MY STORY: TERRI
In September 2012, at the age of 57, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The recommended treatment for my condition was lumpectomy followed by radiation. I chose to have the lumpectomy with my local surgeon. After three more surgeries to clear the margins, I finally was ready to start radiation. The week I was to start radiation, it was placed on hold because it was determined that I needed to have further tests. Three weeks later, the test came back positive for BRCA1, meaning that I was a carrier of the BRCA1 breast and ovarian cancer gene. I was shocked!
“When I look in the mirror, I don’t think, oh poor me. I think, WOW!”
At that time, I read and was given many confusing and contradictory options, ranging from proceeding with radiation to bilateral mastectomies. After a second and third opinion, and much prayer, I decided on the bilateral mastectomies. I’m a healthcare professional and I know the importance of doing research before making such an important decision. I encourage any woman to be thorough and aggressive in gathering as much information as possible and do not hesitate to ask as many questions as necessary. I scheduled appointments for consultations with several plastic surgeons in Charlotte, including Charlotte Plastic Surgery. I never made it to my first appointment at Charlotte Plastic Surgery because of a major traffic jam. At first I didn’t consider rescheduling, but then something kept telling me I should. The office staff was so understanding and kind and rescheduled me quickly. The first time I met my doctor, I knew he was the one I would trust with this very personal and emotionally draining journey – but I didn’t let him know that right away! My husband was with me for that appointment and he was equally impressed.
The doctor was precise in explaining the procedure and confident that I would be happy with the outcome. He also reassured me that the bilateral mastectomy decision was a good one. The following day, I received a call from him to see if I had any other questions or concerns. That call was the deciding factor. I had the bilateral mastectomies in August 2013, with placement of tissue expanders. I never could have imagined that I would be so thrilled with the post-mastectomy reconstruction. When I look in the mirror, I don’t think, oh poor me. I think, wow! He really did a great job of making me look just like I did before the terrible news of September 2012. I am so blessed to have found Charlotte Plastic Surgery. If only I had begun my search there, I would not have felt a need to go anywhere else.