Friday, April 1, 2016

From The Place Our Positive Attitude Should Arise

A whole bunch of the moms I work with who chose life over abortion are in deep crisis right now. Troubles seem to coalesce like pools of algae in a stagnant pond. I wonder why that is.

One of them called with deep struggles and the need for immediate help while I was at the plastic surgeon discussing which form of lopping off my breast would be preferable in the treatment of my cancer. I told the young lady, J, that I would call her after my doc appointment.

The plastic surgeon agreed that if I end up with a full mastectomy, and want to use my own fat tissue to reconstruct the breast, I cannot use my tummy or my thighs. Too small. (Wish I could tell those middle school bullies who used to call me "thunder thighs.") However, he said he could find enough fat on my buttocks to use. Real charmer, that man.

He said that the problem in using butt fat as the lard of choice is that it requires a ten-hour operation and five days in the hospital. Nice as it would be to get a trim bottom (which until yesterday I thought I had), it is probably not worth the trauma. Basically, we are at the same place of leaving it up to me with no really fun choice available. It's like being asked if you would like to have someone pull off your toenails one by one, or stick dull knives in your belly till you bleed to death. No one is offering a third option of an all-expense-paid trip to Europe to combat this disease.

I did find out that whether I get a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, I will have two operations. I hadn't known that and was not doing cartwheels upon hearing this news. First I find out I have a fat bottom, and now I find out I go under the knife twice, no matter what. However, if I get the mastectomy, I might need no chemo OR radiation. If I get the lumpectomy, I must go through radiation. Choices, choices!

If I get the mastectomy, there is a different method of breast reconstruction which involves basically placing a balloon inside the chest muscle at the time of surgery. Then over a period of 3 or 4 visits (maybe less, says the charming plastic surgeon looking at my breasts....), they blow the breasts up to the proper size. The muscle has to stretch, which is why they can't do it all at once. Then there is a second surgery to remove the temporary expander and replace with a semi-permanent one. In ten to fifteen years, that expander needs to be surgically replaced again. That is not a big deal, the surgeon told me. Easy for him to say.

He explained the shape is a little different...more rounded.

"Yes, I know," I said, "I've seen the movie stars."
"Right, they have had implants."
"So I will look like a movie star...but without her salary?"

With all this cheery new info to digest, I called the mom in crisis. I can't share details, but it involved me driving immediately across town to assist her. All is well (sort of) and it was nice to see her very pregnant belly. Life may be crumbling about me in little pieces, but that baby safely growing made me happy.

The boyfriend of the mom told me that despite their struggles, they had a positive attitude. That solves almost everything, he said. A positive attitude is certainly good, and we should all seek to maintain one, however a positive attitude based on our own strength and capabilities will definitely erode. Eventually, we will have to face the fact that we are not up to the desperate challenges of life. On the other hand, a positive attitude based on the promises of God will always sustain us. Our bodies and our minds will fail us, but God never will. He alone has overcome death, and He alone is where our hopes and positive attitude should emanate from.

Joshua 1:9 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

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