Like All the Time

by Sarah Wild Stout

Breast Cancer

Well, I never imagined my life would lead me here. I woke up early this morning to shower with this special soap and I had to have my husband write “Yes” on my right shoulder so that the surgeon and everyone at the hospital can’t mistakenly take the wrong breast. I just hope that after today this whole thing is over. This will be the third surgery I’ve had on this breast and I don’t have any other option but to have them take it all. I can’t risk having this cancer spread. My kids are still too young to lose their mother.

So here I am riding with my husband to the hospital to have surgery again. This trip feels more somber than the last two. Probably because the last two times, we haven’t gotten the results we’d hoped for. This all started because my sister insisted that I go get a mammogram because her best friend had one done and they caught an abnormality so early, they still considered it pre-cancer. I wasn’t so lucky. They saw something abnormal so they made me do more tests: ultrasounds, biopsies, more mammograms, and surgery. We were hopeful after the first surgery that the pathology report would be favorable, but when that didn’t turn out right, we were of course disappointed and scared. We were still hopeful that the after the second surgery that the pathology report would say “clean margins”, but of course, it didn’t.

That brings us to today. Getting rid of any tissue I have left…including my nipple. I chose to have my breast reconstructed, but it won’t have a nipple. At least I’ll have the same shape, but I don’t think I’m prepared for how different it will look. I also hope that this will be the last time I recover from surgery for a long time. Waking up from anesthesia is terrible and I hate how my throat feels for the next couple of days. Like I said, I really hope that after today this is all over and this cancer scare is behind us. I know things like this are never really over, but maybe my family and I can breathe more easily for a little while after today.