Slowing Down & Listening to My Body

Spending Passover with my family in Florida is something that I have always looked forward to. More than once (okay fine, every time), I chose to go to Boca Raton instead of spring break with my friends in Mexico. The only time that I ever spent Passover away from my family was during Semester at Sea when I celebrated the holiday in Japan- way too long of a flight to make it to Boca for the Seder. There is something about being in a room with 500 other Jews and eating nonstop that just feels like Passover.

When I was first diagnosed, the original course of treatment was to have the double mastectomy first and chemo after. When I was meeting with my breast surgeon, I asked if it was possible to delay surgery until after the holiday. She did not have any issue with scheduling the surgery for May 2nd, which meant that I would still be able to go on the trip to celebrate the holiday with my family.

Though my doctors were fine with scheduling the surgery for May, many of my family members (none of whom are breast surgeons or oncologists) felt that I was being irresponsible for prioritizing a vacation over my health. Needless to say, this was extremely frustrating. 

After another meeting with my oncologist, she recommended that because of the rapid growth of my tumor, she wanted to start chemotherapy as soon as possible, instead of having my double mastectomy first. This was April 2nd and the date of my first treatment was April 12th, 6 days before I was scheduled to leave for Florida. While making plans for my first chemotherapy treatment, of course I wondered if this meant that I would no longer be able to travel to Florida.

I spoke to my doctors and others who have gone through the same treatments and they all agreed that it is still safe for me to travel as long as I feel up to it. I would need to take precautions to protect myself from getting sick, like wearing a mask on the airplane and disinfecting everything, but other than that, I should have no limitations. 

Even though being in Florida with my family was exactly where I wanted to be, it was exhausting. Spending all day with Aidan and Cooper- swimming, playing, and entertaining them was a lot, but I loved every second. I was not allowed to go in the pool, as my Mediport is still healing, but I watched the boys from the edge and loved seeing how much fun they were having. We were making important family memories that will hopefully carry us through the summer. My family was concerned that I was overdoing it and should slow down but I didn’t want to. Because I knew that I will probably be feeling much worse in the coming weeks, I wanted to soak in every last second of feeling 100%, being in control, and doing whatever I wanted to do.

This statement, “as long as I feel up to it”, has carried a lot more weight over the last few weeks. I can listen to everyone’s opinions of what they think I should or shouldn’t be doing but the truth is, that it is up to me to decide what I can and cannot do. I know that everyone is just looking out for me but it my job to listen to my body and do whatever I want – as long as I feel up to it.

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