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BRAve Faces of Hope – Breast Cancer Survivor Stories

On October 15, 2014, our office, along with The Plastic Surgery Foundation is celebrating the third annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day USA. BRA Day USA is a chance for us to educate others about the choice breast cancer patients have to restore themselves and feel whole after surviving breast cancer treatment.

Our theme this year is BRAve Faces of Hope, focusing on survivors who have worked toward closing the loop on breast cancers with reconstruction.

Every day, countless women around the world wake up with the fear of losing their breast tissue to cancer. BRA Day USA is just one piece of an ongoing campaign to help support women physically, mentally, and emotionally as they survive and thrive after breast cancer occurs.

Read these brave women’s journeys as they share their stories with others who are unaware of their options or who are scared to move forward.

Story 1

I had three tumors in my left breast. My husband and I went to see my breast cancer doctor. He mentioned to us that if I had a mastectomy, I would not have to get chemo or radiation treatments, only medicine for five years. I didn’t want to have surgery but my husband and I went home to discuss it. The doctor also said I could later chose to have reconstruction to my left breast and could discuss that with Dr. Humphrey, a plastic surgeon.

I have two sisters that have had breast cancer, one in 1997 & one in 1999.  They didn’t have a mastectomy. “Why me?”

We came back to the breast cancer doctor and I told him what my sister’s treatment had been but my husband told me a mastectomy would be better. I wouldn’t have to receive chemo or radiation, just medicine. I agreed.

My breast cancer doctor told me about the reconstruction option and wanted us to meet Dr. Humphrey and his assistant to explain the procedure. My husband didn’t like the thought of reconstruction but I explained to him that I would feel better about myself.

Going through this wasn’t easy, but well worth it. There are aches and pains but I did okay.

I remember the first time or two that I came into the office to remove my drain tubes. My sister and daughter were there. I closed my eyes and I was scared, but Dr. Humphrey had the tubes out before my first “ouch.”

I made it! I’m glad I did it and I feel better about myself. God Bless.


Story 2

It was to be a day she would never forget, and what a day on which to get the news: On Dec. 6, 2013, the day of her office Christmas party, Tina Clark received the call that she had been diagnosed with cancer….

… Flash forward to her recovery…

“On September 29th I was able to get my Tissue expanders removed and also my chemo Port. I was very anxious but relieved to get to this point. It has been a long 7 months. I had to delay this process due to my chemo treatment.  I am doing very well with the implants. I actually am a lot more satisfied with the implants. They look so much better and that makes me feel so much better. I also will have them tattooed.

I am hoping in a few weeks to complete this part of my journey.

Of course, they are not natural but they do make me feel so much better and complete. Over the last several months I have been looking forward to completing!

I am happy that I made this decision. I knew myself and knew I would not be happy if I hadn’t gone with the reconstruction. Although including myself it was a learning experience and there are so many people that don’t really understand the mastectomy or the reconstruction process.  Very Grateful to have this procedure.

HPHS has been great in every way.”

Read her full story here.

– T.C.

Story 3

My name is K. R., and I was diagnosed with stage 3, triple-negative breast cancer on January 23, 2013.  On February 11, 2013, I had double mastectomy surgery and Dr. Humphrey came in right behind my surgeon and put expanders in to start my reconstruction surgery. When I woke from surgery, I had small tiny breasts, I didn’t wake up to anything there.

Once a week Dr. Humphrey would slowly fill my expanders with saline.  I started chemo in April 2013, and during chemo, I was still able to attend my appointments weekly with Dr. Humphrey to have my expanders filled with saline to stretch my skin for my implants.  On August 13th, 2013, I finished chemo and began my radiation of 30 treatments.  Before I started my radiation, I was the breast size I wanted to be with my expanders.  I loved the look of my breast at this time.  They looked like the real deal, they were about perfect, and I never wore a bra.  After healing from the radiation, in June 2013, Dr. Humphrey replaced my expanders with my implants.  I was very pleased with my implants and still no need to wear a bra, which I love.

During the process of filling the expanders with saline, there was a little discomfort for a day or two, but I feel the whole process was very much worth it.  Reconstruction has made me feel whole, normal and happy after all I had endured.  A friend used the silicone breast forms, which she said were very uncomfortable, hot, and heavy.   A second friend chose not to have reconstruction after her double mastectomy, but after seeing my reconstruction she had reconstruction and it had been six years since her double mastectomy. She too is pleased that she had this done.

I am very pleased with my reconstruction surgery and so glad that I chose to go in this direction.  If I had it to do over, I would still have the reconstruction. “Be patient and tough, someday this pain will be useful to you.”  God Bless!

– K.R.

Story 4

In September of 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since my mother and grandmother both had breast cancer, I immediately knew if I had an option for a mastectomy that was what I would do. I opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I have no regrets whatsoever!!

Breasts are tissue and I decided that I could live without mine but I couldn’t live with diseased ones. Also, I didn’t want to have mammograms every 6 months or so. As I said, “I have no regrets!”

– R.B.

Story 5

I was diagnosed in July 2012 with breast cancer in my left breast. Went to see a surgeon and we discussed my options and I chose to have a double mastectomy & reconstructive surgery. I am so happy with my decision. I look great and feel great about myself. I recommend to anyone in this position to have reconstruction surgery it makes you feel whole again, and not only that it makes you feel great about yourself. I would be willing to talk to anyone that has questions and is not sure about what to do.

– M.B.

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