“It’s malignant.: Two words, four syllables. And so began my journey with breast cancer. you might think this would be the worst possible thing that could happen – let me assure you I was not overjoyed with this news and I had the same concerns and fears that every other person has with this diagnosis. However, through my journey I have met people I would otherwise never have had the opportunity to meet. For that I am forever thankful.
The surgeon who did my mastectomies suggested that I wait until after radiation to have reconstructive surgery. I had 16 rounds of chemo and 35 of radiation. During that time I heard other women complain about the reconstructive process. I decided I had been through plenty and was not signing on for anything else that made me not feel well. I had been fitted with a prosthetic bra and felt like that was all I needed.
Every night when I took a shower I looked in the mirror and all I saw was a blank chest. the scars from the mastectomies didn’t bother me – I looked at the as battle scars. Night after night of seeing skin and ribs made me begin to wonder what it would be like to have breasts.
I went to a plastic surgeon in town who talked with me and my husband about what this process entailed. I have to say when we left I was more upset from talking to him than I was about the cancer itself. A friend suggested I talk with Dr. Mani about my concerns. One visit with him changed my whole outlook.
From the very first visit Dr. Mani explained, in detail, what would happen at each stage of the reconstruction. I felt as though he was partnering with me rather than dictating how it was going to be. At each appointment he would look me straight in the eye and ask what concerns I had and how I felt about the expanders and the discomfort. I have to say I had very little discomfort throughout the entire process. Becky and Ann were always available by phone to ask questions. We laughed at each appointment and moved on to the end product…breasts I had never had.
I believe God ordains things. While I still would not have chosen this journey for myself, I am forever grateful for the things I have learned about me and the people I have met along the way. Dr. Mani has set the bar for all other physicians to meet – and that bar is very high.