it was Monday December 10, 2012. The surgery was scheduled for 3pm.
I took pictures of my breasts that morning. I printed out one of the pictures and I look at it from time to time. My breasts were stunning, perfect. I was blessed as they say. Definitely my best asset, my best body part. I was tall, blonde, with beautiful, perfect tatas.
At that time I was was so sad, actually devastated at the thought of a mastectomy. But I came to terms with the surgery and made the decision to move forward with it. I have never looked back. Six years later that day is a faded memory. I am just fine with how I look today. It’s who I am. I feel good! Thankfully I continue to be cancer free and have NO problems at all with my implant and reconstruction. Thank you Dr. Lisa Guerra and Dr. Tenley Lawton!
I’m flying out on Wednesday to Houston, TX. Going to visit a friend that I have known since we were 15 years old. Icing on the cake is that we are going to see the Lakers play the Rockets. I am going to wear a VERY tight shirt to celebrate my amazing reconstructed bosom along with my good health. I might even wear a tight RED shirt to support the Rockets red, but I will secretly be rooting for the Lakers!
If you had told me six years ago that I would be expressing these happy words I would have said you are crazy! Thus I share my happiness with you to show that there can be a great, happy, healthy life after a breast cancer diagnosis and after a mastectomy.
but December 10, 2012 was anything but. Literally at this time of day five years ago, I was in the pre-op room at Hoag hospital waiting to be wheeled into surgery to have my right breast removed. Hideous.
Dr. Lisa Guerra breast surgeon performed the mastectomy. Dr. Tenley Lawton plastic surgeon put in a tissue expander to prepare for breast reconstruction at a later date. An experience I wish I never had to experience. But I did.
Today five years later, it’s sunday and I am doing nothing. Literally. Why? Because I can. Fortunately I am healthy and cancer free giving me the choice to do what I want to do. I’m choosing to stay in, relax, watch TV, turn my brain off and do nothing.
I’m a lucky girl and I know it.
Devastating words I heard from my breast surgeon five years ago today. Due to my particular diagnosis, she said she would do a lumpectomy, but I would not look good, as well as she may not get clear margins. I’d be much better served with a single mastectomy followed by reconstruction she said.
She referred me to a plastic surgeon. After meeting with the plastic surgeon, against every fiber in my being and wailing nightly I went ahead and scheduled my surgery for December 10, 2012.
words Dr. Lisa Guerra said to me on November 1, 2012, two days after I was told I had cancer. Layman’s words: “I have to remove your favorite body part.” Devastation. I wailed almost daily following that bit of news. Couldn’t wrap my brain, arms, heart, or anything else around it. I loved my breasts. They looked great and brought me such great pleasure. I couldn’t imagine my life without one of them.
Thankfully Dr. Guerra was patient and sensitive, and walked me through my reconstruction options. She referred me to a plastic surgeon, and my journey to a mastectomy with reconstruction began.
Sitting here now, I don’t even think about that I had a mastectomy. Sure once in a while, I’ll see a woman on TV with a beautiful set of what looks like real breasts naked and I experience a slight pang. What was….what could have been….if only…. But, then I turn the channel and move on. I forget all about that day four years ago. Thankfully.
While I don’t usually write about anything other than breast reconstruction, I attended an event today that was really fun and uplifting, and equally important my breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Guerra participated, so I felt it worth mentioning. Every year In Fashion Island Newport Beach, the Susan G. Komen Orange County Race for the Cure takes place. And every year my breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Guerra participates and walks to raise money. To quote Dr. Guerra: “Last year, I challenged my donors to help me raise >$10,000. Well, my donors helped me raise >$15,000 and bragging rights as the top fundraiser of 2014. As you may know, each $125 donation is equivalent to the cost of one mammogram. This year, the top fundraiser has already raised >$20,000 so that top fundraising spot may prove a bit challenging. However, whatever you can give will make a difference in the lives of many.”
It was a mammogram that saved my life (well okay, along with Dr. Guerra). A mammogram showed two lumps in one breast. I had no idea they were there, I had no pain and never noticed them. Where would I be today if I had not had that mammogram? The answer might not be a happy one.
I have talked to women since my diagnosis who tell me they choose to not get an annual mammogram. They cite reasons such as: they don’t want to know, they have implants, they don’t believe in mammograms, etc. and my response to them is always the same: “That’s your perrogative. However, I am not the person to say that to. A mammogram told me I had cancer. A mammogram saved my life.” I was able to get early treatment so that knock on wood, I will be cancer free the rest of my life.
This December it will be three years since Dr. Guerra performed my single mastectomy, working in conjunction with my plastic surgeon Dr. Tenley Lawton. I’m healthy and happy thanks to a mammogram and terrific doctors!
Did you get your annual mammogram this year?