When it comes to your body, trust your gut!

Hi, everyone! First of all, let me just tell you that I’m healing nice from the lumpectomy. This past Monday, I met with my surgeon, who went over my pathology report with me. Looks like it’s all good news, folks!

One important thing he said is that he got as much of the cancer “as surgically possible.” Hence the title of this blog post. You may remember that I was told I had a choice between a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. When I asked which he thought was best, he said the mastectomy, because in his opinion, the “area of interest” wasn’t clearly defined and a mastectomy would have a better chance of getting all the cancer out.

Based on the weight of the surgeon’s opinion, I seriously considered this option for several days. I really didn’t want to lose my breast, but I didn’t want to have cancer either. Finally, while driving around the Valley, I decided to do a highly scientific thought experiment.

I imagined myself, the day after surgery, saying out loud, “I just had a mastectomy yesterday.” Immediately, I got tense, terrified, and would have started to cry if that jerk in the other lane hadn’t tried to cut me off at the yellow light.

After I let him know who was the better driver (me!!), I repeated the experiment, but this time I said out loud, “I just had a lumpectomy yesterday.” Result? Complete and utter bliss! I even felt kind and forgiving towards the jerk who had cut me off, even though, at the rate he’d peeled out, he had to have been at least 20 miles away already.

So I told my surgeon that, if it was really a viable option, I would rather get the lumpectomy and see what happened. He said okay, and after a couple of months, it finally happened. And guess what? It seems to have worked! The pathology report used the words “clean” and “clear” quite a few times, as well as the words “positive” and “negative” in the correct places.

So now I’m doing another thought experiment: What if I had let my surgeon’s admittedly very educated opinion sway me, gone ahead with the mastectomy, and then seen this same pathology report? I bet I’d be feeling pretty depressed right now, wondering if it was really necessary. On the other hand, what if I’d gotten the lumpectomy and the pathology report had been really bad? Well, I’d just have to get the mastectomy then, but at least I would know we had tried, right?

The thing is, once it’s done, it’s done, so it’s better to choose what you can live with. Anytime any doctor gives you a choice between something drastic and something less drastic, IMHO, go for the less drastic choice. You can always do the more drastic one later if that doesn’t work, right?

Well, that’s what I think, and I’m sticking to it! Anyway, the good news is, I’m healing nicely from the surgery, I haven’t lost the use of my arm (one of the things I’d been concerned about) and now I have a few weeks of R&R before I start the next R (Radiation)! I’ll tell you more about that as soon as I know anything.

Meantime, just remember, it’s okay to say no to a doctor. A good one won’t be offended! And FWIW, I do think my surgeon is a good one. In fact, I think he did an excellent job on my lumpectomy, so if he’s reading this, thanks a billion, Doctor Aimaq! You did a terrific job!!

And that’s it, my two cents (or one-fiftieth of a Euro) for this week. Join me next week, when I may decide to talk about something completely unrelated to breast cancer, just for a change of pace! Or not! Who knows?

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