In April 2010 I had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. This procedure is designed to prevent the development of breast cancer in women who are at high risk for the disease by removing both breasts. It was a radical decision as I did not have breast cancer, but with a significant family history and multiple questionable mammograms and MRIs I decided to have my breasts removed and reconstructed, instead of having to fight an almost certain cancer.
In early March, I met with Drs. Jess Ting and Christina Weltz, who are now part of the Dubin Breast Center. They immediately allayed all my fears, answered all my questions, and patiently took me through my surgical journey and what I could expect from beginning to end. My decisions and thoughts were respected, and I made the appointment for my surgery to proceed the following month. Although I made my decision, I had questions the month before my surgery; however, I received quick and thorough answers from my physicians and on April 20th my husband and I went to Mount Sinai to begin what was to be a life-altering day.
As I did not want to have that “implant look” I opted for a DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap, a technique that involves taking some of my skin and fat from my abdominal area to create my new breast. The surgery was a success and I am delighted with the outcome. I returned to Mount Sinai after my initial surgery for two smaller procedures (to smooth out a breast and create the nipples) - both were outpatient procedures and I healed quickly. My recovery was facilitated by the exceptional care provided by my physicians and nurses, as well as amazing family support.
It has been just over two years since my surgery. No longer do I dread my appointments, mammograms and MRIs. I made a decision to safeguard my health, and by doing that have also made smaller but equally important daily decisions to live a healthy life. I have started running and am planning on doing a 10k this fall.
When the Dubin Breast Center opened in 2011, I wanted so much to be a part of it that I volunteered for a year. It is an amazing facility, and so much thought has gone into the daily running of the Dubin Breast Center that when you enter you can't help but be touched by it. From the smiles that greet you at the door to the fresh fruit and herbal teas that wait for you in the beautifully appointed waiting rooms, the on site massage therapist to the ultrasound machine.
My experience, both as a breast cancer patient and as a volunteer, has made me so grateful that we have the Dubin Breast Center.