Marnie Previvor Headshot

Marnie’s Previvor Journey: Reconstructive Surgery & Empowerment

“Getting Things Out of My Chest”

After having a preventative double mastectomy and four reconstructive surgeries eight years ago, I never felt things were quite right. I had surgical fatigue (yes, it is a thing!) and I constantly experienced pain and discomfort in my right breast. At one point, I was so frustrated that I considered implant removal with aesthetic flat closure. But I didn’t want to go back under the knife, especially with my history of being hospitalized for staph infection.

When I had my initial surgery in 2013, there was no online community of survivors and previvors coming together to share our experiences and learn the pros and cons about the various types of breast reconstruction. I didn’t feel adequately informed about my options for reconstruction back then, and there was nowhere to go to find out more. If I’d had a way to gather more information from women who’d been through it before me, I still might have made the same decisions, but I would have felt better about it.

Eight years after my initial surgery, I knew I would need another reconstruction. This time though, I decided to be better informed and to educate myself about my options. I looked for a surgeon who really understood what I called my breast “situation” and who helped me feel comfortable finding a solution that worked for me and my body.

Thankfully, I already knew members of the team at NYBRA Plastic Surgery in 2013 after I created the Billow pillow (a breast pillow that is actually comfortable and effective!). I observed their practice and wonderful work for years and knew that I could trust them for my reconstruction.

After speaking with five incredible surgeons, I decided to go with Dr. Ron Israeli. He carefully listened to me, explained my options, and was supportive throughout the entire process.

Post surgery, I was surprised by what Dr. Israeli found in my chest. I had no idea that my last surgeon had used a very thick porcine-derived mesh which felt hard under my skin. I also didn’t know that my implants were two different brands and sizes! Dr. Israeli removed the thick mesh and changed my implants to Natrelle cohesive gel implants that look and feel great. He also used AlloDerm to reinforce the implant pockets so that I was able to go a little smaller, which was what I wanted.

Honestly, I felt tremendous relief as soon as I woke up from surgery and I am so happy that I chose Dr. Israeli and Natrelle.

Marnie’s story shows the importance of being informed and seeking support from reliable sources. For more information and resources about breast cancer prevention, detection, and treatment options, visit the American Cancer Society and At Learn Look Locate, we believe that sharing stories like Marnie’s can help others facing similar decisions. We offer comprehensive resources on various breast cancer topics, from diagnosis and treatments to emotional support and mastectomy recovery tips. Our survivor blogs provide first-hand accounts of personal experiences, while our medical advisors offer expert guidance. Knowledge is power, and our mission is to educate and empower individuals during their breast cancer journey. Connect with our supportive community and make informed choices for your health.