Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I, my team here at Dr. Bailey Skin Care, and my family are so very happy to let you know that I am doing well and just finished a big part of the intense 9-month cancer treatment that has become almost a normal part of life for us – me particularly!
Last Thursday, I had what may be my final BRCA-cancer related surgery and, thanks to my skilled surgeon, it was another success. It was a 4-hour reconstruction surgery, bringing the total number of hours of anesthesia I have had in the past 9 months to 15. My surgeon put back together some of what had been taken apart in January. She has given me strict post-op instructions to do almost nothing and it’s a good sign that I’m bored silly. Frankly, it’s a miracle. It’s also a testament to the resilience of the human body, the skill of my physicians and their medical teams, and the power of prayer and support from all of you who have been such a comfort to me. I know how truly fortunate and I am and I am grateful.
My life at home is resuming some semblance of normalcy. My husband, who has been by my side throughout this process, is glad to be back to work – uninterrupted by the need to take care of me. He has been a generous and selfless caregiver and I have to say that those wedding vows he took over 30 years ago got taken for the biggest literal interpretation this year. I am blessed he was able to support me so consistently through this process. We have learned that cancer is very time intensive.
Breast Cancer BRCA Update
My image of my life over these last 9 months is that Whack-A-Mole arcade game. Each trauma – such as a chemo infusion, a surgery (5 in total), horrible test result, scary news from a doctor, side effects from the mountain of medicines in my medicine cabinet, etc. – would whack me down. I would slowly recover my strength and optimism only to get whacked by something else – again leaving me feeling sick, tired, worried, and needing to recover yet again. May Thursday’s surgery be the last whack I sustain in this BRCA-cancer chapter.
I have decided that I’m going to act as if it is. I’m turning my sights to the future and looking beyond my next medical visit. I’m eager to get back to doctoring, gardening, yoga, fetching and carrying for myself and for others, etc. I am committed to doing it with a healthy balance that supports my continued recovery.
Hair will be the next nice new treat for me to look forward to. It’s coming in thick, dark and curly. With the 5 cowlicks on my scalp, it’s building up to a riot of random ringlets. As a dermatologist, I know that thick and curly post-chemo hair is my body’s way of saying that I have begun the real recovery process – and I celebrate my hairstyle anarchy. Yep, ringlets will be another first for me and I’m planning on having fun with them (probably going to bleach them bright blond for kicks too!). Between everything I’ve been through (including my new hair), I look a little different – but honestly, different in a good way because I’m so happy to be vital and alive.
There’s nothing quite like cancer to change the way you look at life.
Again, thank you for being part of the community of supporters that have helped to get me through this cancer journey. I want to tell each and every one of you how grateful I am for your support these past 9 months; either in thought, prayer, email, blog comment, posted get well card, or supportive deed – your presence has been the biggest blessing of this process – a blessing that has buoyed my spirits and optimism day after day.
Along with my excellent medical care, I believe your support tipped the balance to overcoming my initial dire prognosis. Thank you again so very, very much. I am glad to have this most recent good news to share with you – blessings abound.
Cynthia Bailey, MD
Photo attribution: thanks and gratitude to Julie Jordan Scott