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May 24, 2019 12:40AM
I am sorry that you don't seem to have full family support for the possibility of PBMX. Glad that your husband is supportive!!! When I first came to my decision about it, I didn't really have full support either, but at least no one was truly hostile to the idea. I can remember the startled faces of people when I would say, "I think I'm opting for surgery -- you know -- the Angelina Jolie kind of approach." But I think that maybe their shock reflects that there is so much in the media about how breast cancer is really next-to-nothing. Everyone seems to have a story about an aunt or a friend-of-a-friend or some colleague who had breast cancer X years ago and who had a lump removed and is doing great. And listen, I am so delighted that strides are being made! Thank god that many women can, if they want, have a lumpectomy, monitor closely, and live fulfilling, healthy lives. But I think that we (and the media, too) want to tell stories that are beautiful and inspiring, and we don't want to put in the not-so-nice details of anxiety and biopsies and side-effects of drugs and waiting for the doctor's phone call. Those are the types of details that I needed to tell my friends/family who were doubting my decision. I just didn't want to live my life like that. Also, I spoke with several friends/acquaintances who had gone through cancer, and without fail, they told me that I should go for it. Rebekah, I know it's not for everyone, and so I don't want to come off as trying to persuade you -- I'm just sharing what was running through my mind when I made this really tough decision.
In terms of NOLA, they came to my attention through boards like this. Also, my husband is from New Orleans, all my in-laws are there, we were married there, etc. But honestly, it was through forums that they caught my eye. And the more I read about reconstruction, the more that I became convinced that DIEP was the way to go for me. I just liked the idea of my breasts being my own tissue, being warm to the touch, etc. If you call them, they will set you up with a patient educator phone call -- no commitment whatsoever. That was super helpful, too. I also considered PRMA in San Antonio, but I liked the fact that a surgical breast oncologist at NOLA did the mastectomy part, that everything was biopsied, etc. Then I had a niece of mine in NOLA who is a nurse do some checking around with her colleagues. Everyone raved about the place. Being on this side, I am so happy to have done this.
About the breast sensation, well, I'm not going to sugar coat that. I really don't have too much sensation. But I do have some tingling going on that suggests to me that some sensation is starting to return. But I don't think it will ever be like it was. Am I sad about that? Sure. Does that sadness make me regret this decision? Not at all.
I'm going to PM with my contact info should you want to talk. I sure helped me to talk with a lot of folks with many perspectives when I was thinking about this. I wish you all the best, and please know you have my full support and appreciation no matter which path you may choose to take!