This testimonial is a very emotional thing for me to commit to paper. I want people to hear my story though.

I went for a routine mammogram in July 2009 never expecting to get news that would change my life. I was told that a lump was found in my right breast and that I would need to go for a biopsy. I received the news that I had CANCER the middle of August. It struck me like a thunderbolt. I then had a tough decision to make - lumpectomy or mastectomy. After talking to friends, family members, doctors, and after lots of internet research, I decided to opt for a double mastectomy with reconstruction, even though the cancer was in a very early stage (1A.) I chose this option because I didn’t want to wake up every morning wondering if this was the day the cancer would come back. Several of my friends who had lumpectomies, later had a recurrence of cancer.

On August 31, 2009, with my husband, two children, and future son-in-law in tow, I went in for the surgery that would remove both breasts and give me implants instead. After 10 hours of surgery, I woke up to a few new body changes. The cancer was removed and I didn’t have to have radiation or chemotherapy, but I do to take Anastrozole (Arimidex) for five years. It inhibits the production of estrogen.

On December 17, 2009, I had to have another surgery because the left implant was falling. After that, I was in and out of the hospital three more times in my home town for infections and fluid accumulation. On July 1, I had to have the left implant removed due to a life threatening infection. After I healed, my cosmetic surgeon said he didn’t know what else to do for me because my body rejected everything he tried. He suggested I investigate Diep flap surgery. The closest doctors who performed this surgery were in Denver, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Salt Lake City. I decided to go to Denver to Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery because the information on their website answered many of my questions and the qualifications of the doctors were impressive. I went for a consultation in November 2010 and after talking with Dr. Chris (Williams), I knew I wanted to proceed. Dr. Williams told me he thought my continued problems were in a large part related to the stress of my job. I was a Special Education teacher for behaviorally challenged kindergarten to third grade children.

After much soul searching, I decided to quit my job at the end of the school year, a job, I might add, I loved with all my heart. But my health came first and I knew that if I didn’t make this change, I would continue to have complications.

I went to Denver to Sky Ridge Hospital and had a 14 hour surgery on July 2, 2011 to remove the remaining implant and use my abdominal fat to do the reconstruction. Dr. Williams was at the hospital at midnight to check on me and again at 6:30 AM. I knew I was in good hands. I stayed in Denver 16 days so Dr. Williams could perform follow up exams and to be close if there were any complications. In mid-July I was finally able to come home. I had nipple reconstruction and some liposuction on August 25, 2011, and tattooing on December 29, 2011. I have not had any complications and am so very happy with the results. Dr. Chris and the staff of Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery were always available by phone (I live 7 hours from Denver) any time I had questions. I owe these people my life. I would recommend Dr. Williams and all of the staff at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery and Diep flap surgery for any cancer patient who is thinking of having implants. My resulting breasts look and feel like the breasts I was born with.

A cancer diagnosis certainly changes your life, but it doesn’t have to be a bad change. Hold on tight to family and friends and don’t be afraid to cry.  Live day to day and have faith that things will get better.

I am willing to talk to anyone who is thinking of having this surgery or struggling with decisions relating to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

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