Hayley Ziebart

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March 22, 2013
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Hayley Ziebart: The next chapter - facing a mastectomy

It's hard to believe it's been nearly 6 whole months since the day we first got the cancer report. It's weird to think that just shy of four days of that half-year anniversary we'll be in a meeting to discuss the next part of this journey.

With the chemo trail officially behind us, we sit now at the bottom of the next trail.


Now, before you go thinking I have tons of dates and answers for you, don't get your hopes up. What we have right now is just the date to set dates, meet surgeons, talk surgery plans and begin grasping this next big part of the hike.

This coming Tuesday, Mom and I will be headed back up the freeway - a drive that has certainly lost its luster (not that it ever had much, ha!). All day Wednesday will be a series of tests much like the ones that kicked off this whole journey. MRI, ultrasound, heart echo, EKG, bone scan, pet scan, cat scan and mammogram will all be routinely carried out so that my medical team can re-stage the tumor and provide their professional opinions concerning my continued treatment.

My husband, Aaron, absolutely can't miss any more days than necessary at the clinic since he's the only one seeing patients. Therefore, every day missed is income lost for us. So he'll be making the trek separately on Wednesday night so he can be present at the surgeon meetings on Thursday.

What Aaron and I both feel at this point, prior obviously to next week's meetings, is that I will be opting to have a bilateral mastectomy (laymans' terms: both "girls" removed), and during that procedure, have chest expanders inserted in preparation of future reconstructions.

There will also inevitably be a certain amount of lymph node removal (termed: lymphadenectomy), for which I hope and pray will not be more than the small handful that were found abnormal in my initial testing.

As of now, all are "clear" from successful chemo treatments, but I've already been told that leaving them in there is not an option. Once they have shown abnormalities, they must go.

This means the possibility of facing other things after the fact, which I will not go into now, nor will I waste energies on worrying over, but it is agreed by all the experts that the importance of their removal far outweighs all possible side effects.

I've never been anything but real in this blog, and I'm certainly not going to stop now.

I am mortified at the idea of surgery - so many scars - and at suddenly not being the physical person I've grown comfortable with for the past 33 years of life. It's a very weird thought, indeed, but certainly not one that many haven't faced.

I still can't decide whether I'd rather just immediately lose some limbs, like in a horrible accident, or have so much time to prepare for doing so.

But in the end, it's just a body.

I am reminded of the many examples in the Bible where flesh is the superficial. All of our bodies are dying and fading away from the moment we're born. They don't - nor should they ever - define us. They are not who we are, rather just the shell that we function within.

God OWNS my body. He designed it, created it and has complete control over it. He is not concerned with it...nor does He want me to be. He makes that very clear in His Word to us and now more than ever these Truths are what I am learning to cling to.

God is concerned with my spirit only. My body can endure whatever this life may bring upon it, but my spirit and the mingling of that spirit with His Spirit cannot be touched. That eternal relationship cannot be tampered with and it can never be compromised.

So when you are looking in the mirror next - examining and picking apart all your imperfections - remember two things for me:

1. Be grateful for a healthy, working body, assuming you are blessed with one.

2. Remember that concerning yourself with your superficialities is a sad waste of precious time that you could and should be using to work on things of more eternal matter.

Hayley Ziebart is married with two sons. She is battling cancer. Read her Fridays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal blog here.

I\'ve never been anything but real in this blog, and I\'m certainly not going to stop now.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:34PM Published Mar 31, 2013 10:22PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.