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The Same Confidence, If Not More

"God created us to stand out, not fit in."

September 28, 2016

My initial story actually began over a decade ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After chemotherapy and radiation treatment that almost killed me, I was finally celebrating 10 years of remission.  Two days after my celebratory anniversary, I received a call from my doctor with news I did not expect; “Ms. Chitwood, I regret to inform you that your breast cancer has returned..” Same cancer… same breast… same EVERYTHING.  The doctors gave me my options: chemotherapy and radiation, or have a double mastectomy.

I took a moment to think about my previous chemotherapy experience and I thought about my three children who I am raising as a single mother.  Who would be there to give them a mother’s love and care for them this time if I didn’t survive?  It was a no-brainer; I was getting the double mastectomy.  To be honest, I thought surgery would not only give me my best option for cancer-free health, but I thought the procedure itself would be a walk in the park compared to other treatment options. 

After making my decision, I researched several surgeons including Dr. Brzezienski.  I appreciated his straight to the point explanation of what he recommended as my best option.  It is my experience his demeanor is simply his desire to do his very best- a perfectionist who strives for excellence.  That attribute became particularly important to me as I struggled with the idea of a mastectomy and reconstruction.  When it came time for surgery, I broke down in tears, fearful of the cancer, but also of the changes to my body. I even to pictures of my body pre-surgery so I could remind myself of what I looked like before the mastectomy.  Thinking again about my children and their future, I was ready for surgery- no matter how scary.

I can honestly say that I made the right decision.  I was very blessed to have Dr. Brzezienski and the Plastic Surgery Group as my team of surgeons and staff.  Dr. Brzezienski, Allie and the staff were all so very incredible throughout the entire process.  They are extremely gifted at providing wonderful care and concern with not just me, but each of their patients to assist them in getting back to a normal life after surgery.

I truly am extremely pleased with my reconstruction results.  My breasts look very natural and I am able to wear my business suits, dresses and even my swim suits with the same confidence, if not more, than before my mastectomy.  I would encourage anyone who is facing the difficult decision of mastectomy surgery to not be afraid and to do it with the confidence of knowing their own outcome too will be a beautiful one!