Monday, December 17, 2012

Claire's Turn for Surgery

Some of the time, I covet the strength, stamina, and tenacity of this amazing family.  Most of the time, I feel really guilty to be blessed with great health while others have so much on their plates .... this experience really does give me pause.  All of the time, I know how extremely lucky I am to be friends with such fabulous people like Claire, Erin, and their families.

Stamina and endurance will be gracing this family as they take another big step (or leap!!!!) this week.  Claire's surgeon felt moving up her mastectomy would be the best plan.  Claire has had a minor, but annoying, complication since her lymphnodectomy last month, that could eventually lead to infection.  Unfortunately, chemo compromises the immune system and leaves Claire at a disadvantaged state to battle that possibility.  So, Claire's surgery (single mastectomy) is scheduled for this Wednesday, December 19th, first thing in the morning.  At this point, she is scheduled to spend one night in Sacred Heart Hospital.

When we knew that she would definitely be facing a mastectomy, I tried to think of the positives.  I made *genius* comments about how Claire has a great husband who will love her no matter what the surgeon has to take from her, and that she won't be having any more babies, so nursing isn't an issue.  I was truly trying to find the silver lining to a cloud that really should just be allowed to be a bitter, dark, ugly cloud.  Claire said to me, "Well, this is the first body part I have ever had to say goodbye to."  To me, that statement was so, so powerful.  I needed that perspective.

This absolutely sucks and will not be easy.  And, regardless of her love and support system, Claire is so absolutely allowed to feel this loss and mourn it.  If I had to walk in her shoes, I know I would share those sentiments.  Thank you Claire, for showing me that side.  It used to be in our society, that we were allowed to mourn.  Widows and widowers wore black ribbons on their arms for a year following the loss of their beloved spouse, trauma was met with love, support and understanding, etc.  Those things still happen in some ways, but all too often, geniuses (like me) just want to make everyone feel better, to take away the pain, and to get back to just being happy.

Claire, you are allowed to mourn the loss of your breast.  You are allowed to be angry.  You are allowed to grieve.  You are the one who will face the scars each and every day.  I am angry, too.  I am at a loss as to why this has happened.  Truly there is no reasonable explanation that I can fathom.  The silver lining for your family and friends is that YOU will still be here and that YOU are not defined by your breast.  I think I will just have to tie a black ribbon around my boob....  wait.... that won't work.  Maybe just a black bow on my bra each day?  I don't know.  Just know that you are loved and that yes, this completely sucks but is so worth it, to save YOU.

Terry has returned to Spokane and will be holding Claire's hand through this process.  Thank you to the many families and friends in Ajo who took great care of him.  Terry has shared with me only a portion of all the amazing things that have happened in your awesome community.  I know he appreciates the sale, the caring conversations, the meals, everything!!  Claire is so grateful that while he wasn't by her side, he was feeling the love and support of so many in Ajo.  I will try to update you via this blog as soon as I know anything.  Thank you for keeping Terry and Claire in your thoughts and prayers this week.

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