If you're still on the fence about reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy, let the ladies of SHARE tell you their positive experiences of rebuilding themselves after fighting breast cancer.
Marilyn: Does anyone have any comments on breast reconstruction and advice to women who are considering breast reconstruction?
Sheila: I'll tell everybody a little secret: I was very small breasted my whole life, and if I would have had a lumpectomy there wouldn't be anything left. So, I thought about it and discussed it with my doctor and he said go right ahead. My one breast was not diseased, the right one was fine, but I decided I wanted a matching pair and you have, because they don't look the same if you just do one.
Mary: As someone who had breast reconstruction after a bilateral mastectomy, I think it was integral. It was, uh, couldn't have been more important to my feeling of well being and wholeness, um, and healing, to not only remove the breasts that had the disease in it but to then rebuild myself.
Sheila: I just wanted to say one more thing, I had a visiting nurse come to my house and she said to me, 'most women your age don't bother with reconstruction.' And I thought she was really unprofessional and out of place to say such a thing, because I'm very happy with what I did, and it was a long process, but I'm thankful.
Margo: For somebody to have breast reconstruction it's a, you know, it's a huge issue. I mean, you're getting rid of your breasts and it's a really strange feeling to have to go through, I mean it's, it's terrifying and it affects the way you think and look at yourself, so think of it as cosmetic surgery. And go with somebody that's going to make you feel as good about yourself. If I were to give somebody advice that was considering reconstruction, I would tell them that that's the place that they should spend money. I was crazy about making sure that my doctors were within my insurance plan because I didn't want to spend a fortune on this on top of everything else. And I also didn't want to see bills flying all over the place, um, that was stressing me out. So I made sure that my surgeon, my oncologist, even my hospital were within my insurance plan, but I went out of pocket for the breast reconstruction. And I'm really glad I did because I didn't have any hiccups, and I know a lot of people that have had issues. I have no emotional issues with my breasts now, and I do consider them my breasts even though it's reconstruction.
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