Honoring my Father During my DIEPflap Surgery
This is a perfect weekend to write a tribute honoring my Father and his support during my DIEPflap surgery. My father is in his late 80’s now so watching me go through DIEPflap breast reconstruction two and half years ago was not an easy process for him. He knew nothing about this type of surgery. My Dad’s generation and friends who had radical mastectomies and survived breast cancer never knew of the options to rebuild one’s breasts after they had to be removed after a breast cancer diagnosis. It was just assumed that the loss was part of the plan and how you would continue to live your life.
I gently guided Dad and Mom through the process and why I chose to have DIEPflap breast reconstruction after my second breast cancer diagnosis. I will admit, it was tough. His main concern for me was the length of surgery and recovery time. When you tell your Dad the details of the surgery a multitude of questions begin. He needed to know why I was doing this and most importantly, that his middle daughter was going to be OK.
My parents do not have the internet. My Dad never felt like his life would be any richer with access to all that information. So, I printed articles about DIEPflap surgery. I even printed and sent them my plastic surgeon’s credentials thinking that would give them peace of mind after seeing the accomplishments and success rate he had with this surgery.
The questions and concerns never stopped. The why’s, the what if’s, the how’s. It was overwhelming at times trying to comfort him and make him feel better about my decision.
A Letter of Faith from My Dad
Then, a month before my surgery I received a letter from my Dad. He sent me a copy of the hand-written letter he had sent to a dear friend and priest that was in his 90’s but still saying daily Mass. He sent the priest a check in gratitude asking him to say three Masses for me beginning the day before my surgery, the day of my surgery, and the day following my surgery.
I cried when I opened the letter and read the contents. My Dad has always been a man of deep faith. That letter was his way of acceptance and trust in my decision. He knew how skilled my surgeon was. He knew what I was made of having watched and helped me go through breast cancer twice. Now, he leaned on his faith and his dear friend and priest to bring him comfort.
My Dad’s main concern has always been to protect and care for his three girls. There is an especially tender heart when a Dad has all daughters. The arms somehow become gentler and stronger. Dad and Mom remained hundreds of miles away from me the day of my DIEPflap surgery and those Masses were part of what my Dad did to give me and himself comfort.
They attended Mass themselves the Monday morning of my surgery. They waited with patience that day waiting for the phone to ring and hear from my husband I was in recovery and doing well. Prayers were answered and my surgery was highly successful. Dad, I will never know the personal anguish this must have caused you but we made it through, together, because that’s what we’ve always done! My Dad has unfailingly stood by my side, even in times when we strongly disagreed with each other.
Father’s Day is for honoring our Dads and all they have done for us. I have a beautiful relationship with my Dad that had its usual arguments, anger, fears, laughter, and joy over the years. I’m a lucky gal to have such a wonderful Dad who supported my decision to have DIEPflap surgery. We all learned so much from this experience but the most important thing was yet another affirmation of our unwavering love for each other.
To all Dads, Papas, Daddy’s, and especially to my Dad ~