Today, my sister in law had a double mastectomy. My fingers kind of froze after typing that. The words aren't coming easy to express all that I'm feeling: worry, anger, sadness.
I remember the morning, she called and told me about her diagnosis. I wanted to cry because I knew there were unpleasant things coming in her future... things you can't avoid or run from... not if you want to live. She had a great attitude through the chemo, and managed to stay upbeat as much as anyone can that has no energy and feels like throwing up. When her hair started to fall out, she cut it short and dyed it orange. When it got too thin, she shaved it off and bought a bunch of wigs. I joked with her at Thanksgiving as all the kids ran around the house wearing her wigs, that she was making cancer look like too much fun.
In reality, I knew it wasn't any fun. The diagnosis alone would make me want to curl up in a corner and pull dirty laundry over my head hoping no one would ever find me, but the treatment is no walk in the park. First there are all the tests and opinions, the chemo with all its side effects and the surgery. How do you prepare yourself to get that which makes us feel feminine removed? I know, they're just breasts, but I'm rather attached to mine. They make my clothes hang nicely and my husband's eyes twinkle; they alone nourished my child for her first four months. It would be hard to say good bye. My sister-in-law is going to have reconstruction, but I wonder if they will ever really feel like hers, or will it be like when you get a tooth crowned... It works the same, but you can tell it's not original equipment.
Mostly, I'm glad she's alive and the prognosis is good. But I wish she hadn't had to experience this. I wish no one did.