Surgery reflections: the day of my double mastectomy

Jul 18, 2023

”She’s just a girl and she’s on fire….”


This song coats my soul and blooms through my veins most days the past 6 months. I’ve known I’ve been heading in this direction for a year now. I didn’t realize I was until I visited my gynocologist last year. 


My mom passed away last summer from ovarian cancer. June 21st, 2023. It was her death day. And while it was the death of her physical human form, her soul lives and graces my life every moment. There is not a day or an hour that I don’t think of her, that I don’t feel her, that I don’t truly know she is right next to me.


A year and two months before my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I felt this constant aching pain in my ovaries. I kept thinking they weren’t supposed to be in me. They needed to come out. It felt like such a crazy thought. I didn’t know anyone who had their ovaries removed, so I did nothing apart from a couple intra-vaginal ultrasounds. My ovaries were lovely as can be, with the exception of a couple benign cysts.


Two and a half years later, my ovaries and Fallopian tubes would be removed after realizing I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. And this past 6 months, as Girl on Fire takes over the hum in my brain, I gather myself in all forms, waiting for my prophylactic double mastectomy. 


That’s what today is. And I’ve decided to write a letter to myself. To the woman that is in surgery as we speak. And to share it. Because I don’t want to hide. Because I don’t want to pretend. Because I don’t want my page to feel like bubble gum and roses while I experience the biggest moments of my life. I want to be real. I want to be raw. I want to be exposed and fully open. I want to grow. And I want to grow as big as I am meant to grow. 


I’ve had so many conversations with myself the past 2 years and 3 months, since learning my mom had ovarian cancer. And after, when learning my dad is BRCA1. So here goes… 


Dearest, dearest Lauren, 


It’s been quite a ride. There has been so much you had no control over, but that’s always been true. You live better without control. I watch you. I see it. The illusion of control is merely that. 


Your heart has housed a vast complexity of emotions… pain, hurt, deep love and gratitude, so many more, these past couple years+. I have watched you grow into an even more beautiful soul. Your refusal to let anyone but you lead your life is awe inspiring. Your mom cultivated this. She cultivated so much within you. You own it and grow it so vividly. You wear it now as she always truly wanted you to.


There is so much others believe she can’t see now. I know she sees it all. 


I am SO proud of you. You have not only hurt so deeply in your heart, you have opened it bigger and truer. You removed shields you previously built and felt, and know life so much richer. Your heart has expanded and you live bigger internally than you ever have… in the areas no one else can see…. They can only feel it.


Your path is just starting. It sounds funny, but it’s true. There is so much you are meant to feel and show… to open doors for others into healing and into themselves.


This has always been your path. You just can’t help but see it now. It’s as clear as the sky on a summer Charleston day.


It all led here. It is in your DNA. This was always meant to be.


So there you are currently, doing something some may call crazy, but something you know you are meant to do and must do.


I couldn’t be more proud of every beautiful thing you are, scars and all. And your mom is, too.

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