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I Feel Like a Lab Rat

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So far on my breast cancer journey I’ve had nine surgeries, eight rounds of chemo, three ‘let’s check this out’ procedures accompanied by anesthesia and at least seven ‘let’s check this out’ procedures without anesthesia. The last with anesthesia was an endoscopic tour of my pancreas. This was a precautionary measure because I carry the BRCA2 gene. That means in addition to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, I have a higher than average risk for melanoma and pancreatic cancer.

Do you know what an endoscopic excursion involves? Just as they’re about to administer the anesthesia, they ask you to swallow a garden hose with a light, a camera and a scalpel attached. We’re having some fun now!

Mind you, I’m not complaining. This isn’t one of those “Oh, they’re spending my money, running all these tests,” because as my wonderful physician Dr. Jim Martin says, “We’re going to watch you like a hawk from here on out.” That’s fine with me but after my recent breast surgery number nine to keep my new implant where it’s supposed to be, by stitching a sling out of cadaver skin to my ribs for the implant to rest in, I am beginning to feel like a lab rat.

Why did they do that, you ask? Because my five-month-old silicone gel implant dropped halfway between where it should have been and my navel. I must say it was an unusual site, ranking up there with the bearded lady in the circus, and rare enough to make my plastic surgeon do a double, no a triple take and ask if I jumped rope or tap-danced as a hobby.

Most days I do pretty well relinquishing control of all of this to God, although there are days I greedily snatch it back and act like I am not running through this crazy maze for nothing! For the most part God has made my fears disappear and for that, I am humbled and grateful.

However, if I may say so, instead of breast cancer surgery Number Nine, I would much rather have had Love Potion Number Nine. “I held my nose, I closed my eyes… I took a drink.” Come to think of it, I’ve done that already.