Kim: A Whole Woman After Breast Cancer Treatment and Reconstruction
I always knew it would happen, but I didn’t know when. Both my maternal grandmother and my mother fell victim to breast cancer. I had been having annual mammograms since age thirty-one, the year my mother was diagnosed. A few ultrasounds and benign biopsies kept me hopeful, but before Christmas 2002, at age 46, my mammogram revealed two small tumors in the right breast. A needle biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. Oddly enough, I had been helping a close friend deal with her recent breast cancer surgery. We became each others’ support system. I truly believe our paths are planned for us–could this be why while working at a local hospital five of my co-workers were battling this disease? I felt I was in the right place at the right time. I was confident that I had the best support system and the best physicians. Dr. Elizabeth Steinhaus (my breast surgeon) and I clicked instantly. A wonderful person and surgeon with a straight-forward personality and a true concern for her patients. I trusted her with my life. Dr. Diane Alexander, my plastic surgeon who performed my TRAM reconstruction, is an angel from heaven. A kind and devoted physician with an artist’s hands, she transformed me into a whole woman. I didn’t have to live with the disfigurement that my mother and my grandmother had to endure. I am so pleased with the results. Even after four rounds of chemotherapy, with the kindness of Dr. Janice Galleshaw I have never felt like a victim. I try to live a healthy lifestyle and always keep a positive outlook, a key to living with cancer… My family has been supportive and motivates me to continue to beat this disease. I pray this cycle ends with me, so my daughter may be spared. I feel I am an inspiration to my breast cancer patients. They feel more at ease undergoing surgery knowing that after hearing my story, they too can live a long healthy and vital life.