My Body, My Choice
“But that choice was taken from me. My surgeon thought I would “change my mind” about implants and instead of the agreed upon flat closure, I woke to extra skin he had left on purpose and against my consent. I was devastated.”
Kim was a young mother of two diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. She chose to go flat – she simply wanted to be “one and done” and get back to her life. But the plastic surgeon she hired to make her flat acted against her clear directive and left excess tissue “in case you change your mind” (his words as Kim was lying on the operating table).
Her choice to be “one and done” now gone, Kim had to choose whether to live with a cosmetic result that she finds abhorrent, or to take on additional risk – and sacrifice energy, money, and precious time with her family – to “fix” it. All Kim asked for was an acknowledgment, from the surgeon and hospital, of the wrong that had been done, and a commitment to prevent this from happening to future patients. But her pleas fell deaf ears. So, Kim took matters into her own hands and, in July 2018, founded Not Putting on a Shirt (NPOAS) to advocate for optimal aesthetic flat closure (a new term adopted by the NCI in early 2020).
What happened to Kim – intentional flat denial – happens to 1 in 20 women who choose to go flat. Another 2/3 in 20 receive egregiously poor aesthetic results as a result of lack of skill or care. These women go into surgery expecting a flat result, and wake up to something completely different. Some feel they have no choice but to have more surgery to get an acceptable appearance, which others may not be able to afford. Others still are not well enough for more surgery. They just have to live with the disfigurement that might have been prevented, if their surgeons hadn’t “left a little behind in case you change your mind.” Kim fought alone for over a year. Then she started Not Putting on a Shirt.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim to hear how she started her amazing advocacy work with helping women advocate for aesthetic flat closure as a valid, healthy option after a double mastectomy. Please visit Aesthetic Flat Closure – Learn Look Locate