Sunday, February 05, 2012

Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy Recovery: One Month Out, Part One

Happy Superbreast Sunday!  Don't forget to click here to win a dress from Shabby Apple!

I thought I'd do a monthly summary for anyone reading who might be considering the expander surgery.  For those not interested in this, here's a pass: TL:DNR. This will be broken up into five posts.

I decided to blog about the process because though there are lots of amazing blogs on the subject out there, I saw few from women of color and none from women identifying as African American.  Why did this matter? Well, for one, our scarring is different, which matters to me as a young woman; second, our sociohistorical contexts with institutions and our health potentially add an additional layer of conflict; third, I had just left my immediate  family's fourth cancer ward; and fourth-- though black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, we have higher rates of death from it. Bottom line: there is something we're not doing, and it was my goal to interrupt that something in the name of my own health...then talk about it. A lot.


{I started as an F cup.}
Here goes:

Why I did it: Two years ago, I took a semester off to help my mom through surgeries for a female cancer. During a routine physical, my primary care physician asked of there were other cancers in my family-- and there are many.  She referred me to a genetic counselor who had me complete a family tree. Even though I was only able to partially complete it initially, the information I discovered in later months summed up to this: both grandmothers, my sister, and my father had breast or prostate cancers, along with several paternal aunts and uncles. I did not have one of the recognized genes for breast cancer; however, I am still considered high- risk. My decision was based solely on my family's history, the fact that I always felt something during self- breast exams (typical for someone with large fibrocystic breasts) and a gut feeling I've had all of my life.

*This summary is the first in a series of five posts on the subject.  For other non- summary posts, use the search function to search "prophylactic bilateral mastectomy."*


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