"'It’s okay that you have breast cancer, Mom,' my little boy said to me. 'My friend at school says as long as you don’t have tumors it will be okay.' Being diagnosed with breast cancer is daunting and overwhelming and I quickly realized that knowledge is power.
So, having a choice in breast reconstruction empowered me. One of the key factors in making my decision was that I wanted my femininity back. I also wanted to return to the active lifestyle I previously enjoyed. I’m very athletic and very competitive.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to look very far. My surgeon referred me to Dr. Ferguson who described each type of procedure that was available to me. He presented the clinical facts of each surgery and offered his recommendation. But ultimately, the choice was mine. He also let me know if I was overwhelmed or changed my mind at any time, that it was okay. He supported me 100% in whatever choice I made.
My skin was so severely damaged by radiation that implants were painful and didn’t heal. The DIEP procedure used my own tissue and my own blood vessels and proved to be a better option for me. I was nervous about the length of the surgery and I was also worried about having a scar on my stomach. But, I knew Dr. Ferguson was meticulous about his work and I knew he would carefully preserve my abdominal muscles so I could keep up with my boys.
I couldn’t be more impressed with the results. When I returned to my oncologist he said, “Wow, this is the best surgery I’ve ever seen.” I knew I felt good and I knew I liked the way my body looked. But, to hear another doctor say he was impressed really meant a lot to me.
It’s been a long haul, but at the end my goal was to maintain my active lifestyle. I’m proud to say that I plan to participate in my first triathlon since my diagnoses this coming summer. And, I plan to finish faster than my husband!"