Twas the night before surgery, and like rinse & repeat, my sister and I took Soul Cycle at Grand Central after work (cannot physically work out for 6 weeks post surgery; wahhh!) and had our last sleepover for this chapter (life is just beginning!). We tapped it back, we laughed, I cried as always in Soul, we sweat, and we ordered in Baby Bo’s (might as well stuff our face with guacamole, right?). I figured with surgery the next morning I did not know the next time I could eat and city Mexican food is just so damn good.
Things had a way of working out and I got scheduled for the first surgery on Wednesday (2019 is my year!) which meant a 5:45am arrival for Markeeee and I and surgery/sleeping/knocked out by 7:30am. WAS THE OFFICIAL END SERIOUSLY HERE? The fake end was 12/4 which we had to celebrate because WHY NOT but the real end was 1/23. I woke up bright and early ready to rock, washed myself in Hibiclens, wore my fave sweatsuit with lightning bolts (thanks Storm!) and sparkly hat that got so many compliments (thanks Dennys!), and arrived promptly at Sloan with a giant smile on my face. Marc and I were laughing that I was seriously the youngest person by 20+ years in the waiting room; I guess it makes me unique!
I woke up from surgery with the determination to go home that night; it is all a major daze (love me those painkillers!) but in order to get released you have to pee (who would think that could be so difficult considering I have the bladder of a 90 year old) and be a bit coherent. Somehow I magically was able to get up, walk around, walk to the bathroom and PEE. It felt like a small victory! It was so emotional that day in like the best way possible; I was all drugged up and so happy that this was now for real seriously behind me BUT also like did it really happen? It was the weirdest yet best feelings and we all just cried happy tears (that’s what Riley and Pierce like to call them).
Back to Valley Stream to the parents and my childhood bedroom we go where I would be attended to 24/7 (my Mom and Dad really are the best). Wednesday night was the worst night of sleep I had this entire time and worse than any night I had with either of my children (yes, it was that bad); you try sleeping with drains dangling from you after having multiple surgeries. I woke up Thursday LITERALLY in the worst pain I have experienced in the 6 months. Not only did I have the exchange but I also did a proactive hysterectomy; the BRCA gene increases risk heavily for breast and ovarian, and I decided it was the right time to take control and remove those bad boys too. You need your abdominal for everything and I know mine is strong but GOSH every movement on Thursday was torture. The only direction was UP from here and I am so grateful that every day after that is exactly what happened. The kids and Marc visited a bunch which was medicine (in addition to my Oxy), and I was ready by break out by Monday (sorry Mom and Dad but going home meant this was ALL OVER for real; end of scene!).
I went to the Plastic Surgeon Tuesday and got my drains removed (insert George Michael FREEDOM all over again!), and got to see the goods. WOW, do they look good! I am ready for prime time and to rock this in a bathing suit this summer (watch out Malibu!). Feels good to be home eating dinner with Marc, watching our reality shows (Ex on the Beach was first), and to put the kids to bed. It feels even better knowing that I am home FOREVER and that there is no more redemption house at my parents; it really is OVER and the kids just get it. They have grown up so much over the last six months and are just such incredible nuggets; Marc, thanks for being mommy/daddy but remember your co-captain was really directing behind the scenes (come on, I got to toot my own horn!).
I am spending the next week or so fully recovering and waiting for approval to begin driving again. Day by day is the motto, and every day my smile is bigger and bigger knowing what I just accomplished and that I am a freakin rockstar. I am also so pleased with my hair growth (pics to follow next blog I promise, I am just lazy); I officially am fully covered, could actually walk around without anything, and my eyebrows/eyelashes are back (do not even need to pencil them in!). I attribute a lot of it to Rogaine, taking good care of myself physically with lots of vitamins/eating healthy/exercising, and my girl Nicole Firestones bone broth (follow her @ nikkisliquidgold). Bone Broth is the most soothing soup of all time and it is like a giant hug every sip; it helped me post chemo bounce back, and I swear my skin is glowing and my eyebrows/lashes are back because of it. More to come on that but get your orders in because this is LEGIT!
I thought it would be fun to outline the top 5 moments during this chapter labeled “The Big C”. Yes, it is sick that I am seriously able to do this.
- Birthday Ride at iSpin. We raised $7200, donated to BRCA Foundation, and got to sweat it out for such a good cause (and how cool that in my condition I was able to keep up the pace!).
- The Today Show. So awesome to represent the women fighting during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Despite the fact that I almost fainted, it was such a great day for such an amazing cause. Love that my kids were so proud of seeing me on my TV and that they helped with the posters; their little faces when I came home was like I was famous.
- My last chemo. Crossing the chemical finish line was EVERYTHING. Not one person (well anyone who mattered) forgot it was my last one, and the love/support I felt from Sloan and family/friends was simply the best. My support system is why I had a smile from start to finish (don’t get me wrong I had some bad days) and it sucks getting cancer, but seeing how amazing your circle is just remarkable.
- Murder Mystery Party. I mean….did you see those pics? Getting to wear my red wig for a costume was so damn fun and this crowd is just good vibes only.
- Garden City Hotel Stay and my whole birthday week. Marc, you are my best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life, and my rock. I always said that this could have made us stronger or broke us, and I am so happy that to say it made us a force to be reckoned with. We got this crazy thing called life down to a tee and anything that comes our way if I got you by my side, I am golden. Love you so much!!
Next up is our Cycle for Survival Ride in NYC; I am SPEAKING and so excited to share my story with the thousands of riders (think that will be my first public experience sans wig! AHHHHH!). I hope to provide inspiration and to become a resource to those with the BRCA gene or those who have yet to be tested. We have an aggressive goal and I am hopeful a lot of you will donate and support my family; the Stollers have been doing this ride for 5 years but this year we dedicate to Gab!
So much more to come as the next chapter of my life begins! Thanks again for everything and for your support! Continue to follow me as I navigate the new normal and as I begin to have A LOT OF FUN (so much ahead!).
New & Improved Gab Stoller Wasserman