09 June 2008

Health Wealth #4

Once, I’d swallowed the jagged little pill (my diagnosis), I became a woman on a mission. I began to research my cancer, its success rate post surgery, my need to be on medicine, my surgical options, and any other related things. I would leave no stone unturned in my quest for receiving the best treatment possible. I visited the oncologist, who explained my pathology results to me again and made an initial decision as to whether or not I’d need chemotherapy and/or radiation. After going through my initial required tests; blood tests, MRI, PET scan, Nuclear Tests, it was off to the breast surgeon. He came recommended by my GYN and I took my bestie with me for moral support and so I could have someone else listen and help me get through the initial consult. Naturally, I had thousands of questions, but the one I really wanted answered; how? He had no answer for. I left his office feeling rather emotional and dejected. Here I was, the poster child for good health and I had breast cancer. I went home and tried to deal with my emotions and what he told me regarding the surgery.

A week or so later, I went to the reconstructive surgeon; whom came highly recommended by the breast surgeon to discuss his role in my surgical process. I took my sis with me for this appt for moral support and also to listen and get a feel for the doctor just as my bestie did with the breast surgeon. I felt completely at ease with the doctor, his staff, and how he explained his role in my surgical process. I had no chose, but to have a mastectomy, and I chose to have reconstruction begin the same day, so I’d be undergoing two procedures on the same day. I left his office feeling educated, but still anxious. I just wanted to get the damn mess done.

Some back story…It took me two days to tell my mother about my diagnosis because I needed time to digest it all and at the time we were barely even speaking. I called my aunt in London first and told her and then I called my mum. She didn’t take it very well, but after regaining her composure, she told me she’d be there for me and would travel from Florida to be there for my surgery. That was the first step in our healing our differences. God is good! *smile* I told only those closest to me as I’m not one for being the center of attention and I didn’t want to be bombarded with questions etc. I just wanted to deal with it in my own way. I was surrounded by love, prayers, and support. There were some days where I was okay to function and other days where all I could do was cry and deal with the conflicted emotions I felt. I was happy that it was diagnosed and treatable, but at the same time I was confused and even a little angry.

Nurse Leslie from the radiology office had given me some information on Gilda’s Club, which is a support group for people living with or have had cancer. I had called when she told me to even though she strongly recommended I should, but on one of my bad days, I called and it was one of the best things I could have done. I went through the intake process and decided that Gilda’s would be beneficial in helping me deal with the diagnosis and be a place where I could learn, heal, and grow.

During one of the special events geared toward breast cancer, I received some information from a reconstructive/cosmetic surgeon from Thomas Jefferson Hospital in PA that would change the outcome of my surgery and give me a better surgical option in terms of my mastectomy and reconstruction. This information was shared with my breast and reconstructive surgeons and they mutually agreed that I was a good candidate for it and could receive that particular surgery. I was ecstatic and felt extremely empowered that I took a proactive and aggressive stand in how I would be treated medically/surgically.

Fast forward to August 29 (2007) and that was the date the first of my three surgeries.

Thanks for your continued support and interest; more next time.



T.C. said...

wow....i had no idea...but that is the point isn't it...i experienced this as a young child watching my mother battle and then dealing with my own issues as a teenager having a biopsy done...GOD is always sending lessions and teaching us things...

you are so strong and such a testimony for SO many things...i thank you for your willingness to always share and in your sharing improve life around you!

Darius T. Williams said...

Damn...you've been through a lot. I know your story has so much power in it. I am patiently awaiting the rest of the story.

Blu Jewel said...

T.C - so few people were aware of what I was going through. Though the additional prayers and support would have been great, it was easier to share with the closest few and go from there. It's tough on people at any age and it sounds like you have a good appreciation for the health awareness process. I hope that my story can help and influence others.

Darius - thank you for your continued following. It's important for men to be aware of their own health concerns and those of the women in their lives. Your reading mystory will give you an insight that many men don't have and you can use what you know to help others.


Believer 1964 said...

Blu you are a powerful woman in your own right, but now with this added dimension you're light shines that much brighter.

So thankful for your voice and your passion for health awareness. Women need a jolt of it now and again because we are too caught up in caring for others.

Next Thursday is my appointment and I'm a little nervous, but will follow through.