Choosing Reconstructive Surgery after Breast Cancer
I am a two-time breast cancer survivor who chose reconstructive surgery using my own tissue after mastectomy, and I am disappointed and feel slighted by the unbalanced reporting with regard to options in breast reconstruction on CBS Sunday Morning on March 12, 2017.
One segment reported by Erin Morarity, “Foregoing reconstructive surgery after breast cancer”, was of special interest to me. Hearing the words, “you have breast cancer” is difficult enough. When that is followed by a double mastectomy this often puts added mental anguish on the individual, woman, or man. It did in my case.
Like some of the women in the story I lost my hair during my first diagnosis due to chemotherapy. My skin was compromised from radiation during my first diagnosis. I lost both of my breast and lived as an amputee for seven months after my second diagnosis. Then, I chose to reconstruct my breast and I used my own tissue. I chose a very intricate, microsurgical procedure called DIEP flap surgery.
I respect and admire all choices.
I believe that everyone has a voice and a choice. The women who chose to forego reconstructive surgery after breast cancer stated that the decision wasn’t easy. I respect and admire their choice. I lived without breasts for seven months.
Balanced and Fair Reporting to Reconstruct
I also believe in fairness in reporting. A statement made in the video by Erin Morarity, “Instead of replacing their curves with surgical implants, these women are embracing their scars…” I only ask, in fairness, that CBS ask us, those women who chose to replace their curves not with surgical implants but with their own tissue. That was our choice, the choice we made to reconstruct after surgery.
Ours’ was not an easy decision.
Ours’ was not an easy decision. We, too, embrace our scars. The plastic surgeons who perform this procedure have dedicated their lives and many years of specialized training in microsurgery to replace what breast cancer took away.
I only ask that you hear our story because what if one person, one woman finds out that there are other options to reconstruct after mastectomy by using their own tissue? Too many breast cancer patients simply don’t know all their options for reconstruction. Respectfully I ask that you reach out. We won’t disappoint. We only want this to be a fair and balanced reporting about choice after breast cancer and mastectomy.