November 20, 2001 - Thanksgiving
A most Happy Thanksgiving to you all! We are so thankful for all the blessings that have been showered upon us over the past few years - some of the greatest blessings are the friends, old and new, that have touched our lives and hearts.
I have recovered well from my August surgery. I do feel I need to explain a bit more about it, though - I may have done myself and many hundreds of women who elect reconstructive surgery a disservice by appearing to take it so lightly. I never dreamed when I had my first mastectomy that being "breastless" would impact my emotions so deeply. My immediate response upon hearing I had breast cancer was "get it off, get the treatment done, get on with life!" After all, my mom and several friends had had breast cancer with no reconstruction - I could do that, too! But as the year went on, I found the absence weighed more and more heavily on my mind - I felt less whole, less attractive, less me. No matter that friends told me they loved me anyway, I didn't love me anyway! The lingerie, the clothing available to "hide the scar" or the prostheses available to wear were ugly and awkward and unnatural. So as I result, I decided on the reconstruction - I researched it very carefully and selected what I felt was the most up-to-date and best for me. I did it not as a "beauty treatment" or "cosmetic surgery" but as a means to make me feel whole again in mind, body and spirit. Even with the 17 hour surgery (normal time is 6-8 hours) I endured, I'd do it again! Many women elect not to have reconstruction immediately for the same reasons as I had and then decide later to get it done - that's one of the reasons the Breast Cancer Patient Rights Act was passed - insurance companies are required to cover reconstruction no matter when a patient elects to have it done.
So I feel more Deb now - and I'm asking for your prayers again. My last (hopefully) surgery will be November 26th. It's an outpatient surgery and should only last 2-3 hours. My surgeon calls it the "nips and tucks." He'll liposuction out the rest of the fat left over on my hips from the tummy tuck and contour the breasts so they match perfectly. At the same time, he'll fashion nipples. I should be home in York that afternoon. Roy will be with me for the surgery and then Rita, my friend and personal trainer, will be flying in that afternoon to help me with personal care and rehab exercises for a week. We expect to return to Orlando on December 4th. I will have my computer with me in York and will post an update after the surgery as soon as I can be up and around.
Please pray that this is a "normal" surgery and that all of us will be surrounded by peace and calm. Pray too for Roy as his 92-year old mother is very ill and he will be leaving me once Rita arrives to go to his mom in Plymouth MA.
I depend on all of you for prayers and good wishes - thank you for continuing to stick with me through this long journey. I appreciate each and every one of you - you're all very special to me!
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