When I tell people I’m having a preventative mastectomy, the first question I usually get asked is, “Aren’t you scared?” It’s a tough question to answer because I have such conflicting emotions about the surgery. On the one hand, I can’t wait for it to be behind me and not have to worry about my looming breast cancer risk. No more annual mammos and breast MRIs and worrying while waiting for results – and the added bonus part of jamming your boobs in a squishing machine and getting MRI IV contrast that makes you feel like you are peeing your pants. No more stressing about my ridiculously high breast cancer risk in this magic time between age 30-40.
On the other hand, I am scared about the surgery. I have the utmost confidence in my medical team and support system, but the reality is – I’m getting all my breast tissue removed. I’ll be on bed rest for 10 days, have drains in, walk around like a T-Rex for 3 weeks (no arms above my shoulders), sleep on my back, and wear weird support bras. I’m also going in each week to have my tissue expanders filled, which I have heard can be quite uncomfortable.
It is freeing to let go of a little control and admit I am scared. Still, despite my fears, so far I haven’t questioned my decision, which lets me know it is the right decision for me. Personally, not having the mastectomy is much scarier than having it.