Colleen's Corner: This Is Not The End
©2019, Colleen Irwin. All rights reserved.

August 23, 2019...

Today is a tough day in our house. This afternoon I am having a preventative double mastectomy, brought on by my BRCA2 gene profile. I am lucky I do not have cancer, but unfortunate enough to have a genetic mutation that makes it very possible Ė almost a 90% chance of breast cancer. I had a total hysterectomy in May and face a third surgery to reconstruct from the double mastectomy in November.

The anxiety in both George and I is off the scale. He is wonderful enough to know that I need some space and is giving it to me. He is busy finishing some work and I have chosen to write. Writing for both of us is a source of strength. I have chosen to be open about this and write about it to hopefully give hope to someone else.

The emotions are hard to explain. Even knowing as much as I did, and having an amazing support structure, I am surprised by how easily tears flow. It is so much to process and comprehend. It is happening too fast and not fast enough. There will be the ten day wait for the pathology report before I can breathe easily about all of this.

I struggle with people. I love my friends, but I have found the need to just be by myself. Coping with this new reality. Doing everything that I can possibly do to ensure that I live a long and healthy life. That means working out almost every day at the gym. This is something new in my life... Do I love it? No, but there is my new reality. I must do this.

There is the understanding that from today, for at least six weeks, and then another twelve weeks after the third surgery, I will have limitations. That frustrates me, I am fiercely independent. I pride myself on taking care of the many details that keep our home comfortable. George has a challenging job, I donít like that he must pick up the slack because I am limited. We are a team; this is something that I love about our relationship. I need to learn to forgive myself during this time and just be grateful for our bond. It is okay that everything is not perfect. Because this too shall pass. Everything will work out in the end, and this is not the end.