Should they stay or should they go?

Oct 25, 2011 | On Being Positive

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Lynne Tapper

I am a lifelong endurance athlete with the dual goal of training and racing until my bones turn to dust and sharing that passion with as many people as possible.

Okay, I’m having seriously mixed emotions about this whole “thing.”  I want to think it’s natural to be anxious, and not just getting cold feet. Today, I spoke to my friend Debbie. She is a fellow “BRCA-ite.”  We have a mutual friend who connected us over two years ago, but we’ve never met. Yet, oddly enough I feel as though I’ve known her my whole life. She has yet to do this surgery, but is currently contemplating her timing.  I was telling her that I was anxious now that the surgery is 10 days away.  I wondered if she thought that was a normal feeling.  She really helped me put it in perspective.

She made the observation that while I made this plan in February, I didn’t think about it every day.  I scheduled the surgery and slowly over the past nine months, I’ve gotten everything in order.  During these past 9 months, I’ve also lived my life.  There was no sense thinking about the surgery in March or even August.  It was still so far away.

Now, with surgery 10 days away, it’s natural to be anxious and even have second thoughts. Okay, I’m normal, that’s good to know.

What am I anxious about?  Here’s my list, in no particular order:
I’m anxious about the big unknown.  How will I feel right after surgery?  Will I be in a lot of pain?  What will it be like to stay in the hospital?  Will it be noisy? Will I be able to sleep?  What will I want to eat?  Will there be WiFi?  Can I keep up with my games of online Scrabble?  How bad will the constipation be? Will my husband be comfortable on his hospital cot?  So many questions and concerns.

On the flip side, I’m also excited.  Even as I write this, I too think it’s a bit weird.  Why am I excited about surgery?  Especially surgery that I would NEVER have chosen to do!
Here is my list, in no particular order:
I’m excited to be on the other side and to begin recovering. I’m excited to have some “down” time. I’m excited to spend some quality time with my mother. I’m excited to see some friends. I’m excited…to see my new breasts!  And I’m excited to get back to training and figure out my racing season for 2012!

Recently, I’ve wondered if I started this blog so that I wouldn’t back out.  But I know I could back out anytime I want.  It’s my decision. I do know that I love feeling healthy. I love being fit. And while there is no guarantee that I WILL get cancer if I don’t have this procedure, the risks are still pretty high.  Having this gene mutation TRUMPS all other risk factors.  Knowing that I want a high quality of life every day is what motivates me.  I want to be there, full of energy, for my children as they grow up…as I grow up!

So in the end, I know that I can change my mind. I’m not sure he realized it, but my friend Noah really helped me put it in perspective.   “If you were to get cancer, you’d certainly be kicking yourself knowing that you could have done something about it.” Am I brave?  I don’t think so.  I’m just being pragmatic.


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