Denial can be a very powerful ally at times like these!

I shall be undergoing major surgery in less than 48-hours. Just before support group on Saturday, it occurred to me that the whole idea of surgery has become normalized for me. Within the breast cancer community, we often talk about surgery as if it were a ‘normal’ occurrence. After being immersed into the community for the last six months, I too have come to think of surgery as ‘normal’.

I remember the early days – being terrified of the whole idea of surgery. For my first surgery, I did not give myself time to be terrified. I booked a trip to Hawaii the week before, and returned with less than 48-hours to contemplate. In that short period of time, I had pre-surgery labs to do, as well as a Forluli photo shoot. I didn’t allow myself time to get scared or panicked about the surgery.

For this surgery, I’ve had a little more time to prepare. I’ve spent most of that time ignoring the fact that I’m having major surgery on Wednesday morning. Denial can be a very powerful ally at times like these!

For a brief while today, I started to worry about my lack of preparation – or perhaps to second guess various decisions we’ve made. After much re-reflection, I went out to the medical supply store to look at the electric recliners that they rent. I’m glad I did. I tried the cheaper one with a single motor – the back lowering mechanism was far from smooth – I’m pretty certain the jerking motion would have been pretty painful post-surgery. I tried the nicer two motor kind. It would do. I’m glad I went to try them out – now if we decide that I need it, we know exactly what to ask for. Fortunately, they both deliver and pick up, which makes rental an attractive option.

For additional preparations, I’ve created a sign-up sheet for help with food and visits/walks – especially for when Scott goes back to work. It is pretty much impossible to chop veggies and such when you are limited to lifting 5 pounds – so unless we plan to eat cereal/oatmeal for all our meals, we’ll need a little help. Unfortunately most of my support network isn’t in Santa Clara (or the area), so they cannot easily pop by and help. I’ve had many friends offer to Skype/Hangout/Facetime, and that is so awesome. I’ll post this again in the new year – when people aren’t busy trying to figure out how they will get through the holidays.

The only other preparation that I need to do is to order Christmas dinner. I’m thankful that my in-laws will be here to help execute on Christmas dinner – without them, we wouldn’t be having Christmas. We’ll order a nice dinner from Whole Foods – so all is needed is re-heating. My mother-in-law (with some help from my father-in-law) is going to bake up some family Christmas classics, so I’m sure that will help bring a little Christmas into our lives this year.

After tomorrow I’m not sure when I’ll be back online. The surgery is expected to take 10-12 hours. I will then spend 4 days in the hospital – so will likely be home on Monday, but might be home Sunday if I’m feeling really ambitious. Although I gave myself permission to go into surgery kicking and screaming, I’m not currently feeling the need for it.  I’m not scared anymore. Somehow, this surgery seems like the most normal thing in the world.


  • Becky


  • I just wanted to say I feel as if I’ve been with you since the start (I have read all of your blog entries,which I started reading when I heard of your bc a couple of months ago). So especially, I needed to tell you my thoughts and wishes will be with you tomorrow and over the next few days, and I, like so many, will be anxiously awaiting your return to the online world. Love to you and your family – Toni Garrett

  • Rebecca, denial just isn’t your style. Settling into the strength of person you are and the supports around you seems to be a better description. The operation is there and you know how to get through things like it and also how to ask when help is needed.
    I was soooo freaked out before my first operation. But the fear drifted away as if it knew when it was best to give me back to myself. Your body knows this stuff.
    Take Care,

  • I can’t believe it’s already time for your surgery. You’ve made it this far in your treatment and I know that you’ll come through this next stage.
    I wish you a speedy recovery! We have to go to Club Med next winter!
    Big hugs,

  • In Dutch “sterkte en beterschap!” = I wish you strength and to get well.

    It must be an emotional roller coaster for you, and also for your loved ones around you.
    I hope surgery will go well and that you’ll recover soon.


  • Comments on your facebook page ( hints that things went well – this is great news and we’re looking forward to reading more here….!

    Sending wishes for rapid recovery and a relaxed Christmas celebration (isn’t this what in-laws are for? 🙂 )!

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