Aimee, a NSW Pink Hope Outreach Ambassador, had her preventative double mastectomy a year ago and in this post she reflects on making the difficult decision to have this surgery and the impact it has had on her.
A year ago today I sat in pre-admission with what felt like the world on my shoulder, conflicted with joy, fear, relief and sadness a year ago today was my bilateral mastectomy and I, unlike so many strong women in my family was going to beat breast cancer for good! But this story isn’t about the decision or act of removing your breasts, this is a story about life after the life changing decision.
Now that a year has past and I am able to look back and reflect on what has been I can honestly say that my life changing decision in many ways didn’t change my life but rather it merely saved it. Throughout the past year I’ve gotten many comments from family, friends and even strangers on how brave and strong I am to have had a bilateral mastectomy, but for me and I feel like many in the Pink Hope Community – it wasn’t about being brave or strong, it was simply that there was no other choice.
I struggle at times to comprehend as to what extent my mastectomy has changed me, some days I like to think not at all, that I am still the same person not changed or scared by this experience, but then other days I catch of glimpse of my physically changed self in the mirror and sometimes can’t even fathom the huge decision I have made. But what I do know for sure is that by taking my fate into my own hands I am now stronger and braver for it. In no way can I say that the past year was filled with rainbows and sunshine – there was plenty of pain, tears and drains but now my life choices are no longer guided by the fear of the unknown, of if or when I will get breast cancer but rather injected with endless hope and optimism for a long, amazing and adventure filled life.
So if your reading this at the beginning of your high-risk journey – know that every proactive choice you make you are choosing life, that for every monthly breast check you do you are taking control. That if or when you choose to have genetic testing you again are choosing to be in control and if or when you choose to have preventative surgery you will, for the rest of your long and glorious life know that it was you that defined it, not the genes you inherited.