As I write this my adored little sister is under the surgeon’s knife 2,600km away.
This isn’t minor surgery, this is a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and free flap reconstruction. (You can google those if you want) In short, she’s seeing off her ‘girls’ (the ones who made overt threats that they wanted to kill her in November) and the surgeons are recycling other parts of her torso into new boobs. All in the name of removing that long term, underlying fear that one day she might have to hear the words ‘the cancer’s come back’.
It’s sobering, as I know that had my own journey last November taken the same turn, I too, at some point, would be doing the same. The idea is sensible and good, and brave. And the reality is bigger than I expected.
When she and I spoke earlier in the week, she talked about the fear of not waking up from surgery on one hand, and almost in the same breath we joked about Deb Cohen’s Mastectomy Beyonce Dance off (neither Hills nor I have Deb’s killer moves). We also sent the video below to her surgeons for a laugh (no doubt they get sent it often)
We talked about the after and the prospect of going from a D to a B, from an hourglass to a pear, and how her middle son who loves to snuggle in will be sad about there being less snuggle room.
I sent her a text yesterday full of love and empathy about becoming gorgeously dainty in the boob department, she replied with love and with calm. The decision is made, the post operative bedlam will be weathered with great support from friends and family, and I get to travel those 2600km on Saturday and be big sister, and auntie Dee and I am glad to have the flexibility in my world to make that happen. I am glad that family is only 2600km away and no more.
But above all I am awed by her bravery, and in making a big decision, a big change all in favour of a better chance at a long and healthy life.
It’s made me wonder what changes I am, or am not prepared to make for the same.