MY STORY: TRICIA
It was just another thing to check off my list. I went in for my annual mammogram and didn’t give it a second thought – until I received a call to return for a diagnostic mammogram. I was a bit annoyed because I didn’t really have time for another doctor’s visit, and this had happened a few years before, when a suspicious mass in my breast turned out to be calcifications and dense breast tissue, nothing more. But not this time. A biopsy revealed I had ductal carcinoma or DCIS, a type of breast cancer contained in the milk ducts.
I actually look forward to my appointments. I’ve never felt better.
Okay, this is treatable, I told myself. I did my homework and found a great breast surgeon with the Levine Cancer Institute, Dr. Teresa Flippo. She recommended a lumpectomy and radiation. The surgery is complicated because DCIS is only visible on the mammogram and is difficult to pinpoint in surgery. I went through three surgeries and still didn’t have clear margins, even though my surgeon had done everything possible to minimally invade my body. I knew a mastectomy was in the cards for me. Dr. Flippo recommended that I speak to a plastic surgeon. It just so happened that my physician at Charlotte Plastic Surgery and his wife were my neighbors, so they were my first call. My Dr. listened to my story and said he was excited about the successes Charlotte Plastic Surgery had with this type of surgery.
I scheduled an appointment and never looked back. They made me feel at ease from the beginning – I actually looked forward to my appointments! I saw my doctor weekly for eight weeks during the reconstruction process and received six saline injections to a point where I was happy with my breast size. Actually I should say the point where my husband was happy with my breast size! I’ve been very pleased – in fact, I’ve never felt better. Nobody wants to hear the news that they have breast cancer, but there have been many blessings that have come with this experience. My faith has grown tremendously. I’ve met some great people. My husband and I have developed a much deeper appreciation for each other. Without the efforts of my wonderful surgeons, none of this would have been possible.