Earning the cape

by Val

Insurance denied the genetic testing I had done to help make treatment planning decisions. Insurance doesn’t think I have enough cancer for them to cover it. Luckily I’m considered young enough by someone that it’s covered by the somebody so there will be no charge to me. I don’t know who that is but I’m thankful for them. I got the results back and I’m not a mutant! They didn’t actually say those words but that was my interpretation when they said that my genetic testing showed there was no mutations. I did a happy dance and felt relief because it means I’m not carrying the BRCA gene.

Surgery scheduled for Nov 8th. I am going the double mastectomy route. Peace of mind and cosmetics plays big factors in that decision. I’ve spent this week getting ready for surgery and trying to wrap things up at work as this upcoming week will be my last week in the office for just a bit.

We tried to do some self-care on Sunday but backfired on me a bit. The massage lady was a bit aggressive. I have a scratch of some sort near my neck and I feel pretty certain it’s because she may have chipped me for tracking or something. Maybe we should recheck that mutant thing.

When I waiting for diagnosis my friends and I joked that if I had cancer I would let them know by sending a text that said “I’m getting a t-shirt”. In our area t-shirts are a common fund raiser for those diagnosed with cancer. because in our area cancer. I did in fact send them that text the day I got diagnosed. Now here we are and I actually have a t-shirt.

My dear friend Shelly took the lead on designing the t-shirt and it is beautiful. It is all things me and when I the design I cried humble tears, appreciation tears and fear tears all at once. Such a beautiful sign of support was also a sign of what this all is.

I have been feeling like there is a weight on my chest and that I need to take deep breaths often. I thought that since cancer is sitting on my chest that is what is causing the feeling. I actually assumed that when the tumor gets the boot this week that feeling would fade. This feeling is not there all the time. During a phone interview for pre-op the nurse gave me insight that the weight might actually be anxiety or panic attacks. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

I have had a panic attack one time in college complete with breathing into a paper bag and everything. There have been times in the past when I felt the jitters and I was sure I could feel my blood moving through my body just barely underneath the surface of my skin. I’ve had the overwhelming feeling of needing to cry to release too much over everything going on inside of me.

Through the years I have learned ways to cope with feelings or even prevent it. Coping skills like finding a routine or mediating. Presently I’ve been so wrapped up in getting ready, educating myself, planning, doing, doing, and doing that I have not stopped to do what I know I need to. I’ve been trying to prove to myself that I can handle this and I am ok but instead I am actually making myself not as ok as I would like. Thoughts like “I’ll take care of all that after surgery. I’ll have nothing but time”.

I have let my mask fall down with Carl and few other people but I guess most of the time I was still seeing the mask even when I looked in the mirror. I’m being vulnerable in even admitting this to all of you and the tears are falling while I type this. I don’t like admitting that sometimes I’m not as together as I think I am. Yes I know, nobody is perfect, nobody has to have it together all the time. I know all the things that I would say to someone else if this wasn’t me we were talking about. I may take earning that Wonder Woman cape a little too serious.

I have to work on giving myself grace and leaning on other people. I have to get up in the morning and do that meditating that I know helps me so much. I have to write more and research less. I had to spend time with people who are good for my soul. I’ve done that and I am committed to continuing to do it. I would like to say I won’t slip again. I will. If all this is not enough then I need to go talk to the doctor like the stranger suggested.

The support we’ve been shown by many of the Val squad members is overwhelming and so humbling. I’m not sure I understand it but I so appreciate it. People being so good to me makes me cry. The only thing I can figure out is that the tears have to come out to make room for all the love everyone is pouring into us because my heart is so full it needs more room. I feel like I’m growing and I will be different coming out of this. People say it’s because of the cancer but I think it’s because of all of the support.

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