Why do I Marvel at Breast Reconstruction & Plastic Surgery?
I ask myself this question often: Why do I marvel at breast reconstruction & plastic surgery?
October was a busy month for many who work in this field and educate about this topic. I think it was one of the busiest months I had this year. I was in six states and six different airports engaging with or educating about breast reconstruction with plastic surgeons, patients, advocates, and the public. I was exhausted yet exhilarated to know the innovations and developments in the field of breast reconstruction and plastic surgery continue to keep me motivated and captivated.
It has been three years since my own breast reconstruction and yet, thinking back to November of 2014 and having no breasts on my body, it is easy to understand my own fascination with this topic. When you use your own tissue to rebuild your breasts after losing them to breast cancer, that is just marvelous stuff to me. I cringe a bit when others associate rebuilding breasts with the all too familiar statement, “Nice! You got a boob job!”
Yea, I guess I got a boob job.
I had a head on collision with breast cancer, not once, but twice. The collision resulted in lost body parts, my breasts. I went to a collision expert, AKA my plastic surgeon, and that “boob job” was DIEP flap breast reconstruction! I guess my headlights were put back on. Sometimes I must swallow my frustration with the perception others have about breast reconstruction and dish the humor back.
I do believe this misconception stems from what society perceives plastic surgery to be, Hollywood and hype about various forms of body enhancement. There are too many in the general population who don’t appreciate or are not aware, plastic surgery is directly associated with the restoration of lost body parts due to an accident or loss of limb from a disease.
A Plastic Surgery Marvelous Moment
I speak of the fascination of my own breast reconstruction, but I want to share a moment I had in October that continues to inspire me. I was at the annual meeting of plastic surgery professionals in Orlando in early October, PSTM17, Plastic Surgery the Meeting. I was on my way up to my room. There was a tall, slender, young man with curly hair and clear honest eyes on the hotel elevator with me. I noticed he had on a wrist brace. I realized he was one of the “Patients of Courage” chosen by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for their annual meeting.
This quiet youth had his arm completely torn away in an accident cutting firewood at home with his father. We both got off on the same floor and I asked Seth if I could speak with him for a moment. He politely nodded, and our conversation began. I asked if I could look at his scars and where his arm had been reattached by his plastic surgeon. It was his right arm. I broke the ice by asking, “Were you right handed, Seth?” He smiled and said, “Yes”. I looked at him with a tilt of my head and rolling my eyes I said, “Well that sucks!” He giggled, and we continued our conversation.
Seth continues to play baseball with his left hand. He told me how he had to “mirror-image” learn all the throws he used to do with his right hand and transfer that to his left hand. His arm was reattached through the marvels of plastic surgery. My educator kicked in and I told Seth how this was going to fire brain synapses that will make him a force to be reckoned with. I told him he is going to go far!
I briefly told Seth, I also had body parts replaced by my plastic surgeon. I told him I had scars and went through physical therapy, too. It may seem awkward to some I was talking to a young man in his early teens about my breasts. But Seth, who also is a product of the marvels of plastic surgery didn’t blush and didn’t flinch at the topic.
Why? Because he too understands what a plastic surgeon can do for patients who have had body parts replaced after catastrophic events in life.
I want others to be as interested in breast reconstruction as I am. I have a job as an ambassador to educate those affected by breast cancer. I want to make the marvels of breast reconstruction and plastic surgery known to those who need this information most, patients, physicians, advocates, and the public. I remember the day I sat in my plastic surgeon’s office and said, “I never thought I’d be sitting in a plastic surgeon’s office. I guess I’m just not that kind of girl.”
Why do I marvel at Breast Reconstruction & Plastic Surgery? Because I had my breast reconstructed after breast cancer. ‘Nuff said! I’m just that kind of girl.