Along my journey down this road of previvorship, I have posted a few entries that were very hard to write. I can honestly tell you that this one ranks right up there on top. This post is being written with sadness and honestly a lot of fear, but I’m going to take a deep breath and just tell you what’s going on.
This is a post that will be on all of my sites, Courage Is My Strength, Team Courage Racing, and Team Courage Gazelles. Since you are reading this now, you probably know that I had a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer almost exactly 2 years ago. I have been going through reconstruction since, and due to loss of insurance and several complications a process that should have taken just a few months has stretched into years. But I have been using my story as a way to hopefully light the path for other women fearful of breast reconstruction and have wanted from the bottom of my heart to take some of the fear from those women and hopefully inspire them to chase their dreams at the same time. Courage Is My Strength is about educating by sharing my reconstruction story, and Team Courage is about inspiring women to never give up.
Over the last few months I have guessed that I’ve developed a new problem with my reconstruction. I have been so caught up and excited in my upcoming adventure with my Team Courage Gazelle partner Emme that I have been successfully able to put my worries to the back of my mind. I knew I had developed a fairly rare complication called symmastia, but I really tried not to think about it. But now I have to come to the realization that I can’t ignore this condition any longer.
Basically, to give you the quick version, my pectoral muscle has detached from my breastbone. This is exactly as uncomfortable as it sounds. Since my implants are under that muscle, it means that my implants can cross over the breastbone to the wrong side. They can touch each other and move around in ways they shouldn’t. I could live with that, and have been doing just fine ignoring it for awhile, but recently the muscles have begun to tear more allowing for more movement and causing quite a bit of pain, not to mention it has become physically disfiguring. There are other minor issues going on as well, but the worsening of my symmastia is a problem I can no longer overlook. The surgeries to fix this problem will be painful and I will really have to be diligent in taking care of myself during recovery. I will be pretty limited in my activities, but doing it right will make sure I don’t have to go through this again.
Please know that this isn’t the end of Team Courage! I have had lengthy discussions with all of my team, and all three girls are being super supportive and ready to make 2012 a great year for all of us! Emme was amazing enough to decide to stay with me and sit this year out instead of replacing me. She not only said that she can’t imagine doing the Gazelle Rally without me, she also wisely pointed out that if we are really going to be representing women facing breast cancer, we need to be honest that this kind of stuff happens, and complications are sometimes part of it. So we may be out for 2012, but we are still making big plans.
The 4 of us will all be together for the NORRA Mexican 1000. I will be there to support my team as well as to offer support to the organization that is like my family, if they should need me. The 4 of us will be together for the Powder Puff as well. Again, even if I can’t race, I will be there to cheer on my girls. I’m so proud to say there will be at least one Team Courage vehicle in both events.
The extra time Emme and I will now have to get to Morocco allows us to really do things right. We can launch a really great marketing and funding campaign and also put together a totally rad story about overcoming some pretty amazing obstacles to make it to Morocco. And we WILL make it to Morocco.
Don’t give up on us! Your support during these difficult months will mean everything to us. Plan on hearing a lot from us as we continue racing to make a difference to women facing breast cancer. We have fund raisers, events, fun times, and even a documentary on the horizon. We will see you soon!