Everyone is talking about Angeline Jolie & her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. And everyone’s asking me what I think…
So what do I think? I think preventive surgery is a very individual decision. A decision that is best left to the individual to make. Would I have done the same thing? Who knows. My doctors continue to push me to do surgery to remove my ovaries to shut down estrogen production and help “prevent” a recurrence but I have decided (for now) to refuse that surgery. That’s what works for me. Undergoing a preventive double mastectomy is what works for Angeline Jolie.
In general, I feel the medical establishment relies too heavily on surgery and pharmaceuticals to cure all of life’s modern ailments. I firmly believe everyone would benefit from a more holistic approach to medicine and healing – One that looks at your history, stress levels, outside influences, and mental space just as much as the physical details of our individual body parts. We are so much more than just our individual body parts. And I can’t get behind any treatment that espouses a narrow-minded, exclusive approach. Us human beings are complex folks!
The reality is that everyone has an opinion. A preference. A different path. What works for some, may not work for others. I know I am constantly searching for my path, trying to figure out what works best for me. Aren’t we all?
My diet is one thing I’m still trying to figure out… After 8 days with the fabulous Antie N in town my body is still reeling from all the fun we had… Way more booze than I’ve had in a long time (what I would normally consume over the course of 2 or 3 months I consumed in the span of a week)… Less sleep… Lots of indulging (in sweet treats, extra helpings, nibbles of cheese, and empty carbs)… But it was so worth it!!! We had a week of fun adventures, play time, girl talk, and truly memorable moments. So I don’t beat myself up for the indulgences. It was one kick-ass week with one of my bestest friends. That’s what life is all about. My body will re-balance itself. I’m getting back up on the saddle again.
I actually have Part I of my much anticipated nutrition consult with Andrea Nakayama scheduled for next week. I’ve been following her since I read about her in Whole Living Magazine way back in October 2011 – A month before I was diagnosed. She is a functional nutritionist with a holistic, whole-foods based approach. I’ve listened to many of her online talks about balancing hormones and restoring the health of our bodies through diet and natural remedies. I’m so excited to consult with her team about fine tuning my diet and figuring out what works best for me & my body. If her detailed intake process is any indication of what lies ahead I’m sure our time together will be totally holistic, and very thorough & comprehensive. I’m psyched.
The other thing I’m still trying to figure out is what’s up for the next chapter of my life.
Auntie N and I are both at a crossroads in our lives. Having her here this last week, and being able to process that and compare notes was so helpful & therapeutic (for both of us!). Many people have encouraged me to write. So I did. I started writing stuff (other than this blog – which it seems I haven’t gotten around to writing much lately either)… But I can’t quite seem to get into it. I don’t feel compelled to write the other stuff yet. I can’t find my voice. There’s always something else that takes priority. Maybe I’m supposed to be writing something different? Or maybe just doing something different.
One thing I keep feeling compelled to do is use my experience with cancer, the lessons I’ve learned, the insights I’ve gained, and my training as a social worker, to help others through their own difficult periods. Try to help them figure out what works.
Honestly, I’m just so damn thrilled to even be able to have concerns like this – about my career or fine tuning my diet – instead of living in a haze of treatment side effects and obsessively thinking about my own mortality. It’s been 5 weeks since my breast reconstruction and reduction surgery. I’m back to driving again, squeezing in some light exercise here & there, and doing most of my normal every day activities. The pain is pretty much gone. I almost feel “normal”. I guess this IS my new normal… Normal concerns about what to eat, what job to take, how to stay healthy… But yet always with this underlying current of questioning, worry, and unknowns. But I guess we all have that to some degree or another, right?
For now, I will keep searching for answers while still trying to remain open to life’s mysteries. I will enjoy life and continue making memories. I will respect other people’s decisions while continuing to honor my own.
And in the end I’ll go with whatever works best.
Peace. - T