May this letter well and in good spirits. Miguel and I are writing to share with you some challenging news about my health. I have recently been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma insitu (DCIS), which is an early form of breast cancer. After several months of diagnostic procedures my medical team has recommended that I undergo a left sided mastectomy. Miguel has helped me to see that letting go of my natural breast is what I must to do in order to live a healthy and long life. The mastectomy is scheduled for Jan 6th at CPMC, Davis Campus. I will spend the first night in hospital and expect to return home the following day. The recovery time will be about 6 weeks. During this period, I will be healing and preparing for a reconstructive breast surgery. The second surgery will happen about 6-8 weeks after the mastectomy. This surgery is less invasive and will take about a month to heal. If all goes well then no other medical intervention will be necessary.
A little background information: Leading up to this diagnosis, I intuitively felt that something was wrong with me: I was watching myself lose weight, I was experiencing dry mouth, and the quality of my hair was changing. In August, for my 51st birthday, I began re-reading The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying. Soon after my birthday I discussed my concerns with my primary care doctor and asked her to check me for cancer. As devastating as this news is, there is a part of me that felt like I was already sick and so this diagnosis and the coming procedures is a way back to health.
We would love for you to be a part of this healing journey, as you are our most valued family and friends. We are humbled by the outpour of love and support we have been receiving in these first couple months. Your kindness has helped to lift us up during this initial stage of shock and acceptance. It is hard to envision what our needs may be in the coming weeks and months, but we would love for you to be a part of our healing team. For sure, any act of kindness, such as phone call, message, email, or card is a blessing. For those who live locally, a home visit while I am recuperating will be welcomed. We also anticipate that we may need a little extra help during the day while Miguel is at work. For those with flexible schedules, we may need assistance taking me to my weekly doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, personal care, home tasks, and preparing healthy meals. If you are possibly available for any of the above tasks please let us know and we will reach out to you as needed.
We thank you again for being in our lives and supporting us through this challenging time- it takes a village….