Our Story

My Body, My Choice?

Kim was a young mother of two diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. She chose to go flat – she simply wanted to be “one and done” and get back to her life.  But the plastic surgeon she hired to make her flat acted against her clear directive and left excess tissue “in case you change your mind” (his words as Kim was lying on the operating table).  Listen to Kim’s story as told by Cleveland19 News:

NPOAS Founder’s Interview with Cleveland 19 News (1 of 2)
NPOAS Founder’s Interview with Cleveland 19 News (2 of 2)

“I’ll just leave a little extra in case you change your mind.”

Her choice to be “one and done” now gone, Kim has to choose whether to live with a cosmetic result that she finds abhorrent, or to take on additional risk – and sacrifice energy, money, and precious time with her family – just to get a result she feels she can live with.

All Kim asked for was an acknowledgment, from the surgeon and hospital, of the wrong that had been done, and a commitment to prevent this from happening to future patients. But her pleas fell deaf ears. So, Kim has chosen to invest herself in helping future mastectomy patients across the US and beyond to receive cosmetic results they can live with following mastectomy. She founded Not Putting on a Shirt in July of 2018.

Watch Kim speak about her experience on the Today Show with co-host Stephanie Gosk – also featuring women’s health journalist and author of “FLAT,” Catherine Guthrie:

Against Our Will: “Flat Denial”

What happened to Kim – “flat denial” – is happening to women everywhere. They go into mastectomy expecting a flat result, and wake up to something completely different. Some feel they have no choice but to have more surgery to get an acceptable appearance, which others may not be able to afford. Others still are not well enough for more surgery. They just have to live with the disfigurement that might have been prevented, if their surgeons hadn’t “left a little behind in case you change your mind.”

Of course, most try to ignore it to just get on with their lives. Or worse, the cancer spread, so they need to prioritize the time they have left and focus on survival. Kim fought alone for over a year. Then she started Not Putting on a Shirt.

Kim recently shared her story with Young Survival Coalition.

Watch excerpts from the sit-in that started it all:

Footage from Kim’s sit-in at the CEO’s office at Cleveland Clinic, where she was intentionally denied a flat result. CREDIT: Amanda Newill

Watch the Brut video compilation of Kim’s sidewalk protests:

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What People Are Saying

“[Doctors] should respect a patient’s wishes and not think they can make a decision which impacts the way a person sees themselves.”

Nita Noons Shaw, Fabulously Flat (Unreconstructed Breast Cancer Survivors)

“After suffering an amputation or worse (sometimes double amputation, sometimes cancer), a woman should not be left purposefully maimed. “

Kimberly Pantel, NPOAS supporter

“Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and confident in there own body! [N]o one else has the right to make a choice of what you should want your body to look like! “

Anna Lee Lorenzen , NPOAS supporter

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This site contains copyrighted material. Not Putting on a Shirt’s educational materials and resources on this site are freely available for “fair use” (Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107) in accordance with our mission to advocate for optimal outcomes for those who choose to go flat after mastectomy.  The copyrighted material on this site is distributed for educational purposes without profit – all donations to Not Putting on a Shirt directly fund our advocacy work. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond “fair use”, you must first obtain explicit permission from the copyright owner. Please direct requests or questions to info@notputtingonashirt.org.