48 hours from now, I will be waking up in the recovery room following my bilateral mastectomy. For an entire year now I have been consumed with fear, doubt, denial, confusion and stress. When I finally made the decision (literally 5 minutes before surgery #1) I felt an unexplainable certainty. When the pathology results of the samples they took during that surgery came back a few days later I knew I had chosen well. I am so grateful that I pushed through my fear of surgery in order to get this information.
Doctors today let their patients make their own decisions. I’m sure their insurance companies insist on that. But putting such a complicated decision upon someone with no medical knowledge is absolutely harrowing on the patient. Even so, I am grateful that my doctors (all female and in their 40’s) would say “you can’t make a wrong decision” but each would then follow up with “if it were me, I would do the mastectomies”. Legally, they can’t be held accountable for telling me what they would do if it were them. For that unofficial advice I am grateful. I live in Los Angeles, and have many cutting edge, experienced doctors to choose from – in the end going with female surgeons with excellent credentials – I am grateful to have such choices.
As much as I am grateful for early detection and my medical team – it doesn’t begin to compare with how grateful i am that I am with my husband. He has been an absolute rock every minute of the past year. When I was afraid he held me, when in pain he helped me, when I was in denial he would gradual nudge me back toward reality. He prayed for me and with me. He taught me to meditate and to release my emotions. He finds me beautiful even when my breasts are bruised, scarred and swollen. He loves me and gives me so much to fight for.
The fact that I almost left him – twice – seems surreal to me now. The first time was when I found out how out of control his sex addiction was, that he had cheated on me just a year or so into our marriage. The second time was when my ex boyfriend was offering an escape to an old life with a long history. Words can’t express how grateful I am that I could see the bigger picture: That these sexual and addictive parts of our lives were opportunities to grow – both as individuals and as a couple. When we both disclosed the complete truth to one another a year and a half ago we knew we were both finally in it for real. The love I feel for and from my husband every minute of every day tops my gratitude list. I couldn’t imagine experiencing all the joys and pains of life without him by my side.
Even with his flaws – he is a good, good man. If you have one of those as well, but are rightfully confused about how to react to his infidelity and/or addiction I suggest trying to get beyond his past actions and start forgiving. Then hopefully one day in the not so distant future, you too will get to a place of true love, compassion and – of course – gratefulness.