Cassandra “My surgeon was a woman…”

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Hello, Kimberly! I’m Cassandra & I’m a breast cancer survivor. I had my bilateral mastectomy in 2013, followed by chemo & radiation. My surgeon was a woman, and I thought she would understand. She didn’t listen. I have an added element in my story; my surgeon was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. I’m a veteran of the Air Force & Army. I’m also a 100% disabled veteran.

After seeking medical attention from the VA Medical Center, I was sent to a military base for treatment. (I was given no choice.) I explained over & over again that I did not want reconstruction. “Please make me flat. I don’t want anything in my body that shouldn’t be there.” I already had four tumors that needed to be removed, and they certainly shouldn’t be there.

I ended up with extra skin, or dog ears, “in case you change your mind.” It was bad enough I was losing my breasts, but to have this ugly, bumpy chest afterwards was not okay with me. I believe it was the following year when I found the courage to request a revision. The plastic surgeon to whom I was assigned was an old retired doctor that did some work at the military hospital. He didn’t listen to me at all. He even forgot who I was from the time we had our consultation to the time of surgery. Although the dog ears were removed, I ended up with worse scarring. They were hypertrophic. It was awful! I then had Kenalog injections.

I don’t like seeing my chest. I still have some pain in some areas. I do not want more surgery.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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Published by Not Putting on a Shirt

Founder of Not Putting on a Shirt, a mastectomy patients' rights organization that advocates for optimal surgical outcomes for patients going flat.

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