Wednesday, July 31, 2013

197.4: 5 Positives for Mind/Body

My first Weigh In Wednesday after my mastectomy surgery.  I started out the day of surgery at 194.  My lowest was in February at 187.  Today, all drains out, I weigh 197.4.  Not bad considering my gastric band was loosened and I can eat way more than I should be.  Not bad considering I've been eating casseroles and things that I wouldn't normally make.  Not bad considering that I am still pretty swollen in my abdomen from where they took the flaps.

Today is weigh in number 1 to recovery and resuming weight loss mode!

Pretty Strong Medicine

It occurred to me that there are things that I can do to make myself feel better.  To make my body feel better and my psyche feel better.

1.  I am being kind to my fingernails.  I'm taking care of them and the cuticles that I usually neglect into dryness and poor condition.

2.  I am taking care of my face.  I've purchased new skincare because I need to switch it out every so often.  Philosophy is my line of choice.  I'm committed to washing, night and day, and using moisturizer to improve my skin.

3.  I'm taking care of my tootsies.  My feet.  I usually neglect them and they're dry and not the best looking.  Well, no more, I'm committed to doing the foot care that makes my feet soft and silky and keep my toenails polished with F U Cancer colors.

4.  I'm committed to getting back to walking daily.  Even if it is the couple of blocks at a time.

5.  I'm committed to eating mindfully again.  Why am I eating?  Hungry?  Bored?  Hurting?  Emotional?  If it's something other than hungry, announce it!  Be honest about it and move on, with the intent to do better next time.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Body Image

Body image is a strange thing.  I mean, we're all so different.  No two people alike.  Well, I guess they are, if you're a twin or something.  But the rest of the world?  We are all different.

As little girls we grow up seeing out mothers and their shape and how they view their bodies.  Are they thin or thick, tall or short, round or flat?  Do they mention their frame and their shape?  Do they just naturally live in their frame?  Do they constantly diet?  Or eat whatever and seem to make no mention?  Our idea of body image is first instilled by those closest to us.

As a child I remember my Mom being...perfect.  Not too tall, not too short, not big or thin.  My Aunt was thin, but always dieting.  I don't remember the particular diet, but I remember a constant conversation on dieting.  The thing is, I remember wanting to be like my aunt.  Mostly, only because she wasn't my Mom, and the grass is always greener on the other side. 

I've said before, but I have a few particular memories about body image.  I believe I was 11, the summer after 5th grade.  I had been wearing a bra for about a year and started my period.  My sister, our neighborhood friends and I were playing outside.  We all had swimsuits on with some shorts and t shirts on over it.  A neighbor was airing out his camper trailer and said we could hang out in it.  We little girls giggled and talked and as we got hot, we took off our shirts and shorts.  Only I wasn't "little".  Even though I was 11 and about the same age as the other girls, I had developed hips and breasts and in my swimsuit I must have appeared more teen/woman, than child.  The neighbor came in to make sure we were ok and mentioned me and my suit in some manner, but no one else.  I was instantly embarrassed, aware of something being "wrong" and as he left, I put my shorts and shirt back on.  I instantly felt different from the other girls and my first instinct was to attempt to blend back in and become invisible.  This would shape my body image for years and years to come.

The one that I've talked about before was being with my aunt and a friend of hers in the yard.  We were sitting on a blanket and the friend was asking about me.  At the time I was about 12, tall for my age at 5'7" and thin.  Her friend said something to the effect that it was awesome that I was so tall because I could gain weight and it wouldn't show because of my height.  I was 12.  And I think that's one of the interactions that would also shape my image for years to come.

My body image is horrible, I'll be the first to admit it.  When I was gaining weight in college and afterwards, I remember thinking to myself "I'm not that bad."  What does that even mean?  That I'm fat, but it's ok?  That I'm not really fat, just big boned/large?  That I'm thin, but just different than other women?  That I'm just average, but bigger?  At this point, I don't even know.  It seems silly and dumb when I think about it, but at the time it made sense.

I bit of me, a tiny voice in my head, is struggling again.  And I have to say that even though this surgery and the flap procedure fit my life best, I almost changed my mind.  Why?  I was concerned about my body image.  Only not what you would think; not about my breasts.  I was/am concerned about my hips/butt.  I have this incredibly flat tummy right now from surgery.  I have these beautiful breasts that are in place and not saggy from weight loss.  But my hips and tummy?  They're still the same.  Large.

It's a shame really.  I go through this incredible weight loss than changes my life and my body.  I start coming to grips with my body image and how it's changed, but livable and beautiful in it's own right.  Then this new life changing thing happens.  And again I have to figure out not only what my body image is, but how to successfully live with it.  It's never ending, this body image thing.

Try this:  What's your body look like to you?

Tell me, how close were you to your actual body shape?  What's your body image?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Rollercoaster Goes Up and Down

So Thursday Pete and I ventured out to the doctor.  Good spirits, hopeful for the drains to come out.

Unfortunately the output was still too much.  I knew it.  Really KNEW it.  But it still brought me to tears when the doctor left the room.  He must have known too because he agreed to take one of the two out.  Still, I was so disappointed.  I wanted to shower.  I wanted to progress at my pace, not my body's pace.

As I lay on the table and he was looking me over he noticed the hard lump just above my left breast.  He asked about it.  I told him that it's always been there, I told the other doctor about it last week and he said it was normal.  I said that it's uncomfortable to the point of painful at times. 

He prodded and pushed and felt.  And as he did, he looked concerned, his brows flexing.  He said that he was concerned at this point, that it had not gone down as the right one had.  He asked the nurse to see about getting an ultrasound to check for blood clots.  My face must have turned ashen and Pete's face dropped as I stared at him. 

Thankfully Pete piped up and asked if it was the kind to be concerned about traveling.  Thankfully, no.  He explained that sometimes there is a large pool of blood that can settle in the tissue and that's the kind of blood clot he was talking about. If not that, it may be a portion of the fat that is dying off and would be consumed by the body in time.

He took the one drain out and we waited to see about the ultrasound.  While we did, he decided to see what he could get out of the lump with a needle.  He numbed me up and I closed my eyes.  I felt like the roller coaster was heading below ground and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  He poked and poked several times.  Nothing came out and we were sent home to return the next day for the test.

I spent a pretty restless night, worrying about the possibility of having to go back into surgery to get a pool of blood out.  Ultimately, the area is inflamed tissue and fat.  My body has to reabsorb the fat and the tissue just needs to settle on it's own.

I am reminded that life is a series of ups and downs.  I need to ride it out.  I need to believe in myself and the love of those around me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Kindness of Friends

(I'm blaming the muscle relaxer, this posted already and I can't figure out if it's me or the site...Oh well.)

I joked before surgery that my recovery would be filled with Pete's dinners of eggs or eggs and grits.  He can cook, and cook very well.  The thing is that he doesn't know what to put together, without some help from me, about what is in the house or what fits together.

Friday my coworker friend brought over several meals for Pete and I.  I was humbled beyond words.  Humbled.  This is an awesome show of support and love from people I interact with daily.  They mean much more to me than simply co worker.

This is a rhubarb cake.  Pete drooled when he saw it.  I'd show you the wonderful Asian letter wraps that came with this, but we inhaled them before I thought about it.

This is a wild rice soup and a Mexican casserole.  I love that the soup is frozen, because there is no way to eat all this food before it spoils.  The Mexican casserole I actually split and froze a portion also.  Yummy!

Taco Pasta.  This is my kryptonite.  This is the salad that I long for from the deli.  And I had to restrain myself to not dig in as soon as I saw it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Lovely, spicy and full of veggies.  There was 1/2 gallon of it and thankfully I could freeze some of this too.

My co workers are more than that, they're friends.  Friends who listened to me through this.  Supported me when I was down and needed to vent at work.  Who cover my job function while I'm out.  Who email me little tidbits to keep me informed.  They are good friends.  And I appreciate them like none other.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2 Weeks and High Hopes

Two weeks post surgery and I'm off to my second doctor appointment today.  He is going to check out my surgery sites and the drains.

The drains are there to allow the excess fluid to escape the body.  When your body is injured, it sends fluid to the area.  The lymph system isn't one of the body's systems that one usually hears about.  It's like a virus protection that runs in the background of your computer.  The nodes in the various places of your body have a fluid that filters out the impurities of the body.  When the body is hurt/injured, it sends more fluid to that area to filter out the bad and promote healing.  If you cut yourself, you can sometimes wee the clear fluid along the cut, before it mingles with your blood.

At any rate, when you have surgery, the body believes that it's "injured" and the lymph system kicks into overdrive.  The drains are there to collect the fluid so that there's not too much swelling and discomfort.  As the body heals, the amount of fluid slows down.  However, the drains can end up being a double edged sword.  At some point, the fact that the foreign item is in/out of the body, you run the risk of infection being introduced to the body.  Two weeks is the usually the max that doctors like to leave it in. 

Like the science lesson?

A couple of days ago, my fluid started to increase, instead of decrease.  In fact it's up to 40 ccs on each side.  I know that in order for the drains to be taken out, they should be under 10 cc's in 24 hours.  The drains are painful where they enter my body.  They're at a spot in my upper pubic area that make wearing panties and pants difficult.  The tubes catch when I sit down or on clothing and pull. 

To be honest, I want them out.  But I'm afraid that the doctor is going to tell me that with the output they have to stay in.  I'm anxious again, not to the point that I was pre-surgery, but anxious.  I'm trying to mark time to a new milestone in recovery and this is the one that I'm hanging my hat on for now.  Once out, I'll be a whole lot more comfortable.  Once out I can shower (try living on sink washing up for 2+ weeks and see how it goes) I'll feel so much better.

I'm admitting that I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but they're pretty high even so.  We shall see.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Weight, Drains and Knowing My Body

Breakfast @ 8am:  1 piece of white toast with 1/2 avocado mashed on.
Lunch @ noon:  most of a artichoke panini from Panera.
Dinner @ 6: ready to eat Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes.

In between I had 5 pieces of Australian blueberry licorice, 1/6 of a single layer round chocolate cake, 4 Keebler chocolate lovers chocolate chip cookies and potentially other things that I forgot. 

When I finished most of the sandwich at lunch I knew I needed to visit Dr July again.  So I made an appointment for a fill on my Realize Band in 8/7/13.  When I was into the doctor last week he told me that I would be safe going back for a fill one month out from surgery.

I haven't been weighing myself because really it's not a fair weight.  In addition to any weight I may have gained, I had swelling in some areas still and I have 2 drains left.  The drains look like this:
The drains themselves have weight to them and they hang by pins on an elastic belt at my waist.  There is about 8 inches of tubing and the ball outside my body.  About 4-8 inches of tubing is inside my body.  There is also the fluid that collects in them over the day.  It's between 30-40 cc currently.  So I know that weighing myself now isn't accurate and I don't want to be frustrated.

That said, I can feel myself slipping onto bad eating habits and being less active because it's easier.  I need both a plan to increase exercise and eat better and to get my band filled so I can use that tool to remind me about eating. 

These are my action plans: 
1.  Set the appointment and stick to it.
2.  Before I eat anything, ask myself if what I'm feeling and if I'm really hungry or just emotional.
3.  Walk twice a day OR do some activity in lieu of walking.  For instance,  washing up along with washing my hair or shaving my parts counts as activity (for now).
4.  Be mindful of getting back to healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Feel Defeated

I sit in my recliner every day.  It's as though it's my compact little home.  I eat while sitting in it, sleep while sitting in it, watch TV in it, read in it, crochet in it...everything. 

At almost 2 weeks out, I can be home by myself.  I get up and wash up in the sink as best I can.  Every third day I wash my hair in the sink as best I can and let it dry or if I have enough strength, I dry it a bit with the blow dryer.  Just doing that, exhausts me.  I have to go back to my chair and rest for a while.

I've had lunch guests almost every day I've been home, either Pete or family/friends.  Sunday we had a friend over with her 3 dogs for about an hour.  Then I had a friend from a message board I belong to over for an hour or so.  I was wiped out.  The activity, even if I'm only sitting in my chair, tires me out.

When I'm by myself I read on my Nook, watch some TV (but this is already getting old), crochet a line or two, play a game on my phone/social network or read blogs/message boards on my netbook.  I take the dog out every couple of hours by putting him on his line and I sit in a chair on the patio.  The sun feels good on my face and the weather's been good.

I tried early on to get into bed to sleep and couldn't do it.  I couldn't lean back, even with a bunch of pillows  and Pete and I struggled to get me out.  Last Friday, I could get in bed myself and I took a couple hour restless nap there.  So last night I decided I was strong enough to get in bed and I was going to slept the night there with Pete.  It's so disjointed to me to kiss him good night and we go to separate rooms.  I just want to cuddle with him again.  Watch TV with him holding my hand (even the chair makes this hard).

I got in and adjusted the Sleep Number bed and relaxed.  And it felt wonderful.  For about 3 hours.  Then I felt like I just couldn't support myself or I was sliding down and the pressure on my abdomen and my chest was uncomfortable.  Actually it started about 2 hours in and I kept readjusting myself to see if I could figure out the combination.  But it just wasn't going to work.

I feel so defeated.  This is the point in recovery where I feel ok and I think I could be back to "normal" and the fact that I'm not makes me feel just miserable.  I cried as I got out of bed and came back down to my chair.  Pete comforted me, but in the end, he again had to kiss me goodnight and head to our separate rooms.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday; Better Late Than Never

My life in photos:

My meds and vitamins/supplements.  Some of them are regular meds for TMJ issues and pain management.  Some of the are vitamins/supplements that I usually take.  I have pain meds from surgery, a couple of meds to help relax muscles and some to help me sleep.

Gifts and cards from friends.  I have some wonderful friends who have brightened my days.  There's a crocheted infinity scarf from a friend and a shirt and some cards from family members.
My world.  I covered the pleather recliner so it was more comfortable.  I use the fan at night to help buffer sounds and let me sleep.  I have my netbook, my Nook, my phone, magazines and some crochet I started.  I've managed to read a whole book, but up until a couple of days ago, I didn't have enough concentration to stay focused long enough to read.  The crochet helps work my chest muscles little by little.  The rest is just to keep me occupied.  TV is starting to feel like it's draining my brain cells and I need something to exercise my brain.

There it is, my life, currently.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Fives; Post Surgery Edition

1.  Dr appointment yesterday:  healing well, took 2/4 drains out (yay!), got a binder garment to help support tummy and back, next appointment 1 week out. 

2.  15 minutes into the drive to the doctor , I was exhausted. It's amazing how quickly strength and stamina leave you when you don't use them. 

3.  I feel slightly like I am on house arrest in my electric recliner in my living room. 

4.  Part of my trip out yesterday involved the grocery store. Fresh fruit, veggies, cheese, a bit of cooked turkey/tuna/chicken and yogurt. It's what my body is craving and I'm going with it!  (Yay for changes and healthiness.)

5.  Goal:  start walking outside for 20 minutes, 3 times a week. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

197; New Struggles, New Goals

First of all, I'm using my phone to post, so if there are weird words, I'm blaming autocorrect. 

Life at home hasn't been without its struggles. My tummy incision is sore, along with the creases where my legs attach to my torso. I struggle with not necessarily a pain, but burning. It's  as though there is a hot poker in my abdomen and likeI wore  underwear that had really tight leg holes for weeks.  Sunday Pete finally put it all into place for me. Those are the liposuction areas. Ah ha!  (I no longer will ever joke about having lipo, that shit hurts.). So I do what can to make it not, by not overdoing things. If I'm trying to do something, I stop as soon as it starts. Our house has also become a no pants/shorts house for me, and if I'm honest with you...commando. The drains in my lower tummy aren't comfortable in underwear. I swear that when I have visitors, I put undies on. Otherwise I'm making use of Pete's old 3X tshirts and a mens button up 3X shirt I bought. 

By Sunday I was behind the pain, meaning the pain was winning. I could sleep only an hour at a time and it wasn't a restful sleep at all. My Mom told me to call the on call doctor about it. But i didnt want to because I hate feeling like someone thinks I'm a drug seeker. But I was getting desperate and the Tylenol3 wasn't cutting it every 6 hours. So I called and the doctor poo-poo'd me and just told me to up the dose to every 4 hours.  I was deflated. Sunday night was the same, a hour or two of light, unrestful sleep.  

Monday when I called for my toll ow up appointment the nurse asked how I was doing. I told her, almost in tears, and she had the doctor call me. He explained that he'd rather attempt to address my lack of sleep that has really continued since surgery and see what my pain is like once I'm rested. So he called in Valium to help me sleep. I tried napping and mom Mom saw how bad it was and went to get the med right away. I slept for 3.5 hours Monday afternoon. Monday night I wore Pete's Up or Link or whatever it is that he uses for tracking fitness/calories and sleep. I went to sleep at 10 pm, woke at midnight for pain meds and right back to sleep. Woke at 3:30am for the bathroom, took meds and thought I was up for the day.  Next think I know, it's 6 am. I slept for 3.5 deep sleep and about 3 in light sleep. I feel wonderful!  And the pain is better. 

1:  get at least my upper drains out on Thursday. They're starting to irritate my ribs. The lower ones I think are going to end up staying in 2 weeks, based on output currently. 
2:  sleep in bed with Pete. I miss it!  

Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm Home!

There is something about recuperating at home. Comfortable in my own surroundings. Not being woken up every hour for vital checks. 

The incision  in my abdomen burns When I move, as though someone is laying a hot poker against it. My chest feels compacted and heavy. I've used my head and neck too much as pivots to move from bed and I have a pretty crappy head and neck ache. 

So it's short again. But better news every day. I haven't been emotional about it all since surgery. I've seen my nipple-less chest and it so swollen that I can't judge them. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

???; made it through

I made it. 
Very very tired. 
Eating wears me out. Sitting does too. 

Short and sweet update ill come back in a few days for a longer one. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Surgery Day

If you're reading this, I'm in surgery.  8-12 hours of surgery.

 First the surgeon takes all the breast tissue from my chest.  It reaches up by the collarbone and over towards my armpits.  That should take 1-2 hours.  She'll also take my nipples.  Then she turns it over to the plastic surgeons for reconstruction. 

The plastic surgeons will take the leftover fat and tissue from my abdomen and belly to form new breasts.  They'll be taking a small vessel from my abs and burrowing under the skin to my chest so that the tissue in my breasts has a blood supply.  They'll perform microsurgery to connect it to a vessel in my chest.  Then they'll take some of the skin from my belly to cover the area where my nipples were.  7-10 hours to complete this part.

The area that is around the biopsy that was inconclusive, along with other tissue from my chest that was taken out will be tested for cancer.  If it is, I'll need to meet with an oncologist.  That person will develop a treatment plan which could include radiation, chemo or other options.  From what I know, most likely radiation.  The concern, is that radiation in my chest could cause the new breasts to die off.  If that happens, I'd need to go back into surgery for breast implants.

I'll be in the hospital for about 4 days.  I had an electric recliner chair that I rented, delivered to me so that I can stay on the main level of my house, not worry about stairs and sleep in it. 

I'm accepting any prayers, good thoughts and/or vibes that you can spare.  I'll update from my phone as soon as I can.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

193; T Minus 24 Hours

In 24 hours I'll be on the operating table.

My stomach is in knots.
My heart is racing.
My mind is spinning.

My plan is to be doing something, anything, ALL. DAY. LONG.

I'm totally admitting that I went grocery shopping yesterday and bought comfort foods; chocolate, crackers, Velveeta Shells & Cheese, Chocolate Chex Mix, Noosa Yogurt (high calorie), apple pie with whipped cream, Red Velvet Ice Cream..."

Some of it I've been indulging in now and others I'm leaving for after surgery.  I've been losing weight though because my stomach is in knots so much.  Not the way I want to lose it.

So I'm off to pick up prescriptions, get my glasses adjusted because I'll be wearing them a lot and getting a mani/pedi.  I can't have colored polish on my fingers so it's clear for them.  My toes, however, will be a bright F-U to cancer purple or something.

I haven't shared this journey with everyone in my life.  My Facebook page has been quiet about this and I've been selective in who I tell.  I'm trying to decide if I should just put a status on there so it's out and I can talk about it or if I want to keep it quiet.  You can't take back something like this and I've regretted saying something to a group already.  It's not a secret, but I don't want pity and I don't want this to dominate conversations forever, you know?  Decisions...

Remember when I chose a word to live by for 2013?  GRACE is my word.  I've been thinking a lot about this.  I think it was meant to be that I chose that.  I hope that I am living in grace with all of this.  I hope that I have grace offered to me from the world, from friends, family and God.

So I'll be back to update as soon as I can. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

194.5; I Got Biker Married

Thursday Pete and I packed up the camper and the bike and rode out of town.
Trailer packed with a bear for the kids we pass to wave at.
We travelled about 3 hours south to Algona, IA.  The Abate Freedom Rally.  A true biker rally, the kind you think about when you think bikers and the kind you see on TV.  Lots of good people watching for Pete and I.  He doesn't drink at all and I have a beer every month or so.  Neither of us is into public nudity.  But we are into seeing the different bikes, the contests, the bands and watching others get crazy.

Me; all "bikered" up.  My coworkers wouldn't recognize me!
Listening to a band the first night.
I had a great time.  It was hot, sunny and perfect weather.  It was also the best distraction ever.  I thought about surgery a couple of times, but mostly just tried to relax and hold Pete's hand a lot.

We also got biker married.  An organization called Christian Motorcycle Association helps out at the rally every year.  And this year, 2 months shy of our 5th wedding anniversary and the week before this life altering surgery, it seemed appropriate for Pete and I to recommit ourselves to each other.  We didn't renew vows, because they still stand.  They never left.  We recommitted ourselves to each other with the same ideas of marriage as before.  It's here to stay for both of us, through good and bad.

Pete and I before the service.

Pastor Carey talking about how important it is to remember why we got married in the first place and to keep those ideas in our hearts.

Praying over us.  I cried.

I cried I in the service, holding Pete's hand.  Pastor Carey was talking about being together in all times, loving and supporting each other.  It was as if he knew that I was going to be having some hard times and wanted to remind us that this is all part of it.

Recommitted!  Yay!
I know it's hard to see, but I have a necklace on in the last photo.  It's beaded with a silver wedding cake, ring and heart.  Pete asked about having a ceremony the day before when I was taking a nap.  So the CMA's had no idea until then, that we wanted to do this.  At the end of the ceremony, the pastor brought out that necklace.  He relayed that not even an hour prior, a woman who volunteers for the rally had come up to him and asked if someone was getting married.  She wanted the bride to have this necklace.  I cried again.  It was like the world had spoken about Pete and I and our journey.  It was as though God was telling me that I'd be ok and Pete would be ok also.

So here I am, committed for life and a little more ready to face this surgery.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

A Letter To My Boobs

Dear Boobs,

We've been together for 33 years. I remember when you showed up.  I was confused and not very happy about it. I wanted to chose to wear that cotton/elastic bra or not. But I found that in polite society in the 70's that wasn't done. So that bra stayed, and many more followed. 

When I look back I tried to think if the things you did for me or brought me. My first reaction was that you brought nothing to my life. But if that's the case, I shouldn't be so emotional about losing you. 

Reality is, you help define me as a woman. You announce to others, along with other features, that I am a woman. That's a powerful thing. So losing you makes me question will others be able to recognize me as a woman?  How will I define myself when you're gone?  

I'm sad you're leaving. You're a big part of me.  But you have to go. I can't live life wondering if that 6 month scan will reveal cancer that results in more surgery, chemo and radiation. I can't wonder when it will happen because its not a matter if if, but when it happens. 

So I'm saying goodbye boobs. You'll be gone in a couple of days. Ill have some replacements for you. Please understand and wish the new ones well. 


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

194; Anxiety

I'm running on anxiety lately. It pops up when I least expect. Yesterday I visited with my parents after work. My Dad gave me a wonderful gesture of support and we both teared up. Then my anxiety flared. 

I had someone question me about the anxiety. If I'm so anxious, is this really what I should be doing?  It's a question that I ask myself often. Do I really need to do this drastic surgery?  

I look at it logically. If I didn't, I'd need to still have some surgery of sort to figure out if it was cancer. If it was, I'd be in this same spot where I am now, on to this drastic surgery. If it was negative/not cancer, then I have 2 divots in my right breast showing the surgeries. And I'm up for an MRI/mammogram every 6 months with a decision to take a low dose chemotherapy drug for the next 5+ years and all the side effects that come with that. 

So is this surgery really what I should be doing?  

Yes. Resounding yes. It's my best option. 

But this is the's a large, drastic, life altering surgery. And with that comes huge emotions and worries and uncertainty. So the anxiety?  It's somewhat to be expected, don't you think?