Surgery reflections: final thoughts

surgery reflections Aug 01, 2023

I remember driving home from my gynecological appointment last year after realizing, in a flash instant, that having BRCA1 gene mutation didn’t just affect my ovaries.

I sat on the examining table, and one of the first things my doctor said to me was:

“Why didn’t you set up to have your ovaries removed yet?!”

In a fearful, octaves-higher-than-it-needed-to-be voice.

To be honest, I hadn’t yet decided to have that surgery at all. I was in a place of in between, not sure where my beliefs rested for myself yet.

Was this something I definitely felt I needed to do, or was this something that could be altered through other remedies?

We then spoke of my mom, who would pass a couple months later, and I cried. I just couldn’t not cry. There was no stop button. I cried the year before in her office, too, when my father was sick in the hospital with pneumonia and I worried I’d lose him. 

Something about the way she deeply stared into my soul made me feel so exposed, and also so safe. She held a nurturing quality that also got straight to the point. She was no BS.

“When are you having your breasts done?” 

“Uhh, I’m not sure.” 

She couldn’t see my face at this point. She was busy examining me. I stared in disbelief at the ceiling as tears rushed and flooded my face.

What the F?!

As I drove home that day, I bawled on the phone to my husband, then gently shared the sadness of the news with my mom.

My mom was stoic. She didn’t say much. She changed the subject. 

A few weeks before she passed, I was turning left onto my street, heading home from a massage. I was on the phone with my mom. Out of nowhere, she said, “It really upsets me that you have to lose your breasts.” Her voice cracked through audible tears. 

I started to cry. I thanked her a few times for sharing her feelings with me, through my tears. A couple more sentences were shared, then the subject shifted. 

I was so grateful that day to hear her thoughts and tears. My mom wasn’t a woman who shared her deeper feelings in this way. 

To feel that she cared so deeply in that moment was a great gift to me, to the girl who always held big feelings and tears, when happy, sad, angry, and in love. 

My heart aches to remember that moment, and at the same time wishes for so many more truths together just like that. 

The moments that stay with us define our past and create our future. They are like the multicolored lights draped around a Christmas tree, or Chanukah bush, or both, in my moms case. :)

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