Day 8: Mastectomy. “The doctor says she needs a mastectomy. I am the one who asks about the other, the left breast. Clearly there is no way to know if there is any cancer in the left breast because in the right breast there wasn’t even a tumor. Just cancer. We all agree, a double mastectomy.” The Actual Dance
Treatment options have changed in the last 17 years. Chemotherapy is often given before any surgery. For us back in 2000 it was different. The doctor was clear, the breast needed to be removed.
As we sat at the table digesting the doctor’s words, it became obvious to me that a double the other, the left, breast also needed to be removed. The mammogram clearly missed the cancer in the right breast, so how could we know if it existed in the left breast. And there wasn’t a lump in the right breast, just breast tissue with cancer. Any biopsy of the left breast would be just guessing and could easily miss the cancer.
We all agreed then, a double mastectomy. It seemed obvious and easy for me at that moment. As the date for the surgery approached, I started thinking a lot about what she was going to look like without her breast. My internal dialogue was just that. I remember it precisely like that… “It doesn’t matter because it is what we have to do.” I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t wonder if she was going to be less physically attractive to me without them, and I admit in the play, “I wonder if it would be different had her prognosis been bright.” Now 17 years later, I can say that I have never regretted that decision for a second.
Stat of the Day: According to a study, for women who have strong breast cancer history in their family there is an 8 to 24% risk of cancer appearing in the second breast within 20 years. That is compared to an average 20-year risk of 4 to 8%
Task of the Day: Have some fun. Check out the role of breast in sex, for men and women. You never know when that opportunity will be gone. Check out some different views on the role of Breast in Sex. Here from a women’s magazine. Here from a men’s magazine.
Resource of the Day: There is growing trend today in double mastectomy. Here is an article on this trend and factors to consider before making the decision.