Regular readers will know that we’ve been posting a series of blogs this month about the top ten advances in plastic surgery in the past decade. Stillwater turns ten this month and it seemed like an appropriate, thoughtful undertaking. The “top ten” list has not really been in any particular order. Each advance is important in its own right. For today’s post, however, we have decided to talk about Breast Reconstruction Surgery After Preventative Mastectomy now – rather than later in the series – and to change our format. Rather than Dr. Capizzi offering his perspective, we are going to turn the blog over to a patient.
Angelina Jolie did a brave thing when she went public with her medical story earlier this week. Here at Stillwater Plastic Surgery we think Tiffany is a star. She is a beautiful 33-year old wife and mother of three who opted for a preventative mastectomy and breast reconstruction rather than living under threat of cancer. Dr. Capizzi is proud to be her surgeon. But, let’s let Tiffany tell her story in her own words:
“My story is not as clear cut as most. I tested negative for the BRCA gene. So did my Mother and my Grandmother; who were both diagnosed in their 30’s. We are one of those rare families whose breast cancer is probably genetic but research has not caught up to us. So I have always been in that “gray” area….
“That “gray” area turned black and white for me this past year. Since I was 24, when I developed a large fibroid while pregnant, I have been under constant monitoring for breast cancer. I have always been extremely thankful for that. The past few years things kept popping up – more microcalcifications, new microcalcifications, abnormal masses, and finally, after my third biopsy, they started finding “atypical” cells.
“That was the final straw for me. I am a Mom. I have 4-year old twins and a 7-year old. I run two businesses from home. I vividly remember my mother suffering through chemo. I did not want my children to see that. I did not want to sit through anymore waiting … waiting for this screening, this biopsy, did this atypical cell turn malignant? Did the MRI show anything the mammogram missed? I was done waiting.
“With the support of my husband, family, and my doctors; I underwent a PBM in December of 2012. Yes, the recovery was worse than I originally thought. Yes, the physical aspect was harder to look at than I thought. Yes, I will whip out my “loaners” to anyone who wants to see. Yes, I will wear my scars bravely. Yes, I have had bumps in the road. Yes, I am 100% sure that I made the best decision for me. For my family. For my babies. For my life.”
Tiffany recommends these support groups and websites: