There have been a few ultra-stressful times this year, but one of the worst was trying to assess whether or not to commit to having a double mastectomy based on all the information I have gathered from the breast care nurse, breast surgeon (who will remove the breast tissue), the plastic surgeon (who does the reconstruction), geneticist (who gave me a 10 year update) and the counsellor (who has spoken to people who could have had the surgery and didn’t then got cancer and are coming to terms with that).
Father’s day was coming up and things weighed really heavily on my mind. Some nights I couldn’t sleep without a sleeping pill. My dad called to check I was having coming to the pizza lunch at my brother’s house. I was exhausted from all the thinking, the stress and the lack of sleep. The appointments, the scans and results which were not coming back with everything is fine. The hour trip to the hospital, the waiting, the hour trip home. The keeping it all together so the kids didn’t suspect anything amiss. Keeping the routine, cleaning, shopping, school runs, cooking, activities, catchup and I was really really tired.
I didn’t want to go to family lunch. I just wanted to sit in the corner of my closet and just have time out. To try and get rid of all the pressure I felt. I said “no” to lunch. That didn’t go down well. I was too tired to argue so on fathers day I made breakfast in bed for the father in our house. Got the kids ready and packed to go to lunch for my dad’s happiness.
I was so unhappy I was on the edge of crying. To keep the tears in I didn’t talk to anyone. I wanted to tell them all I everything I knew. I wanted someone to tell me what to do. Instead I sat, unable to eat, or drink or talk. I hugged my tired baby who was missing her nap to be at lunch. I hugged her and I felt her warmth and got comfort from her looking into my eyes. I focused on that and my thoughts cleared for a few minutes before the statistics and medical terminology flooded back. Before the wave of emotion rose again and I felt the tears form as I wanted to release it all and for the wave to crash. I held on and sat through the noise of superficial discussions and then the series of photos taken for posterity. I thought about what if this was the last fathers day, for dad, for me…who will be here next year.
This was so out of character for me (the extrovert and social butterfly). My dad and step mum both looked at me and said they were so glad I came even though I didn’t want to. They were happy so that was good.
I take half a sleeping pill that night to force the thoughts to stop. Finally, a rest.
Have you had an experience like this? How do you deal with the pressures of everyday life when you’re facing such big decisions? Leave a comment below or share your story, it would be great conversation to have.
Blog by Dyna Eldaief
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