mastectomy

My Decision To Have A Prophylactic Double Mastectomy

Posted by b in BLOG, Double Mastectomy & Reconstruction 15 Mar 2011

mastectomy

I finally took care of something that’s been troubling me for months. A lump in my right breast. It’s in the opposite breast of the one I’ve already had two biopsies on. And yes, you read that correctly. It’s been troubling me for months. Many months.

I’m sure you’re all thinking the same thing. I thought it too.

How on earth can I be at high risk for breast cancer, watch my mother lose her life to this terrible disease and walk around for months not doing anything about this lump in my breast?

I can’t honestly answer that. I don’t know why. I thought about it constantly but was paralyzed by it.

When my father was doing better, I made a promise to take better care of myself and managing this lump was priority number one.

I switched doctors and am so grateful I did. My new doctor is at the same facility my Mom and aunts’ (two of my Mom’s sisters also had breast cancer) oncologists, genetic counselor and others involved in their treatment are at. I found myself with a team of doctors ready to do all they could to help me.

I had several mammograms and an ultrasound like I usually do. I received good news that I appear to be okay. You never know for sure until pathology is complete, but it looked encouraging. But, I was now on biopsy number three.

We then reviewed my family history, personal risk factors, genetic predisposition and so on. On top of the risk factors I already knew about, there were others I didn’t realize I had. My risk was even higher than I thought.

We worked with tools provided by various cancer organizations, reviewed the pathology of my previous two biopsies and discussed at length the difficulties in identifying suspicious lumps due to the density of and fibrocystic changes in my breasts. I would require a host of constant screening including MRIs, mammograms and ultrasounds to truly keep an eye on my breasts.

I was referred to a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer to determine a course of action for this most recent lump.

In the end, I decided it was in my best interest to complete a prophylactic double mastectomy.

I am about to do everything I can to ensure my son never knows the pain of losing his mom to cancer. I will do EVERYTHING to keep my promise to love and protect the little seven-year-old boy that became my son five years ago.

I am scared but I am certain.

I don’t know if everyone realizes this or not, but in doing so, I cut my chances of getting breast cancer down to about 3%. It feels so incredibly good to know that I am doing everything I can to eliminate my chances of this awful disease that so mercilessly took my mother’s life.

Looking at it now, I feel like my Mom died so I wouldn’t have to. I feel like her death has something to do with me living. It led me down a path that I fully believe is not only life changing, but life saving. My Mom is my hero.

I feel good about this decision and am grateful for the team of people I have now.

My next step is to consider reconstruction. I never really thought about reconstruction but after talking to my sister and a friend who has had a mastectomy with reconstruction, I’m a bit more open to it now. I’ve had one meeting with a plastic surgeon. If I decide to do this, I think I will go the tissue expander with the use of AlloDerm followed by implants route. I’m still not sure, but I’m leaning towards this and will let you know.

Thank you for being my friend and allowing me to share this incredibly difficult decision with you.

Love, b

image source: abcnews.go.com

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  • Brian October 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm / Reply

    You’re so brave to go through what you have had to. Even braver is talking to complete strangers about it. If more people had friends like you when they were going through tough times, we’d all be better off. I’m glad I stumbled on your site today. Made things a little better.

  • Cindy August 10, 2014 at 8:17 pm / Reply

    I just made the dession to have a double masectomy with reconstruction. I know I’m making the right dession but at times I feel like I can’t breath.

  • Erin November 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm / Reply

    I love that you did this. I had Breast Cancer but i almost feel like i was somewhat prophylactic in my treatment. I had a 1cm mass DCIS, non invasive, stage 0. I think most people opt for a lumpectomy and 3-6 weeks radiation. I wanted them OFF and reconstructed. I am 42 with two children under the age of 10 and i didn’t want to take any chances of a recurrence. I did opt for nipple sparring because my surgeon had actually done a ton of research on it and actually published an article in a major medical journal about it and thought it was safe for me. Of course pathology checked them all out during surgery but i woke up with them so they are good. Im 2 weeks today post op. Im still in bed most of the time. Just really sore. I have no further treatment to do and am so far glad i made the decision i did. Would have loved the option of the Botox. Thanks for your blog! Hope my comment can help someone else.

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