In addition to the standard treatment of mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, I also had a procedure that goes by several names. Stem Cell Transplant; High Dose Chemotherapy with Stem Cell Rescue; or Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant. Then I took Tamoxifen for 5 years and have been on AI’s ever since. I am considered an “exceptional responder” and “outlier” because my mets have been stable since finishing treatment.
I chose to have a second mastectomy four years later even though I hadn’t had genetic testing done. (Which turned out to be a smart move because in 2017 I found I am BRCA2 positive) For several reasons, I decided I didn’t want to have breast mound reconstruction and chose to remain flat.
I wore prosthetics for 15 years but was never comfortable or happy with them. Then I began to see images online of other survivors who were flat and didn’t wear prosthetics at all. After seeing a photo of a woman sitting on a beach wearing only shorts, a hat and a happy smile I realized I wanted to be that at ease with my flatness. I didn’t want to camouflage or try to hide it anymore. Now, I use social media to let others know that Aesthetic Flat Closure is a valid post mastectomy option.
Over the years I have developed many other health issues due to the collateral damage of treatment. I have chronic pain, fatigue, GI issues, etc. that have kept me from living the life I thought I would. But the life my husband and I have made together has been happy and against the odds, I’m still here.