April 5, 2011April 5th, 2011 at 9:11 am by Deanna Dewberry under Deanna's Journey
Today is the day. In just a few hours my surgeon will remove my breasts. It’s odd. I’ve never thought much about my boobs until I faced losing them.
The last few weeks have been hard. I wrote in the last post that I was paralyzed by indecision. I was also paralyzed by fear. Fears paralyze when they’re unspoken. Had I written about it, prayed about it, talked about it, I would have sucked the life force from fear – rendering it powerless. Instead a sat in silence with Fear, allowing him to move in and take residence in my spirit - stealing my faith, draining my joy.
Several weeks ago, during an exam, my oncologist found Fred, the tumor. You’ll remember months ago there was no palpable sign of Fred. But on that day, there he was, a marble-sized nodule in my right breast. I was so sure he was gone. I believed he was gone. But there he was. My oncologist believes he is likely harmless tissue – the body of that malevelent Fred now long dead. But what if it’s not? What if Fred survived the onslaught of chemo drugs and lies in wait, having sent his vile progeny to distant sites, ready to strike again in months or years?
That was my fear. No correction. That was my Fear. Fear became one bad boy with a capitol F, silent and sinister, stealthily undermining my faith. That’s what happens when we don’t talk to God about our fear – when we fail to give Him our cares – when we forget that our Father is so much bigger than our fears.
That’s why I didn’t write for weeks. I felt I’d failed. My faith was wavering, and I was a failure. If this cancer was a test of faith, I flunked – big time. Then on Sunday, my pastor preached to me. Jeremiah 18. It tells the story of that potter who was shaping clay that was marred in his hands. So the potter shaped it into another pot – a beautiful pot without flaws. ”Like clay, in the hands of the potter, so are you in my hand,” God tells us in the 6th verse.
Wow. Ain’t that great stuff?! I am flawed. I did fail. But God ain’t through with me yet. And He continues to bless us even in our failure, our weakness, our fear. I asked God to forgive me for my fear, and then finally, I forgave myself. I’m crying again. I do a lot of that lately. But these are tears of relief. Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of self is a gift to the soul.
And so.. that brings me back to surgery reconstruction. Part of the reason I had such a difficult time with the decision is because I was afraid of making the wrong choice. And then I went to see a plastic surgeon. I stood before this guy in nothing but a pair of panties. Geez. It’s humbling. In this place and space, he was the potter, and I was the imperfect, marred pot. He needed to see where I had viable fat to build new boobies. I’ve dropped 15 pounds since I started chemo. He felt my tummy. Not enough fat there. So he felt my thighs. Nope not there. “Turn around,” he said. “Yep, they could probably take enough from there.” I was elated. ”But Deanna, your butt will likely look pretty different,” he said bursting my bubble – literally. He explained that my bubble butt - as my mother always called it when I was a child - would likely be considerably flatter after surgery because there wouldn’t be nearly as much fat left.
That did it. I’ve always had junk in my trunk, as do all the women on my father’s side of the family. It’s who I am. It seemed counterproductive somehow to change something with which I’m comfortable to change something with which I’m not.
So later today, I’ll have expanders placed beneath the pectoral muscles. Doctors will add saline to the expanders to stretch the skin over time. In three to six months, my new breasts will be big enough for implants. The mastectomy and expander placement will take 4 to 6 hours. And we could find out by surgery’s end whether Fred is truly dead.
And so it is. I’m at peace. My faith is not in the hands of the surgeons, but my faith lies in the fact that their hands are guided by One who is greater, a Potter molding mind, body, and spirit into the vessel He wants me to be. Please pray for me today.