Delayed DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Delayed DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction ~ My Story Delayed DIEP flap breast reconstruction, my story, my experience, will hopefully give others considering this method some insight into your planning. In a perfect world immediate reconstruction, that is, reconstruction done at the same time as the mastectomy, results in the best possible aesthetic outcomes for a number of reasons.  But, we all know that breast cancer is not a perfect world. There are reasons that patients have delayed reconstruction: Adjuvant therapy Adjuvant therapy may be necessary after a mastectomy. If there are lymph nodes that have tested positive for cancer and chemotherapy or radiation is recommended, this could delay your reconstruction. My story: No lymph nodes tested positive and radiation was not deemed necessary. However, because of the type of cancer I had, left breast recurrence from twelve years previously and a new cancer in my right breast, I was encouraged Continue Reading →

Genetic Testing

Is Genetic Testing A Scary Road to Travel? It is one of the hot topics in the medical world, “Genetic Testing”. A recent report from NBC Nightly News reports on the the risks and benefits of genetic testing.  Why do individuals choose to do it? What are the benefits and risks? What is the cost? Is it covered by insurance? Does it risk an individual’s chances of further insurance coverage in the future if they test positive? My Own Personal Experience I can only speak from my personal experience and reasons to explore genetic testing for myself. There are certain criterion that determines if you are a candidate who will likely benefit from genetic testing. I fit two of those conditions. One, I had breast cancer at a fairly young age, 47. Two, I had a recurrence of the original cancer I had at 47 but more importantly a newly Continue Reading →

A Letter to Secretary Sylvia Burwell

Dear Secretary Burwell, I enjoyed reading your bio on the HHS.gov website because I found we have a few things in common and I value human connections. We are both passionate about ensuring that individuals lead healthy and productive lives. Your outreach is far greater than mine and I am grateful for your passion and mission. My outreach, smaller though no less important, is to breast cancer patients who have been faced with a mastectomy. We are both former Seattle residents. As former President of the Global Development Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation you focused your efforts again on health.  I was an educator in Seattle at Sacred Heart School in Bellevue and had a brief opportunity to meet Melinda Gates when she visited our school and came into my classroom.  I was struck by her unpretentious manner and was humbled to speak to her and meet 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 →

DiepCJourney ~ One Year Anniversary

March 18 DiepCJourney ~ One Year Anniversary I can’t believe that I am celebrating the One Year Anniversary of DiepCJourney!  Here is my very first blog post from a year ago. ‘Twas a wonderful St. Paddy’s day evening with my artist, Meagan, and her family and friends. It couldn’t have been a more memorable night sharing a pint of Guinness and celebrating the launch of my website. I taught two of Meagan’s three daughters so seeing the “wee little ones” last evening was even more of a bonus for this teacher/educator. The days leading up to the launch were hectic, exhilarating, head banging and joyful all occurring at random days and at different times. My biggest concern was opening the blog with so little content. Then I went back a year in time to the day I started back to earn my M.Ed. after being away from academia for over Continue Reading →

Diagnosis #1

First the Good News You never forget where you were or what you were doing the moment you are told you have cancer, even if it was over a decade ago and the first time. My initial diagnosis was in January of 2002. I was ironing my husband’s shirts and watching a cooking show. It was 9:15 in the morning when I received the call. The doctor started out with the good news first. “Some of the tumors we biopsied were normal, but”… But…… As soon as he said that word “but” I knew. I turned the iron off quickly and sat down and grabbed a pen and paper. I had invasive lobular carcinoma in my left breast.  I began trembling as a tried to write down notes. My handwriting was so shaky I couldn’t even read what I was writing. Meaningless fragments of words appeared on the page. I Continue Reading →