Julie – “It Isn’t Right, But It Is My Reality”

Editor: Julie H. Rose knew that she wanted to go flat from the moment she was diagnosed. And yet, her medical team – including the female surgeon that she had chosen specifically to try to protect herself from paternalism – made her explain her decision over and over again, as though her choice was invalid.Continue reading “Julie – “It Isn’t Right, But It Is My Reality””

Finally Flat: Stephanie’s Revision Story

Editor: It may be shocking to hear that Stephanie’s original surgeon admitted to her face, after the surgery, that he had purposefully left “a little extra” in case she “changed her mind.” But she isn’t the only victim who has described this scenario. And right now, the surgeons who behave in this manner know thatContinue reading “Finally Flat: Stephanie’s Revision Story”

Maribeth: “Instantly I awakened to the reality of all that had happened”

Editor:  Maribeth’s well-articulated experience below is an example of flat denial by intentional disregard – when a surgeon performs a skin-sparing mastectomy instead of the agreed-upon flat closure, in order to facilitate future recon “in case you change your mind.”  Some surgeons lack the skill to make the patient flat, but that wasn’t the caseContinue reading “Maribeth: “Instantly I awakened to the reality of all that had happened””

Sindee – She has to wait years for revision

Editor: Going flat after mastectomy is a decision that skews towards the older patient population.  After age 60, close to four out of five women forgo reconstruction. Oftentimes, as with Sindee’s case, it’s because the risks of additional surgeries outweigh any cosmetic benefit, due to slower healing simply because of the woman’s age (Sindee wasContinue reading “Sindee – She has to wait years for revision”

Stephanie – “The last thing I said to him on my way to surgery was, ‘I trust you’”

Editor: Like so many women victimized by flat denial, Stephanie’s experience was an outright betrayal of the sacred confidence she had placed in her surgeon.  And it took her some time to accept the reality of the violation she had experienced.  Her surgeon admitted to her face, after the surgery, that he had purposefully leftContinue reading “Stephanie – “The last thing I said to him on my way to surgery was, ‘I trust you’””

Wanda – “This should be the norm!”

Editor: Wanda got a great flat result and was “one and done” (the initial flat closure was satisfactory).  Many women who choose to go flat, plan to get a tattoo across the mastectomy site (the canvas, so to speak) after healing from surgery – it’s a way to reclaim ownership of one’s body, and toContinue reading “Wanda – “This should be the norm!””

Lisa – “Nothing could have prepared me for what I looked like after surgery”

Editor: Lisa had OVER A DECADE to decide what surgical option she would choose if her original breast cancer returned.  Still, her surgeon unilaterally decided to leave her with a skin-sparing mastectomy to facilitate future reconstruction. Lisa says in her story that she should have consulted a plastic surgeon… but, as we know from myContinue reading “Lisa – “Nothing could have prepared me for what I looked like after surgery””

Brenda – “I should not have to feel embarrassed or humiliated by my own body, ever.”

Editor: Brenda’s story really shows what an impact we can have when we go public with our stories.  Breast cancer treatment is an extremely isolating experience. But now that we have flat advocates like Melanie Testa, Beth Fairchild, and others – now going flat is beginning to be normalized.  People are starting to realize thatContinue reading “Brenda – “I should not have to feel embarrassed or humiliated by my own body, ever.””

“Deborah” – Flat Women Before Me Paved the Way

Editor: “Deborah” asked that her story be shared anonymously.  She was lucky to have a surgeon who respected her wishes to go flat, without her having to take extraordinary measures to protect herself.  This experience of respect by default – this is what ALL mastectomy patients deserve. I am sharing my story because someone mayContinue reading ““Deborah” – Flat Women Before Me Paved the Way”

Dawn – “No other options were given to me”

Editor (Kim): This is Dawn’s story.  She is a stage IV breast cancer survivor.  One third of all early stage patients will eventually progress to stage IV, where the cancer spreads to other organs in the body.  Stage IV breast cancer is terminal.  As an early stager myself, stories like Dawn’s break my heart intoContinue reading “Dawn – “No other options were given to me””