DIEP flap Education: Boobs in the Bathroom

DIEP flap Education: Boobs in the Bathroom DIEP flap education and boobs in the bathroom?  Really? Yes! Really! When a woman has had breast reconstruction, especially when you are using your own tissue, it can be of great benefit to show other women “the goods” when they are contemplating the same surgery. The mere visual may seem a bit comical but let me share with you what I have personally experienced. There is nothing comical about hearing the words, “You have breast cancer”. It is often a mind-bending, confusing Journey for women and men to go through. We talk about it a lot on the Journey Facebook group. We have also discussed, in a half-joking manner, “Yes, I show others my boobs in the bathroom!” When your breasts have been removed after a mastectomy and then rebuilt using your own tissue, it is nothing short of miraculous to many; patient Continue Reading →

Products for Women after Mastectomy & DIEP Flap

Products for Women after Mastectomy & DIEP Flap I frequently find out about new products through social media connections. A sports bra was introduced to me by a DiepCjourney member, Kimberly Jewett. We chatted at length on the phone about the Empower Bra from Athleta. Connections with other athletic women is real feeling of empowerment, especially in the breast cancer and breast reconstruction community. Feeling fit is an on-going goal for many strong women. It becomes even more of a priority after the assault of a breast cancer diagnosis and the aftermath of treatment and surgeries. I learned about Athleta through a mutual friend and board-certified microsurgeon, Dr. Fawn Hogan. Fawn is the epitome of fitness and I frequently refer to her as my #swolemate. Fawn told me about how much she uses the Athleta brand in her workouts. I ordered a pair of Athleta pants and they are now Continue Reading →

New Game Changer App for Anyone Impacted by Breast Cancer

New Game Changer App for Anyone Impacted by Breast Cancer I am a breast cancer survivor.  I have had breast cancer twice.  I had two lumpectomies my first diagnosis.  I relied on the visits to my oncologist and breast surgeon to inform me of my options and what the treatment, side effects, and recovery would be like that included chemotherapy and radiation.  That was in 2002.  My second diagnosis in 2014 resulted in double mastectomy.  I wore prosthesis for seven months before I decided on DIEP flap breast reconstruction. Many patients complain that their surgeons essentially just old them what their treatment would involve without much discussion.  What if someone said you can be actively involved in deciding your breast cancer treatment plan?  Many of us use a variety of apps on our mobile devices and computers every day. Those apps serve many different purposes to suit our individual needs. Continue Reading →

Summer Blogging Challenge!

Summer Blogging Challenge! Summer blogging challenge accepted fellow blogger, Nancy!  I have had a whirlwind week but after reading three responses from fellow bloggers, you, Rebecca Hogue, and Britt Lee, how could I not chime in? I have another fellow breast cancer and breast reconstruction pal coming to visit this weekend so my answers are going to be short and well…. hopefully sweet! Share anything you want about your cancer diagnosis (or your loved one’s). Share your age, cancer type, stage, when you were diagnosed, family history (if any), your reaction, how you learned the news, or whatever you’re comfortable sharing.  Diagnosis #1: 2002 included two lumpectomies; 18 weeks of chemotherapy including the “red devil” that landed my Irish ass in the hospital with low blood counts; 6 weeks of daily radiation; 5 years of Tamoxifen Early stage; No family history… yep, I’m the designated family poster child…. That’ll do Continue Reading →

Inspirational Connections through Breast Cancer

Inspirational Connections through Breast Cancer A true blessing and bonus of educational outreach is inspirational connections through the breast cancer community.  I recently received an email from Cinde and she humbly asked to write a guest blog about how she came to develop her drain carrier after surviving breast cancer three times.  Like me, Cinde has undergone DIEP flap breast reconstruction .  Naturally, I was curious to hear her story and after reading it I am honored to share this guest blog.  Cinde is not only providing a product for breast cancer patients but her outreach became global and continues to positively impact women in Karunga, Tanzania. Thank you for sharing this guest blog to the breast cancer community, Cinde. Post-Op Drain Management and the Mamas of Kilimanjaro   I’m a four-time cancer survivor, three-time breast cancer survivor.   After being diagnosed with cancer so many times — and surviving Continue Reading →

Ray of Sunshine after Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Ray of Sunshine after Breast Cancer Diagnosis It just doesn’t seem that a ray of sunshine might even play into the discussion the day I was told I had breast cancer does it?  There actually was that one ray of sunshine for me and here is that story. The Breast Cancer Diagnosis The day of my second breast cancer diagnosis I was sitting in the office of my breast surgeon, Dr. Michele Ley, who I had seen about five years previously to remove a benign area in my left breast.  I chose to go to her because I was very impressed with her demeanor, compassion, confidence and skill for that minor surgery five years ago.  I was asked by the radiologist who did my biopsy for this second diagnosis if I had a breast surgeon in mind to go over the final results of the biopsy report.  I immediately asked Continue Reading →

Breast Reconstruction Options Video

The embedded breast reconstruction options video is one of the reasons I chose the plastic surgery group that I did. There are other plastic surgeons across the U.S., highly qualified, that successfully perform flap reconstruction to rebuild a woman’s breasts after a cancer diagnosis. The fact is there are few who do it successfully and with great compassion. It is a specialized surgery, make no mistake about it, and takes years of training, practice and skill. It is imperative to know what makes a successful micro-surgeon and what women are looking for when they are choosing someone to perform this intricate surgery. I have listed on my resource page the following key questions to ask your plastic surgeon. How many procedures have they performed? What is their success rate? Do they work with a team?  The shared expertise is a factor as well as minimizing time for the patient in Continue Reading →

Breast Cancer, Breast Reconstruction & New Challenges

Breast Cancer, Breast Reconstruction & New Challenges What new challenges have you taken on since being diagnosed with breast cancer?  What have you had to deal with after losing your breasts to cancer, or finding out that you are a BRCA gene carrier? I was inspired to write this blog based on an article seen on social media from Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I include my BRCA friends in this post because I advocate for all choices of breast reconstruction and we have all had the perspective of experiencing some difficult decisions regarding our health. Events in life, good or bad, change us. They catapult us into decisions that we likely would not have come to based on the event. Being diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 2014, facing a mastectomy and then delayed DIEP flap reconstruction later that year, reset my compass. A Side Trip on my Continue Reading →