Tammy’s Breast Reconstruction Journey - Part I: My Breast Cancer Diagnosis
By: Tammy Carrington
What's it like being diagnosed with breast cancer?
My name is Tammy and I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) in June 2009. I underwent bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction with DIEP flaps.
I believe it is important to share my story on how I made my decision because when I was looking for information on other women's experiences, it was hard to find. If I can help even one woman feel peaceful about making her own decision, then it was worth it all. That's part of this process‚ reaching out and helping others who are behind us in the journey.
My nature is to research things completely so that I can make informed decisions. I am the mom to a severely brain injured little boy who is now 12 years old and I've spent lots of time over the years looking for information on how to help him to get better and have spent more than 20 years in the medical field as well.
My Breast Cancer Diagnosis:
My diagnosis came as a complete shock to me. I am sure it's a shock to anyone who hears it for the first time, but somehow I never thought I would be hearing those words associated with me. I just remember how numb I felt when I heard the "C" word: CANCER.
I had no signs or symptoms to indicate that there was any type of problem. I went in for my routine annual mammogram and they asked me to return for an ultrasound of my breast. Having me return was not an unusual request because I have had brocystic breast tissue and it had almost become routine for me to have to return. They would always do an ultrasound where they could see the cysts and then I would then be sent on my merry way.
This year was different.
They called me back for the ultrasound but also wanted to do some spot compression views so they could look more closely at an area of my breast where they wanted to see more detail. The doctor told me that radiologists are trained to look for microcalcifications when they view mammograms. My mammogram showed some microcalcifications and this time I was told to follow up in 6 months to see if there were any changes in my breast during that time.
My gut feeling told me that I didn't want to wait 6 months, so my physician sent me to a local surgeon and he decided to do a stereotactic breast biopsy right away. The results were back quickly and I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). I had breast cancer.
Time to get over the shock.