Amy Black ~ Tattoo Artist

Amy Black ~ Tattoo Artist Amy Black is a talented and compassionate tattoo artist.  Her work with breast cancer and BRCA patients is nothing short of inspiring.  She owns Amy Black Tattoo.  From her website: In 2011, Amy began working in another field of tattooing known as “nipple and areola repigmentation” or “mastectomy tattooing” as a part of breast reconstruction for patients post mastectomy due to breast cancer or BRCA diagnosis. When Art Transcends Emotion There are times when art truly transcends emotion in a very positive and powerful way.  This message could not have been more apparent to me than after my conversation with her on Anti-Cancer Club.  Along with hosts Stephie and Pat we sat mesmerized by this woman’s commitment to post-mastectomy patients.  Amy is an individual who exudes the statement, “The universe is larger than I am.”  Listening to her message, hearing about her work transforming the Continue Reading →

Traveling with Prosthesis

Traveling with Prosthesis Traveling with prosthesis of any kind through TSA offers preparation and concerns. I promised a follow-up blog after my post entitled, My Boobs in a Box. There is both a light-hearted side to this story and one that still raises the hairs on my neck when I recall the details of a particular day at the airport. Let’s start with the funny stuff. Altitude and Silicone Inserts for Breast Prosthesis I was told when I picked up my breast prosthesis that the silicone implants I chose could potentially exhibit some odd behaviors when I was at altitude on a flight. I experienced those odd altitude behaviors in my prosthesis twice; once on a flight and the other time when I was visiting the Grand Canyon over an extended weekend. The first time I flew with my prosthetic bra I felt the effects of the altitude after we Continue Reading →

My Boobs in a Box

My Boobs in a Box My Boobs in a Box, also known as my breast prosthesis, were something that I wore for seven months after my double mastectomy. I’ll admit that I didn’t like them so perhaps that accounts for my snarky description. They were hot and heavy during the summer months I had to wear them. My breast surgeon wrote a prescription for the prosthesis and I was fitted for them within a few weeks after having my mastectomy. I’ll admit that was a strange day for me. I went to a prosthetic shop where they fit patients for a variety of prosthesis for a variety of reasons. There were amputees without arms or legs in the waiting area. Then there was me; the hidden amputee. No one could see the body parts I was missing or why I was there to be fitted for a prosthetic bra. I Continue Reading →

Maintaining Health Records during a Cancer Diagnosis

Maintaining Health Records during a Cancer Diagnosis This is a post about the importance of maintaining accurate health records during a cancer diagnosis. But, today is probably one of the most difficult posts I have written in a while because of the events listed in this post that happened withing a month’s time to me and my family in 2014 during the time of my second breast cancer diagnosis. Why I do What I do I am an educator for all options of breast reconstruction after mastectomy.  After much research on my part to find a skilled, compassionate and qualified plastic surgeon; I had a very positive experience.   I know that all women are not told about their choices for reconstruction like I was.  Additionally, some have not had the powerful and positive experience that I did. I share my experience through outreach and  I educate others in hope of Continue Reading →

Body Image After Mastectomy

Dealing with Body Image After a Mastectomy Body image after mastectomy is difficult for many women. I went through this myself after a bilateral double mastectomy. It is my own definition but I define women who live with mastectomies, “hidden amputees”. No one sees that you are missing body parts when you wear prosthesis. No one feels what you feel each time you see a reflection of yourself in the mirror or try to pick out something that will look feminine or sexy when you want to step out for a social event. No one truly understands the desire you have to just magically want the clock to turn back before you had to have your breasts removed due to cancer. No one, that is, unless you’ve lived with this yourself. What was your personal choice? How did a mastectomy change your body image and how have you dealt with Continue Reading →

Exercise After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Going in DIEP! Exercise after breast reconstruction surgery is a tricky game. You must clear it with your plastic surgeon. Your incisions must be completely healed so that you do not compromise the healing process. One question I asked my PS (plastic surgeon) at my pre-op appointment before the final phase of my reconstruction was when I could get back to swimming. We have a pool in our backyard and I felt it would be good rehab as a post-surgical exercise. His answer, “When you are ready and when the wounds are all healed”. New Sensations and Healing I’ve been working up to this moment today. I emailed the nurse at my plastic surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago and told her I was feeling some interesting and strange new sensations in my breasts. I couldn’t really put the feelings into words but I think she completely understood. She Continue Reading →

The Perfect Breast Shape and Plastic Surgery

How I got to the “Breast” Shape Ever Twitter is such a valuable tool for me. A year ago my Twitter account was full of nothing but educational websites. I returned to school to attain my M.Ed. and I used it for the sole purpose of gathering information about the latest “speak” in education. I did not tweet, like, retweet, or DM (direct message). I only lurked and learned. The lurking and learning changed in October of 2014. School ended for me to focus on my health.  My Twitter account went from education to all things breast cancer and breast reconstruction. I entered the world of plastic surgery as a breast reconstruction patient after undergoing a double mastectomy following a second breast cancer diagnosis. It was a world I was unfamiliar with and had much to learn about both on an academic and emotional level. I was now following, being Continue Reading →

Breast Cancer Education Act

A Time to Educate I have spoken to many women in the past six months since I became an advocate for breast reconstruction.  I am frequently reminded by these women that the education, resources and information is simply not being discussed at the first stages of a cancer diagnosis.  I was fortunate to have the information regarding my choices for breast reconstruction the day I was told I was going to have a double mastectomy due to a second recurrence of breast cancer.  I want every woman to be able to have that conversation with their physician.  The front line of education has to start in the health care community.  We can add outreach through support of this bill. A Call for Support I invite each of you to explore the information provided by Breast Reconstruction USA.  Write or call your local representative and ask them to reintroduce this bill Continue Reading →

How Has Breast Cancer Changed You?

How Has Breast Cancer Changed You? Cancer: Connections & Catalyst Many articles and questions are posed:   “How has breast cancer changed you?” Here is one example  from the About Health website, just one from a myriad of articles published after doing a quick search on the topic. I think it’s fair to ask that question to anyone in any phase of life. How has the news of the day changed you? How has having children changed you? How has visiting a foreign country changed you? How has being married changed you? How has being divorced changed you? How has changing your hair color changed you? How has losing weight changed you? How has becoming a vegan changed you? Blah, blah, blah and on and on…… Individuals and Change Individuals are affected by events in life in either very positive ways or extremely negative ways.  So OK!! We’re all individuals Continue Reading →

Breast Reconstruction Fears After Mastectomy

Breast Reconstruction Fears After Mastectomy Breast reconstruction fears after a mastectomy and not knowing all of the steps involved prevent many women from making the decision to move forward with reconstruction.  My breast reconstruction journey began when I had my annual mammogram on April 2, 2014.  My radiologist informed me that the mass she found in my right breast was highly suspicious of cancer.  I had to return to her office the next day to confirm that with a core needle biopsy (CNB). The results were ready five days later. My radiologist asked me the day she took the CNB if I knew of any breast surgeons since that is who would be reviewing the results of the biopsy with me. I had been to see one about five years previously to have a benign cyst removed close to my areola. I was very impressed with the surgeon so asked Continue Reading →