I have a couple of options for reconstruction, an implant or a flap procedure, but to be honest, I find it incredibly difficult to make a decision on this. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t want an implant, but would go with a DIEP FLAP reconstruction.
There are pros and cons to both of these, but personally, I feel like the balance leans toward the flap procedure for me. They are both a multiple surgery process, but the long term risk analysis leads me to the flap procedure, even thought it’s a much more major undertaking.
No matter what I decide, I will not have my reconstruction done in Alaska. That is one of the reasons I am not in a big hurry to get the ball rolling on it. I’ve done some preliminary research and found four surgeons in the Florida panhandle (where my family lives) who perform this procedure and come with high recommendations and success rates. However, I’m not ready to commit to being away for a few months with Michael having to fly back and forth for surgeries. That’s too much time apart, quite a large financial commitment, and emotionally draining.
We are hoping to learn something at the end of this year about where we might be stationed next. That information could be a catalyst in helping me decide what to do and where to do it. If we find out that we will be moving to a major city in the lower 48 or even in Europe, that would give me further research opportunities.
What I really want you to take away from this mini-series is this – just because my hair is growing back and I’m no longer receiving intense treatments, doesn’t mean my battle is over.
There are a couple other things I want you to know.
The most important is that I serve a mighty God. He does exceedingly more than I could ever come up with on my own. He has this entire thing in His hands. I have admitted sometimes having difficulties trusting His plan, but that’s mostly because I don’t know what it is. But, I’m not sure I would want to know what it is, if given the opportunity. I think knowing the plan would be a bit like spoiling a really great surprise. I don’t know why I have had to battle these things. It could be to change my heart, to help another fighter, for my childrens’ sake, to help a family member’s faith, to spread Christ’s love even further than I could have otherwise, or any number of things I’m not smart enough to even think of. But I do know that in the end, all will be well and exactly as it should be.
This last thing cannot be skipped over and also deserves a prominent place here in writing. My dear husband, Michael, plainly put, is a hero. All the nice words in the world could not do justice to the support he has been – not just this past year, but for the entirety of the time we have loved each other, which is 17 years! This past year has been the hardest year we have faced together and he has been a rock star. Michael has endured more than his fair share of my bad attitude and steroid rages. He has held me while I cried, and stayed up late as I needed to talk about just one more thing. Michael has also mostly suffered in silence in my presence. He had the wisdom to see that I needed him to carry me through this storm, and protect me from some junk. He did all this while working (though we are blessed that he was able to work at home much of the time), completing the last couple of classes and earning his Bachelor’s degree, being mostly responsible for the kids, homeschool, and the house, and shining a light into our lives that we were not capable of seeing on our own.
Michael, I love you and could not do this life without you.