After 6 weeks of interviewing doctors, researching surgical options, reading everything I could get my hands on, and talking to everyone I could get ahold of, I got the call that my surgery had been scheduled for Friday 5/16/14. It came as a complete shock! Despite the fact that I had lots of time to make my decision-- (I know other women who were rushed into surgery almost immediately)-- it really felt crazy that this was ALREADY going to happen!! Isn't it funny how the mind works?
I now had one week to get everything in order before my double mastectomy. Home, school, group x teaching, Beachbody coaching. Lots to get ready.
It wasn't really a convenient time at school. We were winding down the semester and preparing for final exams and the end of the school year. I would have to get a sub to not only cover my classes but review for my finals and then administer my final exams. I would need to relinquish control, and that was very tough for me. I was very fortunate to have some coworker "angels" who stepped in and helped me sort the process out. I had tremendous support from school administration. I found a great sub who met with me to get exact instructions on every little detail. It was crunch-time to grade the dozens of dance performance videos my Dance & Fitness students had just completed. I needed to have my students' grades updated to the very minute I went into surgery so they and their parents knew just where they stood going into finals. I felt the pressure of getting my Adventure students as much climb time as possible so they would get the best climbing grade before I left. I needed to get all the necessary permissions and paperwork filled out and turned in to the school district. Since I wouldn't be back before the end of the school year I needed to make sure all the loose ends were taken care of. It was a crazy time but with much help I was able to get everything in order. I brought home my grading sheets and my rosters with the hope that I would be strong (and lucid) enough to grade the final exams and turn in the final grades by the deadline at the end of May.
The home part of the preparations was a big deal, too. I wanted to leave the house sparkling clean with laundry done and fridge stocked. That takes time, and I didn't have much. My husband James is my rock, and he was right there with me getting everything in order. There was a stop at Target to get a body pillow, some button-up nighties, and some dark chocolate (let's be real, folks). Safeway for the kitchen supplies. Vitamin Cottage for the organic produce and healthy snacks. Bathrooms got scrubbed, bed sheets and towels washed; even the dogs got a bath. Everything was falling into place.
It's crazy how one week-- 7 days-- can seem to drag on forever. Even though I was so busy getting ready for the big day, I couldn't seem to wrap my brain around the fact that I was having major surgery. I was still shaking the cobwebs out of my brain from the residual anaesthesia from my surgery a few weeks before (to retrieve armpit lymph nodes for biopsy) and had no idea how I'd come out of this next one. Since everyone's double mastectomy is different, I had no idea how long my recovery time would be. I needed to plan for at least a month of me laying low.
I was worried about getting subs for my cycle classes at the local 24-Hour Fitness. I teach at odd times and have had trouble in the past finding subs for just one day here and there. The members who take my classes are so committed and many of them have become my dear friends. I didn't want my hiccup to stop their giddy-up. Fortunately, several people stepped in to cover my classes for 6 weeks (just in case) so I would have lots of time to rest and recover.
My Beachbody coaching was the least of my concerns as I look back. I run my challenge groups through Facebook and so all I had to do to prepare was to let my team and my participants know I would be out for a couple of days but would be back in full force within a week. I am grateful I had the flexibility of taking a break and that I could be 100% with my coaching no matter how slow my recuperation process was. I can't tell you how much of a comfort this was, knowing I had a way to help people and bring in income even though my activity would be restricted for a while.
Among all the hustle and bustle of getting all my ducks in a row, in the back of my mind there was still the big "C" word and the questions that go along with it. Would they get all of it out? What if it's spread? How much pain would I be in? What if it turns out I need cheomotherapy after all? Radiation? How long 'til I would feel 100% again? So much to think about that it made my head hurt. I tried to focus on positive thoughts and enjoy every single moment rather than obsess over things I couldn't control.
It was the strangest thing to go to work at the high school that Thursday, the last day before surgery. I felt as though I was in a fog, or a dream. I tried to keep a smile on my face as I went through the motions of saying goodbye to my students and fellow teachers and friends. It was one of the oddest, most bittersweet days of my life. Here is a video I shot of me that day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X2c_GPRFhM
Life was about to change in a big way!