“Everyday I’m reminded of another reason why I love you so much”
I think one of the pieces of the healing process during the journey from diagnosis to surgery to recovery and treatment is hearing the stories of so many other women. Amazingly enough I still haven’t heard a story that I felt is exactly like my wife’s. Today a woman who is helping another woman in her recovery told me about her patient who is getting tattoos on her nipples after having a bilateral mastectomy and has been trying to find the right tattoo artist for the procedure coontacted me via this blog. I responded to tell her that my wife’s situation was slightly different.
As I’ve been told, my wife will be able to maintain her nipples. This is called a skin saving procedure or something like that. Frankly when they told us this was an option during the counseling I didn’t react. I wasn’t even sure what was the appropriate reaction for a husband in that moment. It has been a couple days since then and all I can say is that I truly married my wife for the woman that she is. Her external beauty would not be there if her inner light wasn’t so bright. If she needs her breasts reconstructed to make her feel good, and that means it will enable her to keep up the spirit I fell in love with, then I will take whatever she wants.
I know there are many women who get bilateral mastectomies with different consequences: Some don’t get reconstructive surgery at all, some decide to delay or can’t get reconstructive until later, some have reconstructive where they lose their nipples and have to have them tattooed on, some just never get them tattooed on, or in the case of my wife (this is the option that has been discussed to this point), she will have immediate reconstructive without losing her nipples. This was an option I didn’t even know existed at the time where we walked into the doctor’s office. They say that no matter what there is some loss of feeling.
But like I said, there are so many variables that breast cancer can throw at you which will change the possible opportunities. My mother-in-law decided to have a double mastectomy (cancer had only been found in one breast) and never had reconstruction. My own mother decided against a lumpectomy and had just a unilateral mastectomy without reconstruction. My wife had the otpion of just a lumpectomy. Family history, age and actually my wife’s current breast size had a large impact in the choice she/we have made.
We are going to take a break for a little family vacation before resuming with meetings with the plastic surgeon, getting the MRI and having some genetic testing done. Still a while to go so a little recharge of batteries will be needed.
As for me, I’m finding myself still needing to talk about my wife with my own friends. It helps me to talk about it and fortunately my co-workers and friends have been so supportive. Telling them how my wife is fighting hard also makes them feel good to. They are my inspiration. Their wishes and prayers are not taken for granted and the fact that they are doing this for my wife makes me even more inspired to work harder for her and to show her my love will never waver.