My name is Kelly and I live in Columbus, Ohio….I am 34 years old and a single parent of two children. I went into surgery June 2001 for a breast reduction and two days later I was told I had high grade ductal carcinoma of my right breast….This was just unbelievable considering my family has no history of Breast Cancer.
My parents were on a cruise and I really wanted to keep it quiet until then. Even my plastic surgeon was in shock, she had never had a patient go in for a reduction and have a pathology come back as Cancer. She was on top of the whole situation before she even contacted me. A friend of hers was a general surgeon specializing in cancers of the breast and gave her some information and an appointment for me the following week.
I was given (3) options: radiation therapy, full body MRI or a bi-lateral skin sparing mastectomy with TRAM flap reconstruction. I chose the latter of the three because it would give me a 95% survival rate, and I wanted to see my children grow up and have families of their own……after that it didn’t matter, my life would be complete.
It is so amazing to this day and something I think about each day, but if I wouldn’t have had the reduction I would’ve not had symptoms nor would this have shown up on a mammogram, and by the time I was 40 it would’ve been too late. Basically, I was given my future on a silver platter.
I was also told the cancer was at the borderline of spreading and with the reduction they were not sure exactly where it came from in the ducts. And an MRI could not be done since all the tissue would show up scarred. So I felt this was the best choice.
Two months after the reduction I had my surgery. Everything went very well, it was a long recovery process. The pathology came back stating there was residual cancer left from the reduction, but since all the breast tissue was removed and my lymph nodes looked fine, it was opted for no chemotherapy.
It is kind of funny because I had an attitude that I didn’t care what my body looked like, I just did not want to lose my hair. I am very thankful I did not have to deal with that, but my heart goes out to all the women who have had to deal with this regardless of the outcome.
I have just had my nipple reconstruction and again everything is WONDERFUL!!! When my tattooing is completed in (6) weeks, my recovery will be going to see a doctor every six months until that (5) year goal is reached. I do have fears of reoccurrence, this is probably on the mind of every breast cancer/cancer survivor. This has taken a toll on a relationship I have been in for two years, and we are ending it, mostly because he states I am a “changed person”, of course I am!!!! I mean I have a new body, a new and positive outlook on life and take each day in stride.
I am going to go back to school and finish my nursing and complete/do the things I have been procrastinating about for a long time!!! Don’t be afraid to do anything. For those of you out there dealing with this I love you all, and with time it will be fine, one day we will beat this disease.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and touch someone or share your story, I have done this for many women which in turn has made them more conscious of their health and happiness. Take care.