My mother had breast cancer about 10 years ago, and my sister Beth got diagnosed in 2004. She tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation, so she ended up getting a double mastectomy.
When I tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation in April 2005, I was devastated. I felt like Id just gotten a life sentence. But I still was not ready for a mastectomy.
It was interesting but I found that the men in my lifelike my father and my brothers-in-lawwere more worried than I was, like they didnt know if men could really handle that.
I saw a therapist who suggested I formally look in the mirror and say good-bye to my breasts and make an emotional connection with them. My friend did a photo shoot for me. And I definitely had those mirror moments where I was looking straight on and saying good-bye to the images of them, and the touch.
In a skin-sparing mastectomy, they cut around the nipple, and all the skin stays, except for your nipple. They scoop out all the breast tissue through the hole that they make in each breast. They also put tissue expanders under the muscles of the chest wall to start stretching the skin for implants.
So now its two and a half years since the reconstruction was finished, and I feel great. I feel so relieved.