First, let me just say...slacker much?! I get so into updating my facebook page and talking amongst many Previvor friends that I often forget to really share my feelings on my blog.
So, tomorrow is December 7th. One year ago, I took the leap of faith to see my geneticist. It's funny, how events like that stay so fresh in your mind, even a year later. We brought our daughter with us that day (because I am a super anal retentive mother and hadn't really left her with anyone for more than a few hours). I remember, so vividly, looking at her while the geneticist and I were talking. Wondering if she would have to be in that same seat one day. Wondering if there was something I could do to change her future as well. Sometimes I feel like maybe I let her down, because I had this surgery. Maybe I should have waited for it to happen to me...you know what I mean when I say "it". Now that I have substantially lowered my risk, I have also basically taken away that chance to figure out what the mutation is, that has taken away so much from me. Had I waited, then, maybe I could have saved her. I think there will always be that one part of me that wonders if I should have done different, for my own children.
Thats when the fighter side of me starts kicking. The positive side of me refuses to believe that the answer only lies within that breast tissue. My gosh, I read articles about genetics almost weekly, and see the advancements that are being made...and I think to myself, I did the right thing. I'll be alive to (one day) know the answer to this. I'll be alive to see geneticists do big things. I have to be. I have to be alive to make sure my children aren't ever at a disadvantage. I have to be alive to help them, in whatever decision they have to make, if we figure out what this mutation could be. I walked this journey without my Mom. I think that is really one of the hardest, saddest, most vulnerable feelings I have in regards to my journey. Admittedly, when I am alone, driving the four hours each way to see my surgeon, there hasn't been a single ride that I was able to keep a dry cheek. I miss her. I want so much to have her with me. I want her here to hold my hand and tell me that this WILL work. I want her to twirl my hair when I feel down, or angry (Yes, as much as you may not believe, I do get angry, and jealous, envious, and upset that THIS is what I have had to go through...all of it, and all in my 20's, when I am supposed to be carefree and naive to this kind of stuff). I want her to tell me that certain feelings are okay, or that the scars will heal, or that she is proud of me. I still need my Mom. Every damn day. I still talk to her, every day. She is still very much a huge part of me, and she always will be...but, damn it, do I miss her.
This year has been amazing. Even though it's been the year of my blossoming as a Previvor, filled with surgeries and doctors...I am so blessed to have had this year. I feel like this year has all been about saving my life. But, what about her life? What if I could have saved her? What if I knew then, what I know now? Before she was ever diagnosed. I keep going through the "what ifs" and I know that it's only that...just "what if". Because, there is nothing I can do now, the "what ifs" are pointless. Most of the time they only lead to "what if she was still here?"...and I try to imagine how happy she would be, and how happy I would be...and how happy my kids would be. They deserve to have known her, and cancer took that away, from all of us. What if she was here this year? All I have is what I make up in my mind...how I think she would have been with me through all of this. How I think she would have held me and cuddled me when I was scared. How I think she would have taken care of my kids for me, how she would have been the person I could call and feel comfortable leaving my babies with, because I would know that there was nowhere else more safe than in her care...in her arms. She would have been the stars and the moon to my kids, like she was to me. Now, she is the stars and the moon. At a distance, unreachable. Intangible.
I just have to know that what I did, for my kids, was the right choice. I always say I believe my Mom saved me. I wonder, am I saving my kids? I am not sure, on what aspect to see it from, but, I do know that I am saving them from the heartache of losing the one person in the world that will always have their back (I am biased, and I say that, because I know I WILL always have their back. I will be the mother to them, like the mother she was to me). I am, hopefully, saving them from watching their young mother lose a battle that she cannot control.
Tomorrow also marks the seventh month from my prophylactic mastectomy. Seven months of aches, pains, and discomfort...and I wouldn't change any of it. If given the option to do it again, I would make this same choice, over and over. I saved me. No matter what the outcome would have been if I didn't do this, I still know that I saved me. I made this choice. Within this year, I have learned so much about myself and my own inner strength. I have become someone that I am proud to be. I have become someone that I hope my children will be proud to have, just as I am so proud to have had my own mother. I hope, that after all that time spent glancing at my own daughter in that geneticist's office, one year ago...that maybe next year will be different. Maybe next year, maybe...there will be more answers. Maybe, in the years to come, there will be a cure. Maybe I'll never have to look at my children again, and fear that this very thing can happen to them. As a parent, I can only hope and pray to God that they can be spared from the devastation that I have seen and felt, all caused by breast cancer.