Facing Your Fear of Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” –Marilyn Ferguson
You have been diagnosed with breast cancer. You are told you must undergo a mastectomy. You are fed the largest meal of cancer information you could possibly digest; you stand full and exhausted with eager eyes looking to you to make the best decisions for not only yourself but your loved ones. Cue the fear.
Fear is a true and valid emotion associated with a cancer diagnosis. After you hear the words, “You have breast cancer,” terror slithers in and out of your new journey. You will experience distress (even if only for moment) when you encounter the realization of a mastectomy/lumpectomy, the possibility of chemotherapy and radiation, and the potential need for reconstruction.
Many women I talk to express a slight panic when encountered with the many questions they have about post mastectomy corrective surgery. There is the discomfort of not knowing what the experience is really like. How does it feel? Will they like the outcome? Which procedure would they choose? How do they know if they are making the right decisions?
I believe a great tool to help overcome feelings of anxiety or fear associated with breast reconstruction surgery is listening to the advice of women who have walked this path before you. Reach out to those you know who have had surgeries like the DIEP flap or tissue expanders. Many women who have journeyed through breast renovation surgery know what you are going through and are open and willing to share with you. Discussion boards found on breastcancer.org or Facebook are also great ways of contacting women for advice. At PRMA, we have a wonderful group of women—our Pink Ladies--who are always willing to jump to the needs of women seeking advice. If you are interested in chatting with any of these ladies, please contact me at [email protected].
Danae is one of our many Pink Ladies. Watch below as she shares her experience with you.