In April 2008, Lisa underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with Alloderm and tissue expanders. In July 2008, she had an implant exchange.
My paternal grandmother died of breast cancer.
My maternal grandmother died of an unknown disorder of cancer.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40. She had a
mastectomy with reconstruction. The next year, she developed ovarian cancer and
had a hysterectomy. Eventually, after bouts of recurrent cancers throughout her
body, she passed away because of recurrent breast cancer at the age of 54.
A genetic study was begun at West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington
University involving my grandmother and mother’s genes. A geneticist determined
that our family genetics closely fit with Cowden’s syndrome – a rare condition
that, among other effects, is related to an increased risk of malignancies in
the breast – but we may have a genetic mutation all our own.
My personal history includes at least five invasive breast biopsies beginning
at the age of 17, all of which were benign.
With my family history, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that my day
was coming. It was just a matter of when, and what I could do about it. Do I do
the responsible thing for my husband, two children and myself and deny cancer
the opportunity to develop? OR do I take my chances and avoid making a change
that could make me feel less than whole? I made the choice to beat cancer at its
own game and move forward with a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM).
I set out to find my surgeon. All of the research I did on Dr. Myckatyn was
positive. It also helped that Dr. Eberlein, the chairman of surgery at
Washington University School of Medicine, had spoken highly of Dr. M’s
I knew I had chosen the right surgeon on the evening of my initial
consultation. Dr. Myckatyn took time out of his busy schedule to call me at home
to further discuss my decision. He jokingly asked if his call had freaked me
out. I told him, “Of course! But I’m listening.” He helped me to feel
comfortable with my decision, reassuring me that reconstruction can be a
positive thing. He was right. My results are beyond expectations, and I am more
than pleased with his work.
The reconstruction was scheduled for six weeks out from the initial
consultation, to give me time to quit smoking. I was back to work full-time
within two-and-a-half weeks of surgery. I feel my recovery time was a walk in
the park – not like others’ experience. My family and friends said that I made
it look easy.
I’m now going through the nipple reconstruction process. I loved my new
breasts so much that I was reluctant to change them at first, but made the
decision to complete the appearance, and to feel whole and complete. It’s too
soon to tell, but I’m already very pleased with my new nipples; they look very
natural and I’m looking forward to the tattooing that Dr. Myckatyn’s office will
Dr. M’s staff is outstanding. Tammy made an extra effort to see me at 7:30
a.m. to do my fills, which was very convenient for me. Personally, I dread
seeing my clients waiting for me when I arrive at work, so it really meant a lot
that she willingly made special arrangements for me.
Emily always makes me feel that my concerns matter and sets me at ease when
any questions or concerns arise. I appreciate the time she takes out of her busy
schedule to touch base with me.
How has it changed my life? I, for one, had a special attachment to my
natural breasts and was initially reluctant to give them up. I felt I would lose
my “mojo,” sensuality and appeal. Nothing could be further from the truth! I now
have more confidence post-reconstruction. I have two less areas of my body to
worry about, and the new "twins" look amazing! I am happy to tell my story to
others and I highly recommend Dr. M and his staff to anyone considering such a