Excerpt

Once he cut out the lump, he excused himself and said he’d see me in about 10 or 15 minutes.  He was going to take it to the pathology lab.  The other people in the room did what they had to do.  They gave me a few stitches and put me in a wheel chair and started wheeling me into the room to meet my husband and the doctor to find out the results.   A couple of nurses very cheerfully said, “Good luck Fran, I hope everything’s okay.”  On the outside, I said, “Thank you very much.”  But on the inside I’m thinking, “Good luck?  I have 95 percent odds that this is not cancer; it’s just a cyst.”
 
Mastectomy - front converI met my husband and I told him about all of the people in the room and the huge production; I couldn’t believe it.  I was yapping on about that when the doctor came in.  I could tell instantly by looking at his face what he was going to tell me.  He was in shock.  Thank goodness my husband was there.  This was the same surgeon who had given me the 95 percent odds.  I was in the chair that they brought me in.  He sat down in the only remaining chair, and my husband was standing up leaning against the wall.  Sitting across from me, the doctor said, “I’m sorry, but I have to inform you that you do have breast cancer.”   That was really hard.  Oh my gosh!  It was devastating.  I could not believe it.  There was nothing to ever prepare me for a moment like that.  If only the doctor had said, “It doesn’t feel like cancer, but it could be.  I’ll give you 50-50 odds.” Or maybe not even giving odds at all, not knowing.  He could have said, “I don’t know, let’s get it checked out, but try not to worry.”  I latched onto the great odds, so I was completely unprepared.  That was one of the reasons it was devastating.  I wasn’t prepared mentally.  But the most devastating thing was that my mom died of breast cancer less than a year earlier.  Now I had it also.  I was in shock.
 
As the doctor was giving me my options of this treatment or surgery or that surgery and all these different pieces of information, out of the corner of my eye I saw my husband starting to slide down the wall.  I looked at him and he was about to faint.  I said, “Fred, are you okay?”  The doctor took one look and yelled, “Nurse!  Get him a chair!”  (p. 211-212)

Mastectomy: From Devastation to Resilience
The Stories of Seven Young Mothers in their Own Words
Patricia K. Morgan, Ph.D.

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