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On being right April 2, 2014

Posted by Judy in Musings.
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We place a great deal of importance on being right. We want to know that we bought the right car, chose the correct mate, produced the correct March madness bracket, turned down the right street. Everyone wants to be right about something, no matter how insignificant. Being right isn’t, however, always all that it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes being right means discovering your mate chose someone else, finding out your child has an addiction, learning that you have life threatening disease. These are the times when we wish through and through that we were wrong.

These are not the times I want to talk about, though. Instead, I want to dwell on the times when being right, is superbly so. Like knowing that I’ve chosen the right life partner. Like knowing that the surgeon on my team is top notch. Like knowing that I made the right surgical decision.

My life partner, aka hubs, is someone with a good balance of hilarity and seriousness, who shares my value system and has a proven track record of digging in when everything hits the fan. We are coming up on our 10 year anniversary, and I feel so blessed and am pleased to be right about who I chose.

I’ve talked about my surgeon before and have sung his praises, but I really can’t say enough good things about him. These last two surgeries really brought that home for me. Not only is he completely candid in each and every conversation, his surgical skills and methodology are painstakingly thorough. Given the choice between quick and easy and meticulous and slow, he will choose whichever will give the patient the best result. Much of the time, that means he takes the meticulous and slow approach. In a day and age where people want things done faster and faster, there’s something to be said for those who buck the system and go against the grain for the sake of better patient outcomes. Additionally, he has gone to bat for me in terms of preserving my cords. The past two months have seen me undergo three surgeries. Each and every time, the vocal cord-saving LMA was used, much to the chagrin of the anesthesiologists. They would have much preferred to use an endotracheal tube over the LMA which is not the norm and using it puts them out of their comfort zone. The fact that the surgeon went to bat for me in that regard is not lost on me as I’m quite sure his advocacy is largely why I got my way. And so, I am pleased to know my gut was right about the surgeon.

Making the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy was not a decision I came to easily. The phrase “tortuous decision-making” comes to mind. Even though I was at peace with the eventual decision, I didn’t know that it was the right decision until the pathology report came in. The right side was perfectly clean and benign. What a relief! (While it may seem that I should be devastated rather than relieved that I had a perfectly healthy breast removed, keep the following in mind. 1) The removal was a preventative measure. 2) We didn’t know it was perfectly benign. There was a chance that something was missed on the MRI, which would then cause a whole slew of other issues.) We knew the left side was not benign. What we didn’t know was the extent of the malignancy. As it turns out, there was a good chunk of cancer left behind after the lumpectomy, much more than the surgeon expected to see. So much, in fact, that there was no way everything could have been removed while still having a good cosmetic outcome. In addition to finding more invasive plemorphic lobular carcinoma (the original diagnosis), they also found that there was LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ – this is cancer has not busted out of the lobules, but still is a precursor to invasive carcinoma). And so, I am absolutely certain that I was right in deciding to have a bilateral mastectomy.

Many of you started following my blog when I discovered that being right isn’t always so. The journey has been riddles with disappointments, surprises and very little in the way of good news. It can be depressing to always be reading about bad news, setbacks and less-than-ideal experiences. And so today, I celebrate the good and am thankful that there still is good. Today, being right is splendidly so.

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Comments»

1. Mary Cleveland - April 2, 2014

I’m sorry you’re going through this, but I’m so glad that the information you got from your surgery reinforced that you made the right decision!

2. r - April 2, 2014

Splendid, indeed. So glad your decision was proven “right!”

3. Jean - April 3, 2014

It is very reassuring to know that you have been right. I had no doubt in that. JM


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