Week 2 / August 27 – September 1 continued (Italicized = original journal from day one)
Information overload. Doctors have good words but they are sandwiched between blackness. How is there good in mutilation? Two negatives make a positive. Remove cancer + remover breast = healthy. Maybe this is a mantra to accept.
Weighing the odds. I never have liked gambling. There is little fun in it for me. I don’t play with numbers well. So making a decision breaks my heart.
If I didn’t love Jim, and I had only me, removal of the breast would seem of smaller consequence, but that’s not the case. He must live with it too.
I want so much information yet I want none. I read, I weep, I gather control, I break down. I laugh, I cry, I accept, I deny.
I sat in the different doctors’ offices with numb ears. I listened but couldn’t always hear what they were saying. It was like listening through someone else’s head. Thank goodness for Jim. He was the scribe. He took notes all the while the doctor spoke. If he needed information repeated he made them back up. When we got home and I had to download all this information from non-reality to reality, Jim would pull out the notes and we’d go over it. Sometimes I heard things very differently from what was said. I think that’s a survival tactic. If there’s too much, I make up what I need to believe. Jim would gently walk me back through the information until I could accept it or understand it. I don’t know quite how he did it but he maintained the order amidst the chaos. How anyone does this alone is amazing to me. I just can’t imagine it. Jim was my life-line, my comfort, my safety. I’m not sure I could have done this without him. It certainly would have looked different. He was the reason that I could finally see light and move from the gloom.
Making the decision on what course of action to take drained me. We had choices, which the doctors all said was the good news. From my perspective it was awful. I wanted someone to tell me what to do to get well. I didn’t want to have to decide what to do. I weighed each choice, decided and then started all over again. I had to decide between a lumpectomy, mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy. Each had there pro and con. None of them had guarantees. Each had statistics driving their cause. Agonizing over the decision lasted a week, an eternity when something you don’t want in your body is growing, only seconds when it means radical change and statistical survival. As I said, I flip-flopped at least a dozen times. With each decision, Jim supported it. He never pushed. He was just there to say it was okay.