Ara’s Story: No Regrets

Ara was diagnosed with locally advanced breast cancer and chose to have a bilateral mastectomy after her initial lumpectomy failed to remove all of the disease. Ara’s surgeon was very supportive of her choice to go flat, and she has never regretted her decision.

I chose double mastectomy and no reconstruction in 2000 when my stage 3B breast cancer in the left breast was not completely removed by lumpectomy. Fortunately my surgeon, Rebecca Yang, did not question my choice and she did a nice job.

I have never regretted my choice. No more bouncing boobs, no hot sweaty bras, no painful mammograms, I can sleep on my stomach in comfort now, and most importantly, I am symmetrical. There are no reminders of the terrifying trauma of the breast cancer diagnosis (I thought hard about breast cancer daily for 5 years. ) I can move, I am strong, I can use all my muscles because they are still where they are supposed to be, and I don’t have odd temperature or tightness sensations in “fake” boobs caused by transplanting tissue there, which happened to some women I knew who had reconstruction.

Fortunately my husband (still the same one) cared more about me than my boobs. I am authentic, there is nothing fake or cosmetic about me. This is fundamental to who I am. Thank you, Rebecca Yang.

I have never regretted my choice.

In 2017 while grieving the death of my mother (who moved up and stayed with me through my surgery and much of my chemo) I had a recurrence in my armpit – some forgotten cell put to sleep by the treatments woke up in response to my grief-compromised immune system. I went through everything all over again, (surgery, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy) EXCEPT the trauma. In fact, once I got done with radiation, I got back to my busy life and quickly forgot that I had had a recurrence. When a co-worker reminded me what I had gone through in 2017-2018, I was surprised at how thoroughly I had forgotten about it. If I had one breast intact and a prosthesis (moving muscle and fat from other parts of my body to create a fake breast was out of the question) I would still be reminded daily of breast cancer. Rather not!

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Disclaimer: Any and all information published by Not Putting on a Shirt (NPOAS) on behalf of a third party is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for medical or legal advice from a licensed professional. Views expressed and claims made by third parties do not necessarily represent the views of NPOAS.

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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