Study of Body Mass Index post DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction: A Patient Perspective

Study of Body Mass Index post DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction: A Patient Perspective I rely on research from evidence based journals I read to understand and share the latest information about breast reconstruction and breast cancer to the community I serve. One of the journals I utilize is Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. January is a month many of us focus on health, weight loss, and losing those extra holiday pounds. As a patient advocate who has had autologous, DIEP flap breast reconstruction, I wanted to share my thoughts and perspective from a study of body mass index post DIEP flap breast reconstruction from the December 2017 issue of the Journal : The Impact of Autologous Breast Reconstruction on Body Mass Index Patterns in Breast Cancer Patients: A Propensity-Matched Analysis.  I appreciate the focus of the article. It can be read here from the final Continue Reading →

DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction: Did I make the right choice?

DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction: Did I make the right choice? YES! I did make the right choice having DIEP flap breast reconstruction! Each December marks another year and anniversary of my DIEP flap surgery. I remember so much about the dark, cool, morning we left for the hospital. I was calm, prepared, and ready December 1, 2014. The time between my double mastectomy in mid-May of 2014 and my breast reconstruction were some of the most trying days of my life. In 2002, after my first breast cancer diagnosis, I had been through 2 surgeries, eighteen weeks of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of daily radiation. This was physically demanding because I was so sick and felt so weak. Fast forward twelve years to 2014. Waiting for my breast reconstruction was psychologically trying. Each month that passed after my double mastectomy only decreased my self-image as a woman due to Continue Reading →

Reflections of Gratitude from DiepCFoundation

Reflections of Gratitude from DiepCFoundation November and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday have given me time to stop and reflect the true feelings of gratitude and this honor given to DiepCFoundation. “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, published a special forward to their November 2017 supplement issue on “Advances in Breast Reconstruction.” The Journal contacted me prior to publication to let me know Dr. Rod Rohrich would be quoting me in the introduction to this supplement. September was an extremely busy month planning for upcoming conferences, fundraisers, and my own Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. Although, excited, I must admit I didn’t take time to appreciate the true impact of the honor.   I want to take this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to the Journal, Dr. Rohrich, the Journal editorial staff, and the many board certified plastic surgeons who tirelessly work to find Continue Reading →

Livestrong: Exercise after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Livestrong: Exercise after DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction Yesterday I began my Journey with the Livestrong program as a breast cancer survivor and to increase exercise after DIEP flap breast reconstruction.  I found out about the program when I switched oncologists in early April this year.  My oncologist discussed my overall health. I expressed my concerns about being on an AI (aromatase inhibitor) and the side effects it can have including bone loss. I told her I wanted to remain strong and fit and do what I could to maintain or increase my bone density and overall strength. She handed me a pamphlet and with a smile on her face expressed her support of the Livestrong program at the local YMCA.  I called Annemarie, the Vice President of Corporate and Community Partnerships, at our local facility to get on the list to start the program. It took a couple of months Continue Reading →

My #Tweet Story from Science Camp

My #Tweet Story from Science Camp This is my #Tweet Story from science camp, otherwise known as Project LEAD you will not believe what happened.  Before I get to that part of the story let me back up a little and fill in some details. Years ago, when I started my Twitter account I was attempting to bring more attention to a non-profit.  I was a board member and wanted to spread the word about what we did.  I mainly followed on local businesses with hopes of finding sponsors.  I soon learned Twitter was for more than finding sponsors. Twitter is a wealth of knowledge in 140 words or less, commercials of sorts that did not make noise.  I could browse and tweet without anyone knowing.  No noise and a cancer diagnosis brought me to the new reason I was on Twitter.  There were positive quotes and cancer information.  New Continue Reading →

My Experience as a LEAD Graduate

My Experience as a LEAD Graduate I want to share my experience as a recent LEAD graduate and patient advocate. Project LEAD is part of the National Breast Cancer Coalition.  The Project LEAD Institute strongly supports the education and involvement of patient advocates in both research, action, and the education of the community they serve both locally and nationally.  You can read more about it here.  This is a portion of a statement from the web page giving you a sense and focus of the LEAD graduate program: The Project LEAD® Institute is a six-day intensive science course for breast cancer advocates covering the basics of cancer biology, genetics, epidemiology, research design and advocacy. I learned about the program through two fellow breast cancer survivors, Michael Singer, a male breast cancer survivor, and Terry Arnold, an advocate for the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Community.  I met them both at SABCS, San Antonio Breast Cancer Continue Reading →

International Day of Yoga

International Day of Yoga June 21 was proclaimed the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations in December of 2014.  I am certain there will be many celebrations across the globe practicing various levels and difficulties of this popular practice for mind, body, and spirit. The benefits of yoga are many for all ages.  I remember with great fondness the days I brought my kindergarten students in from recess when they were all wound up from being on the playground and practiced a bit of yoga with them before we would start a lesson.  We would sit quietly on the rug in circle, legs crossed, thumbs touching the middle finger as the back of the palm laid gently on the top of their knees.  I would ask them to close their eyes and take deep breaths and slowly breath out with a gentle, “Ohmmm”.  It refocused and quieted them Continue Reading →

When the Seemingly Fearless become Fearful

When the Seemingly Fearless become Fearful The title of this blog, “When the seemingly fearless become fearful”, was etched out of a discussion I had with a fellow cancer survivor.  Stephie is a childhood cancer survivor and donor heart recipient, but most importantly, a dear friend.  We became friends through social media and the patient advocacy work we do.  Our phone chat earlier this week centered around my fear.  This was my week to have blood work for tumor markers.  I am still on a four-month protocol cycle for these since my second breast cancer diagnosis in 2014.  I am grateful they have all been within the normal range since my second diagnosis.  However, these events do not pass without triggering my PTSD about recurrence. Stephie is such a great listener and encouraged me that this week’s blog should be about “when the seemingly fearless become fearful. Breast Friends on Continue Reading →

Fairness in Reporting, Breast Reconstruction

Fairness in Reporting, Breast Reconstruction An on-line article was published on October 31, 2016, in The New York Times entitled, ‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer.  This is my commentary on that article after having survived breast cancer twice and choosing to reconstruct my breasts with my own tissue.  I want you to focus on the words “reconstruct my breasts”.  They are my breasts.  Every part of my breasts are me, my own tissue, my own blood source, my own skin, my own nipples.  My own breasts that contained cancer cells have been removed through the skillful hands of a breast surgeon and rebuilt by the skillful hands of a microsurgeon. The breasts that I had before breast cancer were mine.  The breasts that I now have after breast cancer are mine.  Once my breasts had cancer.  Now, my breasts do not have cancer.  Therefore, I respectfully disagree with the last Continue Reading →

My #REASONS2STANDUP

My #REASONS2STANDUP? What are my #REASONS2STANDUP?  Tonight is the #StandUp2Cancer telecast.  According to a live interview today on Facebook with Katie Couric, this is an effort of collaboration among scientist and not one of competition.  She was seen with a colon cancer patient and Dr. William Nelson, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.  This is a night to support and honor all those facing cancer. I was actually told about this movement from my oldest son soon after my second cancer diagnosis in May of 2014.  I have to say I was a bit misty-eyed when I received a text from him asking me if I was following the group on Facebook. This is my #REASON2STANDUP!  Two years ago, we were in doubt if I would ever see his then unborn son, my grandson.  Two years ago, I watched my youngest son describe my 2nd Continue Reading →