancer in the left breast, it was found in the right breast as well. This revelation started a whole new ballgame; a whole new list of unknowns came into play.
Once the mastectomy portion of the surgery was over, the surgeon came out to speak to with my husband, “I have bad news, we’ve found it on both sides.” My husband was devastated, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The surgeon told him, “The reconstruction was going well, and now all he could do was wait.”
My eyes barley twitched against the bright light of the recovery room. “What happened I thought? Where am I?”
It was hard to breathe, hard to take air into my lungs; my breathing must have gotten shallower, because I remember the nurse calling my name, “Shari! Shari! Keep breathing! Come on!”
My mind that had been asleep for ten hours tried to make sense of it all. I tried to breathe in deep and take in the cold, stale air. It was then I remembered why I was there. I reached up to my breasts, and in their place were bandages, and drains.
Bandages that covered what used to be me and that now covered something so unknown.
When they wheeled me up to my room, the first familiar face I saw was that of my loving husband. “How did it go where the first words out of my mouth? Did they get it all?” He didn’t want to speak to me. I could tell by the look on his face that it was not good. “It’s on both sides,” he said.
“What!” I screamed.
“They found it on both sides. Do you know how fortunate we are that we chose to have both sides done? God was really watching over us,” were the words he tried to comfort me with as he stroked my cheek.
“On both sides, I am going to die.” was the cry of my heart.My spirits were so low. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. It was like I was living in someone else’s nightmare. A nightmare that I wanted to wake up from, but it just kept going and going.
The surgeon walked into the room, in a polo shirt and shorts. “He’s ready to go on with his nice normal life. Something I’ll never have,” were the words of anger that raced through my mind.
“We made such a good decision doing the bi-lateral mastectomy.” he said. “They’ve taken your breasts to the lab and they’ve sliced them up in the meat grinder. Once their done testing them and the lymph nodes we’ll be able to tell more.”
“In the meat grinder! Who talks like this!” were the venomous words that shot through my mind like daggers straight towards the doctor.
Once the doctor left and the nurses came into check on me, I saw them for the first time…saw my new breasts. This is nothing like I was hoping for, nothing at all; the pictures I saw in the doctor’s office were right all along.
I had never seen so many bandages, tape, and drains. In total I had seven JP drains hanging from my body. They looked like plastic hand grenades that would collect all the drainage from the wounds. I didn’t sleep much that night, all I wanted to do was see my children the next morning.
Once my children got there, they didn’t know what to think of their mother lying in bed with tubes coming out of her. I did the best I could to make their visits something they would look forward to. Each day they came to see mommy they could look forward to getting a gift. It was usually some type of craft or toy they could put together that would occupy their time and take their focus off of their surroundings.
After being in the hospital three days, I was ready to get out. When the morning of the third day came, my plastic surgeon came to check on me. I was eager to tell him how great I felt, and that I was ready to be released. With a little reluctance he agreed, and I was on my way home.I was on my way freedom, I was on my way into the unknown…. to begin this strange new life I had been given….one step at a time, looking straight ahead at Jesus the whole way.
Please join me next week for more of His story.