Life for me at the moment can best be described as exceptionally emotional. Actually, to be quite honest, even those words seem like an understatement. Everyday it’s the same schedule: Wake up, go to work to try and teach kids that don’t want to be taught, pretend to make an effort to go to the gym and then eat my feelings—oh and somewhere in that schedule I make time to feel my boobs. Yes, I intentionally make time to feel them because in a short time, they will no longer be mine.
A little over a year ago I was tested for the BRCA gene and I am pleased to say that Angelina Jolie and I have more in common than I thought. Besides our uncanny resemblance, we were also both found positive for a BRCA mutation. In other words, we would have a greater chance of getting breast cancer than the average woman. From that first appointment, I decided that I would undergo a preventative double mastectomy. Basically, I will no longer have boobs. I mean, obviously it’s a lot more complicated than that—they will remove breast tissue and replace it with tissue expanders so that one day I can get implants.
If you’re looking for the silver lining in this situation rest assured that I would eventually get a new perky set that I can take to the grave with me.
If any of you feel bad for me at this point—don’t. If I had a dollar for every time someone took pity on me because of this, I’d be rich. Okay wait probably not rich, but I’d definitely have a lot more clothing in my closet. I can’t lie to you though; there are days when I feel bad for myself. I cry a little, I throw a little pity party and I complain to anyone who will listen, but then I realize that I am in control of my own body.
I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the fortunate people who have the option to undergo this preventative procedure. I have begun to call it “sucker punching” cancer because being able to undergo this surgery is like hitting cancer before it even gets the chance to hit you. So many people (not just women) are diagnosed with breast cancer everyday and so many of them spend a chunk of their life fighting to beat it and that’s why this decision was a no-brainer to me.
I’m not saying the decision was easy, but it was the only chance at one day having peace of mind. However, that peace of mind does not come without price. Not a monetary price, but a price that your conscious pays. With my peace of mind, I start to feel guilt. Guilt about the fact that others will never have the chance to be free of burden and that some others may not win their fight. The guilt of knowing I am one of the fortunate ones, eats away at me. I feel guilty that I often worry about what I will look like after surgery because others are worrying about being alive tomorrow. Everyone has a different situation and I have learned that it is okay to feel guilty, as long as you are honest with yourself.
Though this is the beginning of my journey I have been more honest with myself than ever before. Yes, I am nervous. Yes, I am scared. Yes, I am anxious to see what awaits me, but no, I am not sad. I am not sad because I am strong. I am strong enough to see that I am fortunate. I am strong enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am one of the lucky ones.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually look anything like Angelina Jolie, but I sure wish I did.