I’m Taking a Break

I’m Taking a Break

Mount Corhanwarrabul, photo taken by Me!

Just a quick note to let you know I’m taking a break.

Sadly, not a vacation, but a surgery.

And while I don’t need to explain or justify my decision, it makes a good opportunity to talk about how (and why) planning and long-term thinking can be useful.

And not just when you’re wondering whether to get another dog, and if so what kind.

Background

I was diagnosed with early breast cancer in 2007, and subsequently had a mastectomy. I seem to recall bilateral (both) wasn’t at option at the time.

But I do remember not wanting to face one boob in the mirror, so I took an implant. With the proviso it would need to be exchanged in 10 – 15 years time.

And that time is up – the implant is uncomfortable, and needs to be replaced.

So what to do?

Today

I’m heading towards my twelth transplantiversary, past the point where “they” keep mortality records because the general assumption is that the transplant will have failed by now and I’ll be back on dialysis.

Which is why I need to consider the longer term more seriously.

Give me another 10 – 15 years I’ll be in my 70s (transpant age 22 – 27). Will I be well enough to go under a general anaesthetic, to replace the implant? And 10 – 15 years after that, I’d say it won’t be an option at all.

Decision Process

There’s no doubt the implant has to come out, and I’m not planning to replace it.

But I’m still not keen on confronting one boob in the mirror. Or managing the related hassles of finding a prosthetic that’s more or less the size, shape and weight of the other.

Which leads me to consider having the surviving breast removed at the same time.

With a history of breast cancer, comes the worry of it recurring, and the need for annual monitoring. Which costs a lot with imaging and consultant fees.

Particularly when you take into account the rest of my medical bills:

  • Transplant related costs of drugs and monitoring
  • Additional costs of annual immune suppression related monitoring for skin, eyes, colon, cervix, and teeth.

So my thoughts have gone this way

PROCON
No costs of breast cancer monitoring!Longer operation, so longer under anesthesia, with more potential for the unexpected
Peace of mind (potential for recurrence removed)Risk of infection in drains, more swelling and bruising, and potential for blood clots
Won’t have to buy bras anymore!Slow and complicated would healing
Won’t have to worry about not being able to have surgery laterRisk of ugly scarring
Remedial therapies could control some of the longer-term scar/nerve damage risksPotential for lack of senstion and ongoing pain from damaged nerves

Of course there are as many reasons, as there are people, but my particular circumstabces rule some of them in and some of them out.

And just as I made a differet decision earlier in my life, so I would probably make different decisions if my circumstances were different again.

My Decision

But I’ve decided to remove the implant and go ahead with a bilateral mastectomy.

So this is the last post I’ll be making for the next 4 – 8 weeks.

Because I’m taking a break until I’m sure I’m well healed.

See you on the other side.

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