The big decision: Double Mastectomy

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I will be having surgery as a preventative measure because within my life time the probability of me obtaining breast cancer is very high risk.  The idea of not having to worry about breast cancer is an absolute relief.   As I think of the bigger picture of not having to go through what my momma went through with her breast cancer and being there for my daughter makes me want to have surgery tomorrow.  However, I can not get too ahead of myself as there are many risks and options with having a prophylactic double mastectomy.  My aunt (my mom’s sister) also was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After going through chemotherapy she is in remission and a survivor!  Have I mentioned how excited I am about this double mastectomy?

I would have not gained the knowledge and confidence in my decisions without talking to others who have had this surgery.  So to all of you who have shared their story on here or any type of media like the Cosmo I read years ago – Thank you!!!!  You truly have helped me so much and I think that is all of our goals right?  I only hope to inspire others out there as well.

What is prophylactic mastectomy?  Prophylactic mastectomy is surgery to remove one or both breasts to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  According to the National Cancer Institute, prophylactic mastectomy in high-risk women may be able to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 90%.  The statement above is from http://www.breastcancer.org.

There are many different risk factors that play a part in determining your chance of getting breast cancer.  If you are curious in finding these risks as I was, please talk to your doctor as not all numbers are the same for every individual.


After research, talking with my insurance and speaking with my doctors, I knew my decision was final on getting this surgery.  I also already had in mind where I was going to go to have this surgery.  I made a quick call and a packet arrived a few days later with loads of information on my upcoming appointment.  That was very overwhelming as it was finally starting to sink in.  As I drove to the same hospital my mom spent the worst of her days, it was tough.  I remembered the overpass bridge, the fountain in the lobby, the cafeteria and the elevators which soon after the tears began to fall.  Did I mention I do not like to show emotions that portray me as weak?  I only let a few tears fall and I was fine.  I met with my doctor who will be performing the removal of my breast tissue.  She was so comforting and knowledgable, I couldn’t have felt better about our appointment.  After we discussed all of the details, numbers, the procedure and risks, a massive weight had been lifted off of me.  When she said, “your risk after this procedure would be under 1% of obtaining breast cancer”, I bawled like a baby.  I could not stop crying as these were tears of joy and relief.

How could I not get this surgery with that low of a risk?  My life will be forever changed as I will not live in fear anymore.  When I was younger, I knew I would get breast cancer and was expecting it to happen any day.  Well in 36 days that fear will be gone as I am having my prophylactic double mastectomy on June 3rd!!

The surgery I am having is a bilateral nipple sparing double mastectomy with same day reconstruction.  Basically one doctor will be removing all of my breast tissue, and my plastic surgeon will come in right after and replace with an implant.  I will have a scar at the bottom of my foobs (fake boobs).

If you have boobs, or if you had to get them removed, you are still a beautiful woman inside and out – never forget that!

  A lot of women struggle with “losing a part of themselves” (real boobs) as this is a risk factor in this procedure.  I can’t say anything yet, as I still have my real ones but as of now I do not have an attachment to them.  First off, all I can think about when it comes to my boobs is that one day these things are going to give me cancer.  I tend to always expect the worst, so regardless of the outcome, I am still ready to get this surgery done.  Honestly, boobs are just boobs and after you have a baby, let’s just say they are not what they used to be, so I will be just fine!  Regardless, this is a big concern for everyone who has this surgery, so be sure to talk this through with your doctor.

Recovery will be extremely rough, as I will not be able to lift my arms higher than my waist, open a door, lift more than 5 lbs or really do anything but lay down for the first few weeks.  I can only sleep on my back, which is pretty much impossible for me to do.  The little things like not being able to put my hair in a pony will drive me nuts.  I pray that things go as smoothly as possible with no infection after surgery.  Please send prayers for my husband, family and friends as well who will be helping me out during this time.  The worst part about this whole process is not being able to pick up my daughter.  I will be out for roughly about a month.  I will have tubes in my sides for a few weeks to drain the extra fluid from surgery.  I will have major bruising but that will clear with time.  I will have to go back to have a few outpatient procedures but in a few months it will all be over.  =)

Could I die tomorrow in a tragic accident or become diagnosed with a different kind of cancer?  Yes, and I assure you I will be strong and fight it through, but it would not be breast cancer that I feared so much.  I know you are thinking that cancer is cancer no matter what kind it is but to me it is different.  Not many people understand my reasoning , but I do not expect anyone to and that is perfectly okay.  Everyone has a story, struggle or fear and I will not judge you on yours as I could not ever put myself in your shoes.  Do what you feel is right for you, make yourself happy and just be you.  xoxo, Ashley

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3 thoughts on “The big decision: Double Mastectomy

    Melissa Eppard said:
    April 29, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    It’s never an easy decision to make, in spite of all the facts and statistics. My heart goes out to you. When are you scheduled to have your surgery? My mom has her prophylactic surgery on May 5th, as she found she was BRCA 1+ too.

    Liked by 1 person

      ashleypatton12 responded:
      April 29, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Oh bless your heart!! I will be praying for your momma and the doctors that perform her surgery! I don’t think any of these decisions are easy but I’m trying to focus on the future. My surgery is scheduled for June 3. Just 35 more days… I’m excited and nervous but I trust all will be okay! I hope you have healed inside and out from your surgery! Hang in there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Whitney Stewart said:
    May 26, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    You are so strong Ash! I’m glad you are able to have this surgery. I had no idea how much it decreased your chances. That is amazing! I love the word foobs. 😂We are willing to help with baby girl anytime- just a text or phone call away. Xoxo!❤️

    Like

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