For my six month cancerversary, I received a pretty awesome present, but I'm getting ahead of myself.....
September 9th I had an appointment at my OB/GYN's office - the same office that first diagnosed with me DCIS. I was so nervous about my appointment that I took not one, but two wrong turns getting there! As I pulled into the parking lot, there was a flood of unexpected emotion. I started to pull into the same parking spot I parked in on d-day - diagnosis day - and then quickly whipped around to park in a different part of the lot. As I sat in the lobby, I remembered back to six plus months ago when I was stunned by the news and waiting for my husband to arrive.
But this time he was sitting right next to me. This appointment was much, much different because........
It was my very first OB visit!!!!!
When I called in early August to schedule the appointment, as soon as she said, "what about September 9th?" I immediately recognized the date as six months from the mastectomy and said, "that will be perfect."
As I was going over my medical history with the midwife, I asked to make sure my GYN knew that I had been there and why, and she jumped up and said she'd go get her right then. Less than a minute later, my GYN barges into the room squealing and hugging me (and reminding me the importance of monthly self-breast exams). A minute after that, her nurse who, six plus months ago brought me a cup of water in a real glass which was my first tip off something really was wrong, comes barging in and the squealing and hugging continues. A minute after that, the nurse's assistant who, six plus months ago took my blood pressure when I first arrived and I was a ball of nerves and half-way crying because I was so nervous, barges in with more hugging and squealing. It was SO MUCH FUN!
The question they all wanted to know, plus you may be wondering too, is "is it safe for you to be pregnant?"
If I had been diagnosed with a hormone-positive type of breast cancer, there probably would have been a huge proceed with caution flag. Most young women who have breast cancer are diagnosed in pregnancy or after childbirth with a hormone-positive cancer that grew because of the hormone surges in pregnancy (I have read this, but cannot find a source to site right now). Please note: there has to be the cancer seed, and then the hormones are the fertilizer. Pregnancy can't cause cancer.
But since I had a HER2/neu diagnosis, not to mention I am surgically cured, I was given the green light by both my surgical oncologist and my medical oncologist.
That being said, I haven't exactly been worry-free about the whole thing. My breast is changing, which makes self-exams and "knowing your breast(s)" not quite as easy. I have had pain both in my breast and on the mastectomy side. Pain was my first symptom of the DCIS, and of course I'm terrified of a recurrence in the form of bone cancer. In both cases the pain went away after a few hours.
And then there's the fear that I'll have a recurrence and my child will grow up either without a mother or his/her only memories of me will be a sick and dying mother. When those fears creep in, I just tell myself nothing in life is for certain and to enjoy each day as it comes.
I have not yet gotten my prosthesis for many reasons, chief among them I am having breast changes and insurance pays for one prosthesis a year. I've been waiting till things level out a little bit and I could be fit reasonably well for a symmetrical prosthesis.
And speaking of the prosthesis, I have a feeling as I get late in pregnancy and in the early breastfeeding days, I am not going to want to fool with it! I haven't even investigated to see if they make nursing mastectomy bras, but I can pretty much guess what that answer is going to be. My plan right now is convert nursing bras into one cup bras, wear a pink ribbon pin over the left side, and call it day. Because pregnancy, nursing and prosthesis, ain't nobody got time for that!
I've lost an ovary and Fallopian tube to a dermoid cyst/endometriosis, and I've lost a breast to cancer. I don't exactly feel ALL woman, or at least I didn't. But now I can set my sights on the future, because I've got a little pumpkin on the way!