How do you prepare to lose a body part?

When the surgeon told me that most likely I would need a mastectomy I did not really internalize what that meant. When a new friend mentioned that it was like an amputation, that in some ways helped me see the scope of the surgery.

It becomes even more real when I think that this could happen soon. It will likely happen soon – like, within the next 2-3 weeks. By July, I will likely not have my left breast.

One of the things I need to think about is reconstruction. The state law says that insurance companies must provide coverage for reconstructive surgery after a cancer surgery. So, I have the option. The decision needs to be made before the mastectomy as it affects how the surgery is done.

One of my first thoughts when I heard mastectomy was that I did not want to be lopsided. I didn’t like the idea of having one breast – of course, this was before I found out that there might be another malignant tumor in my other breast. So, with that, I might actually end up with bilateral surgery. One thing that plays into my decision is that I HATE bras. So, wearing a prosthetic to make me look even doesn’t at all sound appealing to me.

So, I can logically think about what I want, and how this might play out, but I cannot emotionally prepare. I have no idea even where to begin with the emotional side of this decision. How does one even begin to prepare to lose a body part?

[Correction: The law pertaining to insurance companies covering the cost of breast reconstruction post breast cancer is actually a federal law – The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998]

  • Becky

One Comment

  • My great aunt had breast cancer, and a mastectomy. I remember us all preparing for a family photo when she paused, looked up at one of us, and said, “is everything level?” 😀 .

    (I suspect she had been in the wine that night :> .)

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