2x Survivor, South Carolina
“My name is Sondra. I was initially diagnosed with a borderline Phyllodes tumor in my right breast at the age of 20, after previously having been told at 18 that it was just a fibroadenoma because ‘I was too young for it to be cancer’ and that we would ‘just keep an eye on it’ every 6 months.”
I chose to have a lumpectomy, and shortly before my 24th birthday, I had a recurrence in my left breast. (Phyllodes are a rare type of tumor. They make up such a low % of breast cancer. Around 1%. And there is only 3 staging’s for them: benign, borderline or malignant. They grow in the stroma vs the ducts, blood vessels and lymph vessels.).
I chose to have another lumpectomy. After second recurrence at 28 – this time with malignant phyllodes in both breasts – I had a bilateral mastectomy, with immediate expanders placed behind my pectoral muscles to start the expansion process to, as my surgeon said, ‘rebuild what was lost’.
I lived with breast mound reconstruction for 7 years, and after many complications, made the decision to explant to aesthetic flat closure.
I’ll never forget seeing myself flat for the first time. I snapped a picture of myself that I sent I sent to my best friend. When she asked how I felt, I immediately responded, “Like me again”.
My hope through my advocacy work with Flat Closure NOW is that women see that Aesthetic Flat Closure is a valid, healthy and beautiful surgical option post-mastectomy, and that all women are presented this option pre-mastectomy so they can make a truly informed decision.